June 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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, though there is one on this list that doesn’t quite meet this particular criteria.
* be seen by me during 2016. 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 2015 – So Far
The Best Online Learning Games Of 2014
The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games
The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 – Part Two
The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 — So Far
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 2016- So Far:
Disaster Detector is an online interactive game from the Smithsonian that looks like it would be an excellent game for students to play who are learning about natural disasters, and it seems surprisingly accessible to English Language Learners. Players have to plan what they think would be the most effective defenses for a community facing various natural disasters and then see how effective they are when the hurricane, earthquake, etc. hits.
Google Feud and PhotoBomber would be fun games to play with English Language Learners. In the first one, you’re given a phrase and have to guess the ten most likely words to complete it in a Google search. The downside, however, is that it’s possible you might end up with something inappropriate. The second one is a sister site. It would work for advanced ELLs – you’re given a combination of pictures and words and have to guess the common expression it represents.
Earth-Picker is a new online geography game that works similar to a number of other games on The Best Online Geography Games.
Saints and Sinners is a new National Geographic game where players role-play being a Pilgrim. It’s has some elements of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game, along with other “role-playing” features.
Triventy is an online learning quiz-game site I recently learned about through Teacher’s Tech Toolbox. It’s very similar to several other games on The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games list (especially Quizalize and Quizizz ) — students play an online quiz together, and a “leaderboard” is shown after each question is answered (I talk about the benefits and challenges of this kind of feature at the “Best” post). As with those other sites, you can create your own quiz or use one that has already been made.
Fantasy GeoPolitics has potential has an online game for Social Studies classes.
Mission US has created several “choose your own adventure” games related to U.S. History. I thought its first one, about the American Revolutionary War, was quite good. However, they seemed to lose their way with subsequent insensitive ones on slavery and Native Americans (seeThoughtful & Important Critique Of Slave Simulation Game).
This year, they unveiled their latest one, called City Of Immigrants. It seems, at least to me, that they might have taken some of the criticism they received to heart and it seems okay (let me know if you disagree).
Here’s how one reviewer describes it:
It is 1907. You are Lena Brodsky, a 14-year-old Jewish Immigrant from Russia. In your hometown of Minsk, the forces of the Tsar have pushed your family off their lands, and the violence of the pogroms looms large. Your brother Issac was the first to cross the Atlantic to seek a new life in the land of America, and you have followed in turn: a fourteen day trip across the entire world. You hope that you will prove yourself worthy of entering America. You hope that you can earn enough to send for your mother and father. You hope for a better future. There will be many obstacles in America, and many choices to be made. But it is, they say, the land of opportunity…