By Nelson Baquero [home]

March 2, 2009

During my research for a better personal learning theory model, I found different websites that use games for teaching a new language. Since that is one area of content I’m familiar with I proceed to construct an analysis. I particularly found interesting the site http://www.panfu.com with an interactive and virtual game scenario with the option of using a different language, and keeping it close to the learners environments as they move around and communicate with others, therefore creating close to real life interface in order to be familiar with the surroundings and reduce guess work as suggested by Aldrich’s “Learning by Doing” in the linear approach where the outcome is somehow predictable to help the learner feel comfortable while learning, particularly in a virtual world, where the learner must know the path to follow.
The first approach in my analysis for applying my personal theory of learning is based on chapter 5 of the book by Dr. Gibson “Games and simulations”(8-12), which constructs knowledge in a social context. I believe during language acquisition these elements play a big part in the learner’s development. In a cultural virtual classroom, which is the setting for my game based model, the learner acquires knowledge by interacting with others, taking an active role in participating and practicing the new language by means of meaningful activities such as creating multimedia presentations or doing a web quest research or scavenger hunt. The virtual game found at “Panfu.com”, has a lot of these elements, especially their graphical interface, such as selecting a virtual place then move around according to the map available. I selected this game as an example since it could serve as a guide for my own game design.
The next section of my analysis presents “Bloom’s taxonomy” also quoted in Chapter 4 (25), where the higher levels of learning, Application, Analysis and Synthesis are considered due to the similarity that on-line gamers use to solve difficulties during learning. I believe that learning a new language will have to incorporate these resources in order to move around in the virtual world as he or she Learns the new environment as shown in the picture of the analysis, an example of a room filled with objects, the learner must use vocabulary, grammar and speech in order to be able to co-exist in this virtual world. Interaction and conversations in virtual - real life settings would create opportunities to apply “Bloom’s” approach when the unknown resurfaces.
In the last section of my analysis I take into consideration the suggestions found in chapter 4 On-line Games 21st Century Skills (35-38), On-line based virtual collaboration, in addition to creating and designing multimedia projects, is the type of skills that learners as well as teachers must get used to. Computers are not going away and therefore we must continue to follow along with the technology and not get behind. Speaking the new language in a group setting, and taking online quizzes is a means to measure the success in learning the new language by engaging in measurable activities in different virtual scenarios, something similar to the “Panfu.com” interface where many learners meet on line in this virtual place in order to conduct different learning activities.

 

Analysis Game Design

 

Analysis Game Design

Game & Simulations    
Dr. Gibson
Clark Aldrich
Mark Prensky

Personal Learning Theory Model

Panfu.com
Virtual Game Model

1.

 

Knowledge Learning

  • Social interactions
  • Participatory
  • Leads development
  • Meaningful activities
  • Dispositions

 

Virtual classroom

Clear path to follow

Game and culture Based
Interactive interface

Video and multimedia
Research, Web quest reports and hunts.

 

Panfu.com
“Copied from Panfu.com”

Panfu.com

2.

 

Bloom’s higher levels of learning

  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis

Learning the new environment

Learn a new language in virtual setting

Learns vocabulary,
Grammar, Speech, and
Conversation in virtual - real life settings.

 

Panfu.com
“Copied from Panfu.com”

3.

 

On-line Games
21st Century Skills

  • Collaborate
  • Create
  • Share
  • Master
  • Assessing

 

On-line based virtual collaboration

Designing multimedia instruction

Speaking the new language with the group

Engage in measurable activities with different scenarios.

 Panfu.com
“Copied from Panfu.com”

 

In conclusion I have to reflect on the technology as a means to continue with my research. The technology based on faster computers and faster’s modems must be affordable and available. Since there is a percentage of the population that has not yet started to interact with the Internet, let alone taking an on-line course or learning any virtual environment to learn a game based instruction.
In the classroom of today Language Learning acquisition is based on techniques including games inside the classroom. I believe that this learning is limited by time and opportunity to participate. In comparison on-line game based instruction, where all learners can participate at the same time without any limitations and fears of the social environment. In the virtual environment there is not time-limit, even when the class is over, the learner can continue their development at their own time and at their own pace, therefore increasing cognitive and skill development.

 

Resources

Games and Simulations in Online Learning:
Research & Development Frameworks
Edited by Gibson, Aldrich, Prensky (2007)

Panfu – Virtual world on-line
Spanish Language
http://www.panfu.com/

Wikipedia
Taxonomy of educational Objectives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_taxonomy

Learning by Doing
A guide to Simulations, Computer Games,
Clark Aldrich (2005)