Il servizio per la documentazione e l'orientamento sul software didattico e altre risorse digitali per l'apprendimento.
Realizzato dall'Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, in collaborazione con MIUR e INDIRE.

Analisi di settore

Jeffrey Earp

It is generally recognised that games play a vital role in the general cognitive and meta-cognitive development of children. Games stimulate and motivate young learners, providing them with a rich environment that stimulates curiosity, exercises a wide range of skills and fosters growth. In foreign language learning, game playing brings a crucial added dimension: it provides a meaningful context for young children to engage in L2 activity and interaction. Such contextualisation is fundamental to Second Language Acquisition in general and for young learners in particular: for further discussion, see The Natural Approach (a brief overview of Krashen's theories, or for a more detailed analysis, Krashen & Terrell's Natural Approach) and Modelli Operativi - A.L.I.A.S., Maria Cecilia Luise (downloadable file). The appeal to children of computer games (at least for entertainment purposes) is more than evident: video games played on consoles or PC now occupy a significant part of many children's leisure time. As a result, to children computers are almost synonymous with game playing, and using them in the classroom context is often considered as a kind of game in itself (although the initial novelty value may well wear off if the "game" does not meet sometimes high expectations). So when it comes to adopting multimedia to foster and enrich children's language learning experience, the game playing approach would seem to offer enormous potential, characterised as it is by a rich blend of multimedia material and a high level of interactivity. This study examines the opportunities for game playing in multimedia English language learning software : it is based on analysis of a number of recently published English language CD-Roms for children that include games (see list). In an effort to provide a comprehensive picture of the multimedia resources available for game playing, reference is also made to other games software for children's English language learning, i.e. games software for learning English, for learning languages,for preschool and primary school education, and to online games available on the World Wide Web. For an examination of multimedia software for children's English language learning, see A proposito di software per...young learners of English.

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