Second G4C Industry Circle: Classcraft on Ed-Tech & Creative Learning




On March 20th, join the second installment of the Games for Change 2017-2018 Industry Circle. The Industry Circle is a program that acknowledges the achievements and opportunities in the impact games sector by highlighting leading studies that have made a significant contribution to our community. Industry Circle member Classcraft wrote a thoughtful piece about how to generate creative learning engagement with students using their online role-playing game. We hope the following article from the Classcraft Team inspires you and that we will see you at our Webinar and Q&A on March 20 at 1 p.m. EST.






By Classcraft

At Classcraft, we’ve seen firsthand that there’s a need in education bigger than improving test scores and attendance rates. Engagement has been at the root of many issues that have plagued education for decades. We started our company addressing engagement through gamified classroom management, then realized our mission was larger and much more human. Creating purpose in the school experience is the single most powerful way to teach students the skills that will shape them into functional adults who can make a real difference in society and the world.
Today, we’re seeing that power through the response to Quests, a feature in Classcraft that turns existing lesson plans into personalized learning adventures. We launched Quests in August 2017 and now, six months later, over 50,000 quests have been created, and over 1.6 million assignments have been completed. Quests, together with the successful game mechanics behind Classcraft’s teamwork-focused approach, proves that narrative is an incredible driving force — both as it relates to students’ personal growth, or “personal narrative,” as they struggle to understand and define who they are, as well as in their learning journeys, where providing meaning through story and real-life impact creates effective, long-lasting academic and social-emotional progress.


Most of us look at school as the time when kids are learning how to become responsible adults. Society expects them to know what they want to do by the time they enter high school and enroll in courses and activities to help them on that career path. It expects them to get good grades, perform well on the SATs, go to college — and ultimately land a successful job. As game developers in the education space, we often try to create experiences that will support them in that endeavor while meeting curriculum needs and providing teachers with important assessment data.
But that’s not what school is to kids. To them, growing up isn’t about turning work in on time, demonstrating mastery, or following a schedule. It’s about trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. The bottom line is, kids aren’t going to care about their standardized test scores or attendance rate if they’re not happy and don’t see the point of being in school with everything else going on in their lives.
For many kids, school is a place where they feel disconnected — from their teachers, from their peers, and from the curriculum. The solution isn’t about letting kids play around on iPads so much as it is about creating real fulfillment and meaning in their day-to-day experience so they want to learn and want to connect with others, so that we prepare them to succeed in life. That means finding ways to build genuine relationships, develop soft skills like communication and collaboration, foster empathy and classroom culture and teach in a way that helps students relate emotionally and socially to what they’re learning in school.

Learning Is a Human Experience
At Classcraft, we started our company addressing engagement through a teamwork-focused approach to gamified classroom management, then realized our mission was larger and much more human. Creating purpose in the school experience is the single most powerful way to teach students the skills that will shape them into functional adults who can make a real difference in society and the world.
We saw that first in our game mechanics, which serve as a layer to augment the real classroom experience. There are points to gain or lose and powers to unlock, but what’s really happening is that the popular student is being genuinely kind to the shy student who’s been healing him in the game. Social interactions and relationships in the classroom matter at a time when students are trying to figure out their own narratives of who they are, how they see themselves, and who they can be. Students are struggling to carve out their identities so they can answer the questions, “Who am I, and where do I fit?” They need to be able to answer these questions to succeed on their learning journey.


Our Students’ Stories Matter

In Classcraft, we’ve addressed identity through characters that level up as students thrive in class and earn real privileges as they progress, that look epic to improve the image students have of themselves and whose presence in the classroom matters because the students behind them are an essential part of a team that relies on them.

A narrative is an incredible driving force in more than one sense. It’s about more than how a student sees themselves socially; it’s also a key part of their academic journey. With the release of Classcraft Quests last summer, an authoring tool that lets teachers take their lesson plans and put them on an adventure map, we’re seeing how powerful wrapping narrative around assignments can be. Teachers are making amazing trailers to their modules, creating branching paths and narratives that reflect a student’s mastery of the subject matter, and ultimately seeing their students get more work done so they can find out what happens next. As we’ve confronted some skeptics in the education space about this kind of game-based approach, the numbers speak for themselves. Since launching Quests, nearly 60,000 quests have been created, and over 1.8 million assignments have been completed.

A Terrible Winter Classcraft Trailer

The video is an example of how a teacher uses Quests and creates narratives for students in Classcraft.

Our students’ stories matter. How they relate to education matters. Addressing the engagement crisis in education is critical for our kids to succeed. Administrators implicitly understand the relationship between engagement and the majority of metrics they measure, from absenteeism to academic performance. We need to start paying more attention not just to curriculum standards and test scores, but the human experience throughout learning and how we’re helping kids prepare for the job market they will one day face. Today’s automation will be replaced tomorrow with A.I., and it’s imperative that we engage our students to think in broader ways than machines will be able to in the years to come.

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Author: Leandro Huerto

Written By juliooliveira

I’m from Sao Paulo / Brazil, married with a incredible woman called Francine and I have two lovely children: Sarah (8 years old) and Nicolas (2 years old). Currently enrolled at the master degree program (MSc) in Information Systems Management at the University of Liverpool (UK). Holder of the credentials PMP and PMI-ACP of the Project Management Institute (PMI).

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