30 Oct 2015

Gamification in Zombie Unit

This was a prime opportunity for Gamification to increase engagment across the three weeks this unit ran.

We used the concepts of
  • Gaining XP
  • Purchasing Rewards
We used classcharts.com to track their XP
They earnt XP by:
  • Completing tasks on time
  • High Quality work
  • Earning points in team competitions
  • Points earned from Laser Tag
  • Strategic Training - Adventure Based Learning Team Building
The individual points were then collated in their final team for the their final mission.

The Final Mission was about finding taking the cure research that they have gathered during the unit and getting it to the Research Facility while avoiding the Zombies.

Here is how it worked.

There were 6 teams with about 7-8 students in each.  They had to search the campus looking for 9 map pieces while trying not to get caught by the 8 zombies who were the teachers.
If a teacher surprised them and got to within 10 meters of the group then that counted as being caught.

Before it all started they had the chance to upgrade their team with perks by spending the XP they had gained during the unit.

The Perks

Medic: Recieve a 1 min wait penalty when caught by a zombie for a medic to arrive. 8 XP
Life: Give up a life to a zombie when caught. 10 XP
Zombie Killer Bomb: Kill the zombie and carry on. 20 XP
Time Bonus: Start the game early. 10 XP

Each Perk was represented by rubber bands that the team leader wore.  They could buy any combination of perks they wanted.

When they got caught by a zombie then they could choose to use a zombie killer or the zombie would choose which band to take.  If they had no life left they had to return to base to respawn with one more life.

Once the teams worked out where the research facility was they had to get their research (represented by a bucket of water they were carrying) into the facility so the cure could be created.

The challenge here was to empty the water into the middle container without stepping in the biohazard zone.

 Get enough water in the container and the ball will float out the top and that signifies the win.

They had to use the ropes to manovre the buckets of water in the right place.

The whole thing took about 2 hours, the hide and seek aspect of them trying to avoid us the zombies was heaps of fun for both sides.  

I have glossed over some of the details of how we made it work but you get the idea.  I am happy to chat if you want to know more, just ask question below.

On reflection I have found that when doing and XP system it is important to make it really obvious and objective.  Particularly at the start so that the students get the idea of how the system works.  Then being able to create a student driven culture of them aiming for more XP is the way, as if it is teacher driven it can often become secondary to what you actually learning.  This is why I find that having objective things that they earn points for, particularly if they are going to be doing the things anyway, is a good idea.  Things like, assessment, completeing work, points from mini games, being on time.  While other behaviours are good encourage, they are harder to make them authentically students driven, eg, supporting another student, being focused on task, working well in a team, effective listening, etc.

For the wide game, it took quite a bit of thinking particularly on my colleagues behalf who organised the event about how to make the rules robust enough yet simple enough that after the game started then the game would flow well.  The rubber band system was easy to use in game play.  It important to try and think through the details as much as possible before to make the game flow and make it enjoyable.  Expecially on a high stakes event such as this where we don't get a practice round.

29 Oct 2015

Pastoral Care and Boarding at Dilworth Rural Campus 2015

We have a interesting boarding set up at my Campus.  We have a cohort of only year 9 boys.  Our campus is based about an hour south of Auckland City and it is a sort of a transition year between the Dilworth Junior and Senior Campuses.  It is a chance to prepare them for the challenges of growing up.

All our students are boarding.  They stay on campus for two weeks at a time and follow normal term dates of state schools.

There are 10 cabins each with 10 beds in it.  They have 5 beds to a room.

20 Oct 2015

Infectious Disease Investigators - Zombie Unit

We spend the first three weeks of Term 4 doing an integrated unit with our Year 9 students.  We include all the subjects they have doing in seperate classes for the whole year.  Teams of teachers about 4 per class get together to plan and deliver these units.

The students are given four options to choose which unit they are interested in.
  • STEAM - Science, Technology, English, Arts, Maths
  • Arts, Society, and Culture
  • Primary Inudstries and Environment
  • Sport and Hauora
I worked with the STEAM team this year and we have had a lot of fun designing and delivering a unit on Infectious Diseases - Using the context of the fictional disease Zomitis, which has zombie like symptoms.
Basically we are pretty much did a unit on Zombies!

Gamifying my Classroom Using Class Dojo

I have been using Class Dojo as a platform to Gamify my classroom this year.  Class Dojo is great for

allocating points easily and quickly to individuals in your class for what ever you set it up for.  I have taken principles from some of my favourite games.

  1. Leveling up
  2. Gaining XP 

16 Oct 2015

Co-Constructing Learning - How did it go for me?

The Goals

  • Co-constructed Learning between Teacher and Students - achieved by larger groups so I can be more involved in helping to manage the group and give my ideas and contribute.
This is a great concept and I loved being able to let them generate the ideas. I really enjoyed being a part of the process of refining and developing their ideas while leaving the ownership and choice of what to actually do up to them.
  • Student Choice - Students will choose their area of focus and product that they will produce
Choice was very important for students, an essential element for engagment.
  • Purpose in outcome - There is real world use for what is created from the unit. If their work is high enough quality it will be used for teaching the social studies curriculum in the next year for the next cohort of students.
I think now that purpose is important but it does not have to be real world. As long as the student have bought into the idea of what you propose or have created something authentic on their own that they are excited about then the purpose has been achieved.

The Plan

24 hrs alone in the bush. Could you do it?

We call it Solo. A reflective challenge for the end of our one year experience at Dilworth Rural Campus.

Objective one
The challenge of spending time alone, being ok about int and enjoying your own company.  Managing your self and getting the most out of the experience.

Objective two
To continue on a journey of understanding, of who you are as a person and who you could be. And realising the choice you have about that.

Objective three.
Reflecting on your experiences during the year and preparing your self for the final weeks of this year and the challenges to come.

12 Oct 2015

Zomitis - We Found a Zombie! Integrated Inquiry Unit Day One

We have just started a three week integrated unit at school.  It it is focusing on the investigation of Infectious Disease.  The context we are using is Zomitis - kinda like World War Z if you have seen the movie.  

This first day was awesome all the teachers had so much fun and I hope the students did too.

9 Oct 2015

Let them talk while I lecture! They are more interesting than me.

My First uLearn has just finished.  I went to the permission to play day as well so it ended up in a 4 day whirlwind of people, pedagogies, presenters, pirates, and potential professional development (and many more things that don't start with 'p'.

Let them talk while I lecture! They are more interesting than me...