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Serious Games for Global Education

Digital Game-Based Learning in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Classroom

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Claudia Müller

In the last few years, global education has become a key concept within the TEFL domain, suggesting competences, topics, and methods that enable students to become responsible and knowledgeable participants in a globalized world. With the help of a triangulated blended learning study conducted in five different middle school EFL classes, and an additional small group study, the author investigates the potential of digital games that have an educational purpose, so called serious games, for global education when used in EFL scenarios. The results show a clear contribution of serious games to global education when used with EFL learners, leading to a reference model of digital game-based learning in the EFL classroom.

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1. Introduction

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This research project on the potential of serious games for global education in English as Foreign Language (EFL) brings together two areas that have gained attention over the last decade: the use of digital games for learning purposes and the necessity of implementing objectives of global education in formal learning environments. The growing interest in both accords with current foreign language teaching and learning approaches, namely creating student-oriented learning environments that enable students to participate successfully in a complex and globalized world. Thus, EFL teachers are asked to enable EFL learners to become successful learners of the language and engaged participants in a global society: “In our late modern era, scholars are concerned that globalization is bringing about deep changes into our ways of thinking, learning, and knowing that educational institutions are not prepared to deal with. Language and language education are at the forefront of those concerns” (Kramsch, 2014, p. 297). Against the backdrop of these considerations, the questions that researchers involved in the EFL community need to answer are on one hand what competences are needed to successfully participate in a globally connected world, and which content and methods are necessary to prepare students for global challenges on the other.

The concept of global education describes students’ requirements to become knowledgeable and competent global citizens, suggesting central competences, topics, and methods for such an education. Following the Earth Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and all the more so after...

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