This is a long time dream for me. I was working on a doctorate (I dropped out) and my research focus was “How can we make the gradebook more like world of warcraft?”
In video games we use data to motivate players. In schools we use data to make kids feel dumb.
If we used data more like how video games used data how much more motivated would the students be? I hypothesize that if we take the total number of points that we collect anyway and simply transferred that to a level up system like in video games that students, parents, and teachers will naturally engage in short term goal setting. Short term goal setting is powerful, motivating, and helps you to reach that longer term goal of passing the class!
Join My Test Class – Game
I have coded an Add-on for Google Sheets that turns your Google Classroom into a Level Up Game. To try this out from the student perspective (and to help me test for bugs, see what other features I need to add, and to help me create tutorials) please join my sample Google Classroom class:
Google Classroom Join Code: ypkupa
You will need to use a PERSONAL Gmail that ends in @gmail.com probably your school email account will not work (you can try it…. or ask your G Suite admin to whitelist fresnoteach.org)
I have added some G Suite challenges to the Google Classroom class and you will see how I send you what level you are.
Try Out the Add-on
If you have a Google Classroom class with students and assignments with points and want to help me beta test the Add-on you can install it at http://alicekeeler.com/classroomlevelup
What Students See
The Add-on will allow you to create a list of work students have submitted and you have returned. It totals up how many points they have earned. A spreadsheet is created for each student and shared with each student. You can choose to create an assignment in Classroom where the spreadsheet is automatically attached to the assignment.
When you update the points in your Add-on you can push out and update each student’s spreadsheet to communicate to the students their forward progress
The Add-on also allows you to push the students levels to a Google Doc to print out, cut into strips and physically hand to students.
If you want to try out the Add-on yourself you will need to make a copy of the spreadsheet template and wait a few minutes for the menu to load. It will say “Level Up” next to the Help menu. Please be aware that it is in Beta and I will be adding new features frequently. You may want to start a fresh copy every so often so you get all the new features.
The first step is is to choose “List all Classes” and authorize the Add-on. I personally coded it myself, it is safe. Depending on how many classes you have it may take some time.
Adjust the Levels
While you wait for the classes to list, adjust the level up points on the “Levels” tab. Suggestion to make level 2 be the typical number of points for a typical assignment. You want it to be EASY to level up at first and gradually get more difficult. There is an art to designing the levels well.
Think about when you have a larger project or test. How many assignments into it are you? How many total points will there be? Adjust the levels to accommodate that at some point an assessment will be worth more than a typical assignment.
Check the Class
Once the classes are listed, checkbox next to the class you want to create a level up for. Only check ONE! If you check more than one, good luck with which one the code picks for you 🙂
Use the Level Up menu to “Get Roster.”
Once the roster loads select “Get Points.” All 3 of these steps are one time for the setup of the game.
THIS TAKES A LONG TIME! Like 20 minutes or longer long time. The code is going through each assignment and each student and looking for work that has been returned with a score.
If you want, you can push an assignment to Google Classroom that links each individual student spreadsheet to the assignment. This helps students to easily find their level.
Grab Assignment Spreadsheets
IF you pushed an assignment to Google Classroom using the menu you will want to grab the links to the student spreadsheets that were created. Use this menu to grab them. If for some reason some spreadsheets were not created, later, run this menu option again.
When you put some points in Google Classroom you want to come back to the spreadsheet and use the menu to “Update Points.” This again takes like 20 minutes (or longer) to get the new points and update the level score. This does NOT update the student spreadsheets.
WARNING! Do NOT “Create Certificate” if you created an assignment in Google Classroom. This will override the spreadsheet in Classroom listed on your Add-on. You can go back and choose “Grab Assignment Spreadsheets” from the menu if you accidentally do this.
Create Certificate is how you manually create a spreadsheet per student if you do not push an assignment to Google Classroom.
To push the updated level score to the students (it also sends them an email if they can get one) you need to “Update Certificate” after you’ve updated the points.