This is the first of several year-end “The Best…” lists I’m writing.

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 2008. So they might have been around prior to this time, but I’m still counting them in this year’s list.

It’s quite a diverse collection. So if you have your student participate in the voting they might, or might not, want to try out all of them. Less than a handful require registration, but those that do make it very easy.

Here are my choices for The Best Online Learning Games — 2008:

Number eighteen is What 2 Learn . It has a variety of templates, and a fairly easy process, that teachers and students can use to create and play learning games.


Number fourteen is Electrocity, an award-winning game where players can create their own cities and see the environmental consequences of their design decisions.

Number thirteen is the Sea Monster Game, again from the BBC. It takes you to ancient seas to meet predators from the past. It’s a little complicated, but Intermediate English Language Learners should be able to have some fun and learn while playing it.

Number twelve is Sim Sweatshop, where the player simulates being a worker in an overseas sweatshop producing sneakers for the American consumer. This game, as some others I’ve posted about, fall into the category of “simulations.” These are basically role-playing games. It’s a good language-development activity and also an excellent tool to help teach about economics and justice.

Number eleven is Questionaut, an online video game from the BBC where players have to answer questions related to English, Science and Math. As you answer the questions correctly, a little “questionaut” in a balloon gets to continue on his journey.

Number two is an excellent new site called Spelling City . You can use sample lists on the site, or you can develop your own lists of words to learn. The site will convert the lists into different stages — learn, play, test. It provides audio support as well as text. One of the exceptional features of the site is that it teaches the words in the context of an audio sentence instead of in isolation. I’m continually amazed at technology — the site came up with appropriate sentences for all the words on the list I came up with.

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