5. GameLet Learning Process: GameLet Missions

Since the GameLet design is based on the didactic-methodological design of MELT, the MELT teaching and learning process were presented first. Now, the learning missions in GameLet are described.

At the centre of the gamified learning scenario is the story of an audio production in which students participate. In order to do this, students need to improve their reading skills in L1 and L2. Working on the audio production alone entails play and challenges for the students, which are not only related to the acquisition of an adequate level of reading fluency, but also in cooperation within their team (Kutzelmann et al., 2017). Dedicated software empowers students to train their reading fluency and create the audio production distributed via podcast. While playing, the students go through all the necessary learning steps to finish the audio production successfully. The story fosters identification with the learning activities.

The sequence of tasks in the course of the unfolding story is based on the MELT learning process that pro­motes reading fluency (Kutzelmann et al., 2016). In GameLet, the learning stages of MELT are represented in levels. Each level is a mission, and each mission is part of the story (see Table 1).

The learning activities that the students have to complete in the process have the following objectives, the achievement of which are of great importance for the development and promotion of good reading fluency:

  • Know and understand the text and their own role in the scene.
  • Understand and learn the language used in it.
  • Practise reading aloud one' s own role and the scene alone and together.
  • Give and receive feedback on the group members' reading aloud.

In order to better locate these learning activities in the training programme, they have been marked in the mission table. It will be obvious that the learning activities always span several missions.  

Introduction (Mission 0): Students are introduced to the concept of reading fluency, its relevance for text comprehension, characteristics of good read alouds, the use of the tablets, and the Recording Studio software.

Getting to know the language (Missions 1&2): Linguistic understanding of a text and adequate pronunciation are prerequisites for reading with proper intonation and emphasis. Thus, while first reading their script, the students need to identify unknown words and add them to a digital Word Cloud. Then, the teacher focuses on translation, pronunciation and meaning of the Word Cloud items.

Getting to know scenes, characters and roles (Missions 1-3): An adequate literary understanding of the scenes and of the whole story is fundamental for improving the overall prosodic composition of the reading. The Picture Quiz game allows students to become acquainted with the story by depicting a central scene of the story hidden behind square fields. The fewer the fields needing to be uncovered in order to identify the story, the more points the students can win. Games such as Putting the Story in the Right Order support student under­standing of the story’s literary key elements such as: plot, characters, conflicts and settings. This type of game also uses an image central to the story. By dragging and dropping text parts hidden behind the illustrations (these appear by moving the cursor over them) and placing them into an input window, students create a summary of the story. Later, students produce a summary of their own scene and read sum­maries from peers in order to get to know the whole story. By filling in a digital Character Card which describes the characteristics of their role, and designing a Drawing of a scene, text understanding is also fos­tered. Another purpose of these tasks is to arouse student curiosity and motivation for the audio production.

Practising RF (Missions 2-4): First, students focus on the correct decoding and pronunciation of the words. With increasing automatisation and repetition at the word and sentence level, they can then concentrate on how the scenes are divided into meaningful and cohesive sections, and on their accentuation, intonation and pauses (Kutzelmann et al., 2016). Using the Recording Studio, students practice their reading fluency intensively. The game Emoji Tales helps students recognise and understand which emotions a text conveys and practice expressive reading.

Recording (Mission 5): Every group first records their own audio production in a general rehearsal and then follows with reflection on its quality with the help of peer and teacher feedback. Consequently, students are able to improve their performances and record the final version of their audio production.