The Battle begins in Classroom – New English Word Battle for the Interactive Whiteboard

We are very busy at the moment. Besides working on a new map and a new educational game for Mingoville Virtual World – which will be launched mid April – we have developed this exciting English game for the Smartboard – your students will love it!

It’s an English Word Battle where 2-4 students battle directly on the interactive whiteboard. Mingoville Word Race on the White board

Access the game here

The Game
It goes like this: The students choose a color and the battle can begin. In the box an English word appears and the students have to touch the picture it belongs to.

When the kids answer correctly, the rocket will move.  If one of the players give a wrong answer five times, the rocket crashes into the water and he or she is out of the game. The one to reach the line of the air balloon first is the winner.

All words in the games are the words taught in Mingoville.  This Word Battle is meant to be used as a supplement to Mingoville. It’s a fun and engaging English exercise to do in class on the smart board. It’s fun for those playing and fun for those watching and cheering. The students will train their English vocabulary and reading skills.

The game is developed for students with a basic knowledge of English as it’s based on word recognition. It’s not suitable for beginners as they have to know the words.

Access the game here – it’s free

Mingoville Develops Educational English Games for the Mobile Phone

Lots of interesting projects are under development at Mingoville at the moment. I think it is about time to give you a small update. One of the projects we will be spending a lot of time on the next 6 months is educational mobile games. We are certain that mobile learning will be a large part of our future. Mobile phones are spreading faster than laptops among our young English learners around the world. Mobile phone penetration in Tanzania and Kenya to mention a few countries is estimated to hit 100% by the end of 2013.

We have set a goal to integrate mobile educational games into all our web-based learning universes. Both media have their strengths and weaknesses for educational purposes. The main challenges for our web programs are the lack of adequate IT infrastructure both at schools and in many less developed countries. By developing mobile games, we extend the availability of free English for kids and we give the teachers and the kids an opportunity to learn fun English even though they do not have a laptop, if the WIFI is down or if broadband is not available.

English Sudoku on the mobile phone

However, most of the English mobile games that we have on the drawing board will be 100% integrated with the Virtual World to give the kids a complete experience of mobility and connectivity – the score on the mobile phone can be submitted to the Virtual World and any Mingoville item gained by learning on the mobile phone will be available in the Virtual World as well. It will always be possible to use the English mobile games independently of Mingoville Virtual World.

For now, our focus is on developing our math universes for the mobile phones. Our math programs follow the Danish math curriculum for all school kids – both in primary and secondary school – which makes the programs very suitable for a national project this size. The Mobile Math Library will contain more than 100 educational math games for the mobile phone. It will be distributed nationally to all Danish kids free of charge. The goal is to have all Danish schools to use the free mobile math library in class as a supplement to the traditional math tuition. It’s going to be free to download all the games to the mobile phone either through the mobile web or by texting – the data traffic is sponsored by the large Danish teleoperators. Denmark is our test market – when everything runs smoothly here, we will take the project abroad.

The knowledge we gain from the project will also be used to develop more English mobile games that allow the kids to immerse themselves into the language through their mobile phone. We are even looking into how a mobile barcode can be integrated into classroom activities. We have some great ideas that we will share with you later.

A while ago we launched the Mingoville English Sudoku in Mingoville Virtual World. We have developed the Sudoku English game for the mobile phone as well. Please notice that it is a beta version and it only runs on newer mobile phones. Go to www.mingoville.com – if you are on your computer you can either download the game by using bluetooth or cable (save the link, right click on the file and send it by bluetooth to your mobile phone). If you have web access on your mobile phone you can download the English game directly from www.mob.mingoville.com. Tip: You can share the game with your students by using the bluetooth in your mobile phone. It’s a great way of practicing English vocabulary and listening skills. To read more about how you play the game and the learning principles behind click here

We expect more English mobile games will be available in second half of 2010. All good ideas on how to integrate the mobile phone into the classroom are welcome – we are always open for suggestions.

New English Sudoku for Kids in Mingoville Virtual World

We have worked on the English Sudoku game for a while now. The game was originally developed for our SuperLearners as they needed some more advanced English games to further develop their English skills. However, we liked the game so much that we decided to release it to all kids in a lighter edition. The Sudoku for the SuperLearners is made for the more advanced English learners.The New English Sudoku Game for Kids

Educational 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 based on the different English words practiced in the Mingoville Missions. Each game of Sudoku uses 6 English words that are repeated throughout the game. Besides practicing the English vocabulary, the kids also practice traditionally Sudoku puzzle skills of logic and combination.

The new English Sudoku is not a beginner game. You need to reach a certain English level within Mingoville Virtual World to play the Sudoku.

The number of feathers indicates your level. A higher level gives you access to more maps and English games.

To play the Sudoku game, you need to have the Mingoville mobile phone. You can get the Mingoville mobile phone when you have 20 feathers.

Tip:
1.    If you do not have 20 feathers – go practice more English in e.g. Mission 6. All comple

ted exercises give you feathers. When you have enough feathers, you can go fetch the mobile phone

2.    If you do not have the Mingoville mobile – go find it (hint: there is a plane nearby)

3.    Then find the Sudoku (hint: you can help to Jeff)

How to playHow to play Sudoku

Do you play Sudoku? If not, here are a few guidelines: It’s like a puzzle. You have to make sure that only 1 example of the word appears in each row, each column and each 2×3 grids 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 cellsturn red, you need to Buttons on Mingoville mobile phonechoose another word for these cells otherwise the puzzle can’t be solved.

To change words and to move between cells, use the arrows and the “select” buttons on the mobile phone. The faster you finish the Sudoku, the more points and coins you gain.

Have fun!

Also see decriptions on the other games: Quiztalk, SuperStar, Lettergame, Boat Race, BalloonBlast

Santa Claus Has Prepared Calendar Gifts for All English Students in Mingoville Virtual World

As some of you may have noticed we have kept Santa Claus very busy the past month. Since November, Santa and his elves have worked hard to make sure all the English learning kids in Mingoville could get a new Christmas gift every day. In order to help the kids learn English by e.g. practicing the dates in English, we asked Santa if he had time to help us out. The plan was to make sure all kids would get a new gift every day, if they could find the date of the day.

We asked Santa to help us because the legend has it that he brings gifts to the homes of good children the day after Christmas Eve December 24th. There are so many good children in Mingoville devoted to learning English. We wanted to reward their effort and hoped Santa agreed with us – luckily he did 😉 Thanks to Santa we now have gifts to everybody entering Mingoville in December.

The Mingoville Christmas Calendar runs until December 25th. The dates are scattered around Mingoville and it’s all up to the children to explore the different areas and find the date of the day. When they step on the number, they get the gift which they can enjoy all of December.

We have heard that Santa lives in the far North, in a land covered by snow. Some says it’s the North Pole some says it’s in Finland. In Denmark, we believe he lives in Greenland. Where ever he lives, we know for a fact that Santa enjoys a few weeks of rest on his own Island in Mingoville before he kick starts his reindeer sleigh and begins his cruise to bring out gifts to all the nice and lovely children around the world. One of the coming days, the kids get an opportunity to visit Santa Island – when and where, is still a secret they have to discover for themselves.

Santa Island in Mingoville

Some people oppose teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. According to Wikipedia some Christians say the Santa tradition detracts from the religious origins and purpose of Christmas. Other feels it’s an elaborate lie and thus unethical to teach the children to believe in him. Truth is, without consideration of any religion and without any intentions of offending other religions, we think it is a nice and cozy tradition that gives us an opportunity to spoil our dedicated students in English and reward them for their effort to learn English. At the same time, we teach them the English dates in a fun and engaging way. That’s all there is to it.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and see you at Santa Island in the near future. Santa sends his regards.

Save the Flamingo! Spell and Write English in the BallonBlast Game in Mingoville Virtual World

It’s time for the next post on English educational games in Mingoville Virtual World. I still miss to cover one more English game before I make the overview on all games in Mingoville. If you havn’t been following the recent posts, I’m writing about all the educational games of Mingoville Virtual World. Previous gaming posts are: Quiztalk, SuperStar, Lettergame, & Boat Race.

For some parents and teachers it’s not always easy to grasp serious gaming in virtual worlds because they do not spent most of their time playing games online as a lot of kids do. In these gaming posts I’m trying to give all grown ups an overview of the educational games in Mingoville as well as their learning element – how do kids learn English playing these games. No doubt kids are having fun but we can see a lot of teachers signing up schools at the moment so serious educational gaming is gaining ground among adults as well.

With these posts, I hope to inspire more teachers and parents to implement and use Mingoville for teaching their kids English. It’s easy and it’s fun for everybody. Try it out!

Balloon Blaster - Save the flamingo! This post covers the BalloonBlast game where the students can give the flamingo a save flying trip by spelling and writing the right English sentence. If they type a wrong letter, a balloon blasts which makes the trip a bit more dangerous. The BalloonBlaster is a modern edition of hangman.

The BalloonBlast game is developed to improve the kids’ skills of listening, writing and spelling English. Moreover, it also develops the coordination skills as the students have to comprehend what has been said and pass on the information by writing it. This Balloon Blaster - Save the flamingo!is how the game goes:

1.    In the beginning of the game, the student chooses if she 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.BalloonBlaster - practice English spelling, writing and listening
3.    For every wrong letter, a balloon is blasted. 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 giving based on the time spent reconstructing the sentence.

In classroom, the game serves as complementary practice tool to the lessons in the different Missions. It’s not a game for the beginners though; the students need a basic knowledge of some English words in order to play the game. As always the incentive of the game are the points gained which are exchanged to coins and feather to be spent around the Virtual World.

As always, please give us feedback on your experience with using or implementing Mingoville into the kids English education.

Kids Learn to Spell through Fun Games in Mingoville Virtual World

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 kids through pictures, clues, sound and movement learn to spell English words by playing with them.

Lately, I have been writing about the different games and their educational purpose in Mingoville Virtual World. Some of you have commented that you find it hard to create an overview of the learning possibilities because the virtual world is not linearly structured and it has many maps (areas). However, it is fun for the kids to discover the different maps and what to do on these maps which is why we do not make English Letter Game an overview of where to find what. It takes too much of the fun away. Instead, I have written a short description of each game to give at least an overview of what games to find. In the end, after the last game post, the idea is to gather all games in one place and in that way try to give you an overview of the educational content in the virtual world.

So far I have covered SuperStar where the kids learn English singing, recording songs and giving concerts, QuizTalk where the kids practice English pronunciation and listening, and the Boat Races where the kids practice to recognize different words in a fun setting. Spelling is an important part of all language learning and we Word Searchhave of course also developed spelling games.

In the LetterGame, the kids see different images of words that he/she needs to spell by clicking on the image and listening to the pronunciation of the word. After the word has been  pronounced, the child begins to chase the letters to compose the word in writing. The letters have to be 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.

In the other spelling game, Word Search, the kids need to recognize 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 and the student is ready to find it in the puzzle. I personally like this game a lot, I can spend hours in there.

Both games develop the student’s ability to create an overview of complex content. In both games, the student has to detect specific words by resorting to the use of images. As in all the other games, the students earns coins based on how many words are spelled and the time it takes to spell them. After each game the score list will appear and the student can see his or her position on the different score lists, e.g. by country, the world, today, weekly, monthly or all times. The score lists make it possible to set up competitions based on, for instance, Country and Today to encourage students to improve their spelling skills.

As always we welcome comments and suggestions.


Are You the New Star? Sing Your Heart Out in Mingoville Virtual World

The Club where a student is giving a concertThis week we launched The Club in Mingoville Virtual World where the kids are the stars. They can go in the Studio to record their song and then play it to their friends from the stage.

This is the second blog post in the series about our virtual English learning games. Last blog was about Quiz talk, if you missed it, read it here. This current blog will give parents and teachers an impression on what Super Star is. How do kids learn English playing SuperStar? SuperStar is located at The Club.

SuperStar is a Social Learning Game
In SuperStar, the student gives a live concert using one of his recorded songs from his “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.

Super Star is based on the content the students generate just as The Quiz Talk. Furthermore, it’s developed around social learning principle as it requires an audience to give a concert. The more people come to your concert, the higher possibility of a loud applause which generates many points. All participants in SuperStar earn points based on their level of participation. The idea of developing a social learning game based on the work the students produce results in a high interaction and thus intensive immersion into the English language because the students are having fun while using the language.

The GameSuperStar performing
To play SuperStar, a student needs to record at least one of the 10 sing-a-long songs from the Mingoville karaoke album. The recording of a song can take place either as part of a mission or directly from the Studio in The Club. 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 has checked in. The student can either invite his buddies to the concert or other students can drop in. The concert is open to everybody. The higher applause from the audience during the concert, the more funky moves the performer can make on stage and the more points he gains. All participants in the game earn points based on their engagement thus the more you cheer as the audience the more points you gain.

Future Releases
The game in itself is designed to motivate the students to practice vocabulary and a good pronunciation in a fun environment using media which is already very familiar to them. Future development could be the possibility of dressing your flamingo in different wardrobes related to stars, the integration of cell phones to record and upload songs and maybe even some video clips.

Log in and try the game yourself. What do you think? Comments and suggestions are as always welcome

Are You Talking to Me? New Social Quiz Game Improves Kids’ English Speaking Skills

Mingoville Virtual World teaches kids English through fun games. Most kids get it right away. When they see a new game in Mingoville, they explore it and figure out how it works along the way. The more games and interaction, the happier they are and the more they learn. For some grownups though, it may be harder to understand what all these social and virtual games are about.Mingoville Virtal Cafe area where the Quiz Talk is located

Some time ago, we promised that we would write in more details about what’s going on in the Mingoville new Virtual World. How do the kids learn English in a social learning community? The following blog posts will provide a good overview of the different learning games inside Mingoville. This first post is about our “Quiz Talk” game that is located in the Café area around the coffee tables in Mingoville Virtual World.

The Quiz Talk is a Social Learning Game
As much of the buzz around virtual worlds is related to the socialization within these communities, we also take advantage of the social possibilities within Mingoville community to make it more fun for the kids 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 Quiz Talk is a social learning game that allows students to develop their social skills as well as their ability to understand English spoken by other people around the world. It is social in the way that it requires two players, and the players have to cooperate and interact to win.

How to Play and What to Learn
The Quiz Talk uses the recorded words in the interactive dictionary of each student and creates a “conversation” between the two students playing the game. They have to guess each other’s words by choosing Interactive Dictionary where the kids can record words, listen to pronunciation, and see the word in their own languageone out of the three pictures.

The kids have to record at least 5 words in their interactive dictionary to play the Quiz Talk. The recorded words from the dictionary appear at the top bar inside the game. The more words they record and play for their buddies, the more points they gain.

The game: You pick a word and play it for your buddy. Your buddy listens to your word and has 3 pictures to choose from. He or she has to pick the picture that relates to your recorded word. If he picks the right picture, you both gain points. If he picks the wrong picture, none of you get points. The faster he guesses your word, the more points you both get. Instead of competing, the game is based on cooperation in the sense that the students have toQuiz Talk Game put an effort into the correct pronunciation of the words to ease the task of the co-player. The quiz also strengthens the kids’ capability of understanding other accents/dialects. While making new friends, the student practices pronunciation, reading, understanding and spelling. This is what we call social learning.

What Do We Plan for the Future?
Listening to the voice of the “buddy” gives the kid a feeling of getting closer to the co-player, getting to know him better. This social aspect of the game turns the usual virtual buddy, whom you generally don’t really know, into a real friend. The future development of the Quiz Talk will focus on making the conversation even more social and personal. E.g. this could be to turn words into sentences about your family maybe even include the possibility of uploading pictures of your family into your dictionary that will be displayed in the Quiz Talk.

The student will find the English learning more relevant and fun when it involves part of his own life. It may even function as an intercultural exchange of different ways of living. The development of an English game will always be based on our knowledge of what kids want, latest technologies and it will always have an English learning aspect.

Sign up or log in to try the game. What do you think? As always we welcome any comments or suggestions.

Mingoville Uses Virtual World to Teach Kids English

Hello Mingovillers,

We have written a lot about the launch of Mingoville Virtual World over the past months, and about all the games where kids can immerse themselves into the English language by playing lots of fun, educational games. Now, Mingoville World is LIVE for everybody. Sign up and try for yourself.

flamingos learn English

Now out of beta, Mingoville Virtual World offers every child, teen, ESL student a chance to improve their English in a fun and engaging way all for free. Learning English doesn’t only take place inside the classroom any longer. It takes place everywhere on the Internet, and especially in social media.

Kids share, develop, and create their lives and relationships in social media. At Mingoville, we go a step further with our new virtual world based on Massively Multiplayer Online Games, turning social networking and gaming for kids into social learning for kids. As you may know, the number of children in virtual worlds will grow tremendously over the next years.

Creating a virtual world that combines teaching English for kids with games and socialization is the best way to obtain an immersive yet effective learning environment on a platform that is so familiar to the kids already. Adding a virtual world to our interactive English program also gives us the opportunity to provide better ESL education for everybody, regardless of their limited access to education and learning resources in their home country. Although it requires a broadband connection and a PC, everything is stored online so the children can login from anywhere 24/7. This is social learning when it’s best.

We release new features every day and develop new games and activities constantly to keep the kids interested. The more they play and learn English, the bigger the reward of coins and feathers to play with. It offers them an incentive to learn.

Over the next weeks, we will go more into depth with the different games and their educational elements in order to give you parents, teachers and interested people an idea of how we see education for the 21st century. Sign up freely to RSS feed to be notified.

Stephan Stephensen

French Kids Have Fallen Under The Spell of Mingoville! Magical!

We want to admit that one of the most important things at Mingoville is knowing that somebody is actually  using and benefiting from what you develop. We are so thrilled and excited to share on our blog what our users from France are saying about Mingoville.

English fun games

“Marie-Catherine Capel, School tutor at the multimedia center of Boulingrins, 95490 Vauréal, France

As part of an initiative from the Collège of Vauréal (French middle school or junior high school) to support teenagers (11-16 years old) having difficulties with their homeworks, I created a multimedia workshop in foreign languages (English and German) from scratch in 2007.

In 2008, I discovered Mingoville. …

I immediately fell in love with Mingoville. Some of my favourite features include:

  • the high quality & the realism of the animations,
  • the fantastic voices and great English pronunciation,
  • the colourful images,
  • the eccentricity of the characters,
  • the variety and progress of the missions,
  • its perfect match with both for the linguistic program of the 6ème and 5ème,
  • and an ESL refresher course for teenagers who dropped out at some point in their education (college or further).

We have been interacting with an adorable and very helpful person, Malene Jensen, whom I would like to acknowledge and thank in her commitment and support with our Mingoville implementation.

I truly believe that this program is quite remarkable with its high quality and well thought details and a very precious tool for teachers and students.

Mingoville : Work or play? It’s both with lots of fun!!!!! Definitively the winning formula!

One of our students in 6ème, Theresia says: “When I go home, I work and play on Mingoville, and since then, my little sister has also fallen under the spell of Mingoville and knows everything by heart! Magical!

Bravo and thank you! Long live to Mingoville and its flamboyant flamingos!!”

Interactive English course

Well, just wanted to share it with you and as always have fun learning English.

Vladimir Chen