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SHI releases new Tlingit games, enhances apps to include quizzes, score tracking


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Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has released two new interactive games on its "Tlingit Language Games" app and added quizzes and score tracking to it and to its "Learning Tlingit" app.

"Ax Hídi" (My House) is a new game for mobile devices that teaches more than seventy Tlingit words for items commonly found in a home. The game starts outside the house and players meander through rooms, including a living room, a dining room, a bedroom, a closet, a kitchen, a dining room and a pantry. As they click on items, such as a fireplace and shoes, the Tlingit and English words appear and the Tlingit audio plays.

SHI also added the new game "Move the Murrelet," which teaches positional phrases in Tlingit. As the user moves a murrelet around a boat, the bird's position appears onscreen and the Tlingit audio of the phrase plays. For example, if the user clicks under the boat, the murrelet appears in that position and the English and Tlingit text "The murrelet is under the boat" appears and the Tlingit audio plays.

Both games include quizzes and a new feature to allow players to track their highest scores.

SHI also added a quiz feature and score tracking component to its "Learning Tlingit" app, which was released last year and contains hundreds of entries in more than twenty categories. The app now has a quiz within each category and statistical tracking for time spent in each category and highest score.

SHI has found interactive tools to be especially effective in teaching Native languages because they associate words and phrases with audio and sometimes images, which helps students retain the language, said SHI President Rosita Worl. SHI also has found with previous interactive tools for desktop computers that the quizzes are an important component, Worl said.

"We've released these games and other interactive tools for desktop users in the past and teachers have told us that when we offered a game that did not have a quiz, students-even young children-would complain about the absence of a test," Worl said. "This is the magical thing about these interactive games. Students have fun learning, they retain the information and score highly on the tests-so they want to take the quizzes."

It's also important to keep up with technology and students want to learn through their mobile devices these days, she said.

"We know our students are learning our Native languages in new ways, and technology plays a big role in that. This is our effort to help learners revitalize Tlingit by learning the language through their mobile devices," said Worl, noting the institute will continue to add new content through updates.

The new games include Tlingit audio by Johnny Marks and Tlingit text edited by Marks and Keri (Edwards) Eggleston and Katrina Hotch, who also edited the audio. The "My House" graphics and original interactive game were produced by Kathy Dye and the "Move the Murrelet" graphics and original interactive game were produced by Rico Worl. Desktop versions of the games are available in the language resources section at www.sealaskaheritage.org.

Both apps were published by Sealaska Heritage Institute in partnership with SERRC-Alaska's Educational Resource Center-and developed by Wostmann & Associates of Juneau. They are available for download to i0S and Android devices at no cost. With the framework developed, SHI plans to produce Haida and Tsimshian versions in the future.
 
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