September 29

Learning English by Speaking English in an Immersive Online Roleplaying Game

Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, video games play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. This seminar series brings together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.

Join us every TUESDAY From September 22nd until December 1st from 12pm-1pm in Herrin T175.

Can’t make it to the talk, but have a question for Dylan? Submit your question HERE and it will be asked. By submitting your question, you’re allowing mediaX to use and record your submission.

Also listed as one-unit course BIOE196. For more information contact

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Dylan Arena

Dylan Arena, Learning English by Speaking English in an Immersive Online Roleplaying Game. This presentation has two goals: to describe a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game intended to help elementary-aged children in Korea learn to speak English, and to offer a behind-the-scenes look at how an academic-minded educational-technology startup (Stanford-founded Kidaptive, which recently acquired Hodoo English) researches and designs improvements to an extant ed-tech product. Hodoo English is a quest-based MMORPG with built-in speech recognition and over 300 non-player characters with whom the player must have meaningful conversations in English. The game was designed by videogame giant NCSOFT to address "mute English", a pedagogical problem in which a school system produces students who can read and write in English but cannot speak it.

Dylan Arena is a learning scientist with a background in cognitive science, software development, and statistics. He has studied, presented, and written extensively about game-based learning and next-generation assessment. At Kidaptive, he leads design and development of all curricular aspects of a new interactive storytelling platform and assessment framework, with a first product focusing on preschool learning. As a graduate student at Stanford, Dr. Arena was a MacArthur Emerging Scholar in Digital Media and Learning, a Gordon Commission Science and Technology Fellow, a Stanford Graduate Fellow in Science and Engineering, a Gerald J. Lieberman Fellow, a FrameWorks Fellow, and a United States Presidential Scholar. He has earned a bachelor's degree in Symbolic Systems, a master’s in Philosophy and a master’s in Statistics, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design (in the program for Developmental and Psychological Sciences), all from Stanford University.