Goosechase Edu - Making Scavenger Hunts Interactive
Community Review for GooseChase EDU
Goosechase is an amazing app that can increase student engagement and enhance learning. This tool helps takes the traditional scavenger hunt to a new level. The tool can be used to enhance field trips by allowing students to synthesize powerful learning connections and showing what they learning. It can also be used for collaboration when students are put into groups.
I love that it allows for a variety of different missions (tasks) that can be graded directly such as text based questions but allows for pictures and video missions to be submitted as well. Overall it is an effective teaching tool that can be used with minimal set up for students. Students must have access to a mobile device such as an iPad or phone with wireless access. At this time, it does not interface with computers in terms of completing an active Goosechase though. The teacher dashboard allows for real time view and submissions are easily viewed. If a submission is inappropriate or not pertinent to the mission, it can be deleted requiring the team to re-submit the mission. The leaderboard is also visible to both the teams and the teacher. Bonus points can be added to a submission as well deleting points for a submission. It is important that students are trained to read the notifications so teachers can communicate with teams during the active Goosechase. Students must create an account which can be challenging for students under Age 13 due to the terms of service. The terms of service should be read completely to ensure compliance. The terms allow for the creation of accounts for students under age 13 under certain circumstances. Overall this tool provides amazing potential for blending scavenger hunts with content standards when structured correctly. Students find the activities engaging. The strength of the Goosechase instructionally lies in the teacher creating well structured missions that clearly meet the learning standards and objectives. It is important to always check the quality of submission and ensure that students understand that what they submit should be appropriate and pertinent to the mission that they were asked to complete. The free version is fine for getting started. If the need to have more teams and more games occur, I do recommend paying for the upgrade to the Educators Plus license. The success of this tool is directly related to how educators structure the Gooschase. Overall, I would recommend it for any classroom where wireless mobile devices are available. The app is in both the Apple Store and the Play store.
How I Use It
At the heart of Goosechase is team building, collaboration, and communication. The team building aspect of this tool is outstanding. At the beginning of the school year, we used the tool to help students learn about the school, school rules, and importance places on campus. It also allowed the students to get to know each other better which creates a more positive culture for learning. I worked with an ELA teacher to create literature Goosechases where students work in groups to analyze a novel. Questions can be as simple as the color of shirt that a character is wearing all the way to having students act out a specific scene in the novel. This activity was particularly effective in that I saw students rarely motivated about literature actively engaged due to the tool.
Goosechase events are effective when students work in smaller groups (3-5) and the group can only use one device. This helps to ensure that each person contributes. Also it does require that students have access to a mobile device (not a computer) with wireless access. There is a messaging feature that can be sent to individual groups or the entire class to provide updates and other information. It is important to train students to check their notifications though. I usually allow students to spread out and leave the room as needed to complete various missions. There is a component of supervision and expectations for behavior when out of the classroom that needs to occur in this case though. Missions (the tasks assigned for groups to complete) can be written in a way that will allow all students regardless of academic abilities to contribute to the team's success. Different points can be assigned based on the complexity of the mission. There is a bank of missions that be used but most of them are NOT academically related.
In the fall of 2017, Goosechase released Goosechase Edu which is what educators should sign up to use. Be sure to sign up for Goosechase Edu (https://www.goosechase.com/edu/) and not the regular Goosechase. This provides a free version that is limited to one active game with up to 5 teams. For educators who use the free version, they must end the game each period and restart it for the next class in order for the game not to max out with teams. There are options to upgrade for different prices. I subscribe to Educator Plus which allows for some upgrades including more teams and unlimited games. There are additional plans available depending on the particular needs of an individual, school, or district. We have also used the tool effectively with our staff for professional development and team building. Teachers can also share their Goosechase with others. Once a Goosechase copied into a new account, it can be modified by the new owner.
Overall this tool is very outstanding. It can help to create engaging activities when designed properly while motivating students.