Making a game of an English language learning iBook

With iBook Author, Apple has recently presented a tool that empowers authors to integrate simple interactive content into their textbooks. Not only can it be expected that these new textbooks will be appealing to students equipped with iPads; but also will such an authoring tool become a new pedagogical alternative for teachers.

Our research partner, the English Didactics group at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany educates English teachers as well as investigates how language learning can be made more motivational. Together, we have identified that game design methods can positively affect learning motivation as well as learning itself, and perhaps help bridge the gap between formal and informal learning. To us, it would be interesting to see how this could be done with iBook Author.
Because iBook Author lacks game-like widgets suitable for language learning, in this RMIT Media and Comm Honours team research project (for which we are currently trying to find motivated people), two students – one designer, one programmer – will be expected to plan as well as implement such an expansion for iBook Author, in collaboration with researchers and students from CU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. This will involve (a) to conceptually design and functionally specify a game design-informed learning model for an interactive textbook for bilingual language learning, and (b) to implement and test one or more iBook Author widgets from this model, which will allow teachers to create textbook elements that will contain – potentially networked – game-like elements, supporting specific use cases in language learning, e.g. vocabulary training, and (c) to document and report on the research undertaken via an exegesis. A prototypical textbook that will embed the new widgets will be created by CU and will be evaluated at a real secondary school in Germany, with real students. Please contact Dr Steffen P Walz if you are interested, steffen dot walz at rmit dot edu dot au.
For more information about RMIT Media and Comm Honours, please visit