So Much to Say…

…and yet I never said it. It’s been almost a year since the FPEA conference which was part of my motivation for this site. In retrospect, I was not thinking clearly on how to use this blog site and what to say. I wanted to talk about some of the things we are doing, but I also wanted to talk about HOW I am doing it. That makes for a pretty long post. Plus, it is very labor intensive in that I actually have to make sure the directions I give are correct and actually work.

I’ve since realized, while I still want to do the How-Tos, they need to be done a something separate from the blogging. So, to blogging (How-Tos coming soon…)

ClassCraft… Way cool. I ran across this awhile ago and have been trying to use it for home. It is designed to entice classrooms to work together and be inspired to do classwork through the use of gamification. It uses a fantasy setting with a story line, “boss battles” and “random events” to keep the classroom lively.

Now, for home use, I am still struggling to find a good approach for it. However, this year I started teaching a Computer Programming class for our homeschool co-op. For the first semester, I did not use it, partially because I did not know how the other parents would feel about a fantasy themed gamification, the idea of gamification, requiring Internet access and email accounts for students, etc.

Unfortunately, I spent all semester begging and pleading with students and parents to get their students to turn in homework so I could make sure everyone was keeping up and understanding the lectures. Since our co-op meets only once a week, I just 45 minutes to lecture and check in on student progress. Said evaluation typically came in the form of me just walking around class to see what was on their computer screens.

In desperation, I decided to deploy ClassCraft in the classroom. I had already paid for it for myself so took the risk. I put it out to my parents, coerced them into create GMail accounts for their kids so I could integrate Google Classroom I even did a couple sessions on Internet Safety using the NestSmartz Kids resources.

It was painful, but WOW what a difference! Once everyone was setup and introduced, I went from begging kids to turn in something, anything, to having those same kids yelling at ME to grade their work faster!!!!

If you run a classroom for a co-op or something similar take a look at it. The “Random Events” have turned into a ridiculously huge hit. Although my first Boss Battle hit them pretty hard, it seemed to only galvanize them to be ready for them. In fact, this weekend I need to create a new Boss Battle. One that will challenge them a bit more.

Writen by Robert

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