Muriel Vanrell

Hands-On and Digital Games in the ELT Blended Classroom

The Pandemic has hit teachers hard; they had to review practices, rethink strategies and ensure students’ engagement. Now they are facing a new challenge: the blended classroom. This session focuses on the many options available when it comes to playing games in the face-to-face classroom and in the online classroom; the Web and social media are our best allies.


Teachers are aware of the importance of play and how children learn life-long skills through it. Research on this area has identified and proved that playing games is key to the development of language abilities (Holmes, 2017). Games in the classroom are fun, spark creativity, add an element of excitement and give us the chance to help our students develop speaking skills in an engaging situation (Hursen, 2016, Dewi, 2017, Łodzikowski, 2019).

Using hands-on games in the classroom provides teachers with an opportunity to revise vocabulary (Hursen, 2016), focus on language function, improve interpersonal and conversational skills, develop critical thinking and increase motivation (Dewi, 2017). Board games, card games, memory games, dice games, guessing games and realia are incredibly versatile and can be adapted to suit any linguistic goal teachers may be pursuing. In a highly digital world using traditional hands-on games can be quite revolutionary and engaging.

The Pandemic is not over and a blended learning scenario seems to be the new teaching-learning model. Teachers’ resourcefulness will continue to be put to the test and the leverage hands-on material offers should not be lost. But it needs to be reinvented. The presenter will share games which are suitable for this new reality. Attendees will leave this session with hands-on games ideas and how to easily adapt vocabulary, spelling, grammar and fluency games to suit the online classroom using the tools that the Web and social media have to offer.


Muriel Vanrell has been teaching English as a foreign language for more than 20 years in Argentina and Brazil. She is an advocate of games as a means to enhance students' speaking skills.