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The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 – Part Two



Time for another annual”The Best…” list….

This covers new games since I posted The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 — So Far six months ago.

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 2013. So they might have been around prior to this time, but I’m still counting them in this year’s list.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2012 — So Far

The Best Online Learning Games — 2011

The Best Online Learning Games — 2010

The Best Online Learning Games — 2009

The Best Online Learning Games — 2008

The Best Online Learning Games — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 — Part Two:

The Smithsonian Science Education has just launched an online learning game site.  They only have one up-and-running, called Shutter Bugs, but they list more to come.  Shutter Bugs is an excellent game for Beginning English Language Learners to learn the names of animals, along with different verbs. It could also be used for very young native English speakers.


World Geography Games has quite a few games about…world geography. I’m adding it to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

Inca Investigation is from The American Museum of Natural History. Students can play to learn about the…Incas.

The China Game is about…China. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About China.

Plan It Green Live
is a game from National Geographic that challenges you to build an environmentally-friendly city.

Broken Picture Telephone is an online “take-off” on the old game of “Telephone” (where one person whispers to another and so on — a favorite game of ESL teachers to promote speaking practice. It had been taken off-line three years ago, but just came back.

I’m just going to quote from Jay is Games to describe how the online game works:

Someone writes out a phrase (essentially an idea for a drawing), and someone else has to draw it. Then someone else looks at that drawing and describes what they think is happening in it, and someone else uses that description to draw their picture… and so on… and so on… and so on! You won’t know what the other submissions or original objective was until you’re done.

All players have to register (which is quick and easy), and then you can start a game that is “private” so only invited players can participate. Unfortunately, I’d lay odds that it’s likely to be blocked by many school Internet content filters, but maybe not…

Earth-Picker is a new online geography games that’s somewhat similar to other ones using Google Street View that can be found on The Best Online Geography Games list.

You’re shown a location and have to identify on a map where you think it is in the world. You’re told how close you are, and how your guess compares to the ones made by other players.

Lifesaver is an online video game designed to help you learn CPR through the “choose your own adventure” game genre.

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.

GR8CTZ — Great Cities of the World challenges you to guess which cities you’re seeing in Google Street View. It has different difficulty levels.

LocateStreet is a similar game using Street View. One nice feature is that it offers clues.

Feedback is welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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


  1. Would this qualify Larry?

  2. The best online game for learning vocabulary is the ‘Lex Flashcard Game for Quizlet’ – use your own Quizlet lists in this excellent free online language-learning game which is more engaging and challenging than the standard multiple-choice activities on offer. The game is also available as a free app for iPhone and Android.
    Try online here:


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