Codeword Leaderboard System

Recently I was presenting at the CUE17 National Conference and I wanted to run a gamified activity with XP and a leaderboard. However, I was going to be speaking and I did not have time to manage a differentiated gamified system. So I designed a fully automated system which operates on the concept of “Codewords.” Participants would complete tasks and receive codewords that they could redeem for XP which would in turn automatically get added to the leaderboard. Many of my participants were interested in how I did it, so I packaged it up into one sheet that anyone can use! Read on to learn how to do it or feel free to play the Insert Coin Leaderboard Challenge here!

Step 1: Make a Quest Menu- Make a differentiated learning menu on a Google Doc. Have a variety of quests for your players to play. Decide how many points each quest is worth.  Here is an example of my Quest Menu.

Step 2: Make Individual Quest Completion Forms- Make a Google Form for each quest. Make sure to put a link to the quest completion form directly on each quest. This is a place where the players provide evidence that they have done the quest. On the form “confirmation message” give them the a Codeword that they can redeem for XP later. Here is an example of one of my quest completion forms.

Step 3: XP Request Form(Hands Off Version)- Make a Google Form with a fields for:

  • Codeword (Enter the secret code from the mission)
  • Avatar Name (Must be the same every time they submit)
  • Guild Affiliation (Which team are they on? Must be the same each time)

You can add more fields after this like notes comments or something but the first three questions must be in this order. This is what my XP Request Form looks like.

Then create your Response Spreadsheet and Copy this Codeword Leaderboard (Hands Off) Sheet into your Responses Spreadsheet and it should start pulling data and populating charts as soon as data gets entered into the form.

*Make sure to adjust the Orange section with all of the XP and codeword information. **Also adjust the Yellow section to fit your XP threshold and leveling system. Your finished, fully automated “Hands off” system should look like this.

Step 4: Publish Leaderboard Charts- Make the whole spreadsheet visible to everyone on the web. Then make your Google Site and Insert the Charts from your the Codeword Leaderboard sheet on the site. My site looks like this.

Pros and Cons-  Upside This is completely student managed and you never have to touch it once it is setup. You can make up random codes as you go and hand then out to students for XP. you could even give your whole class a code if everyone does well. Think about putting codewords on the back of badges that students could redeem for XP as well.

Downside- There is no teacher oversight except if you want to go back in and delete certain student responses.There is no guarantee that they didn’t just get the codeword from another student. That is why I made a “hands on” version where the teacher must “approve” XP requests before they get on the leaderboard.  

***For the “Hands On” Version…  Same as above except you copy the “Hands On” version of the codeword leaderboard instead. Students will be able to submit their codewords but the leaderboard will not change until the teacher puts something anything in the Red “Approval” column (I just put an x in but you can write whatever you want, as long as it is not an empty cell it will count).  This way I can check to see if they actually did the work before they get the points. Your finished “hands on” system should look like this.


Here is your Video Tutorial!

So that’s it! Let me know if this works for you or if there are other features you would want. 🙂

Notes: Because of the complexity of the system there may be a bit of lag while it loads each time you make a change to the spreadsheet or submit a form response. Also while there is no limit to the form responses you can have, the system is limited to 500 players, 500 levels, and 500 codes. I limited it to cut down on the processing time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *