Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2021

Classcraft

Track behavior and motivate students with clever, cooperative game

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 41 reviews
Privacy rating
69%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
4–12
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration, Character & SEL

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Pros: Instant feedback and accountability encourage students to act responsibly, and teachers have quite a few options for customization.

Cons: Depending on how it's used, the experience could be more punitive than supportive and could hinder relationships.

Bottom Line: When used thoughtfully, Classcraft's classroom gamification can encourage positive behavior and develop communication and collaboration skills.

Classcraft integrates easily with everyday 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, awarding points when they encourage classmates, complete assignments on time, respect noise levels, and more. Even if students are cooperating just to gain points at first, with teacher support, they'll likely learn valuable SEL skills along the way. Creative teachers might even find a way for students to nominate others for points, which may encourage them to see the good that others do.

Teachers can, and should, make the program their own by adapting the game for their students' unique needs and personalities. Being attentive to these details up front 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. Also, some of the preset powers and events may cause strife, especially among younger students. Be 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" player, especially if the game is broadcast via an 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). Basically, this means cool avatars with special powers going on quests and earning points for successfully completely them individually and as a team. Teachers set up games and manage students via a dashboard. Students are assigned 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, which they can buy using Action Points (AP).  Students can also lose health points (HP) via random events or for negative behaviors; these events lower their score 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 and boss battles 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 also provides tools for student engagement via features like classroom forums, trainable pets, and gold (GP), which allow students to outfit their avatars. Plus, parent accounts let grown-ups keep an eye on their child's performance and award extra GP if the teacher allows it. The knowledge center contains tutorials, teacher forums, and an interactive chat feature, 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 noise meter 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 show students only their group's score, especially in cases where negative feedback could create problems with sensitive students. Also, teachers should be mindful that some students may be experiencing hardship or trauma that may affect classroom behavior; relationship-building should take precedence over behavior management. And it's very possible some kids will find the system confusing or too complex, especially if they're not familiar with the games Classcraft emulates.

Setup entails quite a bit of work, 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 streamlined user experience. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

High-quality graphics, compelling characters, teamwork, and a feeling that something larger is at stake will keep kids interested. Teacher-created quests and battles motivate learners.

Pedagogy

It's designed to foster learning through teamwork, motivation, and collaboration. Publicly displaying student progress is tricky, however, and teachers should be mindful of how they manage expectations and content.

Support

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 Instructional Technology Facilitator

Community Rating

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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. Given the infinite possibilities of third-party integration, I’d like to see Classcraft provide better integration for other platforms, particularly as part of the Quest feature. You can link in a URL to anything, but it w ...
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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?
Users can create or upload content.
Unclear whether users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
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.

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