Getting My Game Up!

Getting My Game Up!

A quick weekend update to let you know some of the changes I’m making to my gamified class this year. You can see my gamified class site at Saga City Learning.

Whenever I add new game mechanics to my class I keep two things in mind: the types of kids we teach and what motivates them. In order of most powerful to least powerful, what motivates kids (and everyone, really) is Status, Access, Power, and Stuff.

Status – means to raise the value or esteem of someone.

Access - is the ability to have something not everyone can have.

Power – is the ability to have say over yourself and others.

Stuff – tangible… stuff.

And below, you will see the four types of learners I think we teach.

Keeping that in mind, here are the big changes to my gamified classroom this year!

The first mechanic I’ve added raises the Status of students and motivates my Gladiators and Achievers: the All-Time Leaderboard! It was difficult for me to come up with a prize for “winning” my class last year, but I decided an All-Time Leaderboard would be best. I’m going to take the top 10 from each leaderboard and put them on the All-Time Leaderboard to be remembered forever. This will continue year-after-year, so the board will grow to show the best players of all-time. I think this is a cool way for my students to remember my class even after they leave it. It currently uses their Learner Tag, but I may change it to their real names. When I told my winners they were going on an All-Time Leaderboard they loved the idea, so consider making an All-Time Leaderboard the big prize in your gamified classroom.

I want my gamified class to be a more cooperative place where students are happy for each other’s success instead of resenting it. To foster that, I created Perks! Whenever an individual student hits an Epic Milestone, the whole class will reap the benefits. For instance, when the first student earns 10,000xp, the whole class is rewarded with a 10%xp Booster on their next Quest! I think this will help motivate everyone especially my Socializers since Perks! add a benevolent benefit to doing well in class. Some of the Epic Milestones will be visible at the beginning of the year while others will remain hidden. Having hidden Perks! will motivate my explorers to try new and exciting things.

To go along with Perks!, I’ve added Powers! In class, when my students unlock an Achievement they earn Achievements Points (ap). How much ap they have determines their level in the game. I thought it would be fun and motivating to allow students to pick from a pool of powers every 10 levels. Some of the Powers! allow them Access to things they couldn’t do otherwise while some Powers! power-up Items they can buy in the Item Shop. I am eventually going to tier the pools when I have enough Powers! If you have any suggestions for more Powers! I would love to hear them!

I think portfolios are powerful tools for developing and showing growth, so I am going to use them in my class this year. I am going to use siteMaestro to make every kid their own Google Site. These Google Sites will act as a portfolio where I will expect students to push their creations to a larger audience and reflect on their learning. To fit the theme, I’m going to call them Quest Logs. While I know how I am going to make them and what I am going to have students put in them, I am not sure how I am going to grade them. Any suggestions, rubrics, and overall ideas on how portfolios fit into a larger grading scheme would be appreciated!

My school has big-time attendance issues. Just by gamifying my class, I’ve seen a ~20% increase in student attendance. What would happen if I added an attendance Achievement? Let’s find out! Every day a student shows up to class on time, they will receive 10ap. When their entire Guild (group) shows up, they will earn 25ap. If the entire class shows up, all students will earn 50ap. I like this idea for two reasons: 1) kids will get that important quick, positive feedback we know they need and 2) I think linking bonus ap to the attendance of others will add another layer of motivation for kids to show up. To compensate for the increase in ap this year, I’ve quadrupled the prices of Items in the Item Shop.

Speaking of, we have a couple new additions to the aforementioned Item Shop:

Stealth Mode!- Remove the penalty for being less than five minutes late to class (200ap).
*This Item is an automatic purchase. More than five minutes late, see Stowaway!*

Stowaway!- You may enter class even if you don’t have a pass (400ap).
*This Item is an automatic purchase*

You can see these Items are an automatic purchase. I’ve toyed around with the idea of an infraction system and this is what I came up with. If students don’t have the ap to buy the Item, then the suffer the full consequences of their infraction.

The last Item is one I am really excited about:

Raid!- A Raid Party must all buy into the Raid. Once locked in, If all Players earn an “A” on the Quest the Raid Party will earn (x) if all Players do not earn an “A” then (y) (600ap).

I love this idea, as I think it motivates all four types of students, but I am not sure what the reward and penalty should be. If you have any suggestions, again, I would love to hear them!

Finally, since it doesn’t deserve it’s own update, my Leaderboard Sheet and App have been updated to 1.2 and now features a much faster way to keep track of Items purchased in the Item Shop. You can read about why I love my Leaderboards here and see them live here. If you plan on purchasing, do so soon, as the sale ends shortly. Here’s a quick video to show off the new update:

That’s all for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these new additions since they are a work in progress. If you love the ideas, feel free to steal them.

Until Next Time,


cross-posted at Teched Up Teacher

Chris Aviles teaches English at Barnegat High School in New Jersey. He presents on education topics including gamification, technology integration, BYOD, blended learning, and the flipped classroom. Read more at Teched Up Teacher.

Chris Aviles is a STEM teacher, edtech specialist, and president of Garden State Esports. He is also a regular contributor to Tech & Learning.