Expert creates video games that teach language skills
Posted by GRAND NCE, September 5, 2011

In her interview with La Nacion, Paraguay's national newspaper, GRAND network investigator Jennifer Jenson, Associate Professor, York University talked about video games as learning tools and answered questions about "Compareware", her language skills, word matching game.  "Compareware", which is currently being devleoped in Flash, and for the iPhone and iPad, is a program associated with DIGTL, one of 34 projects within the GRAND network.  

Dr. Jenson was in Paraguay as one of a number of Canadian researchers invited to speak at Il Congress 'Understanding Canada': Education and Bilingualism to strengthen Democracy. The conference, held in Asunción, Paraguay, was hosted by the Paraguayan Center of Canadian Studies (CPEC - Centro Paraguayo de Estudios Canadienses).

An English translation of the article is posted below. To read the article in Spanish, click here.


La Nacion - 05/09/2011 (English Translation) 

Expert creates video games that teach language skills

A new perspective: Video games as learning tools

Parents don’t like seeing their children playing video games for hours on end – sometimes all day- and they are looking for alternatives. For a long time, they have been worried about the levels of violence in this form of “entertainment” and the impact it might have on their little ones every time they play.

However, in recent years, video games have also become creative learning tools. Jennifer Jenson, a Canadian expert and Associate Professor, York University*, gave a demonstration of this innovation during her visit to our country a few weeks ago for the 2nd Congress Understanding Canada, held at the American University.

A learning tool

Ms. Jenson, who visited La Nación to present her work, explained that this is a process whereby one can use existing games or create customized video games to learn a foreign language. “You can learn different languages, like English; obviously the game won’t teach you everything, but it creates a fun learning environment for students,” she said, adding that the video games can be used to learn and practice any language.

Ms. Jenson said these games can also be used to learn about health issues and how to deal with them. She added that she came to the country on an invitation from the Canadian Fund, which is interested in applying these programs in Paraguay as supplementary language-learning activities.

Ms. Jenson also said that this program doesn’t even require a computer, since children can draw with pencil and paper.

For more information about these video games, please visit Ms. Jenson’s website

*Editor's note: Jennifer Jenson is an Associate Professor at York University, not the University of Toronto as referenced in the original Spanish article. The correction was made in the English translation.