Everyday, each classroom teacher is expected to manage his or her class and to follow up on students’ behavior and academic performance. The teacher aims to put order into the class and makes sure that everyone is engaged with the various learning tasks at hand. Moreover, the teacher is also expected to encourage and motivate the kids to do better in class, participate in discussion or activities, and to perform well during assessments. Together with these is the need to communicate and work with parents for the sake of the students.
With all these expectations, how can technology support or assist the teacher to maintain an orderly class, motivate students, and give feedback to them and eventually, communicate these to their parents?
There are numerous apps that would promise answers to these expectations. The EdTech world is full of various learning management systems (LMS), classroom management apps, or apps with features that give feedback to parents or students. However, I was not just looking for apps that can help manage the class. I was also looking for apps that would help me motivate and engage the students with our learning activities. Something fun. Something that would excite my students.
The answer to this was ClassCraft.
ClassCraft transforms the class into a role-playing adventure. Taking on game elements and applying these in the classroom setting, ClassCraft offers a great experience for the teacher to use gamification in class. In ClassCraft, students take up characters that can wield powers, suffer from losing points, or level up with experience points. They can participate in random events or quests that the teacher can initiate for the class.
However, more than having these cool features and awesome graphics, how does ClassCraft help make learning for students engaging, meaningful, or collaborative?
1. ClassCraft makes learning a personal adventure for students.
As students step into their characters, they are challenged to behave well and perform well in class because they know that their teacher can reward them with points or deduct them with their HP or health points. In short, they have to learn how to manage themselves so that their character can progress in the adventure. In a way, the character reflects their performance in class.
2. ClassCraft help foster collaboration among students.
Because the game works on rewards system, students become mindful that their actions or performance in class can affect their team or guild’s overall performance. As they individually progress in class and in ClassCraft, they also think about how they can help protect or heal their teammates. They need to collaborate, plan, and work together to gain points. For example, during a group work, the teacher can put up rewards for those who finish the work well or for those who have shown great collaborative skills during the said learning activity.
3. ClassCraft engages and motivates students.
Rewards, ability to use “educational” powers or class incentives, awesome equipment, and fearsome or cute pets, who does not get motivated to work for these? Teachers can use ClassCraft as an academic motivator. I have parents telling me that their children were exerting more effort and setting more review time for a coming test so that they can receive Gold Pieces or more XP. Another way ClassCraft makes learning engaging is through its Boss Battle, which turns reviewing, a formative activity, fun and exciting. Recently, the Boss Battle was added for the students to answer review questions, defeat a Boss, and eventually gain rewards.
4. ClassCraft teaches students to take risks and be mindful of the consequences of their decisions or actions.
While the game is all about rewards, another aspect that ClassCraft manages to subtly teach students is about taking risks and being mindful of the consequences of their actions in class. When they decide to battle a boss, they are become mindful that they can fall from the game if they fail to answer the review questions well. This possible outcome pushes them to prepare well for the Boss Battle. Helping others or protecting their teammates can also give the team great results.
There are other helpful features that can be used when the ClassCraft account is upgraded. Features such as grade book, analytic, or additional rewards are made available to further deepen the feedback mechanism in class and intensify the role-playing adventure. ClassCraft also has a parent feature where parents can have an access and clear view of how their children are doing in class. However, whether your account is free or premium, the main essence of ClassCraft remains. It still engages and motivates students to behave or perform well, whether individually or as a team.
So, in the end, 1 Teacher + 37 Students + ClassCraft = a motivated class, taking an adventure of a lifetime. Yes! That was my experience in my own classroom in the Philippines. ClassCraft successfully helped me to manage and make learning exciting and fun for 37 young and energetic boys.