Guidelines For Considering Problem Solving Computer Games

  1. Introduce Problem Solving Games Slowly.
    Depending on a game's complexity either the teacher's explanation or the game's expectations can be overwhelming. Remember that second language learners in the computer-augmented classroom have an additional level of language use and translation to deal with. They must translate second language instructions into actions appropriate for the computer and game being used. A possible solution is to break the game into components and introduce each component separately thus building toward "the big picture."

  2. Choose Problem Solving Games of Appropriate Language and Type of Participation.
    Teachers should preview games before introducing them into their curricula. A game that is too simplistic will quickly loose the interest of learners capable of higher levels of language utilization. Also, does the type of participation required by the game match with the teacher's pedagogical intentions? For example, a letter guessing game may not be appropriate it the pedagogical intention is to teach students how to write more effective essays.

  3. Stop Before Learners Get Bored.
    Boredom is evident and should be easily recognized in one of its many manifestations, including working off task and desultory efforts at working through the problems such computer games present. Move to other language learning activities when these signs become evident.

  4. Don't Interrupt Games To Correct Learners.
    Much learning can occur with the analysis of the consequences of incorrect or less than effective choices. It's often hard to do, but a hands off approach by the teacher may help promote a learning environment that promotes self-reliance on the part of learners and a willingness to take chances and experiment with sudden flashes of insight and creativity.