Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

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ESL Video Games
By:Tasos Vossos

English as a second language video games are interactive applications specifically designed to help beginners or advanced students with their English language studies. They are simple flash-based programs easy to find online and can be a fun way for students to test their knowledge and evaluate their progress. However, a simple Internet research is not enough to spot them, as you may easily confuse their websites with pages describing the importance of mainstream video games for ESL students.

Importance
Fun interactive applications give students the opportunity to put skills you taught them to the test and see if they can put theory into practice. Especially when the classroom's equipment allows each student to have their own computer, teachers evaluate the progress of every single student. When you cannot provide a computer for each student, assign groups to help students cooperate to beat the game, with skilled players helping weaker members of the team.

Contents
Video games assisting students of English as a second language are simple online applications utilizing flash technology for the creation of interactive environments. The game play of such games vary, from finding objects corresponding to a word list to answering simple vocabulary questions and writing the English alphabet. The graphics are not sophisticated, but designers have included pleasant themes, such as pirates, sports, Christmas and even virtual classrooms.

Online Games
Online ESL video games are available at a number of websites. ESL Kids World has the largest library of flash-based ESL vocabulary games, with each title specializing in specific topics, such as colors, days of the week, clothes and animals. Rong-Chang provides links to websites with ESL activities, including video games, while Mark's English School offers flash games with attractive sports and holiday themes. In addition, find a selection of games to practice on vocabulary, speaking and phonics at Barry Fun English.

Game Differences
A number of online sources, including the Internet TESL Journal and Tech and Learning sites, stress the benefits of ordinary video games for ESL students. The ITESLJ in particular refers to role-playing games containing many cut scenes and on-screen instructions to players as an opportunity for exposure to written and spoken English. However, a major difference between such games and ESL video games is that the latter are specifically designed for ESL learners, to be a part of an English language classroom or a student's homework.





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