Tech Buffs An Instructional Technology Newsletter for the Herds@Florence

Gamify your Classroom

Gamification: "the use of game design and mechanics to enhance non-game contexts." The use of games to learn has been around for quite a while, using dice to learn to count in games, or move a number of spaces. In the past few years the use of gamification in education has been making the rounds in achieving a higher level of engagement for today's learners. Games, in any form, increase motivation through engagement. Nowhere else is this more important than education. There are a variety of ways to introduce your classroom to the gamification of education, 1) Gamify grading, 2) Award students with badges, 3) Integrate educational video games into your curriculum 4) Stir up a little competition 5) Gamify homework to encourage informal learning 6) Implement a class-wide rewards system.

Wheather you choose to go all in, or just gamify one area, you are likely to see the rewards and the increase in engagement.

"Games can’t be used to replace pedagogy, but can be used to enhance the overall learning experience."
"Think of assessments as a way for students to get to their BEST"
Games allow the students to try & fail without FAILING"

ClassCraft: Managing classroom behavior

ClassCraft works as a "layer" added to your existing classroom management. It is not content specific nor grade specific. It is meant to be "played" all school year long as a way to help incite positive behaviors and increase engagment in your class. If you have ever used Class Dojo, it is similar in that class behaviors are recorded, both the positives and negetives. It is also collaborative, allowing students to "help" their team achieve greatness. The other key to successful implementation is real life rewards.

Teachers start by creating a class, everything login is Google synced so no extra usernames or logins are required. Next up. add students, let students customize their avatar if you'd like. Set up teams. Create "sentences" which are used when students take a misstep in behavior. So if a student is late to class-you have a sentence created for just that scenario. Sentences are created and can be customized to fit your classroom expectations. Managing the classcraft classroom just takes a few min each class period, just as much time as it might take to compose a short email.


Minecraft:Education Edition

"Minecraft: Education Edition is an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination." Items are built using the Minecraft Elements. Each element block is based on real world elements such as fire, wood, iron, steel, sand etc... Depending on your design, the player can decide which element block to use.

Minecraft's Periodic Table (some elements have been added)

Players can build amazing structures, machines, and even interactive elements. There are elements that "conduct electricity" -redstone which can be controlled with levers and swithches. Players can then create simple machines demonstrating their knowledge of the design process. Castles can be created based off historical studies in class, daylight sensors can be added, because in Minecraft there are simulated days and nights.

Minecraft Education Edition is different in that the teacher computer holds all the power, teachers can create new worlds for their students to explore or pick from existing teacher created worlds with lessons.

Mincraft is collaborative and interactive by design. Students can all play in the same world (limited to your classroom or school). Students can work together to build and solve problems within your lesson and world.

~Marisa Mejia, your Instructional Technology Specialist. Thanks for the read! Please reach out anytime if you would like some help or just a friendly face to help implement these instructional tools into your classroom.

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