I have teased that I will be Gamifying a unit to my IGCSE Business students but today was the first day we really discussed what it would look like. I openly told my students that it is a work in progress and any positive or negative feedback would greatly assist. For example, when I first introduced the idea of the game they were firmly against any type of public leader board, even if it was just for the top few people.
I first introduced badges and explained how these could be earned. Initially when I looked at creating badges I hoped to use Mozilla Open Badges but instead went with Class Badges. I saw a tweet from Kelsey about Class Badges and after playing with it I was sold as it is so simple.
Though my badges aren’t finalized, my thought process was to utilize project based learning in order to earn badges. I split my badges into individual badges and team badges. So far I have awarded more XP points to the team badges in order to promote team work and helping each other succeed vs competition. I am still trying to figure out the best ratio on team XP vs individual XP and will be discussing it more with my class. Here is a snapshot of some of the badges students can earn:
Entire list of badges so far
A theme of my badges is that most everything has to be shared on our Google+ Community.
I look at the community as a way to empower and take ownership in one’s own learning and by producing quality work, sharing it with classmates and hopefully have them learn from it; I believe their is potential for great satisfaction.
One hard part with the badges is that one can’t get half a badge. You either get it or you don’t. Therefore I informed my class that when they submit the necessary work to receive the badge, I will be the judge to confirm whether they earn the badge or not. If they have not met the requirements, I will give them constructive comments so they can re-submit.
My students naturally noticed that team badges are worth much more and grew concerned about this, especially my strongest students. One badge that especially concerned them was Quiz Champions. To earn this badge every student in the group will have to get at least 85% on every quiz of the game. There is no limit on the amount of times quizzes can be taken though they can’t be taken more than once a day. I asked them why I did this and an astute student replied, “so we help teach our teammates who are struggling.” Perfect.
So students don’t only try for the minimum to get a badge, I have also included two caveats:
- Above and Beyond badge: Awarded to students and or teams who produce absolutely top notch work. An additional 10% maximum XP points will be earned.
For Hexagon Masters, Producers, Researchers and Market Analyzers (all major projects), teams will fill in a team member evaluation (including themselves). If a student stands out in this evaluation they will earn an additional 10% XP points
These last two caveats seemed to settle my high performers as they will still have opportunities to get additional XP points.
Next I introduced Reward Cards and the grading system.
This got my students the most excited and also the most freaked out. They loved the reward cards but felt 3 minutes is not enough time on their phones. The grades worried some since I have decided XP points will actually contribute to their grade. A final number hasn’t been decided but I am thinking 65% with the remaining 35% coming from tests. I’m not a huge fan of tests but being an exam driven class, I do recognize their importance.
Admittedly the grades part freak me out too as I am still not sure how the numbers will work out. The numbers in the picture above are no where near final but I need to think carefully of my expectations in receiving badges and make sure the game isn’t too hard or too easy.
The last thing I explained is that every week students will have the opportunity to nominate another students good deed. This does not have to be someone on their own team. If I feel the good deed merits it, the nominated student will have get to draw one random “reward card.” I will also make additional reward cards to add a bit of surprise.
After all this and answering questions I saw a mixed reaction. The biggest concern was who will be on one’s team. Some students thought it sounded like a lot of fun while others felt they still didn’t quite get how it would work. No one had strong feelings against it.
We talked as a class and then I told them I would leave the room and let them discuss on their own. I explained that nothing I have shown is set in stone and their feedback would be greatly appreciated.
5 minutes later I came back and overall it looks they bought into it. The biggest concern was making the teams fair and I told them I will do my best to do this. One surprise was that the class decided they did want to have a top 5 leader board but with no names attached to it and I said that sounded great.
I have encouraged students to add more comments on the Google+ Community and will continually to seek out their advice as we play. One thought I had was giving a weekly survey about the game where they rank a variety of categories 1-10. I expect this unit to last approximately 10 weeks so I could have some interesting analysis to reflect on in the end.
Next up will be finalizing the game and building a site to put everything. I’m looking forward to how it will turn out.