Using video games in the classroom have helped children growing up in the tech age become interested in learning in ways never imagineable. In recent years, teachers have even been able to leverage games that are not geared specifically for learning purposes to create experiences that resonate with students on a much deeper level. One teacher has even found a way to used the extremely popular 'Assassin's Creed II' to teach the Italian language to his students.
Simone Bregni, an associate professor at the Saint Louis University in Spain, began his journey with video games in 1975 when he was 12 and realized as he continued playing into the 1980s that his English was improving rapidly. He began incorporating video games into his labs in 1997 at the onset of a new generation of interactive adventure games in 2009 which brought astounding results to his students. Because these games incorporated immersive environments, students were able to enrich their experiences in both language and culture.
Through the years, Bregni has used Final Fantasy, Trivial Pursuit, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Heavy Rain and Rise of the Tomb Raider in his classrooms, but one of the most useful games he has found to teach Italian is Assassin's Creed II.
"In my Italian Renaissance literature course, for example, students explore Florence as it flourished under the Medici by playing Assassin's Creed II ( which is set in 1476 Florence),” Bregni wrote in a study published in Profession. These games are used to reinforce vocabulary and grammar, and teach students to problem solve in Italian.
He has created a process called Identify, Acquire, Create (IAC) that links specific game chapters to learning goals, prepares students with vocabulary and grammar worksheets, applies them them in the relevant game, and discusses them afterwards with written exercises. In a class called Intensive Italian for Gamers, every student made progress that mirrored two semesters of a traditional Italian course in a single semester, and by the final, students were 3 to 5 points ahead of their traditionally trained counterparts.
As a lifelong gamer, it is no surprise to hear Bregni affirm that “I firmly believe that learning should be fun. The fact that it is fun does not take away from the seriousness of the activity - it's just more effective.”
We hope you've enjoyed learning how Simone Bregni has been exploring language learning through video games in Gaming Grammar! What's your favorite game to learn new languages with? Leave a comment below!