Jakob Johnson (Chair)
Daniel Dixon (Associate Chair)
Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!
New Discord Server and Methods to Interact and Keep in Touch
Remember that we have a Facebook group and a Google Group; the join link can be found on the SIG’s page on CALICO’s website.
Based on comments during CALICO 2022 we decided to also create/move to a Discord server (invite link here: https://discord.gg/nVeZw8JqHq). Our hope in creating this is to help encourage collaboration and interaction as it seems the google group and Facebook group do not see much traffic. However, please let us know what you think of the move to Discord. Thank you to those who have joined!
We will continue to use Google Groups for the Newsletter, as well as posting and archive of Newsletters to Discord.
One of the aspects of using Discord was a hope for the ability to archive past newsletters which has been done (at least a link to a google drive folder) for easy access. We also discussed potentially creating some form of list of games people like to use in their classrooms with potential short explanations of how to use them while teaching.
Here is the Google Forms link: https://forms.gle/KciuZuDxmf8C7XVH8
Examples of Using Games:
Newcomer: A Language Learning RPG
In this issue, we spoke with Jason Kappes, a software engineer who is solo developing Newcomer, a fantasy language learning video game. In the game, players learn a second language to save the kingdom and befriend its people. We asked Jason to tell us a little bit about the game and what inspired him to create it.
In Newcomer, players have the ability to participate in second language conversations. Players can communicate, create relationships, and complete conversation goals with more than 100 characters. These conversations and relationships can lead to the player receiving a quest, an item, or access to a new area. You can watch an example of this character interaction with this link:
During in-game conversations, players build sentences and based on what is said, the NPC (interlocutor) will respond accordingly. NPCs can understand context, respond intelligently, and ask the player questions. The amount the player can say is constrained to their progress in the game.
In addition to L2 conversations, there are translatable short stories, grammar guides, a multi-modal dialogue system, and language battles. I also added simple RPG mechanics such as fishing, mining, crafting, alchemy, questing, and exploration.
The languages offered in the base application will be English, Spanish, Italian, and French. A user will choose their native language and then the second language to learn. Spanish natives can learn English, English natives can learn French, etc. Newcomer was created for absolute beginner – intermediate learners. The goal is that an absolute beginner can complete the game and be able to have basic conversations using elementary vocabulary, from A0 – A1.
My personal journey: Language learning is a hobby, but I wanted (and think there should be) a more interesting context to learn within. I thought language learning would work well in a Pokemon-esque video game where there are clear in-game goals tied to language progression. I’m also interested in creating game-based learning applications, so creating Newcomer is the intersection of my hobby (language learning), passion (programming), and meaning (making it easier to learn languages, and improve the world). I’m not an expert, and I am still growing as a programmer, language learner, and language educator. I’m reading research papers, discussing what I’m making with like-minded individuals, and actively creating and iterating on digital game-based language learning methods. My favorite book has been The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Technology. A special shoutout goes to LLP (Ludic
Language pedagogy) who have helped me along my journey. While I don’t declare Newcomer is a silver bullet to learning languages, it has research-based methods baked within that will help language learners improve.
The full trailer and more project features can be viewed on my Kickstarter:
Feel free to share with friends and colleagues that are interested. If anyone wants to know more about Newcomer, or potentially work on interesting DGBLL projects in the future, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reed, J. (2022). “This class doesn’t have a textbook?”: An overview of a TRPG course for L2 English learners in Japan. Ludic Language Pedagogy, 4, 53–70. https://llpjournal.org/2022/09/06/reed-trpg-walkthrough.html
Sorry I wasn’t aware of any others (please reach out though if you have any, and we can get them put on the Discord)
Virtual October Get Together
So we didn’t have a great turn-out, if people are interested in doing something before the CALICO conference let us know on the Discord! We would be happy to plan another virtual get together some time next semester.
Below is a listing of some upcoming conferences which you may be interested in attending and/or presenting at. If there are any conferences that you feel should be added to this list, let us know! (We are particularly interested in any game-related or CALL-related conferences) Remember that for some conferences, you need to submit proposals far in advance, so keep that in mind as you prepare to share your classroom practice and research about using games for language learning.
Multiple Dates, 2023-2024
Jun 6-10th, 2023 June 14-17, 2023 June 25-28, 2023
June 26-29, 2023
July 23-26th, 2023
Sept 6-8th, 2023
Sept 16-17th, 2023
Oct 2-5, 2023
International Conference on Gamification & Serious Game
Submissions Closed for 2023
International Association for Language Learning Technology
ISTE Edtech Conference
International Society for Technology in Education
American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese
American Association of Teachers of French
Submissions Open Sept 1st – Dec 15th 2022
European Association of Computer Assisted Language Learning
Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference
IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies
Seoul, London, Singapore, Washington
New Orleans, Louisiana
West Lafayette, IN
Kazan, Russia (No longer taking place in Kazan, but new location not on website)
TBA SeriousPlay ? Submissions Rolling, but selection starts in OCT
The GSIG Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter for the Gaming SIG, a special interest group of the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO).