Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Craig Assis DeCampli

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Computer Science

Advisor(s)

Ramon Mata-Toledo

Abstract

The Japanese language is challenging to learn, especially for native speakers of Indo- European languages. The three components of written Japanese -- Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji – include 2,136 Kanji characters, and 46 each for Katakana and Hiragana. Teaching Japanese – generally through repetition – can lead to student boredom and affect success. Research shows that video games can at least provide a more enjoyable learning experience. Despite this fact, there are a lack of video games for teaching Japanese characters. Using the Unity game engine and the C# programming language, a video game for enhancing the learning of students studying Japanese as a second language was created. Users must identify the Japanese characters as they trickle from top to bottom on the screen. The more times the user identifies a particular Japanese character, the less that character will appear. The reverse applies to incorrect answers – the character will appear more often. This is a key learning technique as the user is forced to repeat those characters he/she does not know. This project demonstrates that the dearth of available, effective video games to complement foreign language learning can be overcome. Basic programming skills combined with some creative design, and a strong desire to help others learn, can result in simple but effective video games. The interactive experience will certainly improve students’ ability to learn this challenging language.

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