Gaming Grammar; the Game

What do you think when you hear the word “grammar”? Learning grammar is important because it can help us understand how we put words together to make phrases and sentences. But many people find learning grammar a bit dull or difficult, particularly if they are learning grammar in a new language like French, Spanish or German.

Here at the Digital Creativity Labs, we are trying to make learning grammar a bit more fun! We have created a digital game that teaches you grammar. The first version of the game is for French.

How does the game work? Well, in the game the player is a spy and they must complete missions (mini-games) to win back the world from an enemy spy organisation. In each mini-game, the player learns a new bit of grammar.

The game teaches grammar through a special kind of listening and reading practice called form-meaning mapping. When you learn a new language, it can be difficult to pay attention to everything that you read and hear. This means that often we ignore bits of the grammar because they can be harder to spot. Have a look at this sentence: “Yesterday I walked to the shop”. The word “yesterday” tells us that this event happened in the past. So, it is easy to ignore the -ed on the end of the verb “walked”. Form-meaning mapping activities help learners to spot and learn these bits of grammar.

Now that we have made the game, we want to find out if it works. Children from seven primary schools in York have been using the game in their French lessons and they have been telling us what they think about the game. This evaluation will help us to find out how much the children have learnt through the game and how much they have enjoyed playing it.

We have had a lot of fun designing and building the game. We are excited to find out what the children think about it!

Do you learn French at school? Would you like to be involved in trialling the game? If so, please email rowena@digitalcreativity.ac.uk for more information.