General

Review: Business English Games for ESL

For the week 6 activity, I reviewed: Business English Games for ESL
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http://www.businessenglishpod.com/2010/02/28/get-motivated-with-esl-business-english-games/

A summary of the different points in relation to my own context are as follows:

1. Integration

The game certainly integrates learning with pay in it’s game show format, but seems perhaps a little unbalanced (more about play than learning). The game claims to be a “business English games for ESL.”Not to be overly critical, but I have a hard time seeing idioms as of critical importance in relation ESL learning for business. For me falls perhaps under edutainment.

2. Motivation & Think About Your Audience

The game is intrinsically motivating with continuous challenge, has elements of surprise in the questions as well as, rewards systems, consequences, and rapid feedback. A flash game it does not have tacit feedback. The repetition is made special by the format of a popular rewards-based game show with suspenseful time limits and rewards.

3. Choose Your Game Wisely and Find it in the Content

This game covers a minor topic in relation to business ESL (idioms) which are somewhat anecdotal. There isn’t much scaffolding provided to actually make these useful in different business situations, it focuses more on getting quotes themselves right. The ability to recite Nietzsche correctly at a board meeting is not necessarily going to make a business ESL student accel at his or her career goals so I’m a bit befuddled at the usefulness of the games title in relation to this.

4. Think Small; Don’t Be Overly Ambitious

The game does think small in it’s focus and cover it fairly tightly. The cognitive format of this particular game show suits the learning of idioms rather well. The scale and complexity is manageable and useful and mastery is supported with suitable puzzles and points and there are three different levels provided (expert, advanced and novice). The system relationship between these is clear. .

5. Learning & Mastery

The game itself is simple and quick to engage with and play. Features are simple enough to not need explanation, and goals, progress, and incentives are clear.

6. Soft Skills of 21st Century are Connected with Content

Soft skills involved are looking up and rehearsing idioms for motivation in business. As one would likely use search engines for unknown idioms this does to some degree support 21st centry skills along with critical process of elimination. These are however fairly basic skills so I can’t say they would have a large applied impact outside of the game.

7. Push Beyond the Curriculum Standards

I don’t see this game as pushing the frontiers of knowledge or redefining new learning, rather it reinforces old practices.

8. Flexible and Adaptive

I see this game as lacking much iterative potential. It is not very adaptable but rather right/wrong. There are different paths enabled in a small way by the choice of which categories to approach first.

9. Cost  & Low/ Right Technology

This game is in my opinion more entertainment than education so it is reduced in aesthetics. Although it is free I believe it’s novelty and therefore usefulness would wear thin.

10. 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think that “open” education games (OEG?) would be a wonderful idea and resource for game players and makers alike. This would support a more iterative and innovative model of game development. It would also make better use of digital rip/mix/burn culture in order to support the three R’s mentioned!


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I’d give it  2 or possibly 3 stars at the most in terms of rating.

Final reflection:

Overall, I don’t see this game as a strong example for mobile game learning. It was a great example for evaluating these different properties though! It could have provided a better balance of game vs learning and also provided better scaffolding, better adaptability, and better future applicability and remix-ability.

Average: 2.9/5 Stars

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