This year, I tried many new things. I flipped for the first time. I revamped my ELA teaching. Oh, I’m also a part-time administrator now. I have had plenty on my plate.
I also planned on trying one new thing: gamification. I had heard about a game called Classcraft from Timonious Downing at EdCamp Home over the summer. I was intrigued, but I didn’t quite know how much I wanted to follow through with it. I signed up, and I loaded my students, but after the first few days of school, I considered backing out for the year. I was pretty overwhelmed as it was, and was it really worth it to add one more change to the mix?
I stuck it out, and I am glad I did.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not using Classcraft to its maximum potential. I haven’t really created a good system for when to take away Health Points (HP) and when to reward with Experience Points (XP). My rewards and punishments tend to be a little arbitrary, and I need to find a more consistent system and enter those actions into the preset point systems. I don’t always remember to do what is called an “Event of the Day,” which is a random event generator which can cover everything from everyone earning XP to having a random student sing in front of the class.
That being said, my students LOVE it. They get excited about finding ways to heal in order to gain XP. They are excited about getting coins. (How do they get coins? Don’t ask me!) They get excited to gain XP to level up.
Most importantly, I have been able to use it to develop student learning and engagement in the classroom. If students are off-task on their iPads, I am able to take away HP, and if students are taking a long time transitioning to an assignment, I begin rewarding students who are on-task and who are doing good work. Once I start doing this, the rest of the class gets on-task immediately. Students get excited to earn XP for their entire group, which encourages collaboration. This alone has proven to me how effective it is in the classroom, and why I am very glad to use it as one of my teaching tools.
That being said, I’m looking forward to honing my Classcraft skills and becoming more adept at using it effectively. If I’ve had this much success with barely using it, it must be a good product, and I look forward to further learning it in the months to come.