Creating Custom Breakout Edu Games

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My husband and his friends paid to get locked in a room a couple years ago…and they didn’t escape…and well, look below:

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I still call Twitter the ultimate PLN, and you know why? It’s because of things like Breakout Edu that I discovered there. I always explain the game this way: we can’t lock students in a room, so instead, they break into a box. Classroom content is key, and with so many games available, it’s highly likely that the game you’re looking for is already available.

Custom Breakout Games

With that being said, I like to give creative gifts, and I also like to help teachers to be creative in their classrooms, especially with gamified lessons. So, I have had a need several times to build my own game. I’ve built at least three for friends’ birthdays and hangouts, and there couldn’t be a more exciting gift, in my opinion. With the advent of the new Breakout Edu Platform Digital Game creation tool, I’m not going to get too technical on how to build the games themselves, but I would like to share a couple games with you. When you push play on the video below, you’ll hear about the Clue-themed game I made for my brother’s birthday and a couple other fun ideas.

Here are the resources I mention in the video as well:

Happy watching!

One more thing! I would love to send you my tipsheet for my top ten favorite Breakout Edu puzzle ideas. Want to grab it? Click here!

Classflow: A Device-Agnostic Tool for Student Learning and Assessment

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Students are going to bring phones to class. I laugh as I pass teacher doors with posters that say phones aren’t allowed, or as I visit classrooms where teachers want more computers but aren’t using the mobile supercomputers that students carry in their very own pockets. I understand that teachers need to limit cheating or distractions, but what if there were a way to “hijack” students’ devices for the teacher’s own purposes?

Classflow is only one of many tools that promotes student engagement right from these mobile devices. Use of a mobile-based lesson delivery tool reduces the need to worry about lack of devices or distraction. We teachers are putting to work the devices our students already have and then can supplement with a few that we have. We are also taking command of their computers for academic purposes instead of just hoping those devices stay turned off and in their pockets–they won’t.

So let’s get down to business on what Classflow can do. In the video posted at the bottom of this page, I dive into just some of the features: instant whiteboard, quick polls, and the marketplace.

Classflow Image

Instant Whiteboard

There are times when only a marker and a big white page will do the trick. Because Classflow is built on a card system, each card you add is, by nature, just such a blank slate. Press the Instant Whiteboard button, and you will be immediately on a blank screen where you can write, draw, and add text in multiple colors. You can then send that page of notes to student devices, where they can screenshot it for later use.

Let me stop here and say why I think words like “instant” and the “quick” in Classflow quick polls are even more powerful. Let’s say that you’ve planned a lesson without engagement opportunities or you’ve run out of lesson before you’ve run out of time. Anytime a sudden inspiration strikes, Classflow provides a quick tool for you to engage your students without prior planning.

With that being said, it’s time for the next Classflow tool.

Quick Polls

Classflow offers eight types of Quick Polls, depending on what type of data you want to receive from students. I will highlight four of them here, and you can see them demonstrated in the video below as well:

Creative

Do you have those students in your class like I did who do better with drawing than writing? Or are you trying to have students tap into different learning modalities? The creative quick poll is the tool to use. It allows you to send a prompt to students and have them respond with a drawing. They can use multiple colors, shapes, and other tools to complete their drawings and return them to you.

Word Seed

As a former English teacher but still English nerd, I love connections among words. With the word seed quick poll, send out a text prompt to students. They are able to respond with one or many words that they feel relate to your prompt in some way. My favorite way to deepen the learning with this tool is to have students help take the general brainstorm and connect/categorize the elements. Instead of just focusing on their individual devices and personal contributions, students can now come to the interactive whiteboard at the front of the room and help sort and color-code what the others have sent in.

Scale

I love the scale quick poll for a ticket out the door. Need to know how confident students are with a lesson you delivered? Launch the scale and let them rate how they really feel. You can choose to show student names for flexible grouping the next day or simply take an anonymous poll to see what you might need to address again.

Yes/No

Finally, the two-option yes/no quick poll is just what it sounds like. Ask the students any question and have them respond with yes or no. They are able to vote again as needed, but each student is limited to one choice at a time. My idea for using this tool in class is as a digital version of an agree-disagree chart. My freshman students loved days when I would give them ten hot-button statements related to a text they were about to read. As they gave their opinions and made their cases, they were engaged with the text before we even read it. In the case of Classflow, it’s easy to discuss the agreements and disagreements, as the live poll pops up on the screen and you call on different students to make their cases.

Marketplace

The final piece of the Classflow puzzle I explore in the video below is the Marketplace, which offers a bank of free or paid ready-made lessons for you to launch to student devices. Each resource is composed of PowerPoint-like slides that Classflow calls cards. As you swipe to the next card, students now see that one on their own devices’ screens. You have great content and a captive audience, and you didn’t have to create a thing.

Are you ready to see Classflow in action? Check out the video below, which is embedded from the Facebook Live Tech Tuesday session I host every week at facebook.com/techlolley at 8PM EST.

Has this exposure to Classflow shown you something you’d like to try in class? Did you find a new feature I missed? Please share in the comments below.

Want to save this idea for later? How about pinning this article to one of your Pinterest boards?

I look forward to hearing from you either way!

With Tech and Twang,

Suzy Signature Pink

Tools for Digital Writing and Drawing with Students

Remember the days of MS Paint? I mean, I know it still exists, but I remember watching my brothers draw these amazing creations on the computer. Photoshop wasn’t even a gleam in its mother’s eye yet…if computer programs have mothers…but I digress. Anyway, I have never possessed the hand-eye coordination to draw anything with a mouse…until now.

Until now that there are touchscreen devices! Even if you and your students don’t have touchscreens, I want to share with you three tools for amazing digital drawing and writing. Here are several reasons why that type of tool matters, and why paper and pen, though still important, are not the be-all-end all in the classroom anymore:

Reason 1: Tactile learning with the hand-to-pen-connection

Students may love looking at a screen all day, but we adults know that truly committing something to memory happens when we write the information. Why not combine what we know to be effective with what they enjoy doing? Writing and drawing on the screen synthesize those two skills and make them more engaging and effective.

Reason 2: Signing documents digitally

When I went to the doctor the other day, I was expected to print and scan a 22-page packet before I got there. Absolutely not! Instead, I converted the PDF to Word (easy trick shared in my video below!) and signed digitally with Word. You and your students can sign documents securely as well the same way.

Reason 3: Annotating and explaining

Part of what makes apps like Seesaw so great (I’m an ambassador!) is that students can explain their thinking. With digital drawing and writing, your students can show what they know, and you can create quick screencasts for parents and students giving them a tour of a resource or teaching a concept.

Reason 4: Joy

As I mentioned in my post about prettying up your online life, there’s something about color that brings joy. With all the pens available (I will show several in the video!) digitally, there’s no need to break the bank on Flair pens anymore. Students with an artistic bent will be excited to do their math work again…if they can do it in pink;)

Reason 5: Color-coding

More than just joy, colors bring structure. Students taking notes in class can use colors to categorize what they write, and along with emojis or symbols, they can set their focus on important elements for later review.

Reason 6: Organization

Speaking of organization, the best thing about using a digital drawing or note is that it’s less likely to get lost. I have SO many notebooks in my house and office that I don’t remember what’s written where, such as my original draft for this post, ha! By teaching students a file structure, you can help them ensure that the notes and drawings they create in a digital medium are safe. If nothing else, Windows has a great search feature:)

So now that you know the “why” of digital inking, how about me showing you the tools? Click play on the video below, and prepare to be amazed as I share ideas for drawing and writing with Word, OneNote, and Windows Ink Workspace!

Want more cool tools? This video was part of the Twelve Days of Tech-mas, originally hosted at my Facebook Fan Page. Go follow and like it now so you can be in the live audience every Tuesday when my newest tip goes live. But don’t worry if you missed a few. They’re all linked right here:

Day 1: Digital Writing and Drawing YOU ARE HERE! 🗺️ 🌍

Day 2: Creating Custom Breakout Edu Games

Day 3: New Ideas for Using QR Codes in the Classroom

Day 4: Pretty Up Your Online Life with Colors and Emojis

Day 5: Favorite Chrome Extensions for Teacher Productivity

Day 6: The Best Six Podcasts for Teachers and Teacherpreneurs

Day 7: Creating Your Own Free Embed Code

Day 8: Interactive Student Review with Better Flashcards: Pear Deck Flashcard Factory 

Day 9: Recognize Incremental Learning and Increase Motivation with Badging

Day 10: Create Recipe Lists and Auto-Populated Emails with Office Quick Parts

Day 11: Automate Your Life by Connecting Favorite Online Tools with IFTTT

Day 12: Organize URLs and Enhance Productivity using Excel Spreadsheets and OneDrive

 

Tech Tuesday #2: Creating and Using a Habit Tracker to Reach Our Goals

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Hey Friends,
I’m so glad that we’re together again for another Tech Tuesday. This is, in fact, the second Tech Tuesday. I hope you were able to tune into Facebook Live this week, but if not, you might have missed the fact that last week we talked about how we could make our goals visual and more compelling, so would be we would be more likely to do them. We used a free tool called Sway. I walked you through the process for creating a Sway and adding great visual content automatically. So if you did miss that, I invite you to go back and check it out.
But onward and upward as they say! This week, I want to break down the process for creating and embedding a habit tracker into your Sway. By having the tracker alongside your goals, you can see if you’re actually meeting them. Now I know it’s you holding yourself accountable, but there’s something about seeing and writing our goals that helps us to be a little more motivated.
In that vein, let’s talk about four reasons why you might want to track your habits:
Number one: I don’t know about you, but I’m still a sticker girl. Yes, I mean literal stickers like you got when you were a child. The “gold star” method, you might say. For some reason, stickers motivate me. As a matter of fact, last time I was trying to meet my exercise goals, I was in love with them. Every time I did physical activity for thirty minutes, I would give myself a sticker. It’s always fun to see if we have a streak going, and stickers make that streak more colorful and exciting.
Reason number two. We don’t know what we don’t track. I know that in the education world, people say that testing students is overdone, and I’m sure that’s the case. However, measurement also helps us to know what we know. If we write down and track what we’ve accomplished, we have a record of it so that we know it now and we know it later.
Reason number 3 is that there’s a problem if there’s a habit we never do. First of all, I guess we really couldn’t call it a habit at that point, right? But if there’s something on our tracker that is never getting done, we need one of two things: we need either an intervention or we need to move on. We might need someone to step alongside us and help us do that habit, especially if it’s one that’s important to our health and well-being. Or, the “undone-ness” might be a wake-up call that we have been a little unrealistic with ourselves and need to abandon that habit in favor of one we might actually do. Looking at a blank box we never attend to is going to just lead to discouragement anyway, so we might as well re-frame what we’re doing.
The fourth and best reason that we need to track our habits is to get results. Maybe we’ve been using stickers or an online tracker as a dangling carrot, but if we think about it, the completion of the list is not the result. The new habit and the better lifestyle are the results. So if we really want to meet our goals, we definitely need to track them.
My Habits
Let me give you a few of the habits I plan to track this year. If nothing else, they will at least make you laugh about how your habits are so much more serious than mine 🙂 I have a sweet tea addiction. The problem is that every time I drink it, I start to feel anxious and I get a headache. But it’s so good. It’s the South’s version of the nectar of the gods, you might say. So every time I know I shouldn’t have it (especially if the meal includes a free drink, hello!), I still struggle and have it anyway. So that’s why one of my habits I want to develop this year is avoiding sweet tea.
Along with that, I want to avoid desserts and potatoes. I could eat a potato any way you make it, except sweet. (Isn’t that ironic but I like sweet tea and desserts but not sweet potatoes? Probably because they’re too healthy for me.) Anyway, I was not a dessert person until I met my husband, but now I feel like I have to have a little something sweet every time I have something salty. You see the issue. Thus…two more habits.
I definitely need to move more because of all this food that I love, so I’m making a small goal for myself in hopes that I will keep walking longer. I wrote it down as walking 10 minutes a day. My thought is that once I get halfway around the block in that ten minutes, I won’t just sit down in the road, but I will continue walking, ha ha.
Next, I want to drink enough water every day. My currently-chapped lips are just one sign of the fact that I live perpetually dehydrated. As a matter of fact, my husband Dusty once said he would call the cops on me for attempted suicide by dehydration. I replied that many teachers don’t get to drink water because they never have time to…well, you know.
Finally, I really need to buckle down and make sure I’m spending time with the Lord every day. That includes reading my Bible and praying, but I’m an intense kind of person when it matters. I don’t just want the little check off that I read five minutes. Or I threw some words God’s way. I want to really encounter Him every day. And if it takes me writing that down on the list to do it, I’m going to do what I have to do.
Creating Your Habit Tracker
So what about you? Do you have certain goals you’d like to track? Well if you do, I have good news. If you will watch my video below, you will learn how Excel online, a free tool, can be your perfect accountability partner. We will use conditional formatting, which is just a fancy way of saying that we will turn some of the cells green when we do them, and optionally, you can turn the ones red that you don’t do. The process is really easy, and you can have the whole sheet set up in ten minutes or less. What a great, quick accomplishment! So if you’d like to know how to do that, how to access your habit tracker on your phone, and even embed this habit tracker into a visual goal sheet on Sway, just click to play below.
 As always, I want to hear from you. It gets kind of lonely on the blog when I don’t know if anyone’s reading what I write. And the writing is kind of witty if I do say so myself 🙂 So do me a favor–leave a comment below if you’ve created and used the habit tracker. Even better, why don’t you share a link to yours so I can brag on you and be proud?
With Tech and Twang,
Suzy Signature Pink

Visual Goal-Setting with Sway

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Hey friends and happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I always approach the new year with a lot of excitement and a little bit of dread. Why dread, you might ask? Well, it’s because every year I make these little things called goals, and I seem to have a very hard time keeping them. As a matter of fact, I’ve written about that a lot on my other blog. Well, enthusiastic person that I am, I always think that maybe I can do better if I come up with another strategy. So that’s what today’s post is about.

If you missed my Facebook live last night, or if you saw it and need a reminder, I want to walk you through what I feel will be a more successful goal-setting strategy for this year. Successful for two reasons: Because this strategy is more visual and also because I have a habit tracker embedded right in alongside my goals. What do you think?
If you’re with me, let’s walk through quickly how you can do the same. First of all, you’re going to go to sway.com. Sway is a free Microsoft tool, so even if you’re living in the land of Google (or your school district is), you and your students can still use this tool. As a matter of fact, what were about to walk through would be a great first-day-back-my brain-is-dead  student activity that wouldn’t require a lot of thought on your part. So once you’re in Sway, you’re going to click to create a new sway. It’s really easy from there. There are two tabs, one that says design and one that’s a storyline. Think of storyline as the same thing as storyboard. It’s your planning side. Design will let you preview what you’ve done at anytime. FYI, I try to resist clicking design as long as possible to prolong my excitement. Yes, I’m a weirdo in case you didn’t know that 🙂 Anyway, sway is made up of cards, which are the individual widgets or units of different types of content you can add. You’re automatically starting with a title, so feel free to be creative. After all, that just might increase your motivation 🙂
For a live walkthrough of all the rest of the steps, won’t you click through to my video below? I’m here to help if you need anything, but what I would really like it if you come back and paste the link to your goals Sway in the comments below. I want to brag on you, be proud of you, and nudge you on if you need it. Trust me, this process will only take you maybe half an hour and you will feel really accomplished.
Something else I mentioned in my video is using the embedded habit tracker. I will be focusing Tech Tuesday #2 on creating one of those, step-by-step! The biggest, coolest thing about Sway is the fact that you can embed it and that you also can use embeddable content inside it, so I don’t want you to miss out on that feature.
Again, come back and share when you’re done; I want to brag on you. Happy New Year and all my best. Look for a another post coming next Tuesday, which I’m affectionately renaming Tech Tuesday.
With Tech and Twang,

Gamification Twitter Chat July 2017

Interested in Gamification?

Check out this chat from Saturday’s EdChange Global #ecggamify hashtag! #ecg2017

  1. Q1. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification https://t.co/9OQozlbshI

    Q1. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification pic.twitter.com/9OQozlbshI
  2. Hi! Dianne 5th T from Simi, Ca. Gamifying is something I’ve been wanting to try but struggling with #ecggamify
  3. Q2. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification https://t.co/emOHX8mOUt

    Q2. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification pic.twitter.com/emOHX8mOUt
  4. Hi I’m Laura and my male students particularly like a gamified classroom 🙂 #ecggamify
  5. A2: Used badges for tech knowledge, like shareing a google doc or creating a Slideshow #ecggamify
  6. Q2. In my first Unit of every year for MS Ss we focus on Time Mgt. I’d badge that. #ecggamify #gamification
  7. @MViTDiTeach Tech trainer like me I guess 🙂 love it and would be happy to share some resources if you’re interested. #ecggamify
  8. Anything that rewards going beyond completion. Maybe tie into a #PBL unit #ecggamify
  9. @TweetMeego Awesome! I recommend @credly for badges. #ecggamify
  10. @cwilcoxKSU Yes! Look into mastery paths option in @CanvasLMS#ecggamify
  11. A2 also a badge for mastery. Like teaching the content to others #ecggamify  https://twitter.com/suzylolley/status/891328781276901377 …
  12. Clearly def makes it easy to create and use Also to keep track of them in your class too #ecggamify  https://twitter.com/suzylolley/status/891330032563613696 …
  13. Q3. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  14. @TweetMeego @cwilcoxKSU Just the fact that kids desire to persist until they succeed is amazing. #ecggamify
  15. #ecg2017 still going strong! Into #gamification? Jump in and share your ideas…#ecggamify @reeder_cassie @JaimeDonally
  16. Yes. Getting to those higher Bloom’s levels of creation rather than just completion for a grade #ecggamify  https://twitter.com/TweetMeego/status/891331188262096896 …
  17. @cwilcoxKSU @suzylolley #ecggamify When you create badges that can be “skipped” and go to the next level does this offer differentiation?
  18. Be prepared for it and plan tho. Maybe the Stu could create the badge even! 2 #ecggamify  https://twitter.com/TweetMeego/status/891332766276734977 …
  19. Q4. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification https://t.co/4YEMQcfD8r

    Q4. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification pic.twitter.com/4YEMQcfD8r
  20. @cwilcoxKSU Planning is key…Ss creating their own badges. Could offer peer mentoring/reinforcement if others can earn. #ecggamify https://twitter.com/cwilcoxKSU/status/891333598154022913 …
  21. A4: I gamify my entire class. Give 1 mission for each essential Q in unit to demo learning in creative way. #ecggamify
  22. A4 cont. ex. Create an iMovie video explaining the cake methods. I teach culinary. #ecggamify
  23. A3 don’t look at gamification as a path for bad design – it won’t make the content better! #ecggamify 😉  https://twitter.com/suzylolley/status/891334026287566848 …
  24. What about other activities or tools? Using Kahoot, Socrative, Quizlet, Learning apps, Edmodo for example? Other suggestions? #ecggamify
  25. A3. #ecggamify Some of my Ss struggle with interpreting maps, esp. historic. (MS #SocialStudies)
  26. @suzylolley A2: I use give badges for best product quality in Culinary. Teams with best overall taste, texture, & app get badge holding XP. #ecggamify
  27. I love going in to watch Ts @cbarchers12 engage Ss using @quizlet live suddenly Gen. Bio is exciting! #ecggamify
  28. @tishrich Yes, that’s more my approach. #ecggamify
  29. Q5. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification https://t.co/mOiimeKKMm

    Q5. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification pic.twitter.com/mOiimeKKMm
  30. Julie joining in late! Culinary teacher who has been inspired by @tishrich #ecggamify
  31. Hi! Sorry for jumping in late! Tisha HS Culinary Tr from OR. Passionate about gamifying! #ecggamify
  32. I co-moderate #XPLAP chat on Tues 7PST with author of Explore Like a Pirate @mrmatera ! AMAZING book on gamification! #ecggamify
  33. A5 I am at the campus level so it might be badges for mastery of tech components- G-Suite, Email, EdTech tools, etc. #ecggamify https://twitter.com/suzylolley/status/891336301106089984 …
  34. A5: master chef as a overall theme but do lots of different cooking show challenges. #ecggamify
  35. @TweetMeego @credly Ha! No I make on iOS pages and laminate. Ss love tangible badges. Keep in baseball card sleeves #ecggamify
  36. A5. I will be specializing in PK-12 curriculum around our new radio station. So, you are getting me started. #ecggamify @suzylolley
  37. @rice_julie An amazing crew is what makes it so great! #XPLAPcommunity is MIND BLOWING! Never cease to amaze me! #ecggamify
  38. @tishrich Very true. Tangibles matter. Baseball card sleeves preserve and honor. Nice 🙂 #ecggamify  https://twitter.com/tishrich/status/891337233034133505 …
  39. A5: going on 3rd year gamifying. Masterchef in Culinary 2 and great food Truck Race in culinary 3! Ss love it! #ecggamify
  40. Q6. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification https://t.co/Z7ExbNEjd1

    Q6. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification pic.twitter.com/Z7ExbNEjd1
  41. A6: Ss on mission to earn Masterchef status. 1000xp=3×5 card on test, 2000xp=page notes, 4000xp=MC status. Exempt from test #ecggamify
  42. @suzylolley Assign low points baseline tasks, increase points with task complexity, need points to level up, so Ss motivated to do #ecggamify#tlap
  43. A6: Ss earn privileges as they level up. Could be in the lab or in the classroom. Again all inspired or “stolen” from @tishrich #ecggamify
  44. @tishrich I would love to see your game. Posted somewhere? #ecggamify
  45. A6: MC status earns free cook day and Michelin star. 3 Michelin stars in semester & name goes on legacy wall & personalized apron #ecggamify
  46. A6. Kids love to “beat the game” “move to the next level” Need to harness that sense of accomplishment in school. #ecggamify
  47. A6: added a “beat the teacher” component which was fun! #ecggamify
  48. A6. I have taught History. I now think the archaeology dig we created needs to be a game. And my Santa Economics unit. #ecggamify
  49. A6: Ss can earn mystery badges & chance cards too to give special incentives and privileges. #ecggamify pic.twitter.com/zCI6g25uUl
  50. Been in/out of tweet meets #satchatwc #tlap #edugladiators#ecggamify; time to get ready for wedding of colleague T, thanks, everyone!
  51. Join @mrmatera and I on #XPLAP TUES 7PST to chat #gamification! Amazing community of passionate educators! #ecggamify
  52. @MDSAJohnson Hey my friend 🙂 I still want to see your OneNote badge solution.#ecggamify
  53. Thanks for letting me jump in chat #ecggamify! Always love to chat #gamification!
  54. @MViTDiTeach Hi Dianne. Ive been gamifying gong on 5 years. Been blogging for a year at  http://gameinspireddesign.wordpress.com  if your interested. #ecggamify
  55. @TweetMeego @cwilcoxKSU Yes, I think some reqd and some optional is a cool thought. Pls share if you try. #ecggamify

My Gamification Passion! Avatars

I transitioned from classroom teacher to Instructional Technology Specialist for my district about three years ago. While I love my new-ish job, my heart will always be in the classroom, specifically with the stresses current teachers deal with.  One of the biggest stresses for me, and what drew me to the concept of gamification, was student motivation.
Teachers are regularly held accountable for what their students do and do not do, as well as the grades that result from such choices.  Gamification, or the concept of turning a teacher’s class into a game, has been show to increase work ethic tremendously.  My online friend, Beth Box, has proven it with her civics class, and you can check out her “gamified” class here.
How can gamification help you?  That’s what I’m going to spend some time talking about on this blog.  With each entry in this extended series, I’ll share a trick for making your class more engaging.  Ready to get started?Let’s start with the basics.  If you’re going to restructure your whole class as a game, I’ve broken apart several of the components for you.  This video starts with the concept of avatars.

Are you using avatars in your classroom?  Do you have questions or want to make other points?  Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you!

Your Virtual Tech Mentor,

Suzy

Recognize Incremental Learning and Increase Motivation with Badging

Let’s face it.  Most students will find a subject that, no matter how hard they try, they just won’t get an A in.  And while grades are a measure of what students know, and an important measure at that, for students who struggle, they seem unattainable, at least for certain subjects.

Enter badges, or as some call them, micro-credentials.  Every student, regardless of final grade, learns skills in a unit that add up to skills in a class.  Why not recognize those skills?  For example, in my previous days of teaching ninth grade literature, Romeo and Juliet was a major unit in the Spring.  During that unit, they learned drama terms, iambic pentameter, and the complex language and hidden meanings of the bard.

Had I known about badges then, I could have awarded one for each of those skills.  And I don’t just believe in fluff!  They would have had to complete a related assignment to prove their knowledge of that skill.  Imagine how empowering that would be for a student–to know that they could learn parts of the whole and work toward the whole, but that their efforts wouldn’t have resulted in disappointment at the end of the unit.  In the words of Cher, “If I could turn back time.”

In addition to Shakespearean language, which might not have as many practical applications as some other ideas, badges can be awarded for job skills in career-related classes in our high schools.  I have one brother in graphic design and another on the programming side of the computer science field.  My goal is to possibly connect some design/comp sci students with someone in the “real world” who could review their employable skills and award micro-credentials that would hold weight when they apply for jobs and internships after school ends. Badges aren’t just for fluff.  They are for the latent skills not often rewarded by the traditional school experience.

Have I piqued your interest on badging? Check out this video on the basics.  I would love to help you begin badging in your classroom, so leave a comment.  Also, this post is the second in a series.  Check out this post about my gamification passion and integrating avatars into the classroom.

With Tech and Twang,

Suzy Signature Pink