(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – An English teacher and PhD student has found a way to teach Japanese by using the popular open world game, Minecraft.
According to a report from GameSpot, James York’s class, Kotoba Miners, is taught on a dedicated Minecraft server that features various buildings and structures that help students learn different activities in Japanese.
One of the structures York made, the “Ice Palace,” is designed to make students communicate in the language by navigating through a series of pressure plates, one wrong step and players will automatically be killed by set traps.
Also, players can go into different building of off “University Road” and engage with other students by reading and speaking in Japanese together.
In a recent interview with Tofugu, York stated that he became fascinated with virtual learning after he joined a Japanese guild in World of Warcraft.
“I experimented with a number of virtual worlds and games as part of my research,” said York. “I rejected MMOs for lack of control over content and their often extremely specialized discourse (e.g. ‘Prot Warrior LFG SFK pst’). I also rejected a lot of social worlds (i.e. Second Life) for their painful aesthetics, controls and distance between user and content-creator. Minecraft is simple. Controls, aesthetics, and gameplay. This means that you spend less time learning how to navigate the game and more time learning and focusing on language.”
Kotoba Miners was originally started for Japanese students to learn English, but after the class ended, the English students stayed to learn Japanese.