Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Sites For Students To Create & Participate In Online Debates


'Debate Anatel' photo (c) 2010, Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle - license:

I’ve been thinking of having students try to set-up and participate in an online debate that would involve both their classmates and others. It might be a good writing opportunity to prepare them for a persuasive essay, and a way to generate some high-interest reading possibilities as they prepare their positions.

I’ve been exploring what possible sites might be out there students can use. I’m narrowing them down but, since I haven’t actually had them do this activity yet, I can’t say positively which one is best. But I thought I’d share the conclusions I’ve reached after my initial experiments, and invite readers to share their experiences with these sites and others.

So, given that caveat, here are my choices for The Best Sites For Students To Create & Participate In Online Debates:

I like Create Debate a lot. One of its key advantages is that it appears to allow the creator of the debate to moderate the discussion. I’m imagining that a student can create the debate and that I then add it to the site under my name and within the initial prompt indicate which student started it. Then, they and others can contribute, but I can check regularly and delete any inappropriate comments made by others.

Opposing Views highlights key questions (political, scientific, etc). It then, in a fairly succinct “bullet” format, has an “expert” share pro and con arguments. Users of the site can also leave their own comments.  The language and lay-out of the site is fairly accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.  After reading the arguments, users can easily leave their own comments on the issue.

Procon is not a site to participate in debates but, instead, offers what seems to be very well-researched pro and con positions on multiple controversial issues. It could serve as a good model for students to use as they craft their own positions.

Debategraph is in a category all its own. It looks like a cool way to visualize arguments, but I can’t quite figure it out.



Kialo is a simple online debate site.

Explore Oxplore is a post by Eva Buyuksimkesyan about a pretty interesting site from Oxford University called…Oxplore.

Additional suggestions and feedback are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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


  1. Larry,

    Thanks for the post. My class is starting a persuasive writing project on Monday, so I’m looking forward to checking these resources.

    I checked out Procon a few weeks back. I agree, it can serve as a useful model for students. I’m leaning towards not using it, as I’m concerned the vocabulary is just too inaccessible for my sixth graders.


  2. Hi Larry, Thank you for introducing CreateDebate to your readers. Teacher interested in using CreateDebate in the classroom can set up their own debate community for free. More information can be found here:

  3. Great list
    check out Lettuce Debate – Let Us, The People, Debate

  4. Hey, another newer site is Edeb8 is more suited to formal debates than simply general discussions, with strong moderation and a variety of collaboration features (like teams and groups) not found on other debate sites – a private group for a classroom would be useful for teachers and students. Edeb8 has a very active developer too, who always listens to community requests for new features and gets them implemented quickly, usually within a matter of days if they’re useful. The entire platform is free and has no advertising.

  5. Hi! You might also want to check out ! Can be used for formal, casual, private or public debates and would be great for educational institutions, students and educators.

    Its free to create an account.. and as I mentioned, you can share it to the world, or keep it between whoever you choose to share it with. Its also paired with an educational site for teachers:

  6. I have used many debates website and found them appropriate but recently I came across http://Campaign.Rocks and found it very interesting.

    It has a very beautiful and ergonomic UI design and I like the way the ‘VS’ side by side works.
    What is more important feature I could see on is the ability to vote and comment realtime.

    Why not give it a try ?

  7. Many Debate websites are outdated and cluttered. For a well organized website I recommend

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar