ALL is part of the multi-partner project “THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN”, which is developing a new computer game for the assessment of language skills at primary school level.
The project is conducted by ten international partners from the field of education, and addresses the need for an innovative tool to assess the progression in language learning of students in primary schools. The game is a fun and non-threatening testing method, which allows teachers to track the progression of individual students without putting the students in a test situation. This new approach to language assessment evaluates the students’ performance through progress reports instead of marks.
The game will be available in seven language combinations and follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as a benchmark. The three-year project started in November 2015 and is currently in its piloting phase with various trials at primary schools in the project countries - the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. After the project will be finished, the game will be freely available online. Taking into account the linguistic and cultural particularities of the project languages, the game has not only been translated into the different versions but also localisation was a crucial element in the development process.
The storyline of the project has been created with the input of the project partners and in collaboration with the Austrian-based award winning software company OVOS: the students assume the role of a young magician, who has to free several animals that have been locked up in a tower by an evil magician. By solving different language tasks from floor to floor the young magician can free the animals and fight the evil magician.
The game builds on the students’ IT skills and this approach could become an integral tool for language learning in the near future, as Karl Pfeiffer, Director of Educational Links at the Goethe-Institut London (lead partner in the project) explains: “Young learners are often fully IT literate before they learn other languages. They use computers to play and interact socially. Therefore, the combination of a computer game and language learning seems to be a natural choice.”
Jesús Hernández González, Education Advisor for Spanish, Education Office of the Spanish Embassy, emphasises the cooperative approach of the project: “It’s a question of collaboration. If we work together for a specific purpose, we will get better results. Although we come from different backgrounds, sharing ideas and suggestions will lead to a better product. Most countries have a common core of assessment criteria, which in most cases are based on the CEFR, and developing this game will allow all participants to implement a unique language assessment tool.”
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission. An important element of the strategic partnership is research about language learning which will be conducted by the partner universities. It offers insights for teachers and education organisations as well as support for learning and teaching in the project countries.
Updates on the project’s development can be found on our web platform: www.thelanguagemagician.net.
- Goethe-Institut London
- Association for Language Learning
- University of Westminster
- Leipzig University
- University of Reading
- Università per Stranieri di Perugia
- Università per Stranieri di Siena
- Education Ministry in La Rioja, Spain
- Teacher Training Centre of the Education Ministry in Tenerife, Spain
- Embassy of Spain in London
- German, French, Italian, Spanish to be tested in the UK
- English as a second language to be tested in Germany, Spain, Italy
You can view the trailer for the new Language Magician game below: