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Teach. Play. Learn.

Let’s talk games. Not Gaming. A little interactivity in your online course to break up the monotony of lecture, video, discussion board, paper, and quiz. Nothing too threatening, too disruptive, too time-consuming. But fun. And different. And doable.

In past posts, I’ve talked about my Games in the Curriculum Scoop-it site where I’ve curated games that you can incorporate into your curriculum (and in an upcoming article, I’ll be highlighting some new games). Today, I’m going to talk about making your own low-tech games. Many folks would actually call these “study aids” as a built-in narrative doesn’t exist; however, jeopardy is a game, a crossword puzzle is a game, a word search is a game, and there is nothing better than a little competition using flashcards! In my former life as a K-8 teacher, I remember the joy on a student’s face when she “beat” me with her division facts or when students were able to keep their families alive for four growing seasons in Ayiti, The Cost of Life.

The following sites are easy to use and many provide embeddable code to place into your course:

Purpose Games

This site is free with over 150,000 members creating over 70,000 games. Registered users can create playlists and host class tournaments complete with leaderboards. The only downside is that these games are not embeddable.

Purpose Games screenshot



Quizlet is my go-to site for finding or creating quick mini-games. With six different study modes, including a space race game and flashcards, students can reinforce key course concepts quickly. Quizlet is the #2 app in the free Education category of the app store. I set up a free account on the website, create my materials, and then embed them in my course.

Word Puzzle


I love this site; it’s easy to use and share and new templates are constantly being added. The new Facebook and Twitter templates make it incredibly easy to create and embed activities into your course that have the look and feel of social media.

Class Tools

Jeopardy Labs

This jeopardy generator by Washington State University student Matt Johnson is super easy to use. Share your creation on social media, embed it in your course, or save is as an HTML file for offline use.

Jeopardy Media


This may quickly become my favorite game generator as the activities are embeddable, are HTML 5, and can be integrated into a learning management system gradebook. Activities include riddles, crosswords, word search puzzles, and audio dialogues.


Crossword Labs

Also built by Matt Johnson, this crossword generator can be shared on social media, completed online, and printed as a PDF. Unfortunately, it does not produce embeddable content.


Zondle is a games-based learning web and mobile platform grounded in neuroscience that allows instructors to create embeddable games. The company is in its infancy and was a LAUNCHedu K-12 finalist at SXSW 2013. I like the variety of game templates and question types; however, it does take a few minutes to learn the system and create your first game.

Say goodbye to text-based online courses and take advantage of some of these fun, interactive programs!