When I was at school, we had plus marks and minus marks. A pretty rudimentary system, fairly self explanatory and the tallies were kept on display usually pinned to the cork noticeboard on a dogeared sheet of A3 so we all understood how each other was getting on.. kind of made a game out of learning and behaviour but without the jetpack which physics teacher Shawn Young has applied to the gamification of learning along with his brother and father.
Welcome to Classcraft, a learning platform based on World of Warcraft which has the potential to solve the challenge of teachers trying to maintain the focus of less disciplined students who are unwilling to give their full attention to what is going on and allows parents to also track progress of the game.
The game is designed to compliment existing curricula with minimal management of the games by teachers and on entering a class students will see the Classcraft screen projection displaying how everyone is positioned in the game. The game updates passively throughout educational tasks depending on the academic and behavioural performance of each student.
Customisation of the role playing game helps to generate initial interest from students where characters need to be chosen each with their own powers and the idea of working in teams promotes interaction and collaboration in class amongst students on projects as either Healers, Warriors or Majors throughout the academic year.
One of the things that has been really rewarding for us building this, as a teacher, is the feedback from teachers all over the world telling us that they had kids that were chronically disengaged from poor neighbourhoods who it was hard to get to come to school.. all of a sudden they have perfect assiduity because they want to come to class, they want to see what’s going to happen in Classcraft and kids that would normally be talking to each other helping each other after school..
Powers which students can earn in the game have an impact with what they can do in real life for example, earning the right to eat in class or handing in an assignment a day late. Conversely if students lose points they can be penalised in real life arriving late to a class could mean that you’d need to hand in an assignment a day early, unless that is, someone on your team steps in to save you from the punishment and sacrifice some of their own points.
Classcraft have a heap of new features coming up for release in the coming weeks too for example measuring the sound in the class which, if it gets too loud means everyone will be penalised as well as using timers to do tasks in the class resulting in reward or penalties as well as back end analytics for teachers and parents.
Shawn Young explained at this months NY Tech Meetup that having launched in September, Classcraft are now up to 125,000 users in 60 countries across 7 languages and have built their own translation engine. He explains that Classcraft are in the process of completely transforming the learning experience at school with a project which has so far been completely bootstrapped.