The Impact of Digital Games on English Vocabulary Learning in Middle School in Sweden (ages 9-12)

University essay from Malmö universitet/Institutionen för kultur, språk och medier (KSM)

Abstract: In recent years, the age of additional language learning has been lowered in school education. What separates current students from the previous generation, however, is the fact that they use modern technology, such as digital games, and this can be used as a teaching strategy. Several studies show that modern technology can benefit students in their language learning, especially when it comes to vocabulary whose acquisition helps students to develop and master the four language basic skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing). The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the literature concerning the use of digital games and their characteristics in middle school in Sweden(ages 9-12), looking at the positive and negative effects game-use has on English vocabulary learning. Results from different studies indicate that the advantages of using digital games with the aim of vocabulary acquisition outweigh the disadvantages that this computer technology can cause. Using digital games together with pedagogical materials can, for example, reduce speaking stress, increase students’ interest, motivate them to language learning, and develop language learning strategies. It is nonetheless important to take the risks of modern technology into consideration, such as behaviour change or addiction, especially with young users. Overall, integrating entertainment games into educational contexts can result in effective student learning gains.

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