I firmly believe (and my pupils seem to agree) that crosswords are an excellent way of revising or checking knowledge. So I like to make them as lesson starters, mainly during GCSE revision time. Normally I would use one of the many free puzzle generators you can find online (for example this one) but I wanted one I could use on the iPad, especially as I find the websites quite tricky to use without a mouse.
I started off trying out an app called Tekasi, which was free. I found it quite frustrating. You had to decide on the shape of your crossword before you started inputting any words. This meant carefully planning out my crossword on a piece of paper first. Also you couldn’t edit a puzzle once you had generated it, this meant lots of re entering data.
I found a recommendation on another education technology blog (although I am embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember which one, I will research and try to update with a link later). It has the rather wordy title of ‘Make My Own Puzzles‘, and it did cost money (although not very much) but I was very impressed.
It has a very simple easy to use interface and can make either wordsearches or crosswords. You simply enter in the words you wish to use (with a clue if you want to make a crossword).
Then you simply generate your puzzle. It works out the best placement for the words, and if you don’t like the layout, you can generate it again for a different layout. Something I particularly liked was the ability to go back and edit the puzzle. Adding more words, tweaking clues etc. was very easy.
The finished puzzle can be easily exported as a PDF, PNG OR JPEG. You can even open it from the app into things like Goodreader, OpenOffice or iBooks. The puzzle also comes in 3 formats, standard crossword, crossword with initial letter clues and a completed crossword.
So if you also believe in crosswords, then I recommend ‘Make My Own Puzzles’. Or if you have a puzzle generator recommendation, then I would love to hear it.