September 9, 2019

Create Gamified Interactive Reviews with Wordwall

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

Interactive quiz platforms like Kahoot and Wooclap are popular tools to liven up review sessions. They bring a game-like element to any review lesson, which motivates students and fosters retention. However, the novelty effect of such audience response systems tends to wear off rapidly. Wordwall represents a worthwhile complementary offering, as the platform contains a wide selection of mini-games that can be used to review theory, concepts and vocabulary items.

Wordwall Features

Wordwall takes gamification to the next level by offering a variety of mini-games reminiscent of the game features available on It can be used to create both interactive and printable activities.

Interactive games can be played on any web-enabled device, such as a computer, tablet, phone or interactive whiteboard. They are designed to be played individually by students, although they can also be teacher-led, for instance by projecting the game and having students call out answers.

Most of the games offered on Wordwall can also be printed, either as a companion document to the online game, or as a stand-alone activity.

At the time of writing, the free version offers 18 interactive game templates. In the list that follows, each game title links to an example of that template from the public library available in the Community section on the Wordwall website.

  • Airplane – students choose the correct answer to a question by flying an airplane into the correct answer while avoiding the wrong answers.
  • Anagram – students unscramble a word or phrase by reordering the letters presented.
  • Balloon pop – students pop balloons to drop keywords onto their matching definition.
  • Crossword – students use clues to add words to solve a crossword puzzle.
  • Find the match – students are presented with questions or statements and choose the correct answer by tapping the corresponding tile.
  • Gameshow quiz – students answer multiple-choice questions; the gameshow elements include a timer and lifelines such as doubling the score for a correct answer or eliminating half of the incorrect answer options.
  • Group sort – students drag and drop items into the correct category.
  • Labelled diagram – students drag and drop pins corresponding to items or statements to match them with the correct area on an image.
  • Match up – students drag and drop keywords next to their definition.
  • Maze chase – students choose the correct answer to a question by running to the corresponding answer zone while avoiding enemies.
  • Open the box – students tap a box to reveal the item inside.
  • Quiz – students answer multiple-choice questions; as opposed to the Gameshow quiz, this version of the game does not include a timer or lifelines but offers a multiplayer mode.
  • Random cards – a deck of cards that can be used as flash cards present items or statements.
  • True or false – items or statements are presented in rapid succession; students need to quickly determine whether each is true or false (these labels can also be changed to 2 other categories).
  • Whack-a-mole – moles representing statements appear; students hit only the moles that represent correct statements.
  • Word search – students identify words within a square of letters.

The remaining 2 games are related to classroom management:

  • Random wheel – the teacher or student spin the wheel to bring up a random item or question. This game can also be used to randomly select students in the classroom.
  • Seating plan – this allows the teacher to randomly select a student, form teams, or re-assign seats.

The pro version, which requires a paid monthly subscription offers 14 more games, for a total of 32. Users can also vote for new game templates, which are rolled out regularly.

Creating Game Activities

To create a new game activity, click the blue Create Activity button and select a template; then, enter your desired content. Content can consist of images, text, special symbols and LaTeX equations. Creating a fully interactive activity only takes a few minutes and no knowledge of code or game design is required.

To create a new game activity, simply enter a question and answer options, and select the correct answer.

Most game templates can be presented in different themes. Each theme changes the look and feel of the template by implementing different graphics, fonts and sounds. If you wish to further tweak the settings of an activity, this is possible from the activity page. You can find an Edit Content link underneath the activity itself.

Example of the Profweb question above presented in the Maze Chase game format.

Once you have created an activity, you can switch it to a different template with a single click. This saves you time and is great for differentiation and reinforcement. This feature is available for most templates, although not all game types can be interchanged.

The example Profweb activity can be changed from the Maze Chase format to 3 other formats (quiz, airplane and anagram) simply by clicking the desired new game type.

Sharing Activities

Wordwall activities can be used as student-completed assignments. When a teacher sets an assignment, students are directed to that particular activity. This feature can be used in-class when students have access to their own devices, or as a way of assigning homework.

To set an assignment, go to an activity page and click the Share button. Choose Set Assignment to configure student access and results tracking. The next page displays a unique access link you can communicate to your students. When the students visit the activity through this link, their results are recorded and made available to the teacher.

Any activity you create can also be made public. This allows you to share it via email or another means of communication with students or colleagues. It also allows other teachers to find the activity in the Community search results.

Finally, Wordwall activities can be embedded into another website or learning management system using an HTML embed code. The activity becomes playable directly from the website in which it is embedded.

Flexible and Fun

Although each game template has been designed with a specific purpose in mind, the public examples available from the Community tab demonstrate that many teachers creatively hijack the templates to make them suit their teaching needs. If you design a Wordwall activity and make it public, do not hesitate to share it in the comments below!

About the author

Andy Van Drom

Andy Van Drom has been teaching English as a second language and linguistics since 2005, first at Université Laval and then, since 2012, at Cégep Limoilou. After completing doctoral studies in Linguistics (Université Laval), he obtained a second master’s degree, in Higher Education Pedagogy (Performa, Université de Sherbrooke). With the aim of supporting inclusive teaching practices and fostering student success, his focus is on the role of language mindset in learner motivation. Andy has published 4 ESL textbooks with Pearson ERPI as well as several open educational resources in digital format. His keen interest in pedagogy led him to work with Profweb (now Eductive) in 2017 and with the AQPC in 2021, 2 mandates that are still ongoing. His desire to innovate in pedagogy has earned him an AQPC Honourable Mention, a Forces Avenir Award and the EF Excellence Award in Language Teaching.

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