Review by Sol Joye, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014

Rezzly

Leveling and quests turn classes into personalized adventures

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Teachers say (6 Reviews)
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4-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Sparks interest in classes and lessons with badging, levels, and quests, and does so in a simple, seamless interface.

Cons: If paired with poor learning design, it may end up coming across like chocolate-covered broccoli.

Bottom Line: A ready-to-go platform for introducing game-based learning principles into assessment and class structure, but success and engagement depend on solid class content.

To implement completely and successfully, teachers will have to consider revamping/rethinking their entire delivery and course curriculum so that it fits in a nonlinear, quest-based structure. Not to mention, teachers will need to adapt/translate assessment to a badge and level-based system. Ideally, a classroom using Rezzly will be a 1:1 digital environment, or close to it. Teachers who have already adopted a blended learning model with student-driven and differentiated instruction should have a much easier time slotting in their existing curriculum. To help, Rezzly offers regular professional development "camps" and an associated community website for users with a Legendary Edition membership -- the more expensive of the two paid licenses.

Since Rezzly is a complete learning management system (LMS), it makes sense to shift completely over from whatever is currently being used, since it may confuse students to jump between a more traditional LMS and Rezzly. Educators working within after-school programs and/or student clubs should check it out, too. And it'd be particularly interesting to see it used with struggling or credit recovery high school students who need an engagement or motivation boost.

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Rezzly (formerly 3D Game Lab) is a gamified learning management system (LMS). As with other LMSs, teachers can use Rezzly to deliver online resources and coursework to their students, and receive that work back for grading. However, Rezzly alters the typical LMS by weaving in game-like incentives and structure. The first noticeable difference is that students do not earn points by completing assignments. Instead, students earn experience points (or XP) by completing quests. While this might seem like just a change of terms, it's deeper than that. Students choose the actual quests (assignments) they want to take on and the order they want to tackle them in, like in popular quest-based role-playing video games. This nonlinear structure means teachers add various quests (again: think assignments, assessments, projects, etc.) and let students direct their learning (in conversation with, and with help from, the teacher). As students complete quests, they get XP, climb levels, and earn badges as they blaze a trail of their choosing through the coursework.

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Rezzly has some sound principles behind it, most notably student-driven and personalized learning. It helps teachers move from being the "sage on the stage" to the "guide on the side." However, it's an empty vessel, dependent on what teachers put into it. One teacher may add fantastic, amazing, inventive quests that leverage the game-based features as added value. Another teacher might squander the opportunity and fill the system with boring, traditional content and hope that Rezzly's quests, levels, and badging do all the heavy lifting. Also, core game-based features aside, the LMS would benefit from additional features present in more robust systems, particularly more tools for collaboration and creation beyond the included forums.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

The game-based spin on traditional course structure offers students something new.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
5

It pushes learning in an exciting direction focused on motivation and personalization.

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

Tech support and a teacher-centered community are available, but professional development is limited to the most expensive license.


Common Sense Reviewer
Sol Joye Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

5
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Featured review by
Joanna M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
5
3D GameLab energizes students to want to learn by providing an organized platform for student choice, learning, and growth.

I found that students that were not motivated learners became more motivated by taking their academic work and placing it into a gamified platform with experience points, levels, and continuous feedback. The professional development provided by 3D Game Lab is an integral part to making this learning platform a success in the classrooms of those teacher that launch this as a learning model in their classrooms.

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