Twenty Questions

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series End of the Semester

20 questions is one of those go-to games in the language classroom that can either start a class off or wind a class down in an interesting and interactive fashion.

Of course a teacher or a student could come up with the “Who or What am I?” and students could start guessing.  But to mix it up a little bit I wanted to share with you something  Felix shared with us on LLU Live #5 and I have since explored in class — The Akinator

What is it?  The Akinator is a web-based 20 (or more) questions game that is available in a wide variety of languages (see below)

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 12.11.53 PM

How does it work?    After choosing a language, the Akinator will ask you to choose username, and ask you to identify your age and gender  (while I haven’t done extensive research on this I think there is correlation between the types of questions the Akinator asks based upon the age and gender you tell him…try it out and see)

Think of a person (famous, infamous, or otherwise) and let him ask you questions.

How did I use it in class?  As a class I ask my students to come up with a famous person in the Spanish speaking world.  What is interesting about the Akinator is that the more you challenge him the bigger his database becomes.  For example, a year ago we chose Evo Morales and the Akinator was totally befuddled. This time he figured it out in 21 questions.

What is also interesting is that you can ask for a review of the questions asked,  which can be helpful as a way to review the ways the questions were phrased. It also tells you the responses the Akinator was looking for (red being where I stumped him).  Here is a run down of my Evo Morales questions:

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.17.10 AM

click to enlarge


If you do stump the game, you are given the chance to add your person to the database.  For example, I thought of Daniel Alarcón and the Akinator first thought it was John Greene, then Mario Vargas Llosa, then a radio announcer from Spain whom I did not recognize and then ultimately he gave up:

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.29.30 AM

The Akinator was not pleased….

It is a fun tool, and is also available on mobile devices.  The more people play, the broader the database in each of the languages becomes. And, as I said in the beginning,  it is a great way to wind down or start up a class!

Try it out and share your thoughts!

[Featured image thanks to The Happy MD]
Series Navigation<< PechaFlickr for language classesCards Against Humanity >>

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: