I've been a member of Quia for a few years (off and on) and promote it to my students for review prior to a test. It's also great for students who have gaps in their skills or need extra practice to make use of the fact that I've paid for an annual membership there. You don't need to buy a membership to play the activities at Quia. What the membership allows you to do is to create your own activities, copy and modify activities others have made, and otherwise customize the learning games for your own students. Being a bit of a control freak, I find it's worth the money, provided my classes have access to the computer lab on a more or less regular basis. If you are less picky about the content perfectly matching your theme or being at exactly the right level for your students, by all means be a freeloader take advantage of the work other educators around the world have already done for you! I have aspirations of making better use of Quia activities using uploaded audio files and images, but have only dabbled around with these tools so far.

Lately, I've been playing around with a new learning game web site. I am getting to better understand the web site Zondle through their video tutorials. This is a free site where teachers can create their own educational games, and students can access it for free as well. It is more image-based and appealing to tweens (according to my students). Here is an example of a game at Zondle:

zondle - games to support learning

What I find really cool about Zondle (aside from it being free for teachers to use their own original content and questions for games) is that it is perfect for short attention spans and a variety of interests. You only need to enter a set of questions ONCE and students can pick which game they want to play, based on that content. If a student gets bored with a particular theme he or she can change it. They don't want to play my fishy game any more? Well how about one where you dress your own pizza? Or win chances to throw a javelin by answering the questions correctly?

Another site I feel like I haven't exploited fully yet is Quizlet. I've been creating the odd set of flash cards for my students' use there for about four years now, but have yet to fully commit to incorporating the tools this site has to offer in my teaching practice. I do like the game Scatter that you can play with any set of "flashcards." I find it is similar to the Fly Swatter game we play sometimes in class.

Here is one I set up for my grade 8 animal unit from the Pearson Education textbook On Y Va 2.

Image of Quizlet grade 8 Core French unit vocabulary review - TeachingFSL

Not exactly higher-level critical thinking, but if it keeps the learners engaged for a period of time while they are getting familiar with new vocabulary, I think it's worth the time it takes to set up a set of cards. I'm particularly interested in those applications that take it up a level, beyond just pure memorization and would love to hear have you used these educational games in your second language classroom!