Design and Content Description of Educational Videogame Word-y to Learn English as a Second Language

Design and Content Description of Educational Videogame Word-y to Learn English as a Second Language

Michelle Nicólas Nourdin, María Graciela Badilla Quintana
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2015040105
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Videogames have taken an important role on children and adolescents through the years and gradually took a significant gap in education, leaving out its playful look at leisure. Particularly in Chile, thanks to the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), several tools like didactic presentation programs or mobile apps facilitate the teaching and learning process of a second language like English. The aim of this research is to describe the design of an educative videogame and to describe the validation process of the Word-y contents which are associated to learning vocabulary in English. The design has been developed using the incremental prototype model' using the free version of Construct2 software. As projections, the future work implies improve the first prototype applying a content survey to 30 English teachers and users.
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1. Introduction

One of the biggest issues within public education in Chile is the poor level of English vocabulary of graduated students, which directly affects their speaking, reading, listening and writing skills and even exceeds the basic level of international English evaluation tests such as KET, PET and TOEFL.

Thus, continuous curricular adjustments have been made in teaching English since 1996 to provide students with tools that enable them to face the demands in today’s world. A good example is that English lessons are compulsory from 5th to 12th grade.

Chilean educational English teaching program for both primary and secondary education includes the development of the 4 communicational skills for a second language: oral and written expression, listening and reading comprehension. Teachers are required to have and use information technology and communication (ICT) skills, as enabling tools of learning.

One interesting programme is called English Opens Doors, created in 2004, which gives diagnostic test, professional training to English Teachers, scholarships, fellowships, and emphasizes the use of modern technologies including e-learning and interactive software.

However, the lack of resource and the lack of training of teachers in these new tools trigger poor results in student’s achievements, particularly in vocabulary acquisition.

Several factors like motivation, high levels of anxiety and no interest due to misunderstanding on the effective use of a second language, generates a poor vocabulary and morph syntactic contents. Nowadays, students do not comprehend the importance of managing or understand a second language, and how it can provide them better educational and / or employment opportunities in a near future. English is one of the most spoken languages in the world, along with Mandarin Chinese, and many efforts have been made to improve the content and methodology of teaching second language.

In response to this issue, today it can find a considerable number of didactic tools, associated with the use of Information Technology and Communication (ICT); tools that claim to give the teacher key elements to improve their performance and as a consequence to the students through software, educational social networks, repositories, games among others, using simple elements, particularly to the new generation of digital natives.

UNESCO highlights the growing importance of technology and is emphatic stating that “the experience of introduction of technologies in educational systems in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past twenty years has shown little effect on the quality of education. Part of it is because the logic of incorporation has been to import, incorporating devices into schools, cables and computer programs, without clarity about the educational goals that are pursued, what are the most appropriate strategies to achieve and only then, be aware of what are the technologies that will support their achievement” (2013, p.6).

ICTs also impact positively on the growth of Latin America, through the convergence of devices, applications, networks and Internet-based platforms. In this context the interaction between mobile technologies services cloud computing, big data analysis, globalization and diversification of the use of social networks and remote sensing ubiquity progresses. This is represented in national policies as: Uruguay Digital Agenda 2011-2015, Peruvian Digital Agenda 2.0 2011-2015 2011-2015 Agenda Mexico, the National Development Plan 2009-2014 in Costa Rica, and Telecommunications and the Digital Action Plan 2010-2014 in Chile.

Today it is indisputable that ICT has come to play a major role in their interaction with the student, since they were born in the context of the information society and have become familiar with items as cell phones, video cameras, or clickers, interactive whiteboards, which have been used to understand the new codes of communication and use new information technologies themselves assiduously for entertainment and training activities. They offer a number of possibilities in the field of education including for example: creating more flexible learning environments, eliminating time-space barriers between teacher and students, increase of communication modalities such as chat or email, empowerment of scenarios and interactive environments, among others (Cabero, 2007).

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