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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Purpose Games

One of the many challenges that teachers face is finding the right tool for the job. What I found is that there were usually way too many resources and I never knew where to start. Sorting through website and website can be daunting, frustrating, and too time consuming. All that said when you find the right tool for the job it's like you got an A on your own test. As a geography teacher I was always looking for a fun way to do place name geography. Most of my students didn't jump for joy when we were doing place name geography (learning where places are on the map). I am firm believer that you can't really talk about a place if you don't know where it is, so I found place name geography essential. Over the years I used tools like Google Earth, Seterra, among multitudes of online map games. All had there place, but none of them were ever THE tool I was looking for; then I found purpose games.

Here is what I like about purpose games:

It's FREE! You create your own account and students can create their own as well.

It's not just geography games, it has games for every subject area

There is a TON of material already created in purpose games. One of the problems I have found with similar sites is that I would have to spend a lot of time creating content as a new member. Not so with purpose games, there is already a lot content available. For instance if I search for Europe this is the screen that comes up:

You can see that I have a lot of options(4873 to be exact) You can sort through the games, not all are going to be what you want, but you can always find some that will work.

It is easy to add your own material. All you need to do is to go into your profile shown here

In the upper right hand corner when click on quick options it gives you the following options:

Click "Create a game" and then you will have the option to use their templates or to add your own. You also have the option between choosing between creating a quiz with dots, shapes, or multiple choice. You decide what you want from there and create away.

You can set up groups and have your students compete in challenges: One of my favorite features in purpose games is the ability to create your own group and then set up a tournament in which they could compete against one another. By using the quick action drop down in your profile (same pic up above) You can begin to set up your group. Note: before you can add anyone to your group they need their own account. There are a few ways you can do this, you can set up a public, private, or invite only group. This is what the screen looks like:

If you choose public, anyone can join the group, that probably isn't ideal for what you want to do as a teacher. You can make it private and then your students can search for the group and apply to join. All you do is go to the member management page and accept them into the group. Invite only is not a good option either because you would have to have the username for each student and add them individually. Best to have the students search for your group and then apply for membership.

You can have multiple games with each tournament: You can set up a tournament and add up to 100 games to it. After you name the tournament and add a description you can begin to add games. This is where purpose games is clunky. You can search for games but it will only show the top 60 games in each topic. This is fine if you just want to add a game that comes up in the search, but if you have your own it is not ideal. Instead of putting up a screenshot for this part I have made a quick video.

Each game keeps statistics. This is what keeps the students coming back for more. They will play for hours to move up the charts. If you have a tournament with multiple games it will show the scores for all the games and how you are doing in each one.

It is fun and students love to play! My students really enjoyed playing and loved to compete against one another. In the end they learned all the place names without even realizing it. Not sure there is a better way.

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