Thing 21: Online Games and Learning Tools

Thing 21: Online Games and Learning

23 Things for Digital Knowledge is itself a fun online learning tool and this week we’re spending some time looking into the variety of game based learning tools that are being developed and made available online.


Kahoot is a free game-based learning tool designed to be accessible to classrooms and other learning environments. Launched in 2013 by a Norwegian company the game based tool is being  played by over 50 million people in 180 countries.  Kahoot’s are short timed quizzes that can be created by anyone on any topic for any educational level. A quiz is created, then displayed on a screen for the classroom to view. Players sign-in to the quiz on their own devices using a pin, and answer the questions on their own devices.

Go to GetaKahoot 



GeoGebra is an interactive mathematics software program for the teaching of mathematics and science from primary school through to university. Graphs, animations, simulations and more can be constructed with points, vectors, segments, lines, polygons, conic sections, inequalities, implicit polynomials and functions.  All of these can be changed dynamically afterwards too, adding a fun element of play to the tool. Particularly when creations are shared for other students and classrooms to enjoy.

GeoGebra is available on multiple platforms with its desktop applications for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, with its tablet apps for Android, iPad and Windows. Additionally it’s an Open Educational Resource as its source code is licensed under the GNU General Public License (Wikipedia link), and all other non-software components are under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

Go to GeoGebra

Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. One-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages for all ages. The tutorials are available online and can also be downloaded for offline use. They include explanatory videos and step by step instructions and activities. Types of activities and tutorials can be filtered by education level, experience level, technology available, and subject type.

The Hour of Code is created by, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and under-represented minorities. Their vision is for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra.

Go to the Hour of Code



Sumdog is an online games-based learning service to help students practice their numeracy and literacy. Designed to supplement teaching, it motivates students by adapting to each child’s level. Some of the math games can be played freely, more become available by signing up for a free account. School and family subscriptions are also available.

Sumdog works both on internet browsers and apps on iOS, Android and Kindle.

Go to Sumdog 

National Museum of Scotland Games

The National Museum of Scotland (NMS) has created a range of online games and made these available for anyone to play on their website. The games range from medical science, sheetmetal cutting (spatial and materials awareness), wind farm positioning, Ancient Egyptian, Pictish, and Roman adventures, atom smashing, and morse code!

The games have been developed to complement exhibitions and themes in the museum and to highlight items in the collections.

Go to the NMS Games


How to complete Thing 21

Step 1

Play at least two games from those suggested above.

Step 2

Write a blog post reflecting on the games you chose to play and consider how online games and learning has been, or could be, useful to you as either a learner or educator.


Additional Resources

Kahoot App brings Urgency of a Quiz Show to the Classroom, Natasha Singer, New York Times (April 2016)

Game Jam: Dolly the sheep as you’ve never seen her before, Lynsey McNab, National Museum of Scotland (July 2016)

Can computer games improve the ability to study?, University of Bristol Press Release, 8 January 2016