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Creating learning resources for new vocabulary words is not usually very exciting. Flashcards can be handy but can feel repetitive and unimaginative, and there are few simple, creative apps for kids to learn new words. However, elementary school students and English language learners may have another option – Word Joust for K-5. This vocabulary app uses quest-based learning to help young students learn the 300 most popular vocabulary words for K-5.
The vocabulary app presents new words in two ways. First, students have the opportunity to review a list of the vocabulary words and definitions needed to complete a quest, and then they are given the opportunity to complete the quest by playing a game that utilizes those words. While some of the quests can be completed without reviewing the key vocabulary words, for most quests, taking the time to review the words is the key to successfully completing the quests.
While completing the quests, students will not get lost in complex storylines or action-filled games. Vocabulary is the main focus of the app, so the games in the quests are simple, allowing the vocabulary words and definitions to stand out. Games range from unscrambling the vocabulary words or playing a game of hangman, to using the definitions to find the vocabulary words in a traditional word search. In all, there are five different vocabulary games; Scramble (unscramble words), Troll Trickery (match words with definitions), Labyrinth of Letters (word search), Cohorts of Soldiers (word battle) and Hangman (guess the word).
Word Joust for K-5 is designed to meet students where they are. The app adjusts to student’s levels, opening up tasks based on how they perform on previous tasks. Those already familiar with many of the 300 vocabulary words in the app may get through the quests quickly, while others may have fewer quests available to encourage them to take their time and really learn the words. The more quests students complete and the more words they learn, the more they level up. A special stats screen lets kids track their current levels, know what it takes to advance and see the specific words they have mastered.
Quest-based learning motivates kids to learn by giving them milestones to complete. Word Joust for K-5 uses this type of learning to help kids to learn vocabulary in a different way. The app does not have a lot of sound effects or flashy graphics, but it does not need them. Simply giving kids the opportunity to complete quests and level up will be enough to motivate most kids to learn all 300 vocabulary words.
Word Joust is also available for Grades 6-8 for the iPhone, but can also be viewed on the iPad. The app can be downloaded from the Chrome web app store too.