Words with Friends?! Can it be an educational game?

Recently, I realized how many people are playing Words With Friends on their phones, especially on the bus on their way to class or home. This made me think about why this game is so popular and if it could be use as an educational resource.

I think that people like to play that game, because it is a game. In other words you play other people and you are getting points for words. You have a very well specified goal to beat the other person by showing your knowledge in vocabulary. Also you can play the game whenever you want since we carry cell phones almost all the time with us. This leads to another reason why people and when people play that game. As I said before, I usually see people playing that game on the bus stops or on the bus, so in situations when you are usually bored and there is nothing really to do, Words With Friends bring an entertainment in situations like that. Furthermore, I think that one of crucial factors of this game is the fact that it is called Words with Friends not Words With Random People.  This means that you play people you know. This is a great because when you get to see a person you are playing you can actually socialize just by talking about your experience with the game.

Now, how could this great idea and design of the game be used in education? I think that the same form of the game could be used in the foreign languages classes. Instead of the memorization of hundreds of words for quizzes, students could be divided into pairs and play Words With Friends International Edition that would consist of more languages.

Can you think about other way games with format similar to Words With Friends could be used for educational purposes?