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Blended Learning, EdTech, Edublogger, Education

Boss Fighting and Other #Gamification Thoughts

The quest that is Calculus in my classroom this year has really started to turn interesting. Students have officially moved into that space where teachers can start to feel uncomfortable – they are all over the place! I have students blazing through Quest 3A others scheduling their Quest 2 Boss Fight and yet others still working through their Quest 2 Strategy Guide. Remember those days of keeping each kid in line – leave no child behind because we keep them all together?? GONE!!!

I do have a timeline for all of the kids – they need to complete Quest 5 to earn full credit for the first semester.  As the teacher of record, I have to give a semester grade and if the students are not where they should be (determined by my experience teaching calculus) by the end of the semester, they will have a penalty (you know, like when a game level has a timer and you cannot move on unless you complete the objective in time).  I have told them that I can make a semester grade change if they meet those requirements in early January.  I hope that I am not creating a lot of extra work.  I feel like some students could have a difficult time completing this objective.  But with the mastery learning component – will they be able to work a little quicker later???  I cannot wait to see how all of this turns out, it has been fun and interesting to so far.

Some observations about my class to this point:

  • Students don’t feel threatened during the Boss Fight.  Several students have had to fight the boss more than once.  I don’t have a problem with that.  It gives me and the student an opportunity to work with areas where the struggle is real.
  • I am grading all of the time – students need to know whether they can advance a quest line or not.  On the flip side of that statement – I am not grading as long.  Students hit Save Checkpoints and Boss Fights at different times, so the grading load is less.  Keeping up with it all has not be difficult.
  • Students love knowing that if they fail, they can have a redo without penalty (just like angry birds).  Its about the learning right?  As teachers we need to get over ourselves and let the students learn.  Students CANNOT ADVANCE unless they demonstrate 80% mastery of a topic.  Students also schedule their tests with me – so the whole “when can I redo this” phrase that drives teachers crazy is now more acceptable.  It is also a phrase that I have not heard very often since students are now taking ownership of their Boss Fight date.
  • This is happening inside of a flipped classroom – so on any given day of the week you might see students watching video, students working on a save checkpoint, students participating in a Boss Fight, students working in small groups, students asking me questions and me grading or checking work.  It is busy and if my days went by quickly before – they absolutely zoom by now!!
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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

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Boss Fighting and Other #Gamification Thoughts

  1. When students go to face the Boss in a “Boss Fight” do you have concerns that students are sharing the questions with each other? Or do you change the questions on the test? Or are your tests more challenges in real world problems?

    Like

    Posted by Jo-Ann Fox | March 10, 2015, 1:38 pm
    • I had four different forms of the test, and was worried that students might talk. But the way class was organized, there was no fear of failing. They new that they could re-take a test without penalty. I’m sure that the students talked about problems, but it did not seem to make difference.
      This help?

      Like

      Posted by haselwoodmath | March 10, 2015, 2:43 pm

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