Implementing the use of virtual worlds in the teaching of foreign languages (level A1)

Abstract

Since Virtual Worlds (VWs) have been recognized as a powerful tool in education, they have been attracting the interest of many educational institutions and instructors. Our paper intends to explore the possibilities of using Virtual Worlds in foreign language teaching, focusing specifically on the A1 level (CEFR) of German language learners. The present research demonstrates the authors’ experiences with the design of several game- like applications in a 3D virtual environment as well as their benefits for the teaching and learning process. The paper commences with a short analysis of the specific features of videogames. It then continues by outlining the advantages of integrating them into Virtual Learning Platforms. The aim of this analysis is to explore new ways of guaranteeing a highly interactive, motivating and effective learning environment, not only in face-to-face teaching, but also in the autonomous online learning process. The latter is considered to be complementary to, rather than different from the dynamic of the face-to-face learning situation. Our work combines theoretical research in language learning with a number of empirical studies using a 3D virtual game environment to measure the effectiveness of videogame-like applications on foreign language learning. Finally, the paper concludes with an empirical evaluation of different language learning sessions in which students played the videogame-like application we had designed for this research project.

Publication
Proceedings of Learning a Language in Virtual Worlds: A Review of Innovation and ICT in Language Teaching Methodology. 2011. Warsaw
Antonio Gonzalez-Pardo
Antonio Gonzalez-Pardo
PhD Computer Science

Lecturer at the Computer Science Department. Main research interests are related to Computational Intelligence and Metaheuristics applied to Social Networks Analysis, and the optimization of graph-based problems.