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Using Classcraft's New Quests in PBL

August 29, 2017

 

Classcraft has released yet another great new feature. In the last couple months, we have seen performance updates, the volume meter updates, and even some amazing new graphics, but this is the update I'm most excited about and I'll tell you why.

 

Since reading Ross Cooper & Erin Murphy's book Hacking Project Based LearningI have wanted to do more PBL in my classroom. Since, my classroom is not 1:1, I couldn't rely solely on my LMS Schoology. However, Classcraft has always been a platform that, while being 1:1 would be beneficiary, it is not absolutely necessary. So this is how I am going to run my STEM classes.

 

First off, creating these quests is super easy! By just intuitively clicking anywhere on the map, I was able to add an introduction and multiple objectives on the quest. After adding an objective on your quest by clicking the "Plus" in the corner, you have many options.

 

What options are given?

  • First, give your objective a name. Remember, you are creating a game. Don't create a name with a standard or a SWBAT. Create an engaging title. Use words like embark, fight, mission, battle, journey, etc. 

  • Then, choose Task to create your objective.

  • Next, create your story. If you have used things such as Breakout EDU, you know how important this step is. This should not be a list of directions. Rather, put your class in the journey with a compelling narrative that will make them buy in! You can embed pictures, videos, and more to increase engagement.

  • Then, create your Task. This can be more of a directive to the students. You got them hooked with your story, now tell them what you need them to do or accomplish. Feel free to put links to Google Forms, Flipgrids, NearPod Presentations, Socrative Assignments, or any other formative assessment tool you use in your classroom!

  • If 1:1, you can Enable Assignments to have them digitally turn something in. For me, this option didn't apply to my classroom.

  • You can then Enable Discussions for students to talk to each other a collaborate on the forum to increase productivity and learn from peers. This may be one of my favorite features! I no longer feel the need to use an LMS because Classcraft can now do that!

  • Finally, you can have students earn rewards based on completion. This is the biggest one for me since I used to do this manually. It took a lot of time and energy to keep up!

 

After completing each task, you can link them up in a progression that makes sense for that project. You can also have multiple paths for students who don't get a certain objective done to a standard. This is truly personalized!

 

When finished creating all of your tasks, be sure to make a conclusion or ending to their journey. This should be written as a shorty story and tie in the introduction; just like a video game.

 

How am I going to use it in a non 1:1 PBL Environment? 

 

My students will be given tasks that can be done electronically and on paper.

 

One of the most important pieces of Project Based Learning are the mini-conferences. They should happen often and provide valuable timely feedback to the group. 

 

Groups will have to meet with me throughout the project as checkpoints. Each time they feel they have met an objective in the quest, they will conference with me where I can give meaningful and timely feedback. If the objective has been met, I will simply check off their reward and allow them to progress to their next objective. These objectives can be open-ended so students can demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

 

When students have finished their quest, I know with certainty that they are ready for a Boss Battle or Performance Assessment. 

 

This tool will not only benefit my students by rewarding them in their journey, but also is a huge help for me in organizing my PBL classroom. 

 

If you don't use Classcraft, or haven't heard of it. Do yourself a favor and check it out at www.classcraft.com or reach out to them on twitter @classcraftgame.

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