Friday, November 26, 2010

Seven Ways to Build Your Own Educational Games

There are hundreds of places to find educational games and quizzes on the Internet. That said, sometimes you still cannot find quite what you're looking for. In those cases you're better off creating your own games. Here are seven good tools you and your students can use for creating games.

Sharendipity makes it possible for students and teachers to quickly create and share simple video games. Sharendipity's drag and drop creation tools can be used to create a game in as few as four steps. For new Sharendipity users the tutorials provide clear directions and helpful game ideas. Games created on Sharendipity can be embedded in your blog or website. Now offline. is a free service teachers can use to create their own educational games. Games made on can be shared via email or embedded into a blog or website. (Yet another reason for having a class website or blog). provides fifteen easy to use templates with which teachers can make educational games for their students. There are also pre-made games on which teachers will find useful.

Purpose Games is a free service that allows users to create custom games, share games, and play games. There are two styles of games that you can create and play on Purpose Games. The simpler of the two styles is a fairly basic multiple choice game. The other style uses images and maps on which players have to name the places represented by placemarks on the image or map. For an example, try this game about the skeletal system. Purpose Games gives game creators the option to make their games public or private. If you select the private option, only the people to whom you send invitations will be able to play your game.

What 2 Learn is a website offering more than two thousand educational games for middle school and high school age students. If that library doesn't have what they're looking for, teachers can create custom games using twelve different templates provided by What 2 Learn. What 2 Learn also offers teachers the option to monitor their students' scores. What 2 Learn is a European based website so some of the games, particularly the math games where money is expressed as Euros and Pounds, may not be appropriate for US students. Aside from that most games are appropriate for use with US students.

YoYo Games hosts hundreds of relatively simple online games created by amateur and professional game developers. That's not why I'm pointing it out to you. I'm pointing it out because YoYo Games offers a free (for PC) game development tool called Game Maker 8. Game Maker 8 enables users to develop simple video games using a drag and drop editor. Game Maker 8 gives users the ability to customize backgrounds and actions throughout their games. For the first-time user YoYo Games offers a series of free Game Maker 8 tutorials

Jeopardy Labs is a free service you can use to create your own online Jeopardy game. Jeopardy Labs provides a blank template on which to build your game. You do not need to register in order to build your own game. However, if you want to be able to edit your game at a later point you will want to create a password before you create your game. When completed your game is given its one unique url. Post that url on your blog, wiki, or website and anyone can then play your game.

ProProfs Brain Games allows you to build interactive crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word searches, hangman games, and sliding puzzle games. The games you create can be embedded into your blog or shared via email, Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace. If you don't want to take the time to create your own game, you can browse the gallery of games. All of the games in gallery can be embedded into your blog.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
35+ Educational Games
25 More Educational Games
32 Puzzles and Logic Games

New Ways to Share Your Favorite Posts

I don't know why I've waited so long to do this, but I've finally added an Add This sharing widget to every post on Free Technology for Teachers. This mean that you can now share posts with your friends and colleagues with just a click or two. You can share posts to Twitter, Facebook, and your favorite social bookmarking sites. You can also email and print posts from the Add This widget embedded at the end of every post. Try it now on one of your favorite posts.

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Free Technology for Teachers is also on Facebook and you can "like" it here.

There's also an RSS feed for Free Technology for Teachers that you can grab here.

Finally, if you want to see what I'm sharing outside of this blog you can follow me on Twitter.

One Click Navigation in Street View

Google Street View has recently become easier to navigate. Until recently, moving from place to place in Street View required double-clicking. Now a single click moves you from place to place in Street View. Just click on the square (what Google calls a pancake) of the next place you want to see and you're taken there.

Applications for Education
This enhancement to Street View might not seem like much to a lot of users, but for those who have tried to use Street View with younger students who have trouble with double-clicking, this is a nice enhancement.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Trip Line - Create Travel Maps
Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms

Mark Your Calendars for Google Webinars

If you're interested in learning more about using Google Apps in the classroom, next month Google is hosting two webinars that you might be interested in attending. On December 7 Google is hosting a webinar titled Taking the Core Features of Google Apps to the Next Level. This webinar, designed for intermediate users of Google Apps, will explore tips and tricks for Docs, Search, Forms, Sites, and Calendars.

On December 21, Google is hosting a webinar titled The Collaborative STEM Classroom. That webinar will demonstrate five STEM projects that incorporate Google Apps. You can get preview of that webinar by exploring the companion website STEM Collaboration in the Cloud.