Mingoville Virtual World
In this guide we will give a short introduction to M ingoville Virtual World, followed by a description of some of the games, as well as a few tips on how to integrate Mingoville Virtual World in class. The virtual world is a dynamic place where new maps (areas), games and activities are introduced on a regular basis. As a result, this description may not be 100% up-‐to-‐ date when you read it. On our blog, blog.savivo.com, you can follow the latest development of Mingoville Virtual World. Entrance p age If we return to the front portal – the entrance page – we will now explore what is going on in the “Play” part. We would like to stress that all activities in the Virtual World support and improve the English learning of the children. The children learn through games and activities, all related to the English vocabulary, in Mingoville School.
What is Mingoville Virtual World? A virtual world is defined as an online community in a computer-‐based environment where users can interact with one another, mostly through their own avatar. In Mingoville Virtual World, the users’ avatars are flamingos. Each child is represented by his or her own flamingo in Mingoville Virtual World. With the flamingo, they move around in the virtual world and play games. The virtual world is a dynamic place consisting of several maps and many different games and activities that teach children English. It is dynamic, as it changes constantly. The dynamic environment is a motivating factor for the children. They never know what they will discover when logging into Mingoville. Mingoville Virtual World In Mingoville Virtual World, the children can meet some of the 2 million registered users from around the world. All activities in Mingoville Virtual World are based on learning English. Everything is in English and the children are introduced to the basic vocabulary of ESL learning.
The social element The main difference between Mingoville School and Mingoville Virtual World is the social element-‐-‐the interaction with others. In the Virtual World, the children meet other English learners from all over the world whom they can play and chat with in English.
In Mingoville School they learn English and in Mingoville Virtual World they use their acquired English vocabulary actively. In this chapter about Mingoville Virtual World, you can read about • The incentive / the basics about Mingoville Virtual World • The flamingos -‐ the children’s avatars • The maps / areas • The different educational games
The Incentive to Learn The link for the children between Mingoville School and the Virtual World is the reward. Every time the children have finished an activity in Mingoville School, they gain feathers and coins that they can spend in the Virtual World. The feathers, given to symbolize how much English the children h ave learned, represent how many English exercises the children have completed. The more feathers the students have, the higher their English level. Coins are earned in all exercises both in Mingoville School and in the Virtual World. The coins are used to buy items for the children’s flamingos. Most children will strive to acquire as many items for their flamingos as possible. The only way to get coins is to complete an English exercise or play an educational game. If the children complete a whole Mission, they get an extra bonus. Hence, the coins serve as an incentive for the children to learn more English. The tougher the English exercise, the more coins they earn and the more they can buy. The amount of coins and feathers each student h as can be viewed in the student’s flamingo profile inside the Virtual World. Some games and areas in the virtual world are restricted and in order to enter or p lay, the children need a certain amount of feathers. For example, to play Sudoku the children need the mobile phone. To get the mobile phone, the children need more than 20 feathers. If they do n ot h ave the required amount of feathers, they will have to go and learn more English by completing more exercises. The Sudoku game is not for b eginners, which the amount of required feathers suggests. In some of the games in Mingoville Virtual World, it is also possible to gain feathers, but we tend to promote the activities in the Missions in Mingoville School to make sure they learn the words properly.
The Flamingos When the children enter the Virtual World, they will create their own flamingo, which they can run around and play with. Their flamingos represent them in the virtual world. For each flamingo there is a p rofile. If you go into the Virtual World and click on any flamingo, the profile picture will pop up. The picture to the left is the profile of the flamingo with the username “Candy F lower”. On the profile it is possible to see which country the child is from – in this case it is Denmark, which is illustrated by the Danish flag in the right corner. The flamingo “Candy Flower” has 20 feathers, as seen in the left upper corner and 24 coins, which is illustrated in Personal f lamingo p rofile the bottom. The right side of the profile shows the items this child has bought for the coins earned. You can also see a dictionary icon next to the feather. In the dictionary, the children can record all the words and listen to them in order to practice their pronunciations. Sometimes we also use the number of recorded words as an entrance to a certain game or activity. The recorded words are also used as the main component in the game QuizTalk, where the children play two and two and have to guess the recorded word of their partner. Read more about the QuizTalk under Game Description or at our blog. It is only possible for other flamingos to see the profile page to the left. The profile page to the right – the item page -‐ is personal. The children choose the items their avatar will wear on the left side by choosing the items on the right page. The children can buy and wear clothes if they are SuperLearners. A SuperLearner is a Mingoville member who has bought access to Mingoville. Free members can buy all other items except clothes and accessories.
Shopping There are d ifferent shops in Mingoville Virtual World where the students can spend their earned coins. In the Ticket Shop on the landing map “Airport”, the students can buy different clothes for their flamingo. At the Cafe, the students can buy seawater, coffee and other exciting drinks and food specialties. The items that the children buy or sometimes get for completing a mission will be added to the profile and available from h ere – see the above description and picture.
The Maps in Mingoville In Mingoville Virtual World, there are several maps. A map is an area of the virtual world that the students can explore. Each map has its own activities and educational games, which are all developed to teach the children English. They are all based on the vocabulary acquired from the missions in M ingoville School. When the children enter Mingoville Virtual World, they land on the “Airport” map and from there, they can go anywhere they want. At the moment, there are 9 maps with many different activities. The Virtual World consists of: 1. The Airport 2. The Café 3. The Station 4. Jeff’s Shop 5. The Beach 6. The Disco 7. The School (not to be confused with Mingoville School) 8. Santa’s island 9. Nature
Each map has its own games and activities. As we change the locations of the games and the activities on a regular basis, it makes no sense to describe what each map contains. However, later in this guide, you will find a description of the different games and an indication of which map they might b e located on.
The Educational Games As mentioned before, in order to stay updated on the latest news from Mingoville, we recommend that you read our blog on a regular basis. Mingoville Virtual World has the following educational games that teach children English: • QuizTalk – pronunciation and word recognition • SuperStar – pronunciation, reading and sentence construction • Letter Game -‐ spelling • Word Search -‐ spelling • Picture Sudoku – word recognition • BalloonBlast – sentence construction • Boat race – word recognition • Fishing Trip – spelling All games have a high score list where the students can see how many p oints they gained in the game as well as their position on the different lists. In the high score list, they can either choose to view their performance on the score list for everybody who has ever played the game, which is called Worldwide All Time, or just for their own Country Today. We sometimes use the high score lists in competitions. All activities are announced on our blog and in our email newsletter. Below is a description of all the games, how they are played, what to learn and tips on how to use them in class.
High score list
QuizTalk QuizTalk is a Social Learning Game As much of the b uzz around virtual worlds is related to the socialization within these communities, we also take advantage of the social possibilities within Mingoville Virtual World to make it more fun for the children to learn English.
According to Gigaom, what makes gaming social is the ability to create and build relationships with friends while playing the game. The QuizTalk is a social learning game that allows students to develop their social skills as well as their ability to understand English spoken b y other p eople around the world. Its social nature comes from the requirement that there be two players, who h ave to cooperate and interact to win. How to Play and What to Learn The QuizTalk uses the recorded words in the interactive dictionary of each student. It creates a “conversation” between the two students playing the game, as they have to guess each other’s recorded Record t he w ords i nside t he D ictionary words. The children have to record at least 5 words in their interactive dictionary to play the QuizTalk. The recorded words from the dictionary appear at the top bar inside the game. The more words they record and p lay for their buddies, the more points they gain. The game The player picks a word and plays it for his/her game buddy. The game buddy listens to the word and has 3 p ictures to choose from. He or she has to pick the picture that relates to the recorded word. If he/she picks the right picture, both players gain points. If the wrong picture is picked, neither player gets points. The faster the game buddy guesses the word, the more points both of them gain. Inside the Quiz Talk game Instead of competing, the game is based on cooperation. The students have to put an effort into the correct pronunciation of the words to ease the task of the co-‐player. The quiz also strengthens the children’s ability to understand the accents/dialects of other people, especially if they play with children from other countries. While making new friends, the student practices pronunciation, listening and understanding as well as vocabulary. At the moment QuizTalk is located at the Café and in School. It is a very good game to play in class in pairs. The level of difficulty is beginner-‐medium.
SuperStar SuperStar is also a Social Learning Game SuperStar is a sing along game. The student gives a live concert using one of his or her recorded songs from the “My Book” repertoire or by going in the studio to record a song from the song catalogue. All songs are in English and they all relate to the different mission themes in Mingoville, e.g., The Body or My Family. The songs wrap up the vocabulary of each mission and set it into a context in the lyric of the songs. SuperStar is based on the content the children generate themselves -‐ just as the QuizTalk is. F urthermore, it’s developed around social learning principle as it requires an Inside SuperStar from audience audience to give a concert. All participants in SuperStar earn points based on their level of participation – the artist achieves points for a good performance and the audience for the active cheering. A social learning game based on the work the students produce themselves results in high levels of interaction and engagement. The students immerse themselves into the language. The Game To play SuperStar, a student needs to record at least one of the 10 sing-‐along songs from the M ingoville karaoke album. The recording of a song can take place either as part of a M ission or directly from the Studio in The Club (at the Disco map). All songs produced will appear in the student’s “My Book” as part of the portfolio. The game starts when the student enters the stage and the audience checks in. The performing artist can either invite his b uddies to the concert or other students can drop in. The concert is open to everybody. The higher the applause from the audience during the concert, the more funky moves the artist can make on stage and the more points he gains. The points given in this game are based on the applause the concert gains. Thus if the artist has a large audience cheering a lot, many points are gained. SuperStar is located in the Club In the club there is a Jukebox featuring the best performing songs. If the students are good enough they will end on Top 10. The level of difficulty is medium to high as the children have to sing along. The songs are made as the final exercises of a Mission and wrap up all the words taught in the particular M ission. We have heard examples of music teachers who h ave recorded the songs together with the students in their music class. Under “download extras” it is possible to download the text, the instrumental edition and the vocal edition. We monitor the songs and if we discover that a song is recorded with a lot of bad words, we inform the teacher and the student. To play in Mingoville our u sers have to behave nicely.
LetterGame & Word Search To spell the words of a foreign language is not an easy task but it’s crucial in order to learn the language. Mingoville has developed different English spelling games where the children learn to spell English words through pictures, clues, sound and movement, by playing with them. LetterGame In the LetterGame, the children see different images of words that they n eed to spell by clicking on the image and listening to the pronunciation of the word. When the word h as been identified, the child begins to chase the letters to compose the word in writing. The letters have to b e put together in a string to form the word. The letters have to be dragged around the board to put the word together. If the letter is wrong the string will turn red and break. The LetterGame is also a multiplayer game, where many children can play at the same time. When many children are playing the game they feel as if they are competing for The LetterGame the same letters, which motivates them to spell faster. This is a good game for the children who find it difficult to spell. However, we recommend that a certain number of Missions are completed in M ingoville School prior to playing the LetterGame. The exercise may seem difficult if the students have no prior knowledge of the words. The level of difficulty is medium. This game can be played at School and at the Airport. Word Search In the other spelling game, Word Search, the children find the words either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The words are shown in images in the green sidebar to the right. When mousing over the picture, the word appears in writing and a voice says the word. Both games develop the student’s ability to create an overview of complex content. The student has to detect specific words by resorting to the use of images. As in all the other games, the students earn coins based on how many words are spelled and the time it takes to spell them. After each game the high score list will appear and the student can see his or her position on the different Word Search score lists. This game requires that the student have taken a few M issions prior to playing. However, it is easier than the LetterGame, as the word is already spelled somewhere in the puzzle. Word Search can be found at School, in the Cafe and on the Station map.
Picture Sudoku Education-‐wise, the Sudoku game strengthens the listening, reading and word recognition skills of the students. Normally, Sudoku is about numbers. We use English words. The game is b ased on the different English words practiced in the M ingoville Missions. Each game of Sudoku has 6 English words that are repeated throughout the game. Besides practicing the English vocabulary, the children also practice traditional Sudoku puzzle skills of logic and combination. The English Sudoku is not a beginner game. You need to reach a certain English level within Mingoville in terms of feathers to play the Sudoku. The number of feathers in the flamingo profile indicates the English level of The Sudoku game each student. To play the Sudoku game, the child needs to have the Mingoville mobile phone. The Mingoville mobile phone can be bought when the child has 20 feathers. Tip: 1. To get 20 feathers, the student needs to practice more English by taking more Missions. 2. If the children already have 20 feathers, they need to go find the Mingoville mobile phone (hint: there is a plane n earby). 3. When they have acquired the mobile phone, it is time to find the Sudoku game (hint: they can go help Jeff). How to play Here are a few guidelines to play Sudoku: It’s like a puzzle. The player has to make sure that
Find the words missing
only one example of the word appears in each row, each column and each 2×3 grid inside the game. All cells are to be filled out to finish the game. Use the “check” button to see if the words are correct – if the cells turn red, you need to choose another word for these cells; otherwise the puzzle can’t be solved. The control interface To change words, simply click in the specific cell and pick the word from a list. The faster you finish the Suoku, the more points and coins you gain.
Boat Races There are three types of Boat Races; 1-‐player, 2-‐player and 4-‐player races. All Boat Races are built upon speed and English word recognition. The boat is controlled using the arrows on the keyboard. In the Boat Race, the students have to quickly recognize the words, collect the right items and still maintain speed around the corners of the racing track. It will strengthen their coordination and multitasking skills as well as the ability to recognize the words they learned in the missions. The Game Racing against time, the student needs to collect the right items. He or she receives p oints based on the number of “collected” items as well as total time spent. In all games, the points are converted to coins that the student can spend in Mingoville drinking coffee or renting a fishing rod. The Boat Races are popular games because it’s always fun to compete against your friends. Besides, the games are based on basic English words, which make them ideal games for beginners. A way of using the Boat Races actively in the classroom or at home is to challenge the students to a race against their teacher or parent. If you are not a regular gamer, it’s not easy to n avigate the boat. However, it’s fun and it boosts the children’s self-‐confidence when they beat you. The boat race games are located at the Airport, the Cafe, and the Station.
Balloonblast In the Balloonblast game, the students can give the flamingo a safe flying trip by spelling and writing the right English sentence. If they type a wrong letter, a balloon pops, which makes the trip a bit more dangerous. The BalloonBlast is a modern edition of Hangman. The BalloonBlast game is designed to improve the children’s skills in listening, writing sentences and spelling English. Moreover, it also develops their coordination skills, as the students have to comprehend what has been said and pass on the information by writing it. This is how the game goes: 1. In the beginning of the game, the student chooses if she or he wants to hear the English sentence from a male or a female voice. The different intonations of the voices teach the student to understand the English of different people. 2. After listening to the sentence, the balloons take the flamingo on a tour in the skies. To keep the flamingo flying, the student has to reconstruct the voice message by writing it. The game constructs the sentence itself; all it needs is the right letters. 3. For every wrong letter, a balloon is b lasted. If the student uses 6 wrong letters, there are no more balloons left and the flamingo falls to the ground and the game is over. 4. Points are given based on the time spent reconstructing the sentence. In classroom, the game serves as a complementary practice tool to the lessons in the different Missions. Figure 11: Reconstruct the heard sentence It’s not a game for the beginners, though; the students need a basic knowledge of some English words in order to understand and reconstruct the sentence. As always the incentive of the game is the points gained, which are exchanged for coins and feathers to be spent around the Virtual World. The game progresses in complexity as the students proceed. There is a Balloonblast game at the beach and in front of the Disco.
Fishing Trip Go Fishing and Do Some Spelling On the Nature map, the children can learn English by going on a fishing trip. When fishing on Mingo Lake, the students have to catch the fish in the water with their fishing rod. For every fish they catch they earn points. However, some fish have a letter in their stomach. If the children can spell the word illustrated in the left upper corner by catching the fish with the right letter, they get b onus points. If they catch other things like boots or a fish with a wrong letter, they lose points. The game is timed and the student has to reach the target – in other words, they have to reach the goal set in the left upper corner within the time limit, which is typically Figure 1 2: F ishing g ame between 30-‐60 seconds. The Fishing game has several levels. In the first level, the child completes it by “just” catching fish to reach the target. However, by level two or level three, they cannot reach the target without spelling the word, as they need the bonus to reach the target within the time allotted. If they do not reach the target, they cannot continue to next level. The higher the level, the tougher it gets. All words to be spelled are from Mission 4 in M ingoville: Nature and Seasons. If the children cannot spell the words, we recommend they complete activities 1-‐8 in Mission 4.
Other activities Besides the educational games, the students will discover many different activities that change on a regular basis. These are the English training activities running at the moment: • Fishing – practicing reading and understanding • Shopping – practicing reading and understanding • Get a tan at the beach – Pure fun and a bit of reading • Helping Jeff in his shop – Training in names of vegetables and fruits • Treasure hunting with Esmeralda – Training Nature words • Chat – writing, understanding and using the acquired English actively Please notice that the Chat function in Mingoville Virtual World is a SafeChat. It means that the students can only write in English and no bullying is possible. We control the words that can be written through our chat list – a list where we decide which words are available in the chat. The list is comprised of more than 2000 of the most commonly used words in English. It’s not possible to write in any other language than English, and it’s not possible to write numbers. The chat is a fantastic tool to practice writing and conversation. It enables the children to get in contact with the other children running around in M ingoville Virtual World and because it is a SafeChat you can let them loose without any worries.