MIDDLEBURY, Vt.,&NEWBURYPORT, Mass.— August 11, 2010— Middlebury Interactive Languages, poised to become the premier academic leader in foreign language instruction for K-12 students, has engaged Muzzy Lane Software, known for producing immersive 3D learning environments, to create an innovative language learning role play game, initially focused on Spanish and French.
The Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL) online foreign language courses will adapt the highly successful full-immersion formula modeled on the Middlebury College Language Schools for online delivery. MIL also operates the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA), an intensive four-week residential summer language program for pre-college students in operation for its third year. This summer, over 800 students committed to learning one of five languages offered (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, or Spanish) at four different college campuses across the country.
Collaborative learning is an integral part of Middlebury’s immersion process, and games are a great example of collaborative learning in action. Interactive games are one of several unique, nontraditional methods offered to students to engage with others and reinforce key skills when learning to be proficient in a foreign language. The 3D game created by Muzzy Lane is breaking new ground as it will be one of the first interactive, online role-play games to be developed specifically for foreign language learning.
For this first-person, role-playing computer game, Muzzy Lane will craft environments unique to each culture, which will accommodate multiple players and can be played over any browser, on both PC and Mac platforms. Students will interact with computer characters and each other in a rich, immersive world using audio elements from native speakers. Students will be able to exercise their language skills in real-life situations such as shopping and ordering in a restaurant, as well as collaborate with others to obtain and share clues to reach the next game level, all while reinforcing their developing foreign language knowledge. This game mirrors MIL’s unique formula of using fun and authentic cultural experiences to reinforce language learning in real-world context, rather than by simple memorization drills.
“We are excited to be partnering with Muzzy Lane to develop a full immersion language game as a part of our new Middlebury Interactive product,” said Dave Benoit, chief executive officer of Middlebury Interactive Languages.“Foreign languages are critical to the skill set of today’s young people and the combination of Middlebury’s academic expertise and Muzzy Lane’s gaming technology will prove to be a strong combination.”
“We are thrilled to be developing the game worlds for Middlebury Interactive Language,” said Dave McCool, president of Muzzy Lane.“We have seen how online, multiplayer games create deeply engaging and immersive environments. Our structured, virtual world platform provides a great medium to extend Middlebury’s proven immersive foreign language programs to the online world.”
In support of the federal government’s mission to help produce more“college- and career-ready students” who“contribute as citizens…to thrive in a global economy,” (U.S. Dept. of Education,“A Blueprint for Reform, the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act”, March 2010), MIL virtual foreign language academies will be structured and priced to be accessible and scalable for schools with no current foreign language program or who want to supplement their current language programs, homeschoolers and parents who wish their child to be exposed to a second language in preparation for lifelong achievement.
About Middlebury Interactive Languages
Middlebury Interactive Languages is poised to become the premier academic leader in foreign language instruction for K-12 students as part of 21st Century readiness. Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL) was formed on May 1, 2010, as a joint venture between Middlebury College, a top liberal arts college renowned for languages and international studies, and K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), the nation’s largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for K-12 students. The MIL flagship product is a virtual foreign language academy geared for high schools, which will be adapted from the proven techniques used at both the Middlebury College Language Schools and Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA), an intensive four-week residential language immersion summer program for students in grades 8-12.
The high school online product will help students achieve rapid language proficiency by engaging them in authentic and fun cultural experiences, offering collaborative games and in-country videos, and immersing them in their language of choice while still working within rigorous academic teaching methods and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) standards. MIL will initially offer courses in Spanish and French with additional languages to follow. MIL’s product suite also offers Powerspeak, an effective online language learning program designed to serve the needs of virtual charter school students.
About Muzzy Lane Software, Inc.
Muzzy Lane Software, Inc., based in the historic seaport of Newburyport, Mass., and listed by Fast Company magazine as one of their“Top 10 New Education Companies to Watch,” creates immersive 3D games to be played on any Internet browser. Additionally, they build the innovative Sandstone platform technology to build and deliver serious games integrated into the Web, for partners ranging from the Federation of American Scientists to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Their best known educational game is the recently released“Making History II,” an accurate 3D portrayal of the changing geographies of World War II, made uniquely with the help of noted WWII historian Niall Ferguson.
At Muzzy Lane, their talented team of engineers, designers, and artists are hard at work building toward a bright future for games on the Internet.
Jamie Northrup, 802-377-7091
Vice President, Marketing
Muzzy Lane Software, Inc.
David Martz, 978-499-9099 x115
Vice President, Sales&Marketing
The Bohle Company for Muzzy Lane Software
Derek Asato/Luis Levy
(310) 785-0515 ext. 201/204