Let the games begin

What games to you remember playing in a school setting? Were the games motivation or did they increase stress?

I have both positive and negative memories of playing review games in class. Although I enjoyed the games, it was not motivation to study. I was intrinsically motivated. Many of the negative experiences came from loopholes with games or frustration with the group game process. Playing online games eliminates the ever shifting rules of the game. Once a rule is set, the computer doesn’t care who is answering the question. Correct answers will still be correct, and wrong is still a wrong answer. If I had the chance to create the games, either independently or in a group, I would have been a lot more invested in the game playing process – and overlooked the discomfort of group games.

I have been compiling a list of game creation tools – since games and simulations are the topic for this week’s class, I thought it would be perfect to reflect in this blog post. There is frequent discussion about the use of games in education. There are many studies that show games can increase motivation of students. Luckily for us teachers with little free time, technology makes it easy to create review games about almost any topic. There are traditional crossword puzzles for vocab, dustbin game for categorization of information, the classic jeopardy for knowledge questions, etc.

My criteria for game creation tools – it needs to take less time to create than the students will spend playing it. So using a program like Scratch to create a completely original game is not practical. There are many templates free to use (or for a small yearly fee). Listed below is a collection of game resources I have found. If anyone knows additional game creation tools I would love to know about them. The game key explains what features the website offers for creating, saving, and using the games. There are so many resources out there, that everyone can find a favorite go-to for a quick lesson idea.

You do not need to re-invent the wheel. You just need to write the content that is placed in the wheel.

Last random thought: my technology goal for next year is to have the students involved in the game creation process. Most teachers have enough responsibilities with planning to worry about creating a game for every situation. Many of the tools listed below do not require registration – and some of the tools that do require registration will work with a Facebook login, which many of the students already have. I think the personal investment of having created the game would increase motivation. I have done this on a voluntary basis, and the results normally exceed my expectations.


Game Key

  • link                  able to link directly to the activity
  • <embed>      able to grab embed code
  • options          types of games/review activities
  • free or fee

Byki

  • link
  • <embed>
  • flashcards searchable by topic
  • free flashards; pay for upgrade to Byki deluxe

Classtools

  • link
  • <embed>
  • arcade game generator
  • dustbin game
  • free

Just Crosswords

  • link
  • <embed>
  • crossword puzzle
  • free

MyStudiyo

  • link
  • <embed>
  • multimedia multiple choice quizzes
  • personality quizzes
  • free or fee

ProProfs

  • link
  • <embed>
  • quizzes
  • flashcards
  • brain games
  • polls
  • free

Quia

  • link
  • matching
  • memory
  • battleship
  • millionaire
  • jeopardy
  • yearly fee

Quizlet

  • link
  • Scatter
  • Space Race
  • free

Quiz-Busters

  • link
  • quiz-busters (easy to play/create if you read the directions)
  • free

Study Stack

  • link
  • <embed>
  • timed matching
  • hangman
  • crossword
  • unscramble
  • type in
  • bug match
  • free

Tetris Game Maker

  • save to computer
  • tetris
  • free

What2Learn

  • link
  • <embed>
  • Alien Abduction (hangman)
  • Viking Voyage (Q&A)
  • Zombie Boxing (Q&A)
  • Clownfish Chase (Q&A)
  • Rocketman (Q&A)
  • Downhill Racer (Q&A)
  • Penguins in Peril (Multiple Choice)
  • Space Monkeys (Q&A)
  • Safari Survivial (hangman)
  • Maze Quiz (Multiple Choice)
  • free
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About Lisa Butler

Middle school teacher of Social Studies and Spanish, tech trainer, Flocabulary MC, Nearpod PioNear, and Edcamp Hershey Founder. I have embraced the power of blogging and reviewing products. If I am not doing something with ed or tech, I am probably reading, baking, running, or traveling.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Let the games begin

  1. Catalina says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog post but most importantly I think that you are right about the fear factor that some “classroom” games” can provoke in some students. Having said that, I have to confess I do incorporate some of those games when trying to review vocabulary or a grammar concept. I just never thought of any other alternative.

    The list of games you share in the this blog post is thorough and full of possibilities. I have tried some of those activities with my students but I have never assigned them as a homework (creating a game for the class). That sounds like a good idea!

    How do you do that? Do you let them choose what web 2.0 application to use? Do they work in groups or individually? Do they generally work in class or is this more of a homework assingment? What do you do with the games after they have been created? Do other students get to play them?

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • lgb06 says:

      If I want the students to create the games, I would provide them with a list like this. Each student would have to write the same number of question/answer pairs. However, they could pick the tool they wanted to use. There are some limitations on the games – maximum number of questions, etc – so they might need to divide their number between two games.
      I have only done it once this year, and they worked in pairs to create the questions/answers. However, next year I hope to have more access to computers so each student could create their own. I only gave them one class period to work, anything not finished became homework. They knew ahead of time it would be homework, so they were motivated to get finished on time. They were able to complete it at home even if they worked with a partner because they were working in GoogleDocs and it was shared between both partners and with me.
      Game day is loud, high energy, and rewarding. Students can either submit the link to their game or the embed code. If you had a wiki they had editing rights to, they could embed the game themselves. I was embedding the games or links in Moodle, so they were not able to post it themselves. They were really proud of what they created and enjoyed playing each others games. This is perfect when learning concepts that need non-stop practice (there is no such thing as too much practice for verb conjugations).
      In Moodle I was able to see that many students went home and continued to play some of the games.

      • Catalina says:

        Lisa,

        This morning when I read your post I was very much sold into the idea but now I am hooked. I cannot wait to try this with my students. I really like the way you set things up so that students can develop their games and then have a “Game Day”. What a neat idea!

        My students and I work and collaborate through a Class Ning so this would be perfect! I am really excited and will start planning how to implement it. Thanks again for sharing these resources!

  2. Sherry says:

    Hey Lisa,
    Thanks for the wonderful list of games sites. It’s very helpful for an enrichment project that my students will do at the end of the quarter. I’m sorry I don’t have any to add. I really like Classtools for student generated games. FYI– I was having problems using it with Internet Explorer, but it works very well with Safari & Mozilla.

    • lgb06 says:

      Thanks for the heads up about IE – I always use Firefox, but that could be a problem if I ask students to complete the activities from home and they only have IE. In fact, I’m rather surprised that I have not heard that as an excuse so far for why someone couldn’t do their homework 🙂

      I’m glad you found the list helpful.

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  4. Debbie says:

    Lisa,

    What a great list of resources! It’s a nice mix of games–ones where students can play as a group and others where they can compete against their own best score. That takes the pressure off those who dread getting a bad group. Thanks for sharing.

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