Time for another mid-year ”The Best…” list.
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.
* be seen by me during the first six months of 2018. 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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Here are my choices for The Best Online Learning Games Of 2018- So Far:
Be George Washington: It’s Your Turn To Lead is a new online choose-your-own-adventure game from Mount Vernon. Players can choose various well-know scenarios where Washington had to deal with crises. Be aware that the introductions to each of those scenarios is probably a bit longer than it has to be, but they are still engaging. It can be a one-player game, or a “private” game can easily be set up just for your students. I’m adding it to The Best Online Games Students Can Play In Private Virtual “Rooms” and to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories.
Google launched a a word game called Semantris. Basically, your shown a bunch of words in blocks. Then, you type in a word that you think is related in some sense to one of the words in the boxes. Google’s Artificial Intelligence then tries to guess which word the one you typed in is connected to and, if it’s correct, the blocks get higher. I’m not saying it’s the best word game in the world, but I think Intermediate and Advanced ELLs would find it useful and fun.
Free Rice, the venerable online vocabulary game that is operated by the United Nations World Food Programme (and has been on The Best “Cause-Related” Online Learning Games forever) now lets teachers create virtual classroom and track student progress. To be fair, it may have had this feature for a very long time, but I just learned about it. I’m adding this info to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.
Choose Your Own Adventure games often have to be careful balancing respecting the experiences of those who are being simulated and portraying it sensitively with a social conscious. The Waiting Game, produced by ProPublica, works hard at doing the latter in simulating the experience faced by those seeking asylum in the United States. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories and to The Best Sites For Learning About World Refugee Day.
Fake It To Make It is an online game about fake news. I’m adding it to The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More.
As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of iCivics, the popular learning games site begun by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. I’ve thought that many (but not all) of their games have been overly-complicated, and they really put their foot in it with a horribly-done one on immigration (see Sandra Day O’Connor’s Site To Change Immigration Game Because Of Your Comments). Last year, however, they began to make some very positive changes (see iCivics Steps Up Its Game Big Time With Free Virtual Classrooms & Primary Source Interactive). They’ve followed those moves with another good one that is highlighted in today’s Washington Post: Spanish-language video game aims to teach students about civil rights. Yes, they’ve produced a Spanish and an English version of the same game, Do I Have A Right?
Game On! is a Quizziz/Kahoot-like game that is primarily, though not exclusively, focused on Geography. I learned about it from the Teacher’s Tech Toolbox. I was having some issues with it when I tried it out, but I assume it was just a temporary glitch. I’m adding it to The Best Online Geography Games.
GameBuilder lets you create lots of different types of learning games – see the screenshot above to see the options. Once you create it, anyone with its url address can play. The site also has a large collection of games created by its users. The site is sponsored by Wisc-Online, which “is a creation of Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges and maintained by Fox Valley Technical College.” And it’s free! I’m adding this site to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games.
Aquation is a game unveiled by the Smithsonian. Here’s how they describe it:
Choice, strategy, balance, and . . . water equity? Parts of the planet are struggling to get enough water. Use each region’s wealth to build pipes, desalinate water, and conduct research to bring water where it’s needed most. Monsoons, dry spells, disease, and even cursed lawn sprinklers can help or hinder your progress. Manage your wealth and water carefully to solve the world’s water crisis!
It’s probably not accessible to Advanced ELLs and proficient-English speakers, but it’s a useful game, nevertheless. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About World Water Day.