Mobile Learning and Digital Games in School

Learn Vocabulary with two games

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Mansion entrance

Learning vocabulary through digital games at school is not easy, unless there are games made for it. Digital games should be fun, so it is not enough to just learn vocabulary when you play them; you have to get involved in some interesting task. I found the right mixture in Gardenscapes. The games have hidden objects and are a kind of adventure made for all ages, but for the purpose it is better to use them for school children and older.  In Gardenscapes 1 the player has inherited a mansion with a huge garden, which has to be rebuilt with money he can earn by making home sales. During the home sales, the player has to pick hidden objects from different rooms according to what his customers ask for, they name an object, the player hears the word once and

can read the word until he finds the object. (Link to Gardenscapes 1)The game can be played in relax mode or speed mode, the objects are repeated from time to time, there is also help if the player can't find the items. The kind of objects depend on the room the sales take place in. In the kitchen there are cups, plates, vegetables, pots and pans, but in the garage there will be tools, extinguishers, wooden planks etc. With the money earned, the player has to buy different things for the garden; butler Austin helps the player decide what to buy first. At the end of the game the beautiful garden can become a screen saver. Gardenscapes Mansion Makeover is much the same as the first game, this time the player has to redecorate the mansion hall. The rooms where the home sales take place are partly different to the rooms in Game 1, so are the objects for sale. Gardenscapes can go on for hours; there are many items to combine, so every garden or mansion a player builds will be different. The advantage of both games is that they are rather old and you can have them for a fair price, you can buy two of each games and use them at school to review vocabulary for beginners. There are downloads on the Playrix page too. The games are so successful that a new version has come out Gardenscapes 2  so you can continue reviewing vocabulary with your classes.

How to play in class:

  1. If you have 20 students, they can play in teams of five.
  2. Two teams play Gardenscapes 1 and two play Gardenscapes mansion make over.
  3. The winner is the first team to finish building the garden or the mansion first. During the game, the students rotate, so each one has the chance to use the mouse or to help find objects. All children should decide together what to buy.
  4. You need a dictionary for each team. Students could use their mobile devices, or a paper version.
  5. The teacher goes round and helps students.

It will take at least six hours to complete the game. It could be done in form of a project taking place once a week for example. After the game, students could write an article telling how they managed to build up the mansion or the garden. If you have little time, you can just make a team competition in speed mode and find out which team can make more money within a certain period of time, but you should let students spend the money earned on a few items and let them explain why they decided to buy those things and not others. At the end of the game students should know the vocabulary fairly well. By now the game should have been translated in many languages, so it is not just for learning English, there is one German version for example. The games can also be used to teach young children new vocabulary and spelling in their own language.