We are approaching Spring Break and while it’s normally a time to kick back and relax, I always like to use it to start a new project. This year I was going to investigate Classcraft, a “free online, educational role-playing game that teachers and students play together in the classroom.” By accident, I ended up showing this to the students a week early— and they totally went for it.
Classcraft is an online world where the teacher enrolls students and gives them avatar identities like mages, warriors or healers, each with its own powers. As the teacher, I can reinforce positive behavior by awarding XP, which students need to accumulate to get to the next level. I can also deduct Health Points for negative behaviors like missing an assignment or using their cell phone in class. Students are motivated by different rewards in the game and have an incentive to move themselves forward in the game —promoting pro social behavior.
Next week I will do a full recap and explanation of how my Classcraft is setup for my Spanish 3 students. I’m only 3 days into this now and I can definitely say this is a game changer for my classroom.
Here are a few thoughts after 3 days:
- Students are also on teams so there is a collaborative element. As one student said today to his teammates “I know that doesn’t directly help you out but if you help your teammates, they end up making you stronger so it’s good for you in the long run to work together”
- Incentives and motivation to do things like turn assignments in early, help other students and get 100% on a quiz
- Role playing game like feel is familiar to students and point totals are great visual representation of progress
- Students can go as hard as they want (staying up to 2:00 AM in one case already—which is not recommended) or play leisurely or rarely. There are benefits to progressing but nothing that would penalize a student that doesn’t want to “game”
- Something new, something fun, something to fill their downtime
- (Most importantly) I’ve crafted some quests to earn XP that require students to practice or drill their Spanish. That student I had that stayed up until 2:00? He said today “Seriously though those helped me so much. Like I feel like I actually learned so much Spanish by doing those quests”
Check back next week for a full glimpse of Classcraft in the Spanish 3 world.