Augmented reality game promotes multilingualism in schools
Posted on: 08 April 2021
Trinity and other academic partners in Europe have launched an augmented reality game ‘Babelar’ to show primary school pupils the value of the languages they possess and support teachers in becoming more aware of multilingualism and the value of a multilingual education.
Irish primary schools are linguistically diverse, both in terms of the range and number of languages spoken by pupils as well as the mix of their individual language repertoires. Schools in Ireland and across Europe are increasingly faced with a situation where pupils speak more than one language. However, rather than seeing multilingualism as a resource, language diversity tends to be viewed as a challenge to the education system rather than a benefit.
Lorna Carson, Professor in Applied Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin says:
‘”We know that schools which allow ‘airtime’ for pupils’ first languages are places where pupils feel more included and accepted, fostering higher levels of achievement as well as enhanced wellbeing. We also know that this approach draws in children’s families, leads to more positive teacher-pupil relationships, and deepens our understanding of children’s needs. But, even though the background of our pupils has become increasingly more multilingual, the languages spoken by children at home, like Turkish, Arabic, Portuguese or Polish, are still rarely included in mainstream education and they are generally not recognised as an asset for learning. This game aims to address this gap and to provide an engaging way to promote multilingualism.”
The game is aimed at pupils between 7 and 12 years old. Children have to work together on tablets in the collaborative-multiplayer augmented reality game to reach a common goal, drawing on all their language resources to help a little creature called Babel, who has lost all its language knowledge. Babel takes pupils on a linguistic journey through three augmented reality worlds. In one of these worlds, a swarm of animals will walk on their floor.
Standard, minority, migrant and curriculum languages are incorporated in the game, which can be played with fourteen languages. These are Arabic, Basque, Dutch, English, French, Frisian, German, Irish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
The game Babelar is the latest tool made by the VirtuLApp team. It is available for free and can be played on iOS and Android devices. Schools and teachers can also take part in the #BabelARchallenge which takes place until 5 May and is open to all schools. The first 25 entrants will receive a gift and the #BabelARchallenge winner is granted a gift certificate of €150.
The game can be downloaded for both Android and iOS
For more information visit www.virtulapp.eu