In Spring 2020, ITAL/CGST 220 was created. This course is a lively workshop for students who want to engage in innovative and gameful language pedagogy, as well as hone their Italian skills.
It serves as an academic complement for the informal “Italian Game Nights” at Wesleyan.

Course description

In the past two decades, crowdfunding and renewed interest in games (board games, role-playing games, digital games, and instructional games) have created an increased and diverse gaming production, which has become the subject of several studies, articles, and projects related to all areas of education, including second-language acquisition. In an effort to explore how a game-informed pedagogy can work in Italian language and culture classrooms and to highlight analog gaming approaches that have worked inside and outside the language classroom, this course will explore the basics of Game-Based Learning (GBL) applied to second-language acquisition, as well as present a selection of classroom projects informed by its principles.

“Italian Gaming Lab” is designed as a project-based Italian language laboratory that will focus on why and how analog games can be effective tools for language learning; examples will include board games of all kinds and tabletop role-playing games. Participants will discuss the application of gaming principles to second-language/L2 acquisition and either adapt existing games for language learning or create brand new educational games. The course offers students the opportunity to use language creatively and to develop critical knowledge within the rising and innovative field of Game-Based Learning.

The course will be conducted in English and Italian, and games will be created in Italian.

Course objectives
Students will learn to:

  • develop the vocabulary and critical understanding to describe and analyze games and their components, as well as the influence and application of games to language learning;
  • develop a game idea (either adapting or creating a game) from concept to playable prototype;
  • further and refine their knowledge of Italian language and culture, from game vocabulary choices to class discussion.

Course Bibliography

  • Arnaudo, Marco. Storytelling in the Modern Board Game: Narrative Trends from the Late 1960s to Today.
  • Boller, Sharon. Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know about Designing Effective Learning Games.
  • Bowman, Sarah Lynne. The Function of Role-Playing Games.
  • Byers, Andrew. The Role-Playing Society: Essays on the Cultural Influence of RPGs.
  • Callois, Roger. Man, Play, and Games.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
  • Deterding, Sebastian and Stephen Waltz. The Gameful World.
  • Farber, Matthew. Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning.
  • Fine, Gary Alan. Shared Fantasy.
  • Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us.
  • Gee, James Paul. Good Video Games, Good Learning.
  • Grouling Cover, Jennifer. The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games.
  • Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens.
  • Isbister, Katherine. How Games Move Us.
  • Kapp, Karl. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction.
  • Kapp, Karl. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook.
  • Koster, Raph. A Theory of Fun for Game Design.
  • McGonigal, Jane. Reality is Broken.
  • Reinhardt, Jonathon. Gameful Second and Foreign Language Teaching and Learning.
  • Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmermann. Rules of Play – Game Design Fundamentals.
  • Sheldon, Lee. The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game.
  • Sicart, Miguel. Play Matters.
  • Squire, Kurt. Videogames and Learning
  • Sutton Smith, Brian. The Ambiguity of Play.
  • Sykes, Julie. Language at Play: Digital Games in Second and Foreign Language Teaching and Learning.
  • Zagal, Jose and Sebastian Deterding. Role Playing Game Studies