I don’t think that Spelling Bees are particularly healthy or educational for kids. However, there is a brand-new free online version of one called Big IQ Bee that I think could be somewhat useful to English Language Learners.
Students have to register, which is very easy to do. Then they determine their difficulty level. Words are spoken in a computer-generated voice, and are also used in a sentence. Players then spell the word.
Players are rated in some kind of leader board, but they’re not actually playing against others in real-time.
I can certainly see my students liking to play it now and then though, for spelling skills, the game Spelling City is the best one out there. I rated it number two on The Best Online Learning Games — 2008.
I’m adding the link to my website under Spelling.
You may also be interested in the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee at http://www.visualthesaurus.com/bee .
It’s a free online spelling bee that automatically adapts to your spelling ability. It remembers which words you got right and wrong and quizzes you periodically on words at your spelling level that you spelled incorrectly in the past.
Also, it uses words read by voice actors (instead of computer generated speech), which is nice.