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Middlebury Interactive Languages Wins Serious Play Bronze Award

Educational Gaming Community Recognizes World Language Roleplay Game

MIDDLEBURY, Vt., Aug 29, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL), the leader in providing superior world language programs for pre-college students, this week was named the winner of a Serious Play conference Bronze award for MiddWorld Online, a web-based 3D virtual world roleplay game. Serious Play, a conference devoted to serious games — games developed for education and training purposes rather than pure entertainment — held in Redmond, Washington, bestowed the debut award to MiddWorld in the Education game category. Created to be played online with any browser, this visually rich, highly detailed roleplay game delivers a world full of culturally accurate sights and sounds, designed to complement the dynamic online Middlebury Interactive immersion coursework to effectively teach world languages to high school students.

Judges from education, gaming and technology backgrounds recognized MiddWorld Online, which was developed in partnership with award-winning Muzzy Lane Software, based on strict criteria for usability as well as likeability. Using the full-immersion language acquisition methodology employed at the Middlebury College Language Schools for nearly 100 years, students practice their language skills with non-player characters (NPCs) and other students. Surrounded by a culturally authentic environment within a fun, age-appropriate storyline, MiddWorld replicates the experience of being in a foreign country, which includes players trying to guess vocabulary that they don’t already know. Muzzy Lane, creators of the serious games franchise Making History(R), delivered the quality stylized graphics, game mechanics and authentic details to bring to life the language acquisition content provided by Middlebury language educators.

“As a leader in digital language learning initiatives, we are thrilled to be recognized for our dynamic roleplay game,” said Jane Swift, CEO of MIL. “In MiddWorld, players feel like they are transported to a real city and get to apply their language learning in a culturally authentic environment. This is a fun way to reinforce a key part of the Middlebury immersion methodology, which is to get students to use, not just study, their target language as often as possible.”

Available in Spanish and French, MiddWorld currently offers both a quest-based multiplayer online roleplay game (MORPG) using NPCs and other students, and a cafe mini-game where students learn about ethnic foods while they rush to serve customers. Players must use their acquired target language vocabulary or intuit how to interact with others without using ANY English. Authentic colloquialisms and other realia are incorporated throughout the game for students to be exposed to the cultural aspects of the target language. These games are constructed to be used either as extracurricular activity or integrated into lessons.

“We designed this challenging game format to appeal to the mindset of today’s tech-savvy teenage learners,” said Dr. Joseph South, MIL’s Senior Director of Product Development, who holds a PhD in Instructional Design. “The MiddWorld roleplay game is unique in that we were able to successfully apply the rigorous Middlebury pedagogy, and integrate it into a game that is fun and engaging, where language acquisition is part of the fundamental game challenge, instead of a chore.”

“Muzzy Lane has enjoyed applying our game design and development expertise to make world language learning more natural”, said David Martz, Muzzy Lane’s Vice President. “Our 3D immersive world helps “situate” the learner in an environment where language skills are key to achieving a larger set of goals and missions. This game is uniquely designed to help students acquire world language skills by making friends, embarking on adventures, and solving problems.”

The MiddWorld game framework is designed so that the games can be replicated appropriately for other languages and cultures — a Mandarin Chinese version is currently in development. MiddWorld is also designed for flexibility — in the future, rather than using pre-written answers, students will be able to create or record their own unique responses for original student-centric content, and accommodate different skill levels, adding to the longevity of the game. This Serious Play award reflects MIL’s continued commitment to quality world language programs, and helps to fortify a leadership position in digital learning for 21st Century students.

About Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL) is the premier academic leader in world language instruction for K-12 students. A joint venture of Middlebury College and K12 Inc. LRN +3.58% , the nation’s largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for K-12 students, MIL is a national leader in providing greater access to superior world language programs and a key contributor to the success of digital learning initiatives to provide students with the skills they need to be competitive in a 21st Century global marketplace.

Middlebury Interactive Languages offers a portfolio of world language products as a total solution, both online and in brick-and-mortar schools, using academic teaching methods to meet national ACTFL standards. Products include the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy, a full-immersion summer residency program; Middlebury Interactive courses, intensive online coursework for high schools offering Middlebury immersion; Powerspeak(12) robust online courses for grades 3-12; Avant STAMP assessment; and MIL Professional Development. Visit us at

SOURCE: Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages
Kishari Sing, 310-890-6429
[email protected]

Copyright Business Wire 2011

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