Free Technology for Teachers: How to Create Your Own Educational Games With TinyTap

Disclosure: This is sponsored content.
TinyTap is a great platform that I’ve been sharing with educators since 2012, an entire decade this fall. In that time, I’ve seen it evolve from an iPad app for creating simple games to a full suite of tools for creating educational games to play on iPads, on Android devices, and in the web browser of your favorite PC including Chromebooks.

The latest TinyTap update enables you to create educational games on your PC. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting the many types of games you can create in the web browser version of TinyTap, how to make them, and some use cases for them. This week we’ll start with the basics of building and publishing your first game on TinyTap.

Getting Started – Create Your First TinyTap Game
If you want to learn how to play games before creating your first game, you can do so simply by going to TinyTap.com and trying one of our Editor’s Choice games. You can play any and all of these games in your web browser without creating an account, but you will get a better experience by creating a free TinyTap account.

When you browse and play some editor’s choice games, you will see that the simplest type of game is the object selection game. Creating this type of game is a great way to learn the basics of game creation on TinyTap.

To start the game creation process, you’ll need to sign up for a free TinyTap account by clicking on the blue teacher icon, logging in, and then clicking the Create button at the top of the screen. Once you do that, you will see the game editor appear. Give your game a name (you can always change it later if needed) and you are ready to add content to your game.

The process of creating a TinyTap game is very similar to creating a slide in PowerPoint or Google Slides. You can start by choosing one of the many slide designs or just use a blank slide design. After choosing a design, add a picture of the game. You can upload images or use the built-in search tool to find images to use in your game. In the example below, I’ve included an image of a baseball and an image of an American football. The two images were found through the built-in image search tool.

After adding a picture or two, it’s time to create a game activity. To ask a question, you will need to click on Set Activity (see screenshot below) and then choose the type of activity you want to add to your game.

The first easy activity is just asking a question. Clicking Ask a Question will open an audio recorder. You can then record yourself asking a question about what is displayed on the screen (it is also possible to upload an MP3 file instead of recording to TinyTap). For example, in my game I asked the question, “Which of these are used to play American football?”

After you have recorded your question(s) for your first activity, you will need to select the correct and incorrect answers. In my example to the question, “Which of these is used to play American football?” I needed to point out that football is true and baseball is not. To do this, I simply clicked on the football and then rotated it using the tracker built into the TinyTap Activity Editor. (You can also use the tracing tool for squares and other geometric shapes.) After spinning around the soccer ball, I used the scoring tool in the TinyTap Activity Editor to say, “That’s right, good job!” I also made a recording that says, “Sorry, this is a baseball game” that plays when someone taps the baseball.

So far we have created one question with two answer options. You can create a slide with more images and answer options for them, and TinyTap calls this a Soundboard Activity. You can also create multiple slides to publish as part of the same game. This is where TinyTap starts to shine. By adding more slides, you’ll start creating a bigger and better gaming experience for your students.

Expand your first TinyTap game

As I noted above, there’s a lot more you can do with the TinyTap game generator than just make a meta game out of a single slide. I recommend at least adding a catchy title slide and a “say something” activity.

To add a title slide to my game, I just clicked the new slide icon and then select a new style for it. The style selector gives you access to a wide range of “creation packages” offered by TinyTap. In the screenshot below, you can see where to access build packs and where to click to add more slides to your game.

I added to the title slide an activity type called “say something”. This type of activity is just a way for you to add your voice to the game. In this case, I recorded myself saying “Welcome to the game, it’s all about the sport”. This sound is played when students open the game.

My game now contains a title slide, an audio intro, and an introduction question. Now I will add another slide and another activity type. This time instead of clicking to select the answer choices, students will type in their answers. To create this type of question, I added a new slide and an image to it. In this case (shown in the image below) I added an image of a skater. Then I selected the “Talk or Type” activity which allowed me to track the skater and then asked, “Is this a summer or winter sport?” When students see this question in the game, they will write or pronounce their answers.

Publish your own TinyTap game

Before you finish editing your game, you can preview and play it as your students do. When you are done with your game, just click on the Done button and it will be automatically saved to your TinyTap account. In your account dashboard, you can choose to keep your game in draft mode (no one but you can see it) or you can publish and share it with your students.

A full set of game creation tutorials are available by clicking “Tutorial” in the upper-right corner of the game editor screen in TinyTap. I also made this short tutorial to show everything that was explained above.

Education apps
TinyTap makes it easy to create engaging educational games for your students to play at home or in your classroom. You can use the basic framework I shared today to create topic definition games in elementary school science and math lessons. For example, you can create a game in which students have to identify all the mammals that appear on the screen. Another example is creating a game in which students learn about shapes.

Thinking about the days when I thought I might want to become a music teacher, and creating a TinyTap game where students practice identifying full notes, half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes, can be a fun way for them to practice reading music. Additionally, another way to use TinyTap for music lessons is to import images of musical instruments and have students practice recognizing and “playing” them. Here is an example and here is another.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.