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Review by Caryn Lix, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2014


Find or create simple games that add some variety to content review

Subjects & skills
  • Creativity
  • Character & SEL

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (6 Reviews)

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Pros: Kids will appreciate the break these games offer from the tedium of practice.

Cons: The games are pretty basic, offering just a light wrapper on traditional question-and-answer style structure.

Bottom Line: It won't transform anyone's teaching, but it offers a fun change of pace for review/practice and a nice starting point for teachers looking to experiment with game-based learning as creators and consumers.

Many teachers use Zondle as a reward for students who finish early. It also has a lot of potential as a homework review tool -- students are more likely to actively log on and play games with friends than they are to complete a worksheet or do flashcards in the evening. Zondle does try to offer a lot of support to teachers, and there are some whole-class games and activities, as well as some purchasable extras to help students focus on particular topics.

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Editor's Note: Zondle closed on May 1, 2016.

Zondle is a place teachers can go to find, create, and share games focused on classroom content. Teachers set up their classes and assign topics (basically content to be covered) and questions to each student. These topics/questions can be created from scratch or borrowed from what has already been created. When students log in, they can choose from their topics and then pick from a selection of games to play that "teach" these topics. These games are very simplistic templates, and the questions teachers add tend to layer in the learning. For example, players might see a multiple-choice question at the top of the screen and have to gobble up the worm displaying the correct answer. Other games devolve into the chocolate-covered broccoli approach where learning isn't even integrated into the game itself; instead, students answer a question then play a game as a reward.

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While the games on Zondle aren't very good representations of what games for learning can do, they'll offer something different than worksheets. It's helpful that teachers can tweak content, adding their own questions to personalize the experience to each student. And there's a huge variety of subjects available, so teachers likely won't have any trouble finding the information they want to review. Still, it's hard to claim Zondle is doing much more than offering a new way to deliver flashcard-style practice. Although this type of question-and-answer review has its place, it's not likely to hold students' attention for long, and doesn't do what games are great at: building higher-order thinking skills. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The games, while rudimentary, have a good amount of fun and variety -- plus there are nice community hooks.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The games are simple and best for review, offering a limited range of what games can really bring to learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Offers ample, solid instructions for getting started, a good community, and a teacher dashboard with Edmodo support.

Common Sense Reviewer
Caryn Lix Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 6 reviews) (6 reviews)
Featured review by
Clint H. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Thayer Central Intermediate School
Hebron, NE
Zondle WAS a comprehensive free learning/gaming site that students could use as an alternative to worksheets.

Overall this tool has made my lessons and assignments more enjoyable and engaging for the students because they get to have more of a choice in their learning. I like that it is easy to set up, monitor and that there is a built in gradebook for me to check progress of my students. This tool could better serve me and my students if it was easier to organize the material individually and if you could simply delete those things unwanted with a single click. Finally, if they would keep it free that would be even better.

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