Bringing awareness to global issues through video game use in a second language classroom
Recorded: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm - 4:50 pm HST
Duration: 20 mins
Recent studies discuss the positive effects of gaming on students’ learning outcomes (Barab et al., 2007: Gee 2003). Though there may be increasing empirical evidence of digital game-based learning (DGBL) in the science fields, few empirical studies exist in second language learning. This study explored the effects of the use of the videogame, Food Force (FF), on learner affect, awareness of global issues and vocabulary retention in an advanced Japanese classroom at a US university. Students engaged in the FF unit for five days as part of the existing curriculum. A Likert-scale survey and vocabulary tests were conducted on three different occasions.
Second language acquisition (SLA) theories postulate that interaction, comprehensible input, meaningful context, negotiation, experiencing less anxiety and task-based approach facilitate second language learning (Ellis, 2003, Krashen, 1985, Long, 1996, Loschky, 1994). Videogames situate language use through taking on a character in the story and gameplay. The attributes that videogames afford can promote SLA.
In order to raise awareness of world hunger, the UN World Food Program (UNWFP) developed a humanitarian educational videogame, Food Force, in 2005. The game consists of six missions that teach how the UNWFP combats world hunger. The student assumed the role of a new member of the UNWFP in a mission. Before playing the game, students engaged in various tasks.
The use of FF showed overall positive effects on students learning outcomes, but the data revealed individual differences in the outcomes. This study was developed from Dr. Schmidt’s 611 action research project in 2012.
Dr. Schmidt is an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in the departments of Educational Technology and Special Education
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Claire is an ETEC student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.