Native Language and Culture through 3d Gaming

On a similar vein to an earlier post (Path of the Elders) concerning game-based learning for native and first-nations culture, the Escapist this week has a piece on a game used for teaching Cherokee to native youth:

At first glance, Don Thornton’s virtual world looks like many others. It’s when you listen that you notice the big difference: All of the characters speak Cherokee, and if you want to succeed in this world, you have to learn to speak the language, too.

To create this unique program, Thornton combined his background in native language education with a technology developed to teach Arabic to American soldiers in Iraq. Called RezWorld, the game blends a Second Life-style presentation with advanced artificial intelligence, speech recognition and self-adapting instruction. By immersing Native Americans in their traditional languages and customs, Thornton hopes to teach them how to preserve parts of their culture in danger of dying out.

Video from RezWorld site:

I would love to get my hands on the innards of this, ramp it up for Greek & Latin…

Note also the comments in the video regarding the agency of the non-player characters, and then read Colleen’s post here.