Bilingual is Better

Just about everything we do in our daily routine has been turned into an electronic game – childcare, cleaning, cooking, fitness, sports and even stealing cars!  Not that we steal cars routinely, but I think you get what I mean.  This sort of attention to gaming has been strongly redirected toward the arena of education, and rightly so.

Watch any gamer in action and you’ll see a firsthand demonstration of how the learning curve actually works.  Because video games can be so engaging and addictive, the challenge has become how to harness their power to facilitate and support learning.  The result is gamification in education.  This concept has enormous potential to revamp traditional teaching techniques while pushing students to reach greater levels of personal achievement.  It can also be a vehicle whose long term effect will be to create and develop a desire to learn within the student.  Gamification in education is currently enjoying rapid success at all grade levels and in a variety of academic disciplines.

Fact: over 5 million students spend 45 hours a week playing video games. Worldwide, we spend 3 billion hours a week in front of a computer or gaming device.

As our youth increase access to these devices, with the proper strategy, this can be an opportunity for us to transition our children from unproductive gaming to educational gaming.

Research has shown that in any learning situation, students are typically more engaged when they face a challenge that they feel they can meet.  Naturally, to be effective, the level of challenge should match the student’s skill level. If the task is too difficult, the student may give up quickly, and if it is too easy, the student may lose interest.  We know that students also benefit from multilevel games which become progressively more complex and challenging. Therefore, an effective game allows students the option to begin at varying levels of challenge and gradually increase the level of difficulty.  This is the heart of gamification in education.

As the use of gamification gains momentum, some nursery schools are making computer labs an integral part of their curriculum.  Using gamification to reinforce basic concepts of early childhood education has proven to be very effective and inspiring for the young students.  At the more mature end of the gamification spectrum, at a private school in Sweden, students are tasked with creating online games about themselves.  In this way they not only learn about gaming and success factors in game design, but they also gain insight into incentives and motivations which translates into corporate level business applications.

In response to the need for improved language skills, a company out of San Diego, CA called Tiny Factory has developed a multi-language learning app for iPad, called Lingual.  In its initial launch, it has taken on the challenge of language education, focusing on English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.  The app is being test marketed to varying age levels and has received enthusiastic responses.  You can help support Tiny Factory and language education on Lingual’s kickstarter campaign through November 9th.

Check out this video to get you excited:

Adiós, Goodbye, Zai hui

michael saccaMichael Sacca founded Tiny Factory in 2009. Tiny Factory is an application design and development company based in San Diego. Currently, They’re focusing on building apps for the language education community. Bilingual Child is available in the App Store, and Lingual will be released December 2012.

{Photo by  flickingerbrad}

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