Learn Italian Playing Assassin's Creed!
Spain: Time and again incidences are proving that games and apps can do wonders in language learning. A professor from Saint Louis University came to the limelight after he explained how he uses video games to teach Italian, allowing his students to master two semesters worth of language acquisition through one intensive class for students new to the Italian language!
Simone Bregni, Ph.D., associate professor of languages, literatures and cultures at SLU, started playing video games in 1975 when he was 12. By the mid-1980s, he was playing textual adventures, and soon realized his English was improving rapidly as he played. This revelation informed his research and teaching, as did his work for a leading Italian video game publication in the 1990s where he wrote a column on the history of video games and served as a correspondent reporting about the video game industry.
When he became a teacher, Bregni adopted the same method for his students' language learning. Though Bregni has used Final Fantasy, Trivial Pursuit, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Heavy Rain and Rise of the Tomb Raider in his classrooms, one of the most useful games to teach Italian is Assassin's Creed II.
Bregni uses games to reinforce vocabulary and grammar, introduce cultural data and teach students to problem solve in Italian. He links specific game chapters to pedagogical goals, preparing students with vocabulary and grammar worksheets, applying them in the relevant game, and discussing and reflecting on them afterwards in a written exercise.
Recently, Bregni received a fellowship grant from SLU's Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning to use a state-of-the-art learning studio to develop a language course based entirely on gaming.
(Indebted to various sources)