Why Computer Games?

Note: The activities on this blog have been adapted from the following article: 
Adapting Online Computer Games to the Online EFL CLassroom by Kyle Mawer & Graham Stanley (2006)

Using online computer games is one of the most valuable and incentive providing resources available to English language teachers. Many of the games available on the Web present stimulating challenges for today’s ‘digital native’ (Prensky, 2001) students, and can be easily adapted to the language classroom.

Why use computer games?

As Steven Johnson (2006) points out in his controversial study ’Everything bad is good for you’ the new generation of students are growing up on computer games, and this fact is changing their expectations of and demands on education. We need to be able to engage these learners by appealing to their interests and make our language teaching relevant to their world. Occasionally using computer games as an aid to language teaching is one way of doing this.

Why adapt games not specifically designed for language teaching?

A lot of these games, with their emphasis on fun are more engaging to students, and many have authentic language in context that is often hard to find in the games that have been produced specifically for teaching.

Selecting games

There are many games online which can be adapted to language learning. We will be discussing several types of online games and how we can adapt them to both challenge and engage the student. Some of the games listed below have been adapted in specific ways but we hope to be able to show varying ways in which online computer games can be used in the classroom.


For most of these activities, a computer classroom, or a classroom equipped with laptop computers is required in order to carry them out. With all of these games, it is important to remember that the computers are tools for language learning, and this is the reason for playing the games.


Some of the “game plans” outlined below have been designed to involve pre-play,at play and extension activities to be conducted at a post play stage.