Videogames & learning, tesol italy nov 2009 from Ajarn Donald's English Language Services

  • 1. VIDEOGAMESThe Learning Revolution Implications for EFL TESOL Italy Conference November 2009
  • 2. Who are we? Media and videogame experts. Co-founders of the first fully entertainment-focused TEFL companyNBC Vivendi GamesUniversal Interactive CNNI Play Apple Sierra on-line
  • 3. Video GamesA Planetary Success
  • 4. The World’s Fastest-Growing Entertainment Segment $55 billion in annual retail sales 100m + games consoles sold every year 600m console games will be sold this year 55 million people play online games
  • 5. More importantly, videogames are now…Colonizing the familyliving room…..and impacting totallynew areas of our lives.
  • 6. New trends: social Network Games A single Facebook game can attract 60m + users/ month
  • 7. New trends: iPhone Games20,000 new games titles published in just 16 months
  • 8. WHY are videogames so popular?
  • 9. BECAUSE our brains like videogames!
  • 10. 7 things we know about how our brains learn 1. Meaning is more important than information 2. Emotion is the gatekeeper to learning 3. Intelligence is a function of experience 4. The brain is social 5. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by stress 6. The more stimulation, the more likely long- term memory is created 7. Movement locks in lessons learned
  • 11. How do videogames apply this?
  • 12. Meaning is more important than information Powerful, level-based Goal-driven Mario Kart / Nintendo scenarios Assasin’s Creed / Ubisoft Immediate feedback Brain Academy / Nintendo
  • 13. Emotion is the gatekeeper to learning Call of Duty 4 / Activision • Identification with in-game characters • Music, graphics, cinematics
  • 14. Intelligence is a function of experiencePattern Recognition Learn by doing Civilization / 2K Games Swat 4 / Vivendi Games
  • 15. The brain is social Team-based quest Multiplayer interactions toWorld of Warcraft / Blizzard build social skills Sims Online / Electronic Arts
  • 16. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by stressChallenge for status among Continuous encouragement friends Bejeweled 2 (Web) / PopCapWord Challenge (FaceBook) / Playfish
  • 17. The more stimulation, the more likely long- term memory is created Picture / Word association Brain Academy (WII) / NintendoAssembly model memorization Tetris Mania (Mobile) / Electronic Arts
  • 18. Movement locks in lessons learnedMotion detection Sensor-based controller WII / NintendoProject Natal / Microsoft
  • 19. Two approaches to learning The CONTENT to be learned: Facts – Principles – Information - SkillsTraditional “School” Approach The Games Approach Content is subordinated The Content is main focus to “something else,” and of the learning taught via this “something else.”
  • 20. So how do we exploit the learning potential of videogames?
  • 21. Earliest computer-aided instructionDrill- and curriculum-based; ’60’s – ’80’s• PLATO• Wicat
  • 22. The 1970’s: a vision of computer-assisted, entertainment-oriented learning The Apple II: the first truly personal computerSpace Invaders: the first mass-market breakthrough arcade games success
  • 23. ‘80’s- ‘90’s: Edutainment becomes a new educational movement and an industry
  • 24. Early “Edutainment” GamesAcademic Focus Entertainment Focus Construction Focus
  • 25. Yet… ultimately, the “edutainment” approach failed. Learning Game Game LearningGood educational games are first and foremost good games. The educational aspect should be the end-result of the gameplay, not the genesis of it.
  • 26. Today’s “learning games” are games first; and the approach is workingThe top-selling videogame in Europe of 2007
  • 27. Originally developed as a recruitment tool; now one of the best-sellingcombat game franchises.
  • 28. The second-best-selling videogame in both Europe and the U.S. in 2008
  • 29. New trends bringing Education and Videogames closer to each other
  • 30. • Dyscalculia : Number Shark Games as therapy for•• Dyslexia : Word Shark learning disabilities Working Memory Deficiency: JungleMemory Jungle Memory working memory disorders dyslexia dyscalculia
  • 31. QUEST TO LEARNA New York City publicschool focused ongame-based learning,just opened this Fall.Set up by a non-profitgroup, the Institute ofPlay, with help from theMacArthur Foundation.
  • 33. OK, so the potential for EFL must be limitless. What’s being done?
  • 34. EFL Games : Basic Approaches Hangmans CrosswordsWordfindersMemory-type games Word Scrambles Wordbuilders
  • 35. Limitations of basic EFL games No meaningful context Goal orientation is not obvious Very basic graphics, often no sound  lack of emotion Reinforcement and reward are absent No or very rudimentary level design
  • 36. More evolved approaches English VilllageSecond Life English British Council Avatar Languages
  • 37. WizWorld Online: learn English through fantasy role-playing online gaming (8World, China) game was created by Videogames celebrity Rick Goodman who developed the best-selling games Age of Empires and Empire Earth.
  • 38. Carnegie Mellon / Nokia in India The university has spent the last 6 years designing educational games for mobilephones that are relevant to the culture of rural India, and the study is currently being rolled out to 800 children across 40 villages in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • 39. Decorate!: vocabulary building via interior decorating commands in English (Sprk, Sweden) are experimenting with games not originally created for to nevertheless provide meaningfulcontext and opportunities for purposeful communication. New games identified every week by great EFL bloggers like Russel Stannard, Nik Peachy, and Larry Ferazzo.
  • 40. So where do we go from here?
  • 41. The current generation of young people is the first that works, plays, thinks and learns differently than their parents did. What we call “technology,” they call “life.”
  • 42.  They are highly intelligent but easily bored…. They are gamers, networkers and communicators…. They need to understand “the big picture” to be motivated… …and they LEARN BY DOING
  • 43. For every one of them,English is the international language of opportunity.
  • 44. Our challenge Will we just start using new technologies, like videogames, to do what we have always done, just a little different, a little better?Or can we embrace games, online video, mobile phones and social networks in a way that really changes how we think about learning?
  • 45. Our challenge Can new technologies change not just the way we teach, but…  the way we interact with learners?  how learners interact with each other?  how learners can start to teach other learners?  what about self-analysis, self- movitation, self-testing?
  • 46. Our challenge
  • 47. Our challengeAt the heart of any educational journey is a teacher. And for great teachers, technology is just another tool to unlock a piece of knowledge. Games can help do this, and, increasingly, they will.
  • 48. Coming soon at
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