I am very keen to work with software developers in school – this has a huge benefit for both parties. The children get to met/talk/work with real life programmers, coders and artists and for the company they get invaluable market research. On Monday afternoon the team from Education Games Network, who run Wordia.com, spent the afternoon with my Year 5 class.
Wordia was launched a few years ago as a ‘living video dictionary’ (Wordia encourages users to explore the connotation of a word, on video and upload it next to the dictionary denotation). They combine games with words – for children to improve spelling, vocabulary and keyboard skills.
Teachers can sign up and then are able to upload a class list – the site then generates user names and log ins which you are able to hand out to your pupils.
On the home page are a collection of both single player and multiplayer games that have already been collected by those playing in the Wordia community. However, where I feel it comes into its own is that teachers can create their own games based on spelling lists and topic banks that they are using in class. These can then be set just for your class by issuing a unique url and a playcode that you can give to your class – or can be tagged and once approved, can be made public.
As well as building up the vocabulary it also enables the children to practice and refine their keyboard skills. . There are also videos on the site that define words as well – something that can for example be embedded in a blog and used as a word of the week within schools.
My class had not seen the site before deliberately as we wanted to see their initial reactions to it and how they thought it could be improved. They started by playing the single player games on the home page created by other schools. Three topics were showcased: environmental words, geographical topics and America History – obviously the first two proved more interesting than the third! We moved on then to multiplayer games and the children really enjoyed the platform game – although they said that the controls were a little tricky.
They then moved on to create their own games with their own word lists relating to our current topic – which they could then all play – access through the dashboard, as class members are able to see other class members games as well as the class teacher being able to log in and see who is playing and creating. Teachers also have a dashboard that tracks a class, and pupil’s progress when they play each game.
During feedback the children said they would like to be able to play around with the characters and the backgrounds of the games more to personlise it for their games and also came up with a lot of suggestions of other games that they would like to see. When asked 90% of the class said they would use it at home and would help them learn their weekly spellings if we uploaded these each week for them to do at home. This was great to hear as a class, they are used to using games to help them.
As a teacher for me this is a great site to set up and set games and word lists for the class – also for them as a revision tool it is a great for them to compile lists of topic words across the curriculum. The video definitions also enable them to learn the meaning of any words they are unsure of. Games that are public are tagged with topic and age ranges from 7 – 14 – we will be using this now within the class and will continue to monitor feedback from the class.
Wordia on PhotoPeach
We already use a lot of ‘maths’ based games within class, but this site I feel starts to look at spellings and words, and I know that in development is a tool that would enbale children to have a vocabulary ‘age’. To get started go to www. wordia.com to sign up. It would be great to hear what you think.