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Affordances for second language learning in World of Warcraft

  • Paul S. Rama (a1), Rebecca W. Black (a2), Elizabeth van Es (a3) and Mark Warschauer (a4)

What are the affordances of online gaming environments for second language learning and socialization? To answer this question, this qualitative study examines two college-age Spanish learners’ experiences participating in the Spanish language version of the massively multi-player online game World of Warcraft. Using data culled from participant observation, interviews, logs of in-game chat, and student journal entries, we describe how the design of the game, cultural norms for its use, and participants’ own abilities interact to afford distinct opportunities for language learning for these two students. Discussion focuses on how online games might be used for language teaching and learning in ways that take full advantage of the medium's affordances for both experienced and inexperienced players.

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