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Video Games The Learning Revolution Tesol France


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For years, videogames have been demonstrating in practice what brain-based learning studies are concluding in theory. The potential for applying these principles to English Language Teaching is considerable.

Video Games The Learning Revolution Tesol France

  1. 1. TESOL France Colloquium November 2009 VIDEOGAMES The Learning Revolution Implications for EFL
  2. 2. Who are we? Paul Maglione Frederic Tibout Media and videogame experts. Co-founders of the first fully entertainment-focused TEFL company NBC Vivendi Games Universal Interactive CNN I Play Apple Sierra on-line
  3. 3. Video Games A Planetary Success
  4. 4. The World’s Fastest-Growing Entertainment Segment <ul><li>$55 billion in retail sales </li></ul><ul><li>100m + games consoles sold every year </li></ul><ul><li>600m console games will be sold this year </li></ul><ul><li>55 million people play online games </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>dominating the family living room </li></ul><ul><li>becoming the universal entertainment preference for young people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(97% of US adolescents play video games) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ubiquitous </li></ul><ul><ul><li>games consoles at home </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PC’s at home and at work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mobile phones and portable consoles in-between </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And games are now colonizing new areas: </li></ul><ul><li>music (Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Singstar) </li></ul><ul><li>self-help (Brain Training; Eye Training) </li></ul><ul><li>fitness (Wii Fitness) </li></ul>More importantly, videogames are now…
  6. 6. A single Facebook game can attract 20m + users/ month New trends: social Network Games
  7. 7. 20,000 new games titles published in just 16 months New trends: iPhone Games
  8. 8. WHY are videogames so popular?
  9. 9. BECAUSE our brains like videogames!
  10. 10. 7 things we know about how our brains learn <ul><li>Meaning is more important than information </li></ul><ul><li>Emotion is the gatekeeper to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence is a function of experience </li></ul><ul><li>The brain is social </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by stress </li></ul><ul><li>The more stimulation, the more likely long-term memory is created </li></ul><ul><li>Movement locks in lessons learned </li></ul>
  11. 11. How do videogames apply this?
  12. 12. Meaning is more important than information Powerful, level-based scenarios Assasin’s Creed / Ubisoft Immediate feedback Brain Academy / Nintendo Goal-driven Mario Kart / Nintendo
  13. 13. Emotion is the gatekeeper to learning <ul><li>Identification with in-game characters </li></ul><ul><li>Music, graphics, cinematics </li></ul>Call of Duty 4 / Activision
  14. 14. Intelligence is a function of experience Pattern Recognition Civilization / 2K Games Learn by doing Swat 4 / Vivendi Games
  15. 15. The brain is social Team-based quest World of Warcraft / Blizzard Multiplayer interactions to build social skills Sims Online / Electronic Arts
  16. 16. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by stress Challenge for status among friends Word Challenge (FaceBook) / Playfish Continuous encouragement Bejeweled 2 (Web) / PopCap
  17. 17. The more stimulation, the more likely long-term memory is created Assembly model memorization Tetris Mania (Mobile) / Electronic Arts Picture / Word association Brain Academy (WII) / Nintendo
  18. 18. Movement locks in lessons learned Motion detection Project Natal / Microsoft Sensor-based controller WII / Nintendo
  19. 19. The CONTENT to be learned: Facts – Principles – Information - Skills Traditional “School” Approach The Games Approach The Content is main focus of the learning Content is subordinated to “something else,” and taught via this “ something else.” Two approaches to learning
  20. 20. So how do we exploit the learning potential of videogames?
  21. 21. <ul><li>PLATO </li></ul><ul><li>Wicat </li></ul>Earliest computer-aided instruction Drill- and curriculum-based; ’60’s – ’80’s
  22. 22. The 1970’s: a vision of computer-assisted, entertainment-oriented learning Space Invaders: the first mass-market breakthrough arcade games success The Apple II: the first truly personal computer
  23. 23. ‘ 80’s- ‘90’s: Edutainment becomes a new educational movement and an industry
  24. 24. Academic Focus Entertainment Focus Construction Focus Early “Edutainment” Games
  25. 25. Yet… ultimately, the “edutainment” approach failed. <ul><li>Good educational games are first and foremost good games. The educational aspect should be the end-result of the gameplay, not the genesis of it. </li></ul>Learning Game Learning Game
  26. 26. Today’s “learning games” are games first; and the approach is working The top-selling videogame in Europe of 2007
  27. 27. Originally developed as a recruitment tool; now one of the best-selling combat game franchises.
  28. 28. The second-best-selling videogame in both Europe and the U.S. in 2008
  29. 29. OK, so the potential for EFL must be limitless. What’s being done?
  30. 30. Wordfinders Crosswords Hangmans Memory-type games Word Scrambles Wordbuilders EFL Games : Basic Approaches
  31. 31. <ul><li>No meaningful context </li></ul><ul><li>Goal orientation is not obvious </li></ul><ul><li>Very basic graphics, often no sound  lack of emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement and reward are absent </li></ul><ul><li>No or very rudimentary level design </li></ul>Limitations of basic EFL games
  32. 32. English Villlage Avatar Languages Second Life English British Council More evolved approaches
  33. 33. WizWorld Online: learn English through fantasy role-playing online gaming (8World, China) This game was created by Videogames celebrity Rick Goodman who developed the best-selling games Age of Empires and Empire Earth.
  34. 34. Carnegie Mellon / Nokia in India The university has spent the last 6 years designing educational games for mobile phones 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.
  35. 35. Decorate!: vocabulary building via interior decorating commands in English (Sprk, Sweden) Teachers are experimenting with games not originally created for to nevertheless provide meaningful context and opportunities for purposeful communication. New games identified every week by great EFL bloggers like Russel Stannard, Nik Peachy, and Larry Ferazzo.
  36. 36. So where do we go from here?
  37. 37. 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.”
  38. 38. <ul><li>They are highly intelligent but easily bored…. </li></ul><ul><li>They are gamers, networkers and communicators…. </li></ul><ul><li>They need to understand “the big picture” to be motivated… </li></ul>… and they LEARN BY DOING
  39. 39. For every one of them, English is the international language of opportunity.
  40. 40. Our challenge Or can we embrace games, online video, mobile phones and social networks in a way that really changes how we think about learning? Will we just start using new technologies, like videogames, to do what we have always done, just a little different, a little better?
  41. 41. Our challenge <ul><li>the way we interact with learners? </li></ul><ul><li>how learners interact with each other? </li></ul><ul><li>how learners can start to teach other learners? </li></ul><ul><li>what about self-analysis, self-movitation, self-testing? </li></ul>Can new technologies change not just the way we teach, but…
  42. 42. Our challenge Can we move from language system instruction to a focus on experiences and problem solving in the language?
  43. 43. Our challenge At 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.
  44. 44. Paul Maglione Frederic Tibout [email_address] Twitter: @paulmaglione [email_address] Coming soon at