Published: June 1, 2014

CU Linguistics doctoral students Steve Duman and Kevin Gould, principals of Inherent Games, LLC, have won a $150,000 Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant through the National Science Foundation for the development of language-learning games. NSF SBIR programs enable startups and small businesses to undertake R&D with high technical risk and commercial reward, if the project involves significant market opportunity and transformational technology with significant societal or commercial impact. This SBIR Phase I project proposes to develop a language learning game for mobile devices that uses augmented reality technology. Inherent Games' unique pedagogical method, called Embodied Categorical Scaffolding, allows for engaging gameplay that utilizes actual physical motion to best reflect the patterns of neurological activation that occur when one uses language. The application of augmented reality technology provides an enriched learning experience for the user. The initial prototype will be fully scalable to accommodate multiple languages, extensive vocabulary domains within a given language and even more complex language concepts, such as tense and aspect. The game will also include a (massively) multiplayer component, where users, classes, schools, or even school districts can compete against one another. Given rising demand in the US and abroad for foreign-language instruction, as well as the game's unique utilization of embodiment, the developers believe that this app will make a strong impact on the language-learning market.

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