My Life as a Refugee

My Life as a Refugee

My Life as a Refugee is a free app produced by the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, that helps raise awareness about the daily decisions faced in times of crisis by millions of refugees around the world.  Although it is classified as a game, the app is more of a scenario builder in the vein of the classic “Choose your own adventure” model. Users choose one of three characters based on the lives of actual refugees and are faced with different scenarios, choices, and outcomes from the choices they make.  The app is simple but effective.  There is no voiceover narration and the scenarios do not shy away from the sometimes brutal and terrible decisions and situations that refugees may face, thus the  app is recommended for students who are mature enough to handle its content. One of the app’s strongest points is its ability to facilitate thoughtful dialogue about the real situations of refugees worldwide so it is recommended as a discussion facilitator rather than a standalone game experience.

My Life as a Refugee is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.


Tune Train

Tune Train

Tune Train is a free app that lets users compose simple melodies through a fun and unique interface. Students use a train to pick up passengers who each play a different note along a route. Using a finger swipe, users guide the train from one station to the other, moving horizontally across the screen to compose. Passengers/tones are organized vertically at points between the two stations; with lower tones lower on the screen moving to higher tones further up the screen. It’s easy to intuitively compose up and down the lines of passengers as users connect the train from one station to the other. Different themes, accompaniment music options, and an icon that allows users to see the composition written as sheet music add depth and breadth to this app’s already varied applicability.

Tune Train is suitable for Lower Primary and Upper Primary.

Sorting Machine

Sorting Machine

Sorting Machine is a free sorting, sequencing app that asks users to sort a series of six similar objects according to different variables, i.e. “shortest to tallest”, “lowest to highest”, as well as basic alphanumeric sequencing (a,b,c,d,e/1,2,3,4,5). The app is arranged by levels which users can unlock by successfully sequencing or sorting many series of objects.  It takes a little while to unlock each level and this “game” element has been generally minimized while using the app in a classroom setting, emphasizing instead correctly sequencing or sorting each group of objects.  It is also worth noting that there is no voice over instruction in this app so it is best suited to children who can distinguish differences between six similar objects and understand the illustrated instructions at the top of each challenge screen.

Sorting Machine is suitable for Lower Primary.

Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe

Phonics Tic Tac Toe

Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe is a fun way to practice basic English language phonics and letter blends in the game interface of Tic-Tac-Toe. In this free app, users select a team, ‘x’ or ‘o’ and earn a square on the board by answering a phonics related question. If a user chooses an incorrect answer, the square is not filled in and play resumes with the other team. Strategically answering questions correctly to get three team shapes in a row wins the game. This game is simple and effective practice, but it benefits from having two players, one of whom can confidently read the questions as there is no sound narration in this app.

Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe is suitable for Lower Primary and Upper Primary, as well as EAL learners.

Word Scramble

Word Scramble

Word Scramble is a free word search/scrabble style game app that challenges users to find and spell words on grid of letters.  Teachers or students can choose from three modes: 1) Classic Mode challenges users to find as many words as possible in two minutes 2) Blitz Mode increases the time limit every time a correct word is found 3) Marathon Mode asks users to take as needed to find 200 words. More flexible than a traditional word search or scrabble style game, users can spell any direction they want, as long as the letters are touching each other on a side or corner.

Word Scramble is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.