Video Games Make Learning Fun

The Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians is supporting a forward-thinking idea to get children and adults alike to learn the Luiseño language—encourage them to play video games. A $50,000 grant from the tribe is enabling California State University San Marcos’ California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and Palomar College’s American Indian Studies Department to develop colorful, interactive, graphics-rich language lessons that will be loaded onto Nintendo-compatible game cartridges.

With the number of fluent speakers dwindling, the tribe’s first goal is to simply provide potential learners with the means to achieve the same basic language skills of a 2- to 5-year-old native speaker. The tribe believes that Nintendo-compatible cartridges are the best way to do that; Nintendo devices are common in homes with children, and children and adults alike are likely to find interactive lessons more fun and engaging than old-fashioned ways of learning, like studying flashcards.

Once learners have developed foundational language skills, the goal will shift to helping learners develop the kind of nuanced skills necessary for fluency. The tribe hopes the project will lead to people dreaming in Luiseño, telling jokes in Luiseño, arguing in Luiseño, and generally speaking it as if it were their first language.

More information about the project can be found at

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2 Responses to Video Games Make Learning Fun

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