Tech Review: Classcraft

Classcraft is a web or app based system that allows your students to create a character for themselves (a warrior, a mage or a healer). They can use this character to gain special “powers” in the classroom, to earn XP (experience points) to level up and GP (gold pieces) to buy new accessories or even pets. They can lose HP (health points) for behaviour, disorganization or whatever you’d like. So far it has been a lot of fun. It is designed to be a behaviour management tool, similar to Class Dojo but geared toward middle school kids. I have been using this website with my students for about 3 weeks and they LOVE it.

Pros:

  1. I have been using it to track learning skills: giving XP for initiative, helping a friend, working well etc. and losing HP for having to go to their lockers, forgetting things or not handing things in. The website tracks all of their gains/losses and so it is a great tool for reports or talking to parents.
  2. You can completely customize it, what powers they can use (eating in class, a 5 minute class break), what they gain XP or GP for and even what they lose HP (health points) for.
  3. It has a “Quest” part that allows you to put their assignments or classwork in the Classcraft world.
  4. The students can be put in teams, and their behaviours affect each other. They can hinder or help each other and it has made seating plans, group work and motivation very easy
  5. The kids LOVE it – they beg me for a quest, XP or some of the other special tools
  6. It has a volume metre, boss battles (tests) and a grade converter (grades = XP) that you can choose to use.
  7. The random events have been some of the best climate activities yet – I had to sing a song chosen by my students (Let it Go) which lead to a class sing along for 5 minutes which had everyone giggling and dancing. It introduced some silly into my room and we loved it.
  8. They have webinars and tutorials to help teachers and even a video, print outs and steps to follow to introduce it to your class.
  9. If students “fall in battle” (lose their HP due to behaviour etc.) there are in game consequences and they can work to be brought back to life.

Cons:

  1. It has a free component, but if you want to use it fully – it costs about $100 per year.
  2. It has a pretty steep learning curve for teachers.They do offer lots of help but I am putting work into using it.  I have paid for it so that is part of my motivation, the other part is that my students also really like it.  I am trying to put a lot of their work into quests and boss battles.
  3. My students are constantly asking for XP/GP, random events or quests. They REALLY like it, but sometimes it can be a bit much.

I have really enjoyed using it so far, and I highly recommend it! It is a lot of fun, very motivating for students and a creative way to frame group work and assignments.

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