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translates to greater language comprehension, knowledge
or recall. There might be noncognitive benefits of this
immersion tool as well, such as greater confidence or
enthusiasm for using the language, because learners prefer
being part of the scene rather than sitting in a classroom.
REVEAL already has been screened by Russian language
instructors in focus groups. All commented that they were
impressed by the quality, authenticity and richness of the
conversations and the level of engagement in the virtual
space. Several said they felt as if they were flies on the wall,
while others said it was “overwhelmingly real” and that
they “would watch a million times, it is so rich.”
These first impressions of the prototype suggest there is a
place for language-learning virtual training environments
for the entire educational pipeline, from elementary all the
way to university-level students and even for work force
Amitabh Varshney, Eric Lee, Sida Li and
Duane Shaw contributed to this article.
Medha Tare, Ewa Golonka and Martyn Clark are research
scientists in second-language acquisition at the University
of Maryland (UMD), College Park, Maryland. Amitabh
Varshney is a computer science professor and the interim vice
president for research at UMD. Duane Shaw is a research systems engineer at CASL, and Eric Lee and Sida Li are research
programmers at the university’s Augmentarium, a virtual and
augmented reality facility for the study of visual augmentation of human intelligence and amplify situational awareness.
The views expressed are their own.
A learner watches
the REVEAL video.