Language learning in a virtual world

12 Apr

I got to a VWBPE conference session early today and got to hear part of the CAMELOT Symposium, discussing an EU-funded project to educate language teachers and learners.

Presenters Tuncer Wise and Heike Philp

I missed the beginning of the session but I’m looking forward to viewing some of the machinima at the CAMELOT website.  Heike said that some people see virtual worlds as a “killer app” for language learning, and interaction with native speakers is a big part of that.

As a language learner myself — happy to smooth out my Spanish and actively working on relearning and improving in German — I recently had an SL experience that got me thinking.  My partner and I were walking around a pretty area and I was naming things that I knew in German (his native tongue but not mine).  He named things I didn’t know and corrected my frequent gender mistakes. For me, this functioned almost like a memory palace. It reinforced the vocabulary and put a physical, located object for each word into my head. When I think “die Krabbe”, I now see the crate overflowing with crabs in the boathouse in this area. It’s more powerful for recall than practicing with text or picture flashcards or even Duolingo, which I adore.

Side note: I got a seat in the amphitheater for this session and the next.  Woo!


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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in Learning, Research


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