Publisher harnesses gaming and technology to help English-language learners

December 12, 2012

Cambridge University Press has taken a gaming-inspired approach to language learning with the launch of a free English vocabulary mobile app, and the launch of a fun new vocabulary learning system on its Cambridge Dictionaries Online site.

The Wordpic! mobile app helps with their English vocabulary by pitching players against the clock to pick the pictures that match each word. There are six game boards with up to six 'mutators', which can change the difficulty level of the game. Players can then challenge friends on and to beat their score. The first game available in Wordpic! focuses on sport, with more subjects due to be released soon.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online has also partnered with Memrise, a company that specialises in innovative language , to provide English vocabulary practice on the CDO site, which helps learners master particular words. Some word entries on http://dictionary.cambridge.org already contain the new Memrise links, with up to 1,000 expected by October – allowing learners to systematically build their vocabulary.

Ed Cooke, Co-founder and CEO of Memrise, as well as author and Grand Master of Memory, said: "We share with the lexicographers of Cambridge a great love for words, and we're thrilled and honoured by this opportunity to provide compelling learning experiences to visitors to Cambridge Dictionaries Online, so that they can now remember and practise the words they look up."

Paul Heacock, Publishing Manager at Cambridge University Press, said: "As the world's oldest publisher, we have to make sure we are always innovating, and that we are developing our products in line with what our customers want. We know that games can teach you something, as people are more engaged when playing them, so we wanted to develop a fun English learning app that would really help people master particular pieces of vocabulary.

"Our new partnership with Memrise is also really exciting, as they know how to use to help people learn faster. They are the experts in memory and the techniques that they develop embody the very best knowledge about how our brains work, helping people to learn as quickly and effortlessly as possible."

Explore further: Idioms and slang held the key for English language learners in 2010

More information: itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordpic!/id545914917?mt=8
dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/encounter_1?q=encounter

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