Posted to the Ethnos Project by on September 5th, 2015

This project involves the research, development and evaluation of a mobile assisted language learning tool that teaches some aspects of the Maori language within a virtual game world. The Maori language has been going through a process of rejuvenation since the mid-1900s. A wide range of multimedia resources have been created to support the process of language rejuvenation and there have been some effective digital resources created. Despite the ubiquity of modern games, computer games are a form of media that is under-represented in the wealth of Maori language resources and there are only a small handful of existing software tools for Maori language learning, of which few are game based.

There is growing interest in the application of modern game mechanics to other areas; popularly termed as gamification. This project aims to use the more dynamic features of modern games within a simulated game world to structure Maori language learning experiences. While globally there have been many computer assisted language learning tools and there is some research on virtual worlds and language learning, there have been few language learning tools developed within purpose built simulated game worlds.

The project is structured around the Design Science Research Process in which short iterative design cycles are applied to the development phase with prototypes being developed and tested with teachers, students and academics as design partners. The implementation of techniques in human centred design ensures that design partners are involved in the whole design and research process. In practice this involved testing early prototypes with educators then subsequently whole classes of students. In between testing the software was redeveloped based on the observations and feedback collected.

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