So I’ve joined a learning community at my local ISD called Tech2Teach. We will meet in person only a few times, but will connect via Edmodo, Google Drive, and who knows what else at various times during the year.
Today was our launch, and we had lots of time and guidance to explore apps like Edmodo, and later to share other useful apps for increasing productivity and engaging students in meaningful learning opportunities.
Honestly, I was a bit worried this would be a basic tech usage deal, but there is a lot of encouragement for participants to plot their own course as learners.
So what should my course be?  Here’s what I’m thinking:

1.  I started using Class Dojo as a replacement for the positive behavior support program in my school, which has kind of devolved into one of those “Caught Being Good” scenarios where we hand out tickets to children for doing what they should be doing anyway.  I like the dojo because I can take it anywhere (iPad) and track both positive and negative behaviors.  The students seems to like it to–it has a novelty factor, and they enjoy the cartoon-y monster avatars.  I started by giving each child the same avatar, and they were allowed to “level up” when they accumulated 10 net positive points in a single week.  Then they could choose from a couple dozen avatars–this was a BIG deal for them, and thankfully everyone has managed to get this far.

2.  Once I started the whole leveling process, I knew I had to keep it up.  So now the default leveling is the net 10 points in a week.  Most kids made it to level 2.  But the level needs to have some kind of marker, as it would in any video game.  This is about the time I heard a podcast featuring the developers of Class Badges.  I could customize badges for the levels!

3.  So I set my class up at Class Badges and created a level 2 badge.  I sweetened the deal with a coupon that allows one late assignment to be turned in without lateness counting against the student.  They were MORE interested in the cool sticker I made of the badge that they could stick to their desks.

4.  And then I started thinking about the badges and video games.  One of my favorite parts of many games is earning special achievements.  So I started creating achievement badges–one for math facts, another for eating a bug during a special larva-eating event in my class.  The kids love earning achievements and getting badges–it’s crazy!

5.  Which brings me to my work in Tech2Teach.  I’m thinking I want to continue to “gamefy” my classroom management using both Class Dojo and the badge system throughout the year, tracking student engagement and trying to make strategic use of the tools to maximize student learning.

I like it, but it sounds hard-ish.  But it does combine two things I love–teaching kids and video games.  And the research on gaming and education is very hot right now.  Huh.  Could be cool.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 02:06:12

    Great blog post on tech2teach and your personal learning journey!


  2. Michele Corbat
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 23:40:47

    What a cool way to motivate and engage learners!


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