I usually just do a year-end list on learning games and many other topics, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one. But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…
As usual, In order to make it on this list, games had to:
* be accessible to English Language Learners.
* provide exceptionally engaging content.
* not provide access to other non-educational games on their site, though there is one on this list that doesn’t quite meet this particular criteria.
* be seen by me during 2011. So they might have been around prior to this time, but I’m still counting them in this year’s list.
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Unfortunately, it’s been pretty slim pickings so far for good new learning games. I hope the second half of 2012 is more fruitful. Nevertheless, here are my choices for The Best Online Learning Games Of 2012— So Far:
As regular readers know, I’m a big fan on online Choose Your Own Adventure stories — both having students read and create them (seeThe Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories). And, even though I list several options in that list on how to write them, there has never really been a super simple way to do so. Until now. The new free web tool Inklewriter is, without a doubt, the easiest way to write a choose your own adventure story. It would be nice, though, if they provided a simple pre-planning outline tool. You can read more about it at Gamasutra, New, free tools allow any novice to make an accessible text adventure.
I’ve previous posted about “Turn-O-Phrase,” a game where you are shown images that give hints to common English phrases, and you need to identify that words that would go along with them. You can also get hints. I had two concerns about the game, though — one, in order to play it, you had to login with a Facebook or Twitter account (and that was going to rule out having students play it at schools where those sites were blocked) and, two, users weren’t able to create their phrases and turn them into games. Well, Ilya Bagrak, the site’s creator, has responded to both of those concerns. Users can now create an account only using their email, and players can also create their own phrases. Creation couldn’t be made easier — think of a phrase, type the words in, representative images automatically appear, and pick which ones you want as clues — you’re done!
Flight To Freedom is a new online game about the Underground Railroad. You have to register to play (it’s easy to do so), and it’s designed in the “choose your own adventure” genre. It’s part of Mission US, which is funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment For The Humanities.
Sushi Spell is a fun little game from the British Council. Thanks to Stephen Trinder for the tip.
Lou Lahan has created a very nice tutorial for his students on how to create an online Choose Your Own Adventure game with Google Forms.
Feedback is welcome.