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.
… 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:
•Fill in the texts
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.
Links to all these sites can also be found on my webpages.
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