Educational language learning with «Soda Serving»

The easiest way to learn a new language is with lots of practice. A game is the perfect basis for lots of interaction, which is why we developed the interactive language learning game “Soda Serving” with the innovation lab ed:solution.

Why is a real game better than educational software?

Our aim was not to create “chocolate-covered broccoli”, but an entertaining game that pupils would also enjoy playing outside of class. There are already plenty of reference examples of this from the past: SimCity for architecture and Portal for physics lessons.

Which game mechanism encourages people to speak?

With the “Serving Soda” prototype, we are developing a game that is controlled using your own language. The students slip into the role of a barista or service staff, for example, and serve guests. They express all kinds of wishes that need to be determined and then fulfilled. The basic vocabulary in English is practiced independently of the teaching material and actively used immediately. With this approach, pupils will playfully practise relevant language patterns and use them in different game situations in order to be better equipped for everyday life. “Serving Soda” is intended to demonstrate the development of skills and make progress visible. And most importantly, it should be fun. After all, emotions and intrinsic motivation are the driving force behind sustainable learning success.

How do you learn a language for real life?

After some discussions and brainstorming sessions, we worked out the game mechanics of a fun, fast-paced and, above all, interactive sales pitch: as a player, you fulfill customer requests in the game “Soda Serving” by speaking sentences like “Here is your donut” into the microphone. The computer recognizes what you say and reacts to it.

Each correctly recognized word scores points. Embellishing the sentence with adjectives gives you bonus points. Thanks to this scoring system, the game is just as much fun for beginners as it is for pros. In this way, the concept solves the problem that a game should always be fun for everyone.

The game situation is extremely intuitive because you talk to the customers in a natural dialog in the familiar environment of a school cafeteria or a small soda stand on the street. Something we all know from everyday life. Everyone can understand the game within a few seconds and use it immediately. This is particularly practical when things have to be done quickly in class.

Mood board showing characters, color palettes and early sketches of the design phase for edutainment game «Soda Serving»

Interdisciplinary team for the implementation of edutainment

To implement the language game “Soda Serving”, we are working in an interdisciplinary team on behalf of ed:solution. lllya Arnet-Clark, author of the teaching material “Young World”, expert in English and language skills and lecturer at the PH Schwyz, is responsible for the didactics.

Technology used

  • Vue.js
  • Google Cloud Speech-to-Text API

Live demo to play here directly