GUINEVERE (Games Used IN Engaging Virtual Environments for Real-time language Education) is a two-year European Commission (EC) project that investigates the potential of digital game-based learning in 3D immersive environments focusing on foreign language learning (2017-2019). The project responds to the latest "Recommendation from the European Commission on Languages" (2018) in that it explores how game-based learning and virtual learning environments may be used as digital tools to develop collaborative and creative learning environments. As the project approaches the interim period, this paper provides an overview of its activities and planned Intellectual Outputs (IOs). OpenSim is one of three platforms used in the project, alongside Minecraft and Second Life to provide a variety of games for students in the different languages of the project partners (English, German, Italian, Turkish). All of the virtual world islands provide playgrounds for young learners where they can explore a variety of collaborative and individual games. The project provides a critical overview of the key research literature in the field and explores some of its objectives (to identify guidelines for teachers on how to use immersive tools with their students; a needs analysis addressed to teachers and students from the partner countries; field tests on immersive games; and the creation of a new mobile application for playing immersive games for language learning). The final Intellectual Output of the project will be a teacher training course aimed at providing technical and pedagogical support for teachers to develop immersive worlds and games for language learning.
The project is fully in line with the latest Recommendation from the European Commission on languages (22nd May 2018): game-based learning and virtual learning environments are mentioned among the examples of digital tools suggested for improving language learning.
Starting from this background, the presentation will describe the content of the project and the 3D immersive island named GUINEVERE, set up on OpenSim to provide a variety of games for students in the different languages of the project partners. After entering the island with your avatar, you can select the language and the kind of game you want to play.
A GUINEVERE Minecraft server has also been created. Teleports to places that might interest children have been set up. There are playgrounds for young learners where they can identify blocks of different colours, letters or shapes in the target language.
The presentation will also describe the main scientific aspects related to the project, such as the literature review on language learning through immersive environments and tools; guidelines for teachers on how to use immersive tools with their students; needs analysis questionnaires addressed to teachers and students from all over the partner countries; field tests on immersive games; the creation of a new app for playing immersive games for language learning.
The final Intellectual Output of the project will be a pilot teacher training hosted by IUL university on an online platform, which will be completely free and will be aimed at getting teachers familiar with immersive worlds and games for language learning.
Keywords: English, game-based learning, immersive worlds, virtual learning environments;