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Showing posts from December, 2017

Classcraft and ARIS

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Recently, I decided to roll out Classcraft in all of my Seventh Grade classes, and I have found it to be surprisingly effective. Not only do students take the health and experience of their characters very seriously, but they also strive to help their teams and classmates in general. One thing that surprised me was how much students crave XP (or experience points).

What I do with Classcraft has no effect on student grades whatsoever. Yet, I can attach points loss / gain consequences to my behavioral and procedural expectations via XP and HP. While these pointsdon't matter in terms of students' grades, they do matter a great deal to students, who are ultimately more concerned with the game than their grade anyway. They get so excited about equipping their avatar with custom stuff, and many of them are becoming XP hungry. There are many students who are serious gamers and are used to being able to "grind" for XP in a game. In the way that I was using Classcraf…

RIP: Apps and initiatives that are no longer with us.

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Okay, I'm going to need you to bear with me while I rant a little bit, whine some, and cry out for help and advice.

Engaging Middle School students is hard, even in the computer lab. Most of the garbage out there that is marketed to teachers, particularly in the technology department, is not only teaching antiquated skills, but is also incredibly "edukitschy". Every once in awhile you find a gleaming diamond in the rough that is awesome and free. This rarely happens for teachers, and when it does, it becomes all the more heart-breaking when it suddenly goes away. Sometimes we only get to greet these things at a distance, and due to our circumstances never get to enter the promised land before the world has moved on. 
Project SparkProject Spark was a game creation / simple programming environment for Microsoft Windows 8.1, 10 and Xbox One, which was the very beautiful child of it's homely parent, Kodu. Kodu is a visual programming tool which builds on ideas begun wi…