Category Archives: Updates


New Game in ARIS?

Operator-Desperate3 Info-UnderTable Demo

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake has hit the entire state. Several structures within the University are severely damaged and without power. Please remain calm and do the following:

  • If you are in a building, evacuate using only stairs and fire escapes, not the elevator. Once you are safely outisde, ensure all persons are accounted for. Do not attempt to go back inside the building until it is deemed safe by emergency authorities.
  • Stay away from windows and unsecured objects.
  • Take keys, wallets, purses, and emergency supplies with you as you exit, since you will not be able to reenter the building.
  • Move to an open area away from –

The news cuts out. Looks like that’s all the information you’re getting for now. You do not know what to do, but you want to help any way you can. Suddenly, your phone starts to ring. Immediately, you are worried that someone you know may have been affected by the earthquake.


Do you answer it?


Stay tuned for more information on the new iteration of Ecopod we have been working on over at CASLS. For those going to the ARIS Summit this year, you will get a sneak peek of the game before it’s fall release. In addition, you will get some inside info on how we have been using ARIS to make engaging, immersive games for the language classroom. Can’t wait to see you there!


G2T back for the Fall

After a semester of finishing our book: Language at Play: Digital Games in Second and Foreign Language Teaching and Learning, which should be published by the end of the year, we are back to G2T. We have several projects in the works this year, including new working and white papers, materials for teaching Chinese, German, Spanish, and Russian with games, and reviews of over 20 different games that are available in multiple languages. Stay tuned.


AAAL 2011, Passionate Affinity Spaces & G2T

Jon and I just returned from AAAL 2011 in Chicago and were excited to hear James Paul Gee present his keynote address on what he calls “passionate affinity spaces.”  Basically, he refers to the online (and offline) contexts in which people come together to engage in complex tasks and discourse(s) related to various types of pop culture media such as video games and fan fiction.  He cited a number of relevant examples such as simulations utilizing the SIMS and teen fan fiction.

Most relevant to the work we are doing in the Games to Teach project was the focus on players’ intense involvement with communities engaged in similar activities.  This is an especially rich source of interaction for language learners to address pragmatic and strategic abilities with a variety of languages.  As part of the G2T project we are presenting on, and writing about, ways in which instructors can utilize digital games and their associated communities to build literacy skills and assist in L2 learning.  This includes analysis of existing communities and eventual participation in these “passionate affinity spaces,” as well as the use of in-game interaction.  We were excited to see Jim’s talk on the AAAL program and look forward to talking more about these issues as related to L2TL on this blog and throughout the G2T project!  We will be talking more about this at our upcoming CERCLL workshop (May 31 – June 1). Thanks to all of you with whom we had the chance to talk with at AAAL.  We look forward to many more conversation in the future!

Happy playing!

-J. Sykes