Learn English or Die

This page is a supplement to Hayo Reinders & Sorada Wattana's talk entitled Learn English or Die: The Effects of Digital Game Play on Interaction and Willingness to Communicate, delivered as part of the Symposium Enhancing Online Literacies at the AILA 2011 World Congress of Applied Linguistics in Beijing, China, 23-28 August 2011.

See other talks in the symposium: Digital Tools (Mark Pegrum) / Tutor Skills & Qualities in Blended Learning (Linda Martin) / Preparing our Students for the Intercultural Reality (Aline Germain-Rutherford) / Learn English or Die (Hayo Reinders & Sorada Wattana) / Transforming Teaching (Regine Hampel & Uschi Stickler)

--Abstract-- In recent years there has been a lot of interest in the potential role of computer games in education (see Gee 2003). Playing games is said to be motivating to students and is said to benefit the development of social skills such as collaboration and metacognitive skills such as planning and organisation. Also in the language classroom, computer games are becoming increasingly popular. However, the pedagogical approach underlying such games is often not clear and learners are often given little guidance in how to move from entertainment to education. In addition to pedagogic issues, there is very little research to back up the claims made for using computer games in language education. In this presentation I will first present these claims before reporting on an empirical research project designed to investigate the effects of an online multiplayer gaming environment on L2 use and acquisition by young (18-22) Thai learners of English. I will show that the computer game did indeed affect L2 interaction patterns and contributed to L2 acquisition, but that this depended, like in all other teaching and learning environments, on learners’ ability to draw on the affordances offered in the game. The implication of our study is that teachers (and materials designers) who wish to build on more informal tools such as computer games, need to think carefully about how they will develop learners’ ability to benefit from them.

--Paper-- The full paper is available here.

The above text was composed by Hayo Reinders. It is hosted on the E-language resource wiki maintained by Mark Pegrum. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us with comments, suggestions or questions.