Wow, it’s amazing how quickly time flies. Every time I think I have time to write, I remember I have something else to grade. I’m not sure why, but it seems like there’s so much more this year!
This quarter I’ve asked my students to blog about what they’re learning and to reflect on their growth as students. My challenge to myself is to do something that scares me as an educator. I think one of the hardest things about my challenge is figuring out what to do.
I am usually fascinated by new and “crazy” teaching ideas, especially if they will make learning more inspiring for my students. I think the things that scare me the most are the ones where I love the idea but where I’m a little fuzzy on implementation. Interestingly, gamification is one of those areas. I love games, but the idea of implementing it feels overwhelming because there are so many details to remember.
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So, because it scares me, I think I’m going to try integrating ClassCraft into my classroom next quarter. If you haven’t heard about ClassCraft, it’s an educational RPG that you layer on top of your existing classroom content. It’s kind of like Class Dojo, but instead of little monsters, students play the role of a character. There are points and skills that they have to choose and accumulate. Teachers can give awards for point or coin accumulations (or losses can have consequences). It’s really, really cool!
When the creator of ClassCraft had a Kickstarter campaign, I was an early supporter. Unfortunately, it didn’t every make its funding goal, and I though that was the end of it. But earlier this year, I learned that the Canadian educational system had funded the project fully and it was finally live! You can visit the official page here.
ClassCraft is free at its most basic level (and is fully functional except for a lack of character customization and other minor things). At its paid level, it’s still not a bad deal, although I think it’s cheaper to do the monthly plan (at least for me).
Here’s their promo for the game:
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One fun thing about ClassCraft is that students get to choose the type (the class) of character they want . Each character type has specific pros and cons that students must consider when making their choice. In the paid version, students can customize their characters even further.
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If class seems boring, teachers can generate a random event that may reward or punish certain character types (these are a lot of fun). Similar to Class Dojo, teachers can award or penalize students by giving or taking points away for behavior, helping each other, etc. These point values and criteria can be customized by the teacher.
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Pretty cool, right? I’m not quite sure if I’m going to use it with all my freshmen or if I’m just going to use it with one class initially. Regardless, I think this is my “scares-the-pants-off-off-me activity” for the 1st semester. Wish me luck!
If you’ve used ClassCraft and have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.