Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

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'Game Design Expo 2011' photo (c) 2011, Vancouver Film School - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Here’s yet one more “The Best…” list — this time focusing on web tools that let teachers and students create their own online learning games.

If you find this list helpful, you might want to also review The Best Online Learning Games — 2007 (a couple of the sites on that list are repeated here), The Best Online Video Games For Learning Language & Content Knowledge, and The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too.

When I talk about “learning games,” I also mean sites where students can easily create online video games that might not have an overt learning purpose. However, they can be excellent opportunities for English Language Learners to develop their English — by following the instructions on the screen, by writing directions for their game, and by writing and talking about their reactions to playing games made by their peers.

In addition, of course, there are sites that let you create games with an overt learning purpose — for example, to review content that has been covered in a class. Teachers can certainly create these activities and post them. However, I’ve always found it much more effective to have students create their own learning games — both online and in the classroom.

Since these sites fall into these two distinct categories, it’s difficult for me to rank them as I’ve done in the majority of my lists. Instead, I’ll just list them in no order of preference.

In order to make it on this list, these online tools need to be:

… accessible to English Language Learners.

… free.

… good tools to create a variety engaging content. It needs to let the user use a number of formats to create their games.

To start-off, I’ll share my picks for sites that let you create more “overt” learning games:

Class Tools is an excellent resource. Teachers and students can create lots of learning activities using formats from popular 1980’s arcade games.

Philologus is also on my list. It’s very similar to Class Tools. However, it uses more recent television games shows as templates for teacher and student created exercises.

Purpose Games is similar to the previous two, though I have to say the games you can create aren’t quite as much fun with this site. Nevertheless, it rates a spot on this list.

(A site called What 2 Learn might be worth including in this list.)

Jeopardy Labs lets teachers and students create their own online games of Jeopardy. No registration is required, and each game has its own unique url address. Most other apps to create Jeopardy games require a software download, which makes Jeopardy Labs really stand-out since none is required.

QuizBreak! lets teachers easily create Jeopardy-like games for free that will be hosted online. What makes it really top-notch is that you can add images, video and audio to the questions, too. It’s one of several excellent and free online apps that is made available to teachers by The Center For Language Education and Research at Michigan State University (CLEAR). They have been included on several previous “The Best…” lists.

Zondle is a pretty darn impressive for online learning games. It has tons of content in different subjects, and, if you can’t find what you need, it’s easy to just add your own. The ingenious part is that once you pick the topic you study, you have the option of studying the info in forty different games! Plus, teachers can create their own virtual classroom and track student progress. And, it’s free.

educaplay looks like a great free (as far as I can tell, at least) tool where you can easily create a ton of different kinds of educational interactives that you can link to or embed in your site. These include:

•Riddles
•Crosswords
•Wordsearch Puzzle
•Fill in the texts
•Dialogues
•Dictations
•Jumbled Word
•Jumbled Sentence
•Matching
•Quizzes
•Maps

For at least some of the them, including dictation, it provides the ability to record audio.

There are many other very good sites for creating “overt” online learning games. However, I’m not including them on this list just because I don’t think they offer a large enough variety of different game templates. It would probably be more accurate to describe a number of them as “test-making” sites, and I’ll be making another “The Best…” list of them sometime in the future.

Now, I’d like to list sites that let you create online video games that don’t necessarily have an overt learning purpose. However they offer excellent language-development opportunities, especially for English Language Learners, in the ways I described earlier in this post.

These types of sites include:

There’s a site called Sploder which allows students to develop their own simple games easily and then Sploder hosts their creation. Students have to write instructions on how to play the game for players to read. They can then play each other’s games, and then write comments about what they liked about it (the instructions and comments are hosted by Sploder).

The CBBC Gamebuilder lets students easily be able to create online games and publish them for others to play. There’s no overt learning purpose, but ELL’s could create them and discuss how they work.

Review Game Zone lets teachers, and anyone, input academic questions and have them turned into a games that students can use for review. It’s free, and teachers can also monitor student use of at least some types of the games.

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of having my English Language Learner students play online video games as a language development activity (see POINTING AND CLICKING FOR ESL: Using Video Games To Promote English Language Development).

Escape The Room games are one of my favorite game “genres,” where players have to…escape from a room by clicking on objects and using them in a certain way and/or order. Most of these games also have a text component.

Now, a new free tool has come online, the Room Escape Maker, that lets anybody create their own….escape the room games. It requires a little more of a learning curve than I would like, but I think it has some potential.

Easily Make Reviews into Gameshows! is by Carissa Peck.

Richard Byrne recently shared about Jeopardy Rocks, a simple online game-creator.

Bill Ferriter writes about Kahoot, another game-creator.

Links to all these sites can also be found on my webpages.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

15 Comments

  1. Dear Larry:
    As usually, your lists are fantastic.
    Is it too late to suggest: http://www.mltav.asn.au/content/view/149
    Languages Online Game Makers ?
    I tried Tetris Game Maker and Matching Game Maker, they’re free, user friendly and I like them.
    A hug
    Susana

  2. Pingback: Educational Technology and Life » Blog Archive » links for 2008-04-26

  3. Hi Larry!
    Thank you for sharing such wonderful and helpful sites.
    I was in search of online maps or graphic organizers and what I found on http://www.classtools.net/ is simply incredible, my students are working a lot and they are publishing some maps on a blog, as you can see at http://www.5liceo.splinder.com/
    Luv from Italy
    Ester

  4. This sites really looks cool, I’ve been wanting to create my own games and I think this would be a fun thing to do, I will share it with friends who are also into gaming. My daughter likes to play online games so I am exposing her to educational and fun games, as of the moment she’s enjoying YourKidsClub games, it also has classic games like pacman but with a twist, she needs to answer simple math problems to win the game.

  5. I’d like to submit a site (disclosure: it’s mine) as a candidate for best in creating learning games: SpellingCity.com. We now have 14 different /activities games that you can load up with your spelling or vocabulary lists. Most are printable! (organized by spelling, alphabetizing, meaning).

    SpellingTest
    TeachMe
    Missing Letter
    Unscramble Word
    HangMouse
    SpeedySpeller
    WordSearch
    Audio Word match

    Alphabetize

    Sentence Unscramble
    MatchIt
    WhichWord
    CluelessCrossword

  6. Hi Larry!!!
    As usual, congrats for your superb site and the undoubtedly huge effort you make to keep it!!! I know this best of list is a bit old, and maybe I’m missing a newer one, but anyway and as I am highly interested in creating flash games for my students with free online tools, I’m recommending this one(http://www.superteachertools.com/index.php), which I’m sure you already know but which I also think could have a position in this or a newer list.
    Very best,
    Sara

  7. Larry,

    Great list and I’m always keen about students making games (just blogged about it!).

    I’d also suggest Quizlet – especially now with their “voice race” and that voice is now a stable aspect to it. Also motivates students to know a teenager created the site!

    David

  8. Hello,

    As an early adopter and strong proponent of ICT in education, I have long believed that computer/video games can play an important role in supporting and enhancing teaching and learning.

    For some time now, I have tried to walk the walk of this belief with my own students, see http://www.coolclass.ca. I also know that there are many other educators who may have an interest in using games with their own students, but are not sure where to start, or know what current research is telling us.

    It is with the goal of encouraging and supporting fellow my educators that I created a free Moodle-based online course, “Learning With Gaming for Educators” at http://www.wecanlearnonline.com.

    I would be most grateful if you would share this resource your contacts and networks as you may deem appropriate.

    Sincerely,

    Bill Belsey

    P.S. If you would like some further information about my background with respect to ICT and education, you would be most welcome to visit http://is.gd/chO0U.

  9. Hi Larry. I want to congratulate you for your great work. You not only share very useful information for teachers, but also have solid reasons for including every element in your lists. I want to congratulate you also for creating a teachers’ community to share and learn.

  10. What is the best site(s) for when you only have question-answer or term-definition (flashcard) pairs? I’ve used Quizlet, but it only has a couple of games? I am looking for a solution where I can just copy-paste in questions and answers and have a variety of interesting games games generated from them.

  11. Hi Larry,
    Just found your website. I’m looking forward checking theses interactive sites. I’m a graduate student and I want to enhance my lecture with an engaging activity while testing my audience’s knowledge in a fun way.

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