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NTNU Hosts Pioneering Workshop on Technology and Game-Based English Learning
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Taipei, Taiwan – On January 3, 2024, the Department of Technology Application and Human Resource Development (TAHRD) at National Taiwan Normal University, in a groundbreaking initiative, hosted the “Integrating Technology into Game-based English Learning International Scholars Workshop.” This event, held at the university's College of Technology and Engineering Building, Room TC411, marked a significant milestone in facilitating dialogue between technology and language education sectors, aiming to generate innovative collaborations by highlighting recent advancements and encouraging the fusion of these fields.

Event Inception and Aims

The workshop, showcasing student innovation in technology and leveraging the expertise of language educators, aimed to inspire more integration of technology in language teaching by informing each side of the latest developments, in hope to spark collaboration ideas, particularly in technology assisted language learning. Dr. Yu-liang Ting, department chair of TAHRD, opened the session, highlighting the workshop's purpose and welcoming esteemed guests, including Dean Dr. Cheng Ching-min of the College of Technology and Engineering, whose brief talk emphasized the growing trend of integrating English in academic spheres.

The workshop featured a morning and an afternoon session. The morning session focused on the application of Unity software in experiential English learning, and an introduction to System Thinking games. Dr. Rachel Manley from San Antonio, Texas enriched the afternoon session with her insights on game-based English learning, emphasizing a student-centered, collaborative approach.

Key Activities and Insights

Chua Jing Lun, second year master student from NTNU Department of Design, introduced the morning session and its presenters. Hsu Yi-yao, first year master student, and Administrative Assistant Lin Yu-ting introduced educational VR tours developed with Unity, exemplified by the “Park” project, where participants practiced English through voice recordings, and the recently completed “Nanmen Junior High VR English Campus Tour,” where teachers and staff wrote and recorded their tour script as part of their English training.

The workshop also featured a Systems Thinking Hierarchical Model presented by Chuang Meng-jung, a TAHRD senior, culminating in a group murder mystery game. When Chang Hsuan-ning, Ph.D. student, invited Dr. Manley to share her thoughts on the role of technology in language education, Dr. Manley remarked, “Finding engaging content is key in language learning,” highlighting the importance of diverse learning methods.

The afternoon session was where Dr. Rachel Manley set the stage for game-based collaborative English learning with a talk on her latest work and research. Participants then used English to try out the board game Forbidden Island, strategizing and securing treasures before the island sank. The room was alive with excitement, strategic discussions, and language specific to collaborative gameplay. Every group successfully completed the mission, showcasing the effectiveness of interactive games in enhancing language learning and teamwork.

Participant Engagement and Diversity

The workshop attracted a diverse range of attendees, including Liu Yeu-ting, Director of the Center for Academic Literacy at NTNU, doctoral students, and professionals from various industries. The interactive sessions prompted lively discussions, revealing the potential of technological tools in language education.

The event concluded with a strong emphasis on the transformative potential of interdisciplinary collaborations in language teaching. This underscored TAHRD's commitment to pioneering research and educational innovation, setting the stage for future initiatives that aim to enrich learning experiences for teachers and students, making education more accessible, engaging, and impactful.

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