It's not always easy for teachers to keep kids enthralled with learning these days. The world introduces so many fun and interesting distractions.
While there are some teachers that still turn away from using technology in the classroom, a large majority of educators now realize the value of bringing computers - and sometimes even computer games - into the classroom.
The real secret to success with using games in the classroom is ensuring that the core purpose of the game is to instill lessons. The only problem with even educational games is that teachers can't always determine exactly what those games are teaching the kids.
This is where a new and innovative online service called Zondle
comes in. Zondle is a website where teachers can go to actually create custom games that teach kids with questions and answers integrated into a game environment.
Create Your Zondle
Every Zondle user, from teacher to student, gets to customize their own Zondle character. Choose the color, eye style, hair and hat. When you're done, press start. You'll need to create an account - so kids will need a valid email address that they can use to sign up.
When you first log into your Zondle account, it can feel rather unimpressive. Most of the screen is blank, and there's just a simple search field at the top. This is actually the beauty of Zondle, because this page is a blank slate where all activity and new games will go the more you use the system.
Creating a Topic
The first thing teachers will want to do is get accustomed to the "Create a Topic" feature. This is where you can type in a series of questions and answers that you want your students to learn. Zondle will do the hard work of converting those into games. You can create a game from scratch, but the fastest way to get started with Zondle as a teacher is to choose "create a topic".
New Topic Details
To get started, just choose the name of the topic you want to create. This is basically the title of your questions. So, for example if you're putting together a 10 question game on frog biology, the topic name would be "frog biology." You can make your questions and associated games either completely public, or keep them private for just the students that you invite.
New Topic Details
Adding a series of questions and answers is very easy and rather fun after a while. All you have to do is type the question, fill in the correct answer, and then provide three incorrect answers. The system will show students all four answers and they'll have to choose the correct one. Every time you click "save question", the question will get added to your question list. You can then proceed to add more.
Zondle Creates Customized Games
Once you get started, the Zondle system automatically integrates your questions into as many animated online games as possible. You'll see each of those appear on the right. You can continue adding questions on this page, or you can click to play any of the games to see what your customized game looks like.
The Zondle games are fairly basic games, but the graphics are great and some of the animation and sound effects are fun and interesting enough to hold the attention of young kids. The premise behind the games is to encourage kids to select the right answers in order to have a chance to play a little bit of an arcade-style game. Each correct answer rewards the child with another interactive segment.
For example, in this game, each time the student answers a question correctly, they have an opportunity to race a jeep across some terrain in order to collect different objects and gain points. Once time runs out, it's time for another question.
Zondle Arcade Games
At the main page, when you click on the dropdown icon next to your profile name, you'll see just how easy it is to create and manage a class of students and a teacher.
Zondle Arcade Games
The online system is tailored specifically for classroom work - so it is organized by teacher, class and friends. This makes it easy to find all of the classroom games in one place, and students will not have any problem finding the new lessons you've created.
Zondle seems to be a relatively new online site, so you may find that there isn't a huge abundance of games. However, you will find that there's enough variety to make the site very worthwhile for supplementing your classroom instruction with a level of interactivity and fun that will keep students interested and engaged.
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