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Week 2 – The Tip of the Iceberg

Gamification has started! If you have been following this blog over the summer, then you know that I am making a change to gamification and mastery learning in my calculus classes this year.

The students will get credit to spend in the market for doing what they are supposed to do: completing their homework, having their parents be involved. They will get more credit for doing things that go above and beyond: participate in back channel, teach class, post to youtube, research…

Some of the students are struggling with the flipclass model, combined with the study of limits, and they are not having a super great time.  The biggest problem is that students are wanting to understand everything that they see right away.  My mantra this week was “Hang in there!  There will be very few topics you get right away this year.”  Encouraging them to constantly ask questions has been my top priority.

One of my personal goals to to get the students to be active in the back channel during class or at home.  I want it to be the first place they go to for questions or ideas.  But this is a habit that will need to be guided and taught.  I am hoping that by mid-September or early October this is a thriving part of our class.

The other thing that has been a little difficult for the students is that they are used to having a specific deadline.  I told them that the goal is to try and get through four quests by winter break.  When you learn and are ready, move forward, if you are stuck and not ready, then keep working.  This has been completely different than all of the meet this deadline, that deadline, its late take a penalty on your grade business that they have grown up with.

On the other hand, teaching students about the mathematical idea of a limit can be really challenging.  They are so fixated on exactly what is happening at a point that they have a hard time “seeing” what is happening as you get infinitely close to a point.  I started talking about the annoying game this year – and I think that helped.  You know the game, in the back seat with a sibling, you put your finger really close to them, but don’t touch.  They get mad, your parents tell you no touching, you defend yourself by stating that you didn’t touch anyone….

On the backend of the gamification is the credit system.  I have put together a Google Form and worked really hard on the Google Sheet that it populates to try and keep my weekly maintenance to a minimal time investment.  I am excited for the students to start earning different things and see how they use them.  I am also excited to see what impact this will have on those that have not saved up enough credits to purchase anything.

Off to a pretty nice start!



About Scott

My name is Scott. After 18.5 years as a high school math teacher in public education I have made the move to become a full time PhD student. This decisions was difficult, but has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. Teaching in high school was an incredible experience for me, so leaving an environment that I loved for the unknown was a challenge. As I high school teacher, I taught almost every math course that could be offered. I was able to earn National Board Certification in Young Adult Math. I was honored as my building Teacher of the Year, no mean feat at Edmond Memorial High School!! My career changed as I became fascinated with educational technology and all of the things that it can do for teachers. I flipped my class. I used iPads and blogging (in high school math!!). I started using gamification and mastery learning. I changed my practice. I chose to go back to school to learn as much as I could. To bring that knowledge from academia and research to the teacher on the front line. I have had the opportunity to present at several conferences and share what I have learned with others. Its through these connections that we can be the best teachers we can for our students. They deserve it and we sell ourselves short when we don't give it. I love talking with teachers about change. About incorporating educational technology. About the power that they have to change lives. My blog space is me, it shares my passions and frustrations, my joys and my learnings. If you are interested in what I am studying, please visit my graduate school pages. If you are interested in the flipped classroom, I have some links to get your started. I would love to meet you! Do not hesitate to reach out! I would enjoy the opportunity to work with your staff or trade ideas with your teachers - let me know! Have a great day! #BeBrilliant


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