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.

You might also be interested in:

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 2011 — So Far:

R U Revising is new from the BBC and lets you answer your choice of English, Math, or Science questions. It has separate links to versions for each subject, so the link here is to the main game page. It’s particularly nice for English Language Learners because it provides audio support for the text.

Bitesize Bingo is another game from BBC Schools. It’s played like…bingo, and you can choose questions from pretty much any subject. It provides a short explanation, and then the question you have to answer refers back to it. It’s particularly accessible to English Language Learners since audio support is provided for the explanation, the questions, and the multiple choice answers.

Play The News, a current events game where users play roles and make predictions, was the number-one ranking game in The Best Online Learning Games — 2008. Unfortunately, it’s been dormant for quite awhile — until now. They have just relaunched the platform in conjunction with University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute. You can register and play it here.

Zondle is a pretty darn impressive for online learning games. It has tons of content in different subjects, and, if you can’t find what you need, it’s easy to just add your own. The ingenious part is that once you pick the topic you study, you have the option of studying the info in forty different games! Plus, teachers can create their own virtual classroom and track student progress. And, it’s free.

QuizBreak! lets teachers easily create Jeopardy-like games for free that will be hosted online. What makes it really top-notch is that you can add images, video and audio to the questions, too. It’s one of several excellent and free online apps that is made available to teachers by The Center For Language Education and Research at Michigan State University (CLEAR). They have been included on several previous “The Best…” lists.

This one may not qualify as a game but it’s fun: “Twist Our Words” is a game from Channel 4 in Great Britain where you can first click on a selection of words to make a sentence. Then, a British “celebrity” will be shown speaking the words you chose. It now also lets you add your own “custom” word.

Cast Your Vote is an interactive game on the iCivics site. There are a lot of interactives there, but I think most of them are overly-complicated — even for native English speakers. “Cast Your Vote,” though, puts you in the role of a person at a political debate asking questions and evaluating the answers of the people running for office. It’s pretty good and useful.

Spelling City is already on several of my “The Best…” lists for learning games, and it’s now gotten even better — and changed it’s name. It’s now called called “Vocabulary and Spelling City” and has added quite a few new games, including ones using “sentence scrambles.” If you haven’t visited in awhile, I’d encourage you to do so now.

Mission US is a new site that will be providing interactive games to help students learn about United States history. It’s funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment For The Humanities. Right now, it just has a couple of interactives online. It’s main one, For Crown Or Colony, is a very well designed “choose your own adventure” game (you have to register in order to play). The site also has a lot of supporting materials for teachers.

Feedback is welcome.

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