Activate Space Rats! Fluency Development in a Mobile Game-Assisted Environment
Language Learning & Technology Volume 22, Number 3, ISSN 1094-3501
Activities that promote fluency development or the automatization of speech are often ignored in second language classes because they do not teach new things; instead, they focus on speeding up language use (Nation & Newton, 2008). Anxiety also decreases chances for fluency development, as learners are less willing to produce output (Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2014), consequently hindering language development (Swain, 2000). One way of minimizing the impact of these limitations is to motivate students to speak intelligibly and fluently, preferably beyond the constraints of the language classroom. In this study, we investigated the pedagogical use of Spaceteam ESL, a mobile game that requires intelligible and fluent computer-mediated oral exchanges among players. Participants (N = 20) were low-intermediate English as a second language (ESL) students divided into two groups: the treatment group, which played Spaceteam ESL as a 15-minute warm-up activity for six weeks, and the control group, which engaged in comparable non-gaming activities. Pre-tests, post-tests, and delayed post-tests measured changes in oral fluency (i.e., syllables produced per minute and judges' ratings) and interviews addressed factors related to anxiety and willingness to communicate (WTC). Findings indicated that learners who played Spaceteam ESL outperformed the control group in judges' ratings for oral fluency and that the gameplay might positively influence anxiety and WTC.
Grimshaw, J. & Cardoso, W. (2018). Activate Space Rats! Fluency Development in a Mobile Game-Assisted Environment. Language Learning & Technology, 22(3), 159-175.