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Student research projects on MElang-E

Graph showing gender ratios in different textbooks and in MElang-E

While the MElang-E game is still being finalized, there are already a range of student research projects on MElang-E being conducted! Today, Desiree Daniels, who has written her final thesis on diversity in language learning material, provides us a glimpse into her project and findings!

How well does MElang-E represent diversity compared to conventional schoolbooks?

This question suggested itself because the serious game’s multilingual and multinational background as well as its name’s meaning (mélange=mixture) put diversity in mind. Additionally, the comparison to conventional schoolbooks is of interest in order to reveal further benefits of applying the game in the EFL classroom.
The requirements and standards for teaching material (e.g. KMK standards and anti-discrimination policies) formed the basis of the research in which the representations of different dimensions of diversity in the schoolbooks were compared to those in MElang-E. For example, the quantitative representation of different genders, age groups and ethnic groups were compared to each other. The qualitative analysis showed how differences are dealt with in the stories.
Out of all selected teaching materials, MElang-E has the most equal gender ratio. It has a male player character, but features slightly more female characters in return. In the schoolbooks, males are more dominant; the ratio is 3:2. Whereas ethnic diversity is represented in all teaching materials, MElang-E is the only one that presents lingual diversity. What is more, its diverse linguistic resources allow the language learners to make use of their own multilingual skills as well. This unique aspect promotes language friendliness and awareness.
When looking at the storylines, the answers to questions such as “Who speaks about whom?” and “Who is acting where with whom?” clearly show that minorities are spoken of in the schoolbooks rather than being spoken to or speaking themselves. The difference in MElang-E is that the main characters not only belong to certain minorities, but are also much more open to interacting with other people. So-called “positive discrimination” and the distinction between “us” and “them” is sometimes still problematic inside conventional schoolbooks.
All in all, MElang-E promotes diversity, tolerance and open-mindedness. Clearly, not all dimensions of diversity can be represented among a comparatively small number of characters. However, by dealing with specific aspects of diversity, learners acquire competences that are useful when confronted with any dimension of diversity.

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Final transnational meeting of the MElang-E group

Group photo

The end is nigh! To be precise: the end of the MElang-E project is nigh. Therefore, the MElang-E group met one last time for a transnational meeting in Frankfurt. On the 28th and 29th of November, we discussed final design options for the language learning game and polished the accompanying teacher material. In 2017, the results of our work will be ready to be shared with the public.

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Transnational meeting in Luxembourg

On 13th-14th June 2016, the MElang-E team met in Luxembourg for a transnational meeting. This meeting focused on the development of teaching material that will accompany the language learning game, and on making important design decisions. As a special event, a group of pupils who helped with the development of the game had the opportunity to play through a test version and to provide feedback. Their reactions were as enthusiastic as we had hoped for!

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Multiplier event in Luxembourg: Shaping new border spaces through languages?

The 15th-16th of April 2016 took place at the University of Luxembourg the workshop entitled “Shaping new border spaces through languages? Entgrenzen durch Sprachen? Dé-limiter l’espace par les langues? Innovative approaches to language teaching and learning in highly diverse contexts”.
This workshop was organized by Ass. Prof. Ehrhart, Dr. Bes Izuel, members of our Luxembourgish Melang-E group, and it was designed as a multiplier event for the MElang-E research project and it also formed part of a seminar within the Master Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual Contexts at the University of Luxembourg.
During this workshop we had the opportunity to discuss and explore about different research projects and innovative experiences related to language learning in multicultural and multilingual contexts, language ecology in educational settings and the use of pedagogical tools such as worksheets, the iPad-app iTEO for digital-storytelling or the impact of game and gamification in order to promote language learning.
More than thirty people, researchers, practitioners and master students came together at this venue. Some members from our Melang-E group could also take part in this event and share with the public their experience. Twenty students from the Lycée Michel Lucius came with Sarah Schiltz, their teacher, and they explained to us in which spirit they had created the dialogues for our MElang-E game.

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Multilingual CALL: Dissemination event in Frankfurt

What happens when learners use other languages in computer-mediated communication than originally planned? How do learners react when they are given a digital story in multiple languages? What digital tools can support kids in creating multimedia stories in their native language? These and many more questions were answered at last week's "Multilingual CALL: Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media in Primary and Secondary Classrooms" in Frankfurt. More than forty researchers and practitioners from several continents, plus over thirty students from Frankfurt University, came together to discuss language learning through digital media in the context of multilingualism and multilingual practices. The event was organized as dissemination event for the MElang-E project, and featured two presentations and one poster specifically addressing questions of multilingual CALL as they apply to the MElang-E language learning game.

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New paper discussing CALL published

"Multilingual CALL: More than just translation drills?" asks this paper, published in the open access journal "eLearning papers". It discusses, among other things, the MElang-E project.

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Tere tulemast Tallinna!

This week, the MElang-E group met in Tallinn for its third Transnational Meeting. One of the highlights certainly was the viewing of the game's demo chapter! In addition the meeting provided plenty of opportunity to discuss the teacher material that will go with the game, to finalize game content, and to discuss technical aspects of the game.

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Playing with an accent?

Developing an educational game is one thing - finding players for it another! Therefore, MElang-E project member Judith Buendgens-Kosten is looking at what stakeholders really think about multilingual games. She presented her first results this weekend at the Language. Learning. Technology. Conference in Lüneburg.

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MElang-E in Bonn, Germany

The MElang-E poster has been on the road again! Malte Schudlich presented our interactive MElang-E poster at the Annual Conference of the PAD (Pedagogical Exchange Service) in Bonn from 9-10 Nov 2015. The PAD is the National Agency for Erasmus+ Projects dedicated to School Education. The Annual PAD Conference brings together all institutions currently involved in an Erasmus+ School Education programme.

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Frankfurt students write for MElang-E

Many games are memorable - not because of their cool graphics or gripping action, but because of their dialogues. Monkey island without "Hi, my name's Guybrush Threepwood and I want to be a pirate!"? Simply unimaginable! Naturally, this also applies to language learning games, where a dialogue has to provide an opportunity for learning in addition to being fun and moving the plot forward.

Today, in Daniela Elsner's seminar on "Graphic Novels and Research" at Goethe University Frankfurt, students sat down to write dialogues for the Frankfurt chapter of MElang-E. Some groups had to start from scratch, while others could base their work on the texts already written by pupils at the local Wöhlerschule. MElang-E gained some highly memorable dialogues, and the students gained experience developing educational games.

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MElang-E at the DGFF conference

At this year's DGFF conference, the Frankfurt MElang-E team had the opportunity to present the concept behind our multilingual language learning game. As befits our project, the poster we had prepared was interactive and multilingual: Conference attendees could browse it in Urdu, Catalan, French or German - or 'swipe' the text to get access to an English version.

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Upcoming conference on Multilingual CALL

The Frankfurt MElang-E team organizes a conference on "Multilingual CALL: Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media in Primary and Secondary Classrooms". It will take place in Frankfurt, Germany, February 17-18, 2016. The Call for Contributions, as well as all additional information, is available at link.

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Second transnational project meeting in Barcelona

Our second transnational meeting took place in Barcelona last weekend. The phenomenal weather complemented nicely the lively discussions. Focus of this meeting were the game plot, the development of game text/dialogues, how to implement plurilingualism and code-switching into a game, and how to use gamification to support language learners. We also worked on our research strategy, and the first examples of the graphic design were unveiled.

group picture

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Inspired by MElang-E

Students at a Tallinn University Computer Graphics course visualized key scenes of the MElang-E game plot. Check out their work!


Image by George.

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First transnational project meeting

MElang-E's first transnational project meeting took place 6th-8th February 2015. Frankfurt surprised us with unusually sunny, albeit cold, weather. We discussed the content most relevant for our serious-game inspired language learning platform, and developed characters and a plot for our game. One may say that our meeting ended on a positive note, or even that is was quite euphonious, as music and friendship will be key themes of the game.

group picture

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Hello world!

Salut le Monde! Moien Welt! Tere maailm! ¡Hola mundo! Merhaba Dünya! Hello World! Hola món! Hallo Welt!

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