On June 6, 2018 I was invited at the Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt, Austria to present at their “Lehre und Lerntage”/Teaching and Learning Days E-Learning Conference. I delivered one presentation, “Video Games & Learning in Higher Education,” and two workshops, a general, multidisciplinary one on video game-based learning (VGBL) in Higher Education, and a practical workshop on VGBL in second/foreign language acquisition.
It was my first academic experience in Austria, and it was an absolutely fantastic one. The E-Learning Conference, celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the E-Learning Center at AAU, was very well organized (Vielen Dank Dr.in Gabriele Frankl, Dr.in Sabrina Brauneis & Team!). The Vice-Chancellor, Dr.in Doris Hattenberger, actively participated in the entire conference, and treated the invited speakers with genuine care and appreciation, well above the traditional professional standards. I was very impressed.
A video recording of my general audience VGBL presentation is available here:
Thank you/Grazie/Danke Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt!
I am very excited to announce that my article “Using Video Games to Teach Italian Language & Culture: Useful, Effective, Feasible?” NEMLA Italian Studies XXXIX special issue “The Italian Digital Classroom: Italian Culture and Literature through digital tools and social media.”, 2017, pp. 42-71, was published today, October 6, 2018. It is available as a PDF download (https://www.buffalo.edu/content/dam/www/nemla/NIS/XXXIX/NeMLA%20Italian%20Studies%202017%20-%20Using%20Video%20Games.pdf) and in print.
This 30-page article is my most extensive contribution to the field of video game-based learning (with a focus on commercial, non-serious gaming) in second/foreign language acquisition to date. It is a practicum. While it focuses mainly on Italian as F/L2, the information and instructions provided can be applied/adapted to any major language/any language in which the games mentioned are localized. It also includes plenty of information on video games for use in ESL, Japanese as a foreign language & culture, and for K-12.
Many thanks to the editors Tania Convertini, Ph.D., Dartmouth College and Simona Wright, Ph.D., The College of New Jersey for this excellent opportunity.
Video games are an integral part of life for our students. Some commercial video games are multi-media realia that can be used to enhance language acquisition both in and outside the classroom. Compared to other digital realia, they add opportunities for language exploration: direct interaction and agency; critical thinking and problem-solving; and a detailed narrative. This article presents a practicum for their use. Evidence that utilizing communicative video games can be conducive to F/L2 acquisition is provided, particularly focusing on the use of Assassin’s Creed II and Heavy Rain. Then, technical advice and best practices related to gaming in F/L2 acquisition are offered. Discussion of the development of an intensive language & culture course for gamers concludes the article.