The Language Magician
The Language Magician is a computer game for assessing language learning in the primary school. It has been developed as part of a European partnership, funded by Erasmus+, led by the Goethe Institute and involving partners from four European countries. The game is available at two levels of difficulty: Level 1, suitable for use after 50 to 70 hours of instruction; Level 2, after 70 to 100 hours of instruction. It is available in English, German, Italian, Spanish and French.
The game is based around a narrative involving an evil magician, who imprisons animals in his tower and turns them into doorknockers. Players, who take on the role of a young magician, have to try to free the animals through their ‘magic’, namely by carrying out language tasks. These tasks follow a model of progression moving from the more simple (e.g. phoneme, word-level, vocabulary knowledge and knowledge of sound-spelling links), to sentence and text-level comprehension and production. As learners play the game they move through five different floors of the magician’s abode – listening and reading activities are found at the Farm and the Entrance, with more complex reading and writing tasks on the Kitchen, Library, Laboratory and Observatory floors. The level of difficulty increases as learners progress through the tower. The game has a time limit of 35 minutes, so that it can be used within a language lesson. It does not assess speaking, but the project website houses resources that teachers can use to assess oral skills outside of the game.
The Language Magician can be downloaded for free where you can also read about the research on which the game is based, how well it functions as an assessment tool, and how it has been received across the partner countries.
Read the research background which prompted the development of the game – a lovely example of the symbiotic relationship that exists between research and practice.