I’ve been reading a lot lately about GWAP (Games With A Purpose). It’s been developed by Carnegie Mellon University, and the site has several games that are designed in some way to help computers become smarter at identifying things like images and music.
The games themselves are quite intriguing. Out of all the places I’ve been reading about GWAP, the post from the SEGA Tech blog seems to be the most concise and informative, so I’d encourage you to read their descriptions of the activities.
All the games would be accessible to English Language Learners. Players are connected to anonymous partners, and that’s where its usefulness as a language development tool suffers. It would be so much more effective educationally (and more fun) if students could choose their own partners. Connecting an English Language Learner with someone who is probably not an ELLer (plus who won’t know that they are partnered with one) could create frustration.
I’ve emailed the site to see if they anticipate developing the ability for players to choose whom they want to play with, but haven’t heard back yet. I don’t think I’ll place a link to the GWAP on my website until that feature is added — unless I can be convinced of its usefulness in the ELL classroom as it is.