As a new Digital Learning Coach I have been bombarded by educational apps and tech I did not even know existed. After filtering through these apps and getting up to speed on many, I have something worthy of shouting out to the masses. An app that has me so excited I’m giggling sinisterly like a DC comic villain… Classcraft!
Click the image above to learn more about Classcraft.
Classcraft is a digital classroom management tool which links digital assignments published using Google Classroom or Office 365 to create an avatar based world where students embark on quests to earn points and complete objectives. Classcraft allows teachers to monitor student progress, add or deduct bonus points based on behavior and/or progress, and set challenges for students and/or classes. The app is geared towards gamifying education: students complete assignments to progress through stages in order to complete a quest. A quest, set up like a unit of study, has levels (or lessons) that progress toward a final showdown (like a review) where students answer questions to defeat an enemy. Along the way students earn bonus points by working efficiently and accurately in their assignments. Additionally, the teacher can assign or deduct bonus points for classroom behavior and or special challenges.
In addition to being a management system, Classcraft gives teachers tools as well and links them to the game. See image below.
In observing a master teacher using Classcraft I observed the awesomeness this app can produce. At one point during student work, the teacher said, ‘check this out’ and activated the Makus Valley volume meter. Every student quietly said ‘Shhh! Look!!!’ and pointing to the projector. The volume meter used the teachers’ computer mic to gauge the average class volume level; a threshold and timer were set and if the students volume went over the students would lose points, if they were successfully quiet during the time they gained points. The class worked together to continually monitor their volume level and still collaborate on completing their assignments. I was blown away, the teacher didn’t have to say anything!
After the volume challenge the teacher activated the Riders of Vay tool – a pop-up, stop everything, whole group, question activity. He created the question and projected it on the screen- the whole class stopped individual work to discover what the teacher had projected. The teacher then used the Wheel of Destiny Tool to randomly select a student (or group!) to answer the question, if correct the selectee would gain bonus points for their team, if not they could lose points. It was an excellent way to gauge students learning for the lesson and provided an opportunity for the teacher to pull small group instruction to reteach students who might’ve missed the question.
Overall, I am blown away on how Classcraft can transform the learning environment. Students are highly engaged in their learning and eager to do their best work. Back in the day, I had been confined to using a behavior stick- a small strip of paper consisting of 10 segments of 10 points each- it totaled 100 points. If a student was misbehaving I’d walk over and tear off a 10 point section to increase awareness of student misbehavior. Classcraft goes worlds beyond this by gaining student’s interest in their avatar and game quest.
With all the praise I must confide I do not think Classcraft is for everyone. Teachers will need to effectively introduce Classcraft to their classes and know how to effectively use it (luckily, I have seen lots of tutorials online to help do these). In addition, Classcraft will not work on every student. Students who are not into video games and/or are your school’s top misbehavers may not buy into the game, after all it’s still learning focused. In addition, students who are too consumed by games may find themselves spending more time manipulating their avatar than completing lessons. The good thing is, in order to modify your avatar you need to complete work in order to gain the XP points used to modify your character.
In another thought, I also worry about the popularity of Classcraft having a negative effect on it. Currently, the cool teachers are doing it. What happens if it’s implemented by every teacher? Will kids get burnt out and stop liking it? Possibly. However, this gives room for new versions and variations of Classcraft to come out and keep things interesting. In short, I have to say even with these uncertainties Classcraft still has me extremely excited.
To find out more about whether Classcraft is right for you, click here. Please leave your comments and questions below so we can learn more about Classcraft and it’s implementation.
Argueta, S. (2018). Classroom management and Classcraft. Retrieved from https://www.smore.com/ndj4g-classroom-management-and-classcraft.
OnSpainSchool. (2018). Classroom gamification for learning Spanish. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwi-opLa_qTeAhUIR6wKHUlrBj4QjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fonspainschool.com%2Fclassroom-gamification-for-learning-spanish%2F&psig=AOvVaw3UT-QH_iTMicW5a6q9O__5&ust=1540668152463610
Classcraft Studios. (2016). The class tools (suite of features). Retrieved from https://help.classcraft.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005701587-The-Class-Tools-suite-of-features-.