The Alta Etheria gives hope
We completed our Classcraft mission on the Elda Island with the fourth quest (E2Q1), and only one student reached The Alta Etheria. Although most students did not complete the fourth quest, and only some completed the third one, I found a lot of optimism about this new revamped Classcraft.
First, unrelated to the Chapter 4 content, I love the list upgrade. The dashboard makes it now easy to see the rankings of students by all the values: XP, health, gold, level. This makes my tabular mind peaceful and quick to decipher what’s going on in the class. We can remove the grouping of students in teams, so I can give them all the same reward by just one click. While this list view is very user friendly, the profile view shows the student avatars in teams, but I cannot click on the avatar to change the profile view. The toggling in profile view can only be done by clicking on the names.
The Final Pedestal
Chapter 4 intro (for students) is a bit anti-climactic. I expected a nice bombastic video, like the Introduction one. Please, Classcraft team, create something that will set the sail (or push the sled) beyond the Elda Island’s frozen lake. Something that will get students excited about the Boss Battles, and explain negative behaviors. I don’t want to be a messenger of bad news.
The Boss Battle is still in meta-classroom space. However, I cannot edit it from the library, but only in the class tools. This is confusing. The same boss battle can be shared across all classes, like quests. I get it — the boss battles have their independent database that I can link to any class. It’s practical if I have many classes that require the same boss battle. However, if I teach many classes with different programs, I have to keep editing the same battle on the day we are having it. This is the main reason why I have decided to buy the premium account in January. A free account only gives you ONE boss battle, like before. So you have to edit and re-edit the existing one. The neat part about boss battles is the question bank. My old questions are still stored there, as well as the old tags.
The final Boss Battle we played was with the questions about the story. The group that did not finish all the quests didn’t manage to kill the Boss. Maybe the game master should have chosen some easier questions.
I would have liked the negative behaviors to come in Chapter 3, as well as the game based powers.
To reiterate, the game based powers are only available at Level 9. It would be nice to be able to change that somewhere in the Game Settings. For example, we are able to decide how many points the students need to level up. We should be able to decide when they will unlock the powers. I don’t want the students to level up after 200 points in order to get the powers. I suppose it’s all relative, and could be well projected by adjusting the level-up points, but I think that 1000 points is a nice round number that is easily obtainable in a week.
Another reason for the upgrade
I would like to use Classcraft as CMS for my Child classes (ages 7 to 10). I am sure they will respond positively to it, based on how well they have accepted the use of digital tools in the classroom. My confidence mostly comes from the possibility to ‘play’ on behalf of students. That means that I will be able to keep track of positive behaviors and tasks even when the students don’t do it themselves. There are always a couple of students who don’t have a device or their device can not load Classcraft platform (it’s either not updated or there is not enough device memory), so those students are often frustrated because they cannot ‘play the games’. I will be managing the students digitally and see their past behaviors easily even if they never pick teams or character classes.
The Top-of-the-Tower Secrets
My favorite tool up to date is still the volume meter, and I can see myself using it in every lesson. The students accept the timer for tasks, and they find it rewarding when they finish before the time. With Classcraft, I don’t have to give them stickers, but gold pieces, which they can use to buy whatever they want (of course, in the Classcraft world). I know there will be a few students who will be ahead and play faithfully. This is the appeal of Classcraft — it allows flexibility with differentiation, so that the students who want to go ahead, can, without being slowed down by those who need more support and guidance.
Reflections under the Vera Temple
The grade converter is a premium feature. I would like to use that in future, but not in Chapter 4. Perhaps even before the students get the characters.
Actually, I created some positive behaviors (e.g. students did the homework, student answered three questions in class) that would reflect the ‘grade’ so that I converted their XP to the final grade.
Knowing now the whole progression, I would insist on faster progress through the chapters, but less quests, or at least shorter quests (or maybe a quest every two weeks). The faster we reach chapter 4, the faster we’d be able to play the boss battle. So, I would like to activate all the game features in four weeks. At the same time, I would have to be careful not to burden the students with understanding all the game rulas features, but to slowly introduce one feature per week. With the positive behaviors in place, the more adventurous students will guide the others and earn some points doing so!
What awaits beyond the Elda Island?
The premium is only 10$ a month! I am planning to use more Boss Battles, so I will have to progress to Chapter 4 quicker. However, I will plan the Quests to be Homework and class tasks, so I can manually ‘let them go on’ if they completed them. I love the story mode, but it may not be suitable for lower levels and younger children will not be able to read that much. My plan is to use the graphics of the story mode, but to give only one sentence (or two) in the ‘Story’ section. I would like the students to do many small steps, which is why I would probably create only one quest on each island. Elda Island will be the homework. The Karaz Island will be for the classroom activities, and the Morian Island will be for projects and participation. The quests will be branching and with a lot of ‘dead ends’. The Voek and Vey Islands will be for the students who need more practice, and those who need more advanced practice.
What do Heroes say?
Compared to last year, the students were more satisfied. I know it is because of the absence of pressure to understand the whole game and the rules from the beginning. The Class progression is the single most valuable upgrade that makes it much more student friendly!
I will not write the itemized percentages, Because I hope the bar charts will give a better picture.
Here are the students’ answers to the two key questions in the survey:
The conclusion is: the students need more gold pieces and less complicated story to be able to buy more stylish equipment and to progress faster.
My referral code: https://accounts.classcraft.com/share/FRMz99zjuZ83cCHpC (You get 2 bonus months with Premium, I will get one!)