Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will feel as if they are learning Chinese on the streets of Beijing this summer when an intelligent, immersive environment developed by Rensselaer and IBM Research is used in an academic credit-bearing course on campus for the first time.
A video game that helps university students learn Mandarin by taking an entire class on a virtual adventure to the Summer Palace in Beijing is to be launched next year.
The game, which was created by Lee Sheldon, a former Star Trek producer, is to be offered as a three-month course to students at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Professor Sheldon said that the concepts of the game could easily be applied to language classes in Britain.
It was just supposed to be a quick trip to Beijing, a touristy group thing to take in the sights. It wasn't supposed to go down like this. There wasn't supposed to be a lost manuscript; the travelers weren't supposed to turn on each other. The only good, if any, to be found in this godforsaken quest, this unholy mission, was that by the end of it, they would all know how to speak Mandarin.
This caught our eye the other day -- and it struck us both as potentially very cool, and very RPI.
The school is working to re-establish its Mandarin language minor, which makes a lot of sense. Being able to speak Mandarin is a very useful skill for all sorts of careers. And, you know, there are only about a billion people in the world who speak it.
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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.