One of the key components of gamification is feedback. Games give players timely, if not instantaneous, feedback. The quicker the feedback cycle, the more effectively the player can adjust their strategy. To effectively gamify a classroom, it is crucial that teachers give feedback to every student in their classroom as quickly as possible. In other words, we need methods of collecting, processing and communicating large quantities of data, usually in the form of experience points (XP). This is where technology can give teachers an advantage.
A spreadsheet can quickly process data. But what about collecting and reporting? It is often time consuming and tedious to enter data directly into a spreadsheet and a teacher rarely has access to the sheet while they are circulating in the classroom. To remedy this, I have created several systems that will allow teachers to process data entered from a Google Form! Furthermore, those results can be published to a Google Site so that your students can stay up to date on their progress. Currently there are two versions which deliver the similar leaderboards yet offer different functionality and features.
Basic XP Calculator(v2.1) was originally designed for elementary classrooms with fewer students. The advantage of this simpler system is that it is slightly easier to set up and a teacher can also enter points for multiple students with each form submission. The disadvantage is that it can only accommodate up to 75 students. While it does include support for guilds or teams, it does not have as many features as the advanced version. I highly recommend this version if you have smaller class sizes. To learn how to set this one up please check out the Basic XP Calculator Tutorial
Advanced XP Calculator(v3.0) is designed with upper grades and multiple classes in mind. This solution take a bit more setup and management but it currently can accommodate up to 500 students from different classes and or guilds/teams. If you don’t mind doing a bit of roster management, this solution might be right for you. If you are a high school teacher with multiple classes you might want to try this one out instead. Click here for the Advanced XP Calculator Tutorial.
Codeword XP Calculator(v4.0) This system is designed to be fully automated and allows the players to submit codes to redeem XP. All the data gets calculated automatically without the teacher ever touching it. This system allows for a fully differentiated and automated gamified system. There is a fully automated “hands off” version OR a “hands on” version where the teacher must approve requests before they get onto the leaderboard.
I am constantly trying to improve these systems, I welcome your thoughts and comments. If they work well for you please let me know on Twitter @ChrisHesselbein or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Although I am streamlining the leaderboard process, be careful! Leaderboards can be a tricky balance of fame and shame so you might want to read my article on 6 Tricks for Shameless Leaderboards. Remember that effective gamification is not about the points and leaderboards, it is about diversified learning. Slapping some XP on a project does not effectively gamify a classroom. However, points and levels can be powerful feedback tool in a properly gamified system. For more on how to gamify a classroom read my Insert Coin Series.