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DESCRIPTION: Practice Spanish: Study Abroad is an immersive 3-D language game designed exclusively by McGraw Hill Education to accompany any Introductory Spanish title or as an independent practice tool for students interested in putting their developing language skills to the test. Students “travel” virtually to Colombia, where they will problem solve, communicate, and navigate through a variety of cultural scenarios and adventures as they “study abroad” in a fictional Colombian town. Students will earn points and rewards for successfully accomplishing these tasks via their smartphones, tablets, and computers and instructors will have the ability to assign specific tasks, monitor student achievement, and incorporate the game into the classroom experience.

Practice Spanish: Study Abroad provides students with extensive and meaningful language practice outside the classroom experience, actively engaging and motivating students to explore the Spanish language in real-world cultural settings while having fun using their developing language skills to complete practical, day-to-day activities. Students may be asked to find their classes on campus, plan weekend excursions, buy souvenirs, interact with the fictional host family, and possibly seek medical attention to assist a fellow classmate.

Elements of the Game
Setting: players will “live” in a fictional town. The small town setting will include a plaza, where players can interact with a wide variety of characters and fellow students, small businesses, the local language institute, and their home. Students may also travel outside the local city to visit other locations within the surrounding areas.

Student Avatar: students will design and personalize their avatar (virtual character), selecting physical features to their liking, including hairstyle, eye color, and clothing.

Non-Player Characters: Twelve characters will appear periodically throughout the game. Players will interact with them in conversations to complete each Quest. Examples include Paloma, an adventurous study abroad student interested in exploring the city, and David, a shy American study abroad student who’s reluctant to use his developing language skills. Additional characters will include host family members and a local study abroad program advisor.

Multi-player interaction: In future iterations of the game, students will have the opportunity to interact with their fellow classmates from within the game encouraging students to speak in the target language with their real-world classmates from within the virtual setting. Students will collaborate with each other to complete some Quests.

Quests: the entire experience will include 12 “Quests” to be completed over the course of a typical first-year language program. Each real-world task or virtual experience is preceded by a series of short pre-Quest activities called “mini-games”, focused on the necessary vocabulary and grammar to play the game, earn points, and rewards. These mini-games must be mastered in order to “unlock” the full Quest experience, ensuring that all students demonstrate a degree of core competencies before attempting the full Quest.

Points/Rewards: student performance will be measured by their ability to successfully complete theQuests while also maximizing their avatar’s achievement across four key variables:

  • Money: they will have a budget; complete the task as cost-efficiently as possible
  • Time Spent: the sooner they complete the Quests, the better
  • Well-being: you’ve got to eat and stay healthy!
  • Language: students must demonstrate mastery of key concepts

Choice: each student experience will be unique, as students will be asked to make individualized choices that will lead them to differingpaths and experiences as they accomplish their tasks. As in real life, students will arrive at the final destination (Quest completion) through a variety of choices. Students can play the game more than once to uncover new challenges, opportunities, and experiences.

Resources
Instructor: MHE will provide instructors with additional supporting materials in order to integrate game play into the classroom experience. Materials may include extension activities, handouts, and suggested quiz and exam questions. Instructors can assign specific Quests to their students, create sections, and generate reports on student performance and time spent.

Student: the initial Quest will include student “how to play” tutorials. Students will have access to their progress, score, and standing in relation to their classmates.

Additional
Availability: Quest #1 is available for demo via via www.mhpractice.com; the full game will be available by November 3, 2014.