Classcraft integrates easily with normal classroom activities, encouraging teamwork and collaboration while giving students instant feedback on soft skills, such as attendance, homework completion, and classroom behavior. Use the game to motivate students and to build collaboration and teamwork skills. Award points for encouraging classmates, completing assignments on time, respecting noise levels, and more. Even if students are cooperating just to gain points at first, it’s inevitable that with teacher support they'll learn valuable social skills along the way. Teachers can, and should, make the program their own -- adapting the game for their students’ unique needs and personalities. Being attentive to these details upfront will help craft a virtual environment of motivation and positive reinforcement instead of a punitive one. Teachers can also use the program to teach concepts through a gamified storyline, pulling assignments in from your computer or Google Drive or writing the story yourself. Be careful, though: Once the creative juices get flowing, it can be easy to get lost in your own adventures.
Some of the preset powers and events may cause strife, especially among younger students. Make sure to take a close look and customize them as necessary. For example, optional random events include suggestions such as, “The player with the least HP loses 15 HP.” Although that may work well in some classrooms, students who are struggling may feel targeted for being the “weakest” players, especially if the game is broadcast, as suggested, via interactive whiteboard or screen.Continue reading Show less
Classcraft is an online fantasy-themed behavior- and learning-management role-playing game (also available as Chrome, Android, and iOS apps). Teachers can choose from general, PBIS, or SEL modes for gameplay. Students choose a character -- Warrior, Healer, or Mage -- and work in teams to gain experience points (XP) through positive behaviors and academic achievements. As students level up, they earn powers with real-world effects, such as a chance to eat a snack or earn a break during class. Students can also lose hit points (HP) via Random Events or for negative behaviors; these events lower their scores unless another player intercedes on their behalf. Students who lose all of their HP must face consequences set by the teacher, such as clean-up duty or loss of privileges. For XP and HP scenarios, there are preset suggestions, but teachers can customize to fit their classroom climate. Teacher-created Quests can be a unique way to immerse students in learning or reviewing concepts, and teachers may find they're worth the extra setup time. Note that some of these features are available only with a paid account.
Classcraft provides tools for student engagement via features like classroom forums, trainable pets, and gold, which allow students to outfit their avatars. Plus, parent accounts allow grown-ups to keep an eye on their child’s performance. The active teacher forum allows teachers to communicate with others and provide the developers with suggestions for new features, making the game an all-around collaborative experience.
By putting students into teams where success is contingent upon cooperation, Classcraft puts a new spin on traditionally individualized behavior management. Since students work together within the game’s premise, the issues that arise feel like challenges to be tackled together. Features such as the Makus Valley for noise control and Boss Battles for formative assessment keep students on their toes and accountable to their teams, while the Quests allow teachers to differentiate instruction by modifying complexity and allowing students to move at their own pace. It should be noted that instant feedback via projection capabilities or 1-to-1 devices informs the entire class when students take damage, so teachers may opt to have students check after class, especially in cases where negative feedback could create problems with sensitive students. Also, with PBIS mode, teachers should be mindful that some students may be experiencing hardship or trauma -- relationship-building should take precedence over behavior management.
Teachers will need to be prepared to put a lot of work into setup, but the silent authority the game allows teachers may be preferable to direct confrontation. While explicit teaching of social skills and conflict resolution will be an important factor in the game’s success, most students will enjoy striving toward real-world powers and will find the immediate feedback helpful and playful rather than negative. In addition, the game’s developers are responsive to user feedback, regularly upgrading and updating the system for a more engaging experience.