Common Sense Review
Updated February 2017

Hall of Heroes

Responsive game helps students prepare for transition to middle school
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating
Not Yet Rated
  • Let students get acquainted with the unwritten rules of middle school, such as where to sit in a lunchroom.
  • Students are introduced to the nuances of middle school via the animated characters.
  • Students progress through levels once they've mastered them and can replay them for further practice.
  • Students are given an orientation to the expectations of the middle school by the principal.
  • Helpful hints along the way guide students to make choices independently.
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.
Ericka D
Common Sense Reviewer
Counselor, psychologist, or social worker
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The ability to design custom avatars to role-play the transition to middle school, combined with vibrant graphics throughout the game, encourages students to come back for more.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Social learning is baked into the experience, which encourages students to use teamwork, solve problems, create friendships, and understand the social nuances of the transition to middle school.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Students can request assistance and review tutorials throughout the experience, and teachers are provided with assessment reports and data to guide assessment and re-teaching.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

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.

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What's It Like?

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.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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.

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See how teachers are using Hall of Heroes