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Understanding the Modern Language Student: Where Spectator and Actor Meet in the Theater, in Front of the Screen, and in the L2 Classroom


This dissertation is to explore the academic efficacy and relevance of two comparatively new technologies, video games and Virtual Reality (VR), how they relate to an older cultural phenomenon, theater, and how a discussion of both topics can result in a better understanding of how to supply students in the classroom with the chance to improve various aspects of their L2 acquisition. Examples of these improved aspects within the field of SLA are more often associated with things like vocabulary and grammar. In fact, this has been an extremely popular direction to go in since games were first brought to language classrooms (vocabulary in particular). Aside from lexical and grammatical gains due to gamification, though, there are other aspects to be improved like students’ sense of identification, their ability to interact with narratives, their various forms of engagement, and their sense of immersion within the classroom space. This dissertation will help to move the discussion of gaming in this other direction. This project aims to provide and detail an alternative to those looking for a technologically and/or theatrically relevant or game-based teaching method to support students’ language learning; Digital Game Based Language Learning (DGBLL), a subfield of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), prizes and plays with various concepts that have come naturally to theater for centuries (e.g., contextualization and verisimilitude), while simultaneously extending a hand toward those who are technologically inclined or interested in incorporating gameful or theatrical tactics in their classroom.

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