Rob Lewis
Writer and editor for a number of online courses... read more

Offers teachers a quick and easy way to extend and consolidate vocabulary with fun practice.

Who it’s for:
Free (basic), Subscription (£6.00 p/m), School plans (contact them)

Wordwall takes vocabulary games and reviews into the digital world, and is easy to use for teachers and learners. If you are looking to add a new digital tool to your teaching, this is a very good place to start.

User experience.

This is the perfect tool to look at if you are short of time, even if you are not very confident with technology. You just need a computer or tablet connected to the internet, and after setting up an account (no problem), you can quickly start creating interactive activities or printable worksheets. The concept is simple: use the templates to create well-known activity types such as multiple choice, grouping or matching, or more complex games and quizzes.  

You can use a limited number of templates for free, and because Wordwall is web-based, with a good connection you can create activities quickly and easily in a matter of minutes. Once you have created an activity, it is shareable in different ways.

Language level and skills.

Wordwall is particularly useful for mixed-level classes, where you can assign fast finishers an activity which they can easily access online, even from their phone. It can also create a dynamic way to have class competitions.

For any level of learner, Wordwall has potential to be used for self-study, as you decide which content to use in the activities. You can set tasks for groups or individual learners by giving them an access code (although remember there is nothing to stop someone else doing the activity for them!). You could even get your learners to use Wordwall to create activities for their classmates.

Language learning content.

Most activities are based on ‘items’. These are best understood as words or phrases which you want to revise. You provide this content, although you can also use items or activities which other users have made.  

For example, you could create a set of items which are colours, and another set which are shapes. These items can be made into an interactive grouping activity, where students drag them into the right place, or they could be turned into multiple-choice questions. They can also be made into games suited to younger, primary-aged learners, such as ‘whack-a-mole’.

If you build up a large bank of items for each group of vocabulary, you can then, in one click, create an online activity of your choice to revise them. You can also, if you prefer, create a printable worksheet.

Tracking learning.

If you like, you can track your students’ scores when they do an activity by using the ‘assignment’ feature. You share the link to the activity and it tracks the scores of each individual in one place. The number of assignments you can set is limited according to your price plan. Although this probably works best if you can track regularly, even with the basic (free) plan you can use this feature a few times a month.

The multi-player game feature allows you to host a real-time quiz for students, who can join using their own web-enabled device.

Social interaction.

You can easily share activities you create with other teachers by making them publicly available on Wordwall’s website or posting them on social media. You can also embed them on websites.

Supporting teaching and learning.

Wordwall reminds me of when I used to use a ‘word box’: a real box which I put new words and phrases in, each one on a piece of card. Those cards could then be used for a number of different revision activities. Although some features can help other aspects of language learning, Wordwall feels most useful for this kind of vocabulary revision.

Research shows that exposing students to vocabulary at ‘spaced’ intervals is helpful to their learning, and this is even more helpful if there is some kind of task, such as grouping words or typing them out correctly. Wordwall can help with this.

Technical: user safety and data security.

Remember, it is important to plan how your learners will access online activities, and if you are going to ask them to use their own device (most probably a smartphone) in class to do so, it may be helpful to have rules in place already for how they can use their own devices.

Any content you create on Wordwall is by default ‘private’; to make it publicly available you have to select an option when you edit your content.

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