Until quite recently, multimedia (language) education games on the web were no comparison with those available on CD-Rom. Without high-speed Internet connections it is simply impossible to propose the same richness of multimedia content and high level of interactivity that we have come to expect from even modest multimedia language programs. However, with the spread of ADSL and broadband, the situation is definitely improving and the most recent games are beginning to approach the sort of technical quality levels that characterise offline digital resources (although some argue that there is still a long way to go before we see full online integration of
technologies like automatic voice recognition).
The main attraction of online resources is their abundance and the fact that,
again until recently, they have mostly been free of charge. However, the situation is changing
here too, with the gradual introduction of subscription fees at numerous sites, especially those that chiefly address users in the USA. Some sites have reserved areas for subscribers who pay a fee to access a full range of quality material that is updated on a regular basis (a limited selection or sample is usually freely available to
non-subscribers). In any case, the web makes available an enormous number of multimedia games that may well prove useful for young English language learners.
Most of these are for playing online, while some can be downloaded onto
the computer for playing off-line (these usually have limited multimedia
Perhaps of most interest, at least to teachers, are sites specifically designed for young EFL/ESL learners (still relatively uncommon) or special children’s pages hosted on sites for English learners in general, which are becoming increasingly frequent. Publishers in particular appear to be dedicating ever more resources to young learners: GET ZOOM on kids.
An increasing number of teachers too are publishing material
There is a vast number of sites that provide educational resources for
primary school, and many of these offer language-based games (usually to
be found within the pages dedicated to students or as a separate
section of the site). With a few exceptions, these games are intended
for mothertongue children and are often designed to help them develop
basic literacy skills. Nevertheless, as with software on CD-Rom these activities may well prove useful in an L2 context.
The majority of educational and "entertainment" games available online for
children are in English and among these the English teacher will find
many that can be useful for language learning.
For a sample list of web sites that offer
games for children to play online, see Online
Games: Web Sites. WEB GAMES SITES
Links to more games sites and related
resources can be found at Online
Games: Links & Resources.