Posted on by Peter Editor

July 2012 Newletter

Why we use "The Story"...

Nearly every day we receive google alerts about a new online game or app that promises to make language learning easier and more fun. Some recent ones were: “Blanca goes to School, Question It, San Jiten 3D Game, GoGoLingo, uSpeak.” Many of these language learning games are word games, and/or geared towards younger children with vocabulary appropriate to those age groups.

Language Learning Fun and Gamification

One of the more successful iPad apps for adults, “Mindsnacks,” teaches the words and phrases of a large number of topics - from numbers, colors, months, body parts, greetings, time/date etc. - with entertaining games and a good reward system. (While this is a “fun” program, the lack of a recording option does not let you check your pronunciation.)

A recent entry, “Duolingo,” is trying a new approach that combines traditional reading, translating, speaking, and writing exercises with well-thought-out gamification elements and the challenge “to help translate the web.”

Learning a Language with “The Story”

GamesforLanguage has chosen an approach that uses a narrative which gradually unfolds for the learner. It’s the story of a young “hero” who travels to the country where the language is spoken, meets friends and relatives there, and makes new friends. (To the right: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spanish 1, Scene 2.4)

By reading, hearing, practicing, and recording the words, phrases, and sentences that are used in “The Story” in fast moving games, the learner immediately acquires a very diverse and useful vocabulary. In essence, the learner is challenged to discover “The Story.” And so, rather than focusing on specific “topics,” we teach typical phrases and sentences that you would hear and use every day during your travels. Based on our own experience, we believe that this approach is particularly effective for quickly acquiring the tools for communicating in a foreign language.

The GamesforLanguage Team