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Hall of Heroes
Pros: Engaging visuals, responsive feedback, and detailed progress reports boost learning potential.
Cons: Because each level takes time to master, students might become antsy or lose focus.
Bottom Line: Wonderful and fun social-interaction game designed to teach cooperation and friendship skills needed for middle school and beyond.
Teachers can use Hall of Heroes to reinforce social-learning concepts as students transition to middle school. Use it in the first weeks of school to orient students to the social nuances they'll need for the year and beyond. Let students play at individual, self-paced intervals. Or project the game during whole-group instruction to allow the group to discuss and practice problem-solving skills. Ask students to engage their background knowledge of school transitions and talk about times they've experienced the same situations as their avatars.
Additionally, consider using this game as another level of support for multiple populations who may be struggling with social and emotional learning concepts. Teachers can examine individual student or group data to see where re-teaching or reinforcement of certain concepts should occur.
Hall of Heroes is a social and emotional learning game that is designed to help students transition to middle school. Students begin by designing their own customizable "superhero" avatar. Soon after, students are given a quick orientation to their school by the stoic and heroic Principal Shields. Students are encouraged to interact with characters by choosing one of three options that appear in speech bubbles, which can be read aloud. These answers are logged and later appear in an assessment report for teachers; a teacher dashboard provides data on whole-group and individual student progress. Students can get help by clicking a question mark on the lower-left side of their screen, which either repeats a tutorial or has written instructions.
Players progress through levels, which include learning how to get to lockers, figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, learning how to help classmates with homework, and more. These levels may require anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes to complete. Some of the supplemental activities require fine motor skills such as being able to navigate a mouse or touchpad and may require additional staff assistance.
In Hall of Heroes, students navigate the transition to a superhero middle school, including making new friends, dealing with peer pressure, and discovering their strengths. The developer notes that as middle school students start to become influenced more by friends than adults, peer characters in the game offer friendly advice and cues for how to behave in new situations. Because this is a simulated environment, students may feel more comfortable practicing the unwritten rules presented in the game before trying them in real-world situations.
The levels in the game progress in a way that is interactive and fun, although they are a bit time consuming. The characters are diverse, each having their own superpower; students are encouraged to respect and admire these characters for their own unique strengths. Character skills such as compassion, gratitude, self-control, empathy, humility, teamwork, collaboration, and communication are built into each level and most interactions, which makes this web-based game a wonderful tool for learning.