Place-based Learning Game for Cultural Awareness

Session Description
Language learning in today’s classrooms has seen very little change in the format in how instruction is delivered. Students come into class, listen to lectures, maybe get to practice what they have learned with other students, then finally go home and do their homework. One area of language classrooms that is not covered in great detail is the culture of the language and the people who use it. As time moves forward, smart phones and tablets are becoming more and more accessible to students. I wanted to take advantage of the tools students have easy access to and are familiar with, and incorporate that into their studies to cover an area that doesn’t receive enough attention.

Using the mobile application ARIS (, I was able to create a place-based learning (PBL) game that would introduce lower advanced level learners of Mandarin Chinese to Chinese culture in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Through ARIS, players were able to watch video clips, complete quests, visit and explore areas they may be unfamiliar with, and were able to interact and speak with local native Mandarin speakers. Results show that the game was able to raise participant’s overall motivation and appreciation for Chinese culture. PBL had allowed players to be immersed within a culture and providing them with opportunities to interact with that community, but further revisions need to be made to provide more opportunities for speaking with people in the community.

  • Jared Tomei
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