“HERO I” Project: Language-Based Simulation Game that Promotes Cultural Understanding Among Nations

Presenter: Ahmed Yousof
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA

EgyptEgypt

Theme: New Media and Mobile Learning: Enabling and Educating Learners

Abstract

Knowing that 67% of the world’s households play videogames, according to Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), educational organizations and governments have a chance to make use of videogames as educational tools that can empower students to learn about other cultures, in general, and particularly acquire foreign languages.

Targeting Arab students of ages 11-25 years, “HERO I” is a project aimed at producing a language and cultural-based simulation videogame. “HERO I” is intended to be accessible online through different platforms; namely PCs, iPhones, iPads and XBOX 360 online system.

The game walks the player through different interactive, cultural theme-based and violence-free adventures. It relies on the player’s higher order thinking skills to proceed from one stage to another. Since language is the most challenging barrier in understanding and interacting with a different culture, the player will have to proceed through a series of foreign language activities that enhance the player’s linguistics (i.e. speaking, reading, listening, and reading skills) and communicative competencies (i.e. functional and communicative use of language). “HERO I” will also raise the player’s cultural awareness and sensitivity through cultural interactive adventures that use English language as a medium of communication. “HERO I” is mainly designed for students who intend to pursue their studies in other countries where English is the native language. It also can be used as an inductive training to families with students who are about to settle down at English-language-speaking country.

Finally, the game can work as an orientation tool that is used by governments and study abroad departments at any university to make sure that immigrants and/or exchange students are fully aware of the cultural concepts and boundaries of the in-bound country and that they have a proficient level of English. It is also designed to help with cultural differences between Middle East and the USA.

“Hero I” is intended to be one of a series of games using that title and each game can deal with a different language and culture.