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Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

Wordia

Helpful spelling and vocab drills marred by confusing features, errors

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4-6 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Games offer helpful practice and encourage kids to reach time and accuracy goals.

Cons: Directions can be a bit convoluted, and written content quality is surprisingly inconsistent for a word-based site.

Bottom Line: Wordia has potential but needs more videos and other reference materials, better record-keeping options, and a thorough edit.

You can register, create a classroom area, and upload a class spreadsheet or add students individually. It's easy to quickly create a personalized game based on vocabulary words or other terms your class is studying. Once it's complete, a game can be played on an electronic whiteboard in front of the class, or students can access it from their dashboard. To give kids access, you'll need to separately email students or provide a dedicated link to the game and a special code. Classes can also view videos on word meanings. (However, you may want to turn the volume down first; the arcade-esque background music can get a little grating.) Teachers can also show classes games from Wordia, including history-based crossword puzzles, word guessing games, and an information technology quiz. Helpful bonuses: brief descriptions of the educational concepts covered, gameplay tips, and lesson plans.

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Editor's note: the Wordia website has closed and is no longer available.

Wordia is a website where you can play games that stress spelling and word recognition, or make your own using simple templates. There are a handful of themed games to choose from; "Galactic Patrol" and "Word Wrap" are multi-player games, and single-player games include "Keep Cities Clean." To create your own game, choose a type -- you have the option of a spelling-based word game or a Goldilocks-themed quiz. Then enter 10 or more terms or questions and answers; name the game; and label it with an age range and subject area. You can also customize a few elements, like the background scenery, and add a school logo before sharing it with students. The game graphics are better than average: Goldilocks reacts to responses, characters jump to catch things, and letters light up as you type. Terms are often repeated for reinforcement, and kids can see what percentage they got right on each game.

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Wordia utilizes an interesting learning method mix. The games help present the information in a visual, interactive way that's more engaging that just reading about new words. The site encourages a sense of healthy competition among users, too; kids can see each game's high scorers, and their dashboards show a log of all classroom users' recent activity. They can also view brief videos that explain word definitions.

However, for a site that focuses on words, the grammar and spelling are surprisingly inconsistent. The sentence structure used in some game directions can be awkward and a bit confusing. Kids may also have a hard time finding where the list of all words they've encountered is stored. Wordia says that it automatically creates a list filled with terms from games users play. You can view it right after playing by clicking on a drop-down menu icon on the right-hand side of the screen. Return to the game later, however, and a message saying you have no words in your dictionary appears. Similarly, clicking on a Word List button sometimes leads you to a screen without a list; plus, the button isn't even an option on some games.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Hip characters move and react to responses, making games feel more personal. You're rewarded for completing rounds quickly and given bonus points for accuracy. Seeing high-point earners encourages some healthy competition.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Learning could be more integrated. For example, a racing game focuses more on speed than on vocab. Some games include hints and have different levels, but it'd be helpful to see lists of words you've missed.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

A blog offers updates on how new site features can be used in the classroom. Also, each week Wordia awards a different school several free T-shirts for creating games.