Iana Dudrova

Soka University


Implementation of visual novel mobile games to enhance the reading experience in EFL in Japan

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Smartphones have recently gained sufficient features and capacity to compete with computers with the advantage of convenient size and mobility and have already become a vital part of our lives, as an ideal platform for users’ daily activities. Gaming is one of such an activity. For game developers, smartphones present a fruitful market through which to launch their products. In this context, teachers have an opportunity to adopt mobile gaming in their English courses to enrich the students’ experiences, both in the classroom and out. For the current presentation, with an emphasis on reading, the context of Japan has been chosen due to the historic focus on reading input activities, such as grammar-translation activities; Japan is also the country of origin of the visual novel genre. What distinguishes visual novels from other game types is their generally minimal active gameplay, and a heavy focus on text-based information, along with graphics and sound. The majority of visual novels present multiple storylines that rely on the choices of the player to further the story’s development. This presentation will demonstrate how mobile visual novels affect students’ attitudes, comprehension and motivation levels by comparing data before and after activities utilizing visual novels. Data was collected through surveys and interviews and during the in-class reading activities of the high-level English university students that will also be described. In addition, several teachers’ attitudes towards the use of visual novels will be presented.