Day 7: Ruby Rei
Learning a new language is hard. At least for me. So I’m always interested in new strategies for learning and teaching language. Ruby Rei is a new mobile app by Wibbu designed to build student’s language skills through a beautiful adventure game.
I downloaded Ruby Rei on my Android device and played the first two levels. The goal is to guide Ruby Rei as she tries to find her robot friend Moli who has crashed on a strange planet. As you explore the world on your quest, you encounter different challenges. The game dialog is in the language you are trying to learn. For me, I selected Spanish. As Ruby and other characters spoke, a dialog box appeared with the text. I heard and saw the dialog in Spanish. By clicking on each phrase, I could translate the text into English. In addition to the dialog boxes, there were times where I had to record or type phrases. I really like the multi-modal language interaction.
To move Ruby through the strange planet, I tapped the screen and she moved. The gameplay was fairly simple and easy to follow. There are not a lot of instructions to get you started, however, there are just-in-time hints to help you along.
The first two levels were good and I would be interested in continuing. The first two levels are free. You can download the full game (18 levels) for $2.99, which is not bad.
The website has some information on how to use Ruby Rei in the classroom and in a district. According to the game website, there are additional standards-aligned teacher resources. Districts can purchase a site license that allows the district to distribute the game through their learning management system (LMS). Read more about a district license here. It was not clear how much a site license would cost a district.
I did not see any way to explore the teacher resources so I cannot speak to the quality of the materials. I did like how Wibbu provided a white paper on the research that supports game-based learning. It is clear that the developers were not just focused on creating a good game but also on sound pedagogy. It was a nice blend of research-based learning strategies, good gameplay, and high-quality graphics. You don’t always find all three in an educational game.
Overall, Ruby Rei is an interesting approach to game-based language learning and worth a look.