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Top 5 favorite online language games

gaming-abcsNow and then, I post on my twitter @ddeubel , some "tired teacher tips". Things that a teacher can just put up on a screen with a click and get students learning/producing English.

I'll post another time about these (the hashtag is #tttips) but I want to share something similar. My 5 top online games for students. These can also be used by "tired" teachers however the point or hope is that students will find these so engaging that they'll want to keep playing at home. So I'm not going to list "learning" games like quizzes, matching etc... (I'll do that another time). Just games that are truly beyond the classroom and "learning English".

So here it goes .....

#1 Draw My Thing. Hours of "live" fun where you play pictionary online. It is full of contextualized language as competitors try to come up with the right answer. Don't expect many second language learners to win but I can guarantee they'll get addicted (and their English will improve).

#2 Montage a Google. An oldie but still a goldie. Grant's game is a real classic and it also focuses on great contextual learning with photos. Students must guess the google search term for a series of 16 photos. Absorbing and great for vocabulary practice.

#3 Key Mamba. This is a new one (and what sparked this post). It is super for practicing root words / compound words. It almost borders into a "learning" game but I think doesn't cross the line of being academic oriented. You get 10 word parts and must guess the common word before the timer runs down. Really good for academic English students.

#4 The Tipping Point. I'm not a huge fan of point and click games for language learning (many teachers are). However, this one has handy walkthroughs for the student to reference so they can actually go back and repeat the steps. Plus, the graphics/sounds can't be beat!

#5 The Subservient Chicken. Okay, it's Burger King and it's only a chicken. However, there isn't any more fun or great language prompting than making the chicken do what you want. Absorbing....

Honorable mentions: Akinator / Alice the chatterbot , Deal or No Deal

I've made it a kind of obsessive quest to catalog games on EFL Classroom. Use our GAMES page for a start. But also, the ARCADE and the GOAL GAMES.  Others there too, just browse around.

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Tags: games, gaming, list, top5, top5games, websites


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Comment by Daniel Kinrys on March 6, 2013 at 1:40am

Awesome, thanks for sharing! I'm going to check these out. :)


Supporter
Comment by Daniel Kinrys on March 10, 2013 at 6:23am

That Key Maba is tricky... I couldn't get many of them (and if I did, it was usually when the pot was down to a measly 200 points). But a good way to see how compound words are formed.

I also made it through The Tipping Point... too bad it doesn't seem like a chapter 5 is forthcoming! I was really starting to get into the story. I'm curious why, unlike some teachers, you're not a fan of point and click games for language learners. With all of the audio instructions in chapter 1, though, I can see how it would be good for a little listening practice.


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Comment by ddeubel on March 10, 2013 at 1:00pm

Yeah, it really is all about cognitive training - Key Mamba. The more you do it, the better you get at seeing associations and connections. Kind of like how at first crosswords are so hard but after awhile you start to "think crossword" - but definitely for high level academic students.... 

I think click and point games first of all are not done too well - the exceptions are great to use and if they include audio like you suggest, really super.  But too often with these games, students aren't patient and just keep clicking around and are distracted from the learning. Teachers can set them up for success (Larry Ferlazzo has used them extensively at his High school and you can probably google a reference or two) but it takes a lot of work by the teacher. You have to prepare the walkthroughs, documents etc....    But with materials in general - there is nothing carte blanche "bad" IMHO - that's what makes teaching/delivery the crucial factor in all class learning. 

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