As reported in 2016, there are in total 1.8 billion gamers in the world, with those who are under 18 taking up 26% of the total.  And with the development of the Internet as well as the growth in the economy, more and more people can get easy access to the Internet, which means that the number of the adolescent gamers is likely still on the rise. Therefore, this phenomenon has raised a lot of public’s concern, especially from those parents who are worried that playing games may affect teenagers’ study and temperament (becoming violent, unwilling to attend school, etc.). Besides anxious parents, many teachers also prohibit students from playing games, being afraid that students will indulge in the game.  But have you ever realized that playing games can actually do good to one’s language study?

Figure 1. The age stats of digital gamers

Why digital games?

In a study by Hayo Reinders and Sorada Wattana in 2004, they found that digital game playing can enhance students’ willingness to communicate in second language. The study was conducted with 30 Thai EFL learners at a university in Thailand. They were asked to complete questionnaires to self-assess 1) their communicative competence and 2) their anxiety when communicating in English as well as 3) their willingness to communicate in English on a scale of 1 to 5 (“very unwilling” to “very willing”) before and after attending the game-based learning. The result came out that there was a significant growth in students’ willingness to communicate in English after their game-based learning experience, with 2.53 (somewhat unwilling) in the previous questionnaire and 3.84 (somewhat willing) in the latter questionnaire. Students’ responses indicate that they are more willing to interact in English during game play and tend to feel more confident to talk to other students, or ask for help in the game environment. Drawing on the result of this research, we can conclude that digital games are beneficial for raising students’ willingness to communicate in English. Firstly,

they clearly make learners feel less anxious and encourage collaboration and group cohesiveness. Secondly, in contexts where English is taught as a foreign language, and where students have limited access to opportunities for target language production, games can possibly play an important role in that they provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in class to the real world (although in the form of virtual world online). Thirdly, games make learners feel they are achieving better in the way that learners will get continuous and immediate feedback from the NPCs and they can complete the tasks through language.


Figure 2. A screenshot of Quest1: Finding out how David uses his new computer.

Some limitations

However, as we can imagine, there are still some limitations of conducting digital games  on language learning. First of all, people differ a lot in many aspects. Students who do not like  playing games, or are not familiar with computer games’ settings may not hold very positive attitudes towards this kind of study. This could in turn influence the outcomes students get and the levels they finally achieve.

Secondly, playing games and accomplishing tasks give students an immediate sense of achievement, this may somehow affect the responses they give. While playing games, students encounter different quests and tasks. With the information they get from interaction and the increased difficulty, when they complete the actions, the students will have higher self-perceived competence of communication. The excitement influences how they perceive their language competence.

Thirdly, games which are used for educational purposes need to be modified. Some original online games are filled with violence, or contain too many advanced vocabulary items. These games are inapposite for second language acquisition. The teachers need to modify the games and create a suitable language learning environment which is appropriate for the students’ level of proficiency, and make sure the students do not weigh playing games over language learning.

Last but not least, whether game-based learning is beneficial for the outcome of second language acquisition is still indeterminate. Although game play encourages students’ willingness to communicate in the target language which is a main factor for language learning , there is still no evidence for the effects on improving one’s fluency and accuracy in the target language.


In general, digital-game based learning is still a new field for language learning. Further studies need to be done if we want to gain deeper understanding of applying this to language teaching.

So, here are some questions for you:

  1. Have you ever played computer games? Do you think it is a good way to teach a second language?
  2. As a teacher, would you conduct digital games in your L2 teaching process? What is the role of the teacher? Why?


Edited by Crystal (HE Jiaying) & Yiting (ZHAO Yiting)

49 thoughts on “Can you imagine learning a second language through digital games?

  1. Hi Crystal and Yiting. Your post have offered me a comprehensive and objective analysis of the role digital games play in L2 learning. As you have mentioned, there are in total 1.8 billion gamers in the world in 2016, and the number is still on the rise. Actually, I am one of them. I have played digital games like King of Glory, Fantasy Westward Journey, We Love Erasing Everyday and among others, but none of them have been used for the purpose of language learning. Despite that, I do think learners, especially game enthusiasts, could take great advantages of this digital way of learning as long as they can use appropriately. In case that they get hooked on game play, it might contribute negatively to the learning process. As a teacher, maybe I would not try to apply game-based approach into pedagogical practices, because the effectiveness of it is hard to evaluate. For example, students who are not enthusiastic about video games might find this learning approach less attractive and effective. It is difficult to notice whether learners are using it for learning or just for fun.

  2. Hi Crystal and Yiting. The post revealed a great overall understanding of digital gaming. I found it surprising that adolescents are in the major age group of digital gamers, and accordingly the number of female players are on the way to catch up with that of males. It’s interesting! For me, I am not accustomed to using digital games as a way of learning target languages. But as the fervent passion for digital games going on, if I were the teacher, I think we should not fade the enthusiasm of the game players of students away. But the degree to handle the digital games for students is an important thing to deal with. I think we can use them as warming-up or as a small portion of homework or extracurricular activities to make the course more intriguing and develop students’ motivation on study L2.

    • I think it is great that you mentioned digital games can be used as a way to do the homework! I think it is an amazing idea, in that way, students may feel less anxious for their workload. But how to decide the specific digital game into a learner-friendly environment still needs consideration.

    • Hi, Doreen. I agree with you that digital games can be used as an adjunct of formal learning, such as warming-up activities or after-class assignments.

    • Hi Doreen, you’ve mentioned about teachers’ important role in using the game as an approach to teaching and I agree with you to a very large extent. Indeed, students with self-discipline would easily lose control of time and focus when playing games, and therefore a guidance or requirement from teachers become indispensable.

  3. Digital games applied in second language learning suddenly reminds me of my personal experience of self-learning as a spanish student. I have been keen on any potential combination of interest and language learning. So during that learning process, no matter what I read or play as entertainment, I tried to shift the material into the target language version, so as the digital games Pokemon in spanish version.
    At the very beginning, my patience and eagerness remained as I struggled for the comprehension of the dialogues and statment of missions. As the game went on, its plots and tactics took the place of the patience for language analysis. I skipped the conversations and experimented each unknown movements to figure out what the effects they carried. When problems caused by language gap occurred, I would feel annoyed rather than curious. What I finally found in this game experience is that contents and the joy that the game brings about sometimes can outweigh the initial intention of language learning. Besides, as the article points out, vocabulary does not necessarily match the requirement of the teaching curriculum—–either too difficult or too easy, some examples of which are the addresses of movements, imagined places and other strange passive words.
    My suggestion is that teachers play the role of a facilitator during this sort of activity, guiding the students, drawing their attention to where they should be focusing on rather than allowing them to be controlled or distracted by the enjoyment of the game itself.

    • Chiwei2, your point about the fun of playing a game overriding the urge of language learning is fascinating. I think this has to do with the fact that the game designer focused a lot more on the plot and tactics in the first place. Yet, your experience can be used in class to ignite the motivation of students. You can ask them the English for certain objects and moves, and then invite them to talk about how you can make to the next level in English. Although this implies that the game alone is not sufficient for language learning, it can be a great add-on to the class activities.

    • Hi, chiwei2, I am glad to hear that you have experienced L2 learning in digital games and thought about how you could conduct it in your own teaching process. That’s just what we want.
      Maybe we can understand what you are concern about, is that there are many limitations in digital games itself. I also play some mobile games like onmyyoji (阴阳师) , travel frog(旅行青蛙), but after a period, I’ll be bored with that game, and skip the plots and only to accomplish the daily tasks. Our enthusiasm is faded with time going.
      Also, the level of the vocabularies is also what the author concerned about. That’s why they modify the original games to make it suitable for students’ proficiency. Besides, I like your suggestion that teachers, as the facilitators, pay more attention to the instruction. The task is not so simple as we imagined.

    • Thanks for these interesting observations. I like Camie’s point that the game can be used as a starting point for other activities (maybe different kinds of productive activities). In some ways, games are a lot like books: you don’t just play/read them, you talk about them too – all useful fodder for language teachers!

  4. It is not surprising that there is a steady increase in the number of gamers in the worlds as the technology is playing an increasingly important role in our daily life, however, as the response to the title, It is difficult for me to imagine learning language through gaming both as a language learner and teacher.
    As a language learner, I think learning language through gaming is sort of time-consuming and relatively low efficiency in language acquisition. Compared with the form of gaming, I would prefer other forms/platforms, like language-exchange apps, online language training websites.
    And as a language teacher, the main concern that occurred to my mind is that there are limited gaming templates that perfect combine gaming with language learning, thus it is difficult for teachers to find a game not only serve for their learning targets but also matches the language level of the students.
    Ideally, students can improve the language competence through gaming unconsciously and happily, however, gaming is only meaningful in the field of language learning when the advantages of it can not be replaced by any other ways. Obviously, in terms of advantages of it like social interaction, multimedia, they are common in other approaches or ways of language learning, thus gaming seems have little irreplaceable possible contribution to language learning, although I would glad to see some successful relates cases or practices

    • The consideration that you made in your comment from the perspective of a language teacher is very realistic and meaningful. I think the the notion of “irreplaceable” is a good criterion when we are considering use a kind of new teaching approach. I agree with you that students can have access to social interaction through other multimedia. However, the relaxing environment of digital games and the instruction that the students get from digital games, I suppose, is unique. Also, using many kinds of teaching approach instead of applying limited approaches can make the teaching/learning process more interesting.

  5. I played mobile games quite often , which is similar to computer games. It is true that computer gamer became younger and take up an increasing proportion, although parents are extremely worried and anxious about it. As I recall, some parents who cannot understand the pleasure of playing computer games and treat it as a evil thing is mainly because they are not familiar with it.
    As time passed by, I think the tension would be eased.

    From my prospective, Only is the language actually applied, the interests of learning a second language could be aroused. Providing students with a platform controlled and supervised by teachers, students can put what they have already learnt into practice and use it by interaction. What we should also pay attention to is that we should create a health environment for them. Beside, as a teacher, we should encourage students to give feedback about what they have learnt and what they still don’t understand.

    • Hi, Lavinia, I totally agree with what you mentioned. Digital games’ teaching function still remain doubtful for many parents since they can not really make sure that their children are truly play games for learning or just for the fun given rise by the form of games. On the other hand, designing a both educational but interesting digital games will increase instructors’ workload. In addition, for childhood learners, over screen-time will do harmful to their eyesight and arouse their psychological resistance toward traditional instruction tools.

    • The way that I look at learning – learning is fun. So how can we tell if we are using games for learning or just having fun? If we are having fun, does it really mean we are not learning?

  6. Hello, Crystal and Yiting. Thank you for your elaboration on the limitation of conducting digital games on language learning. I really enjoy playing computer games. However, I don’t think it can be the main source for student to learn second language. It can be one or two classes for the demonstration like how to utilize the language information a game can offer in order to raise the awareness about learning the language while playing outside the classroom. When the young students play the games at home, they also need the proper guidance and monitor from their parents in case of any unexpected foul messages. And about the modified educational games, it seems to me that it takes tons of time and money and thus is hard to realize.

    • Yes, I agree with what you have said about the limitations of learning through digital games. It seems that this learning method would require much supervision.

    • Hi Eva, I totally agree with your view. It is hard for the educators to effectively use the digital games in pedagogy. What’s more, the combination between the target language and the digital game need to be natural instead of rote, otherwise, students cannot benefit from the game and it would become a waste of time.

  7. Hi Crystal and Yiting. The report mentioned in your post provides me basic but useful information to know the actual situation of digital games among teenagers in the world. Besides this, the affordances and limitations presented in the post also let me think more about this special application in L2 learning/teaching process.
    I played several kinds of games before, but actually none of them could be used to improve my L2 learning. I think the reason of this is that I did not make a right choice of games, and I did not connect digital games with L2 learning before. However, with more knowledge about digital games, now I do believe that the proper usage of computer games can be an effective way to teach a L2. If I conduct games in my L2 course, I think I would play a role of both instructor and participant. First of all, a teacher as an instructor should take the choice and the use of digital games into careful consideration at the very beginning. As you have mentioned above, there might be negative or violent words in some games, which might have negative effects on learners. Therefore, teachers have to help and guide them distinguish and avoid those negative aspects in digital games. Besides, a teacher as a participant sometimes might trigger students’ interests in studying a L2 through this kind of games. In this way, teachers can also build a kind of much more harmonious and closer relationship with students, which might benefit teachers’ later instruction.

  8. Hi, Crystal and Yiting, thank your for posting. As to me, I played a few games when I started to learn English. Basically, they were all concerned about words and expressions, like the matching game and memorizing game, few of which related to grammar, or pronunciation. It went bad first which motivated me to memorize some words, but it became smoother after several trials. I think it depends whether gaming should be applied into L2 teaching, since there are other factors interrelate or co-relate to the learning outcomes. Learning autonomy is one of them. Students may be distracted by the content of the games from the aims of playing them. In order to improve this, certain incentives should be given by the teachers. They should tell the students what they have to accomplish through playing games and make it clear that they are not just dealing recreational things. Group competition or self-report could be introduced, for students have to do the task attentively to win or to get awarded. In this sense, teachers are supposed to be a facilitator. They ought to adjust the level of games to suit that of the students. Also, they have to give appropriate guidance so as to accelerate their learning,

    • Hi, Nicole, thank you for your reply, what you said is quite intriguing for me. As I myself, is not a beloved digital gamers. Personally, I am thinking about how to motivate the students to not only participate in the L2 learning in digital games, but also “keep” being motivated. Certain incentives should be given to the students who are not that interested in digital games. Competence and rewards are effective ways. I hope that is not stressful for them.

  9. I have played a picture crossword game called Wordalot before. It is a crossword puzzle with hints given by the objects of a picture. I was attracted to the game because the pictures seem posh and sometimes the hints are intriguing, i.e. not as simple or directly as one can associate with immediately. Hence on some occasions I had to brainstorm many words before getting the right answer. This can activate my schema and motivate me to look for synonyms and relevant words on the web. The other affordances of the game are that there is no time constraint imposed on me during the game, and that I don’t have to compete with others. Yet, I can choose to “show off” my result on social media platforms if I prefer. Although this game may not be exciting enough to some players, nevertheless the sense of defeat is also less obvious once I lose from the game. In this way, players don’t easily get deterred from the “excitement” factor of gaming.

    • Hi Camie the game Wordalot you played reminds the puzzle game we played in our Language in Its Social Context class, so our experience implies that digital gaming can be used in classroom teaching. But as you mentioned, there is no time limit when playing the game, which may not be very stimulating to students because students won’t feel a certain amount of pressure. And there is no rank, right? So players may feel relaxed in this game, they may also feel this game is not that interesting especially for low-level learners. From what I know quite a few games use tactics to attract and hold players such as continuous sign-up, daily rank and task finishment, which are important to stimulate users regularly.

    • Hello, Camie, I have downloaded Wordalot, as you have mentioned. And I want to share my feeling with you. Honestly speaking, I spent a lot of time to accomplish the task in each level. I am really annoyed when i don’t come up with the answer. But gradually, as I have been quite familiar with this game, I have found some skills to fill the blank, like starting from the shortest words (or maybe longest if it looks obviously), and which word can be put here which can not, it is about vowels and consonant.
      Overall, I agree that it is a good example for some students in vocabulary. Although it may be not so intriguing and exciting for some students, I think I am really motivated and rewarded when I see the task accomplished and little stars coming up and shinning to celebrate it. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi, Crystal and Yiting。

    I play computer games a lot. But I am not sure whether it is a good way to teach a second language because I don’t have too much experience related to that. I think it may be a good way to use simple computer games to check the learning outcomes of kids. But it is time consuming, since teachers need to teach younger learners how to use it.

  11. Hi Crystal and Eating, I was addicted to computer games in junior high and senior high. It was a fascinating experience at first because I could upgrade my levels and chat with others, but that game had nothing to do with language learning because it’s all in Chinese. From my perspective, I agree that digital game could be regarded as a way of language teaching for its featured affordances, but in the context of mainland teaching environment it is still a little unpractical to put it into teaching because of tight schdule whil it can play an important role in after class learning as both a supplement of in-class teaching and entertainment for their freetime.
    If possible, the role of teacher plays in digital teaching would change from conventional spoon-feeder to fascilitator because it’s the shining part of digital gaming when students could explore the virtual world after essential guidelines.

    • Thanks for you reply. I think the education environment in China that you mentioned in the comment is really an important factor that we should take into consideration when we make the decision of using certain type of teaching approach. Setting the digital based learning as after class activities may be suitable for Chinese students, but it will be more difficult to guide them and to control the time that they spent on the games.

  12. What astonishes me is that the study suggests game playing can help relieve students’ anxiety and increase their willingness to communicate in English. Even though I doubt whether students’ enthusiasm can continue for a long time and whether there is much need to communicate with each other once they have been clear about how to play the game very well, I think I will try to put the digital gaming into my classroom teaching to test this practice.
    What I have to emphasize here is “classroom teaching”, because I believe it is hard to have students learn through digital gaming by themselves after class, except a few old learners with strong motivation and self-discipline. Most students are vulnerable to the downsides of digital gaming, indulging in game playing or learning without meticulous plan. Therefore, I’d like to implement this new literacy practice in class as an auxiliary approach. Before playing games, students can be given language input which they can use in the game, and are encouraged to apply them in their communication.

    • Hi, Eric, I totally agree with your concerns that students’ enthusiasm would not last for quite a long time throughout the learning process. For some games which have only repetitions on drills and require only memorization, players would get bored with it once they have mastered all the materials. So maybe it would be better for them to play games with multilayers of levels, and also those updated from time to time to fit into different learning requirement.

    • Thanks for your reply. I totally agree with your comment that digital based learning is more suitable in classroom setting. In that way, the teacher can provide sufficient input and claim the intended outcome to the students, making the game more efficient.

  13. Hi, Eating and Crystal, thank you for posting such an interesting blog!
    1. Unfortunately I hardly ever played digital games except for the Chinese card game “Fight for the Landlord”, therefore I don’t have sufficient experiences related to acquisition of second language through computer games. But I hold the view that some digital games are beneficial for raising students’ willingness to communicate in English. Moreover, Digital gaming provides an escape for learners who experience high levels of pressure in the daytime and offers them a balance between campus and off-campus life. Thus computer games actually can play a facilitating role in teaching a second language.
    2. I believe it depends on the age of students as well as the size of the whole class. For example, if students are below 16 years old, then I wouldn’t recommend the method of digital games in L2 learning since they lack of self-control and are easily addicted into digital games. However, if the students are over 16 years old and well-behaved in the school, then digital games are suggested in the class. Here teacher plays the role of facilitator since he is responsible to give students guidance and draw their attention to the contents they should focus on.

    • Thanks for your reply! I think the age factor and the situational factor (the size of the class) are good elements that we should consider when we are using a digital based teaching approach. These factors as well as some other essential factors related to the proficiency of the teacher or whether the teacher is confident in the digital based teaching approach will extremely affect the efficiency of the teaching approach.

  14. Hi Crystal and Eating, thanks for your sharing! I will definitely take the advantage of games and apply it to my teaching process. I think learning second languages through games is more close to the naturalistic learning process, which achieves the level of proficiency through a lot of imitation, just like what we did in learning our first language. By adopting this approach in the teaching process, the main duty of the teachers will be changed from participant to the instructor and controller. Although a good game is able to provide the students an atmosphere of the language, since all learning activities are done by the students themselves in a naturalistic way it is still necessary for the teacher to supervise during the process as for the content and time. The teachers are also should responsible for answering the challenging problems encountered by the students in their learning process and guide them to better self-study.

    • Hi Danella, I agree with your point.
      However, I think it is also very hard for the teachers to monitor they learning progress. Some games are quite time exhausting, if the teachers want to supervise them in the class, the learning schedule will be very challenging.

  15. I think the example of game Endless Ocean Dr. Hafner showed us earlier in the class is a very good equipment for language learning. Though this is game is specially designed for English study, students may not be that easily to get distracted from the game itself. I think games like this kind of professional design for language study is a good learning tool for EFL learners.
    However, like the author said in the post, there are so many distractions and negative things in nowadays online games. It’s important for teachers and parents to make the right choice for the students.

  16. Hi, Crystal and Yiting, thank you for your sharing. As far as I am concerned, learning a second language through digital games is actually new to a lot people. Parents may think the demerits are more than the merits. However, it is true that if the teacher can use this resource effectively, students can benefit from it.

    I have to admit that I rarely play computer games since my mother always think playing computer games is a waste of time. But I think the language class might be more interesting if there are digital games during the class. As we all know, the traditional teaching method in main land China is teacher-centerd, and students may feel boring during the whole class. With digital games, the class may be vivid and attractive.

    From the teacher’s perspective, I think digital games is a good resource which I can conduct into my teaching. However, students’ age is a very critical aspect which should be considered. If the learners are primary-school students, they may do not notice or realize the purpose of the digital game and may not treat it seriously. Because of that, the digital game may lose the original role in language teaching. However, if the learners are senior high school students, who have always been in high intensity study, digital games can play a role as relieving stress. Furthermore, students can consolidate their existing knowledge or acquire new knowledge. And also, the teaching could be student-centred, which means the teacher plays the role as a facilitator, and students can learn from each other.

  17. Hi Crystal and yiting, thank you for your post.
    Actually, I like playing computer games, and which is a good way to relieve anxiety. It never occur to me that it is also a good way of language learning. I have never played a game which is both interesting and effective for language learning at the same time.

    If teachers try to combine these two elements togeter, the courses that they designed need to be interesting and closely connected to the games. The teachers play the role as facilatators and instructors in the courses. They need to show guidance to students in order to enhance their leaning outcomes.

    • Hi, Vicky. I had thought that it was impossible to keep the entertainment functions of computer games and at the same time draw students attention to language learning. But after the experience of playing a game first and then writing the walkthrough in class tonight, I have got some fresh ideas about this issue. For example, I entered a barbershop in the game and had a short conversation with the barber. As long as the teacher tells the students in advance that they need to pay attention to the conversations, and their task after playing the game is to pair with their classmates, acting as a barber and a customer, I believe the learning process will be better. That is to say, teachers need to make the learning aims clear first and it is also very important to design an activity to assess what they have learned while playing the game.

  18. Hi, Yiting and Crystal. Actually, I only know one game which is related to language learning: Baicizhan. This game was once very popular among students for remembering new words in a more interesting way. However, basically, mastering a new language needs hardwork and perseverance , knowing only the meaning of a word without understanding its accurate usage cannot facilitate language learning. Many students quit playing it after one or two months. Also, it is difficult for the game designers to include both the effective language learning function and excitement simultaneously in the same game, especially for mediate or advanced level students.
    Nowadays, many childhood English learning materials include digital games which could be shown on screen and with the special design of the screen, children can play the game right on the screen in the classroom, which surprised me a lot. The game designed effectively gets every student involved in the learning procedure and profoundly increases their interest towards English learning. So I think games are functioning better in childhood English teaching.

    • Hi, Annie, I have played Baicizhan too, but I more consider it as a learning application rather than a game. Because for me this app is not for entertainment, the game like design in the app still aims at learning but not entertainment. I cannot get the same excitement when I play Baicizhan compared with the time I play a real game. But I have to say, this educational application designed with game elements can motivate students better!

  19. Hi, Crystal & Yiting, many thanks for your interesting topics. First, a direct answer to the question placed in the title: Absolutely yes, it is hard for me to imagine learning a second language through digital games. And for the two specific questions given in the post bottom, let me share my opinions as follow,
    I used to play computer games when I was a primary school students. And later I preferrer to use computer to do more audio or visual activities rather than playing games sinceI was really poor at playing online games. It is not rare to see that people spend a great number of time getting familiar with each steps within the games or even download the games. Therefore, it seems, sometimes, confuse the real purpose of that type of digital games, subverting the main status of functioning as language teaching tool into functioning as computer technology skills practice.
    2. For the second question, i believe it should really depends. For the adult learners, I have to admit its benefit of arousing students motivation and encouraging them to get more engaged in English learning activities, allowing them to achieve learning goals in a both entertaining and meaningful way. However, contrast with adult leaders equipped with better self-control abilities, young learners will easily get lost in the digital games with its implicit language instruction, focusing on its form and ignoring its underlying meaning.

  20. Hi, Yiting and Crystal, thanks for your interesting sharing about digital games and L2 learning. To me, games are more likely a way to relax myself rather than learn something new. I am really surprised when I read that the digital games can enhance students’ willingness to communicate with L2. I am not sure what kind of digital games can achieve this willingness, is that all kinds of digital games can enhance students’ willingness or only the ones designed for education purpose? I have played several games before, like Minecraft we mentioned on class and LOL(League of Legends). For the first one, I admit we can play with English, but I prefer Chinese version since I can have a better and more fluent game experience.

    As for the second one, it is one of the most popular online games all over the world, but I don’t think I have had a useful L2 communication experience in that game. Because when we play games, especially games like LOL, we don’t have time to type the entire sentence, thus, the words only used in games are produced, such as ‘GG’, which means ‘Good Game’ to praise good performance of the opponents, and ‘CD’, means ‘cool down time’ of the skills. But I don’t think these words will be used in our daily life, because it is totally another genre.

    I think sometimes games may influence the class orders because students can be excited when mentioned about games. Once on my class, when I taught the word ‘legendary’ to my students, I found boys are unusually excited, then I realize, this word still means ‘performance wonderful’ in the game.

    Thus, I don’t think I will use games on my class.
    Firstly, the game with educational purpose cannot be accepted as enthusiastic as other games by students.
    Secondly, most of the games students really interest in are not suitable for learning.
    Thirdly, students may focus on games rather than language when playing games.

    • Thanks for sharing your gaming experience as well as your teaching experience. The first statement that you mentioned in the comment is very interesting that you regard educational digital gaming will not be so enthusiastic as other games. I partly agree to this statement, but I think as long as digital gaming is more interesting than traditional learning approach, students will have fun with it in classroom setting.

  21. Thank you for your interesting post. As a game enthusiast, I have nearly six years of game experience and I am quite good at playing online games. However, I do not think it is a good way to teach a second language. First of all, although it provides students with a great number of opportunities to practice their second language, what they have learnt in the classroom may not be fully applied in games and they may make little use of their language skills. As an experienced player, I know that some jargons are widely used in many games, and players can just use these special words to make their conversations comprehensible. Besides, online games are always fast-paced, therefore, there is no need to apply what students have learnt in class to games, but just use some jargons or simple words to make sense. Secondly, it is really a waste of energy and time for teachers to either select the type of games which are beneficial to students, or evaluate whether students have improved their second language through that process. Moreover, it is hard to make a criterion. Thus, I will not conduct digital games in my L2 teaching process.

  22. Hi Eating and Crystal, thank you for your sharing. I think I will take advantage of digital games to make English class more absorbed and meaningful. As for incorporating game-based learning into classroom, the following steps may be helpful:

    First, I will determine the purpose of the games, for example, if the game is to facilitate students to understand the content in the textbook, then I will choose the game that meet class content and English levels of different students. Second, I will have control over students in playing the games, for example, the games should be challenging enough but not too stressing for students, thus makes students engaged to play and learn at the same time. Third, I will communicate with parents to meet their expectations and ask their participation into the games at home to make the maximum use of games in English learning. Fourth, it is unrealistic to spend too much time on playing games in class, so the in-class game should be an entry ticket to draw students’ attention to the lesson or as an exit ticket to provoke deep thoughts from students. Fifth, collect reports from students about their feedback on the games, and make adjustment accordingly in the future.

    • These are all excellent ideas, Grace. I think if you approach game-based language learning in this systematic way you are bound to have some success!

    • Hi, Grace. You have gave us a very good idea about how to include digital gaming into classroom learning. I agree with you that writing feedback is an effective way of improving learning efficicency

  23. Hi Eating and Crystal, thank you for your sharing. To be honest, I do not have too much experience on learning a language in games. But in an English perspective, I will never be against on this approach. Although I know digital games in language learning have several disadvantages, I will still try to use this way as an award for students’ well behavior. I suppose that will be a relatively effective to improve their language learning, as well as to avoid the constrains in learning in digital games.

  24. When I was an elementary school student, I had indulged in computer games for two years. Considering the games I played at that time, I do not think learning a second language via computer games is effective, given that I could only read and hear the words like “ready go” and “game over” in the computer games.

    As an English teacher, I would like to use digital games as a topic of my lesson, while I do not think conducting digital games in teaching process is possible for primary and junior schools students in mainland. The reasons why I will not use digital games as the major teaching aids are as follow: firstly, the number of electronic facilities in school is limited, so it is impossible for students to learn a second language in the computer room; secondly, students have little self control, so the digital games will distract them from learning content; thirdly, teachers have not been well trained in teaching language via digital games, so they may cannot make this kind of class effective.

    By the way, I want to appreciate digital games as a leading-in tool on English lesson. In these years, King of Glory is popular with students. Last year, a student told me that he learned a lot of phrases from King of Glory, such as “double kill”, ”triple kill” “quadra kill”, “panta kill”, “Hexa kill”, “rampage”, “killing spree”, “godlike”, and so on. And when I use some elements from King of Glory on class, all my students showed excited face. Therefore, I think if there is a digital game well organized with the curriculum, all students will be likely to learn knowledge from it all day long.

  25. Hi Eating and Crystal, thank you for your post!

    Although I don’t play online games very often, but almost all my male friends and relatives I can think of now are computer game addicts. And the interesting thing is that they all play almost the same type of game—King of Glory,Dota, and Unknown’s Battlegrounds, which maybe are the most prevalent ones now in the gaming field.

    An interesting thing is that lots of children who haven’t learnt English yet, some even under 10 years old (like my little sister), also play these English games very professionally, which really surprised me. One day I asked my little sister who’s only 6 years old then, after she had won a battle in that game, ‘Do you know what it’s meant by AN ENEMY HAS BEEN SLAIN ?’ And she said ‘Sure, it means one of my team members has just been killed.’ However, she didn’t know any English word yet. And from which I can tell that game can really help players develop a certain kind of English skill and it would be so much better if it is used in an appropriate way.

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