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Zynga has launched a new version of its Words With Friends word game for classrooms. The new Words With Friends EDU is part of an ongoing effort to use games to help children get more engaged with learning.

Zynga’s new title is a free educational game available for students, teachers, and parents on the App Store for iPad, Google Play for Android tablets, and the web.

“Words With Friends EDU reimagines the Words With Friends experience for a game that’s as entertaining as it’s effective for students, whether they have an advanced vocabulary or are learning English as their second language,” said Vaibhav Sahgal, general manager of Words With Friends at Zynga, in a statement. “Working collaboratively with teachers and education experts enabled us to create a fun and engaging experience that also increases students’ vocabulary and educational outcomes. With students showing significant gains in the use of academic words in their first six sessions of Words With Friends EDU, we are proud to deliver this new learning tool to students, teachers and parents as they start the school year.”

Launched in 2009, and named one of the App Store’s Top 10 free games of all time, Words With Friends continues to be the world’s most popular mobile word game with an estimated 55 million matches being played at any given moment. Words With Friends EDU builds off of the Words With Friends heritage by pairing engaging wordplay with new educational features to help students in grades 4th through 8th learn high-value academic words.

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The new version includes Power Words, which give the ability for students to earn bonus points through the use of high-value academic words, including those frequently used in required reading, textbooks, and educational assessments. It also has Definition Hints, where students can easily access the definition of the highest-scoring Power Words through a customized Dictionary.

Zynga Words With Friends EDU

Above: Zynga Words With Friends EDU

Image Credit: Zynga

It also has an interactive dashboard, where teachers and parents can track students’ gameplay and learning through a dynamic dashboard measuring individual achievements, flags, and progress against Common Core Standards. And it has lesson plans for teachers.

Words With Friends EDU was developed in partnership with teachers and education experts to ensure gameplay and accompanying curriculum and lesson plans drive deeper learning and alignment with Common Core Standards. In addition to engaging teachers at every step in the game’s development, Words With Friends EDU was beta-tested in over 20 classrooms with more than 2,000 students.

“Words With Friends EDU is not only highly engaging for students, it also provides teachers and parents with meaningful insights into the vocabulary and language skills of individual children,” said Jeff Brain, teacher, Del Mar Middle School, in a statement. “In working with the Words With Friends team on the development of Words With Friends EDU, it was important that teachers and parents, regardless of their level of technology proficiency, could maximize the benefits of the game. Through easy-to-understand dashboards and lesson plans, Words With Friends EDU delivers a truly unique learning experience for students, teachers and parents.”

Students in Zynga's game design academy.

Above: Students in Zynga’s game design academy.

Image Credit: Zynga

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