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Learn Chinese through an MMO

Kyle Orland
01.18.07
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Michigan State University's Confucius Institute is jumping on the virtual education bandwagon with a planned MMO that seeks to teach Mandarin Chinese. Zon -- The New Chengo Chinese will have users advancing from small towns and villages to large cities and "cosmopolitans" as they learn more about China's language and culture.

The details on how this will work in a massively multiplayer context are a little unclear, but an Investor's Business Daily article mentions players will be able to interact with other players through business transactions and as tour guides. A design framework for the game claims it will have "1000 learning activities" comprising the equivalent of a "3000-hour Chinese language and culture learning contents." Anyone who thinks that sounds like a lot of time to be playing one game obviously doesn't know many World of Warcraft players.

If this trend continues, pretty soon all learning will be conducted through the superior form of the MMO. We can't wait for the math MMO where you have to run around hacking up equations to collect rare numbers like pi and the elusive but highly coveted sword of square root.

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