Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019

Classcraft

Track behavior and motivate students with clever, cooperative game

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
4–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (43 Reviews)
Privacy rating (How we rate)

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Pros: Instant feedback and accountability encourage students to act responsibly, and teacher-created quests motivate learners.

Cons: Depending on how it's set up, the experience could be more punitive than supportive and in some cases may hinder relationships.

Bottom Line: Classcraft is a fantastic game for encouraging positive behavior while students build knowledge and develop communication and collaboration skills.

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.

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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 cleanup 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 to 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.  

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Compelling characters, teamwork, and a feeling that something larger is at stake will get kids interested and motivated.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

It's designed to foster learning through teamwork, motivation, and collaboration. Publicly displaying student progress is tricky, however, and teachers should modify content appropriately.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Quests and customization features allow teachers to differentiate for learners with differing needs. It's complicated and time-intensive to set up, but lots of support is available.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 43 reviews) (43 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lukas G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Oberoi International School
Mumbai, India
Great Tool Depending on Teacher Style and Use
Personally, I'm wary of Skinnerian approaches to behavior management. When Classcraft's tools are utilized in a way that promotes collaboration, autonomy, and fun, I think it makes a great addition to any classroom—particularly for teachers and students who enjoy roleplaying games. ...
Read full review
Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Unclear whether opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.
Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.