Back in November I wrote about adding badges to my Flipped Digital Content. I’ve had two units since that point and I’m proud to say it finally happened… I had a 100% completion rate in a class!
This achievement occurred in ‘Season 6: The Interwar Years’ which investigate the 1920s, the Great Depression, and the New Deal. There were 3 25-30 minute ‘episodes’ in the season (one for each topic) which is consistent with past ‘seasons’.
- If you aren’t a blog regular I call my units ‘seasons’ and the individual recordings ‘episodes’ for 2 reasons. The first is that I have a fictional storyline embedded in the recordings. More important is the second which is that the students started referring to them as seasons accidentally and I thought it was awesome!
Overall, the completion percentages are higher than those of the seasons prior to season 4 which is when I began tinkering with my gamification mechanics. With some reflection I attribute the newfound student interest to 4 big changes:
- Visible Badging System
- Class Completion Leaderboards
- An Acccess Reward to a Breakoutedu game
- Continual Feedback
Without a doubt many students are still motivated by the XP grading, the storyline, and grades; however there has been a big improvement one the margins. I’d like to breakdown each of the 4 changes.
Visible Badging System – The unit I was vigilant about awarding badges the classmeeting that a student completed an episode. The immediate reward of the badge was important. More important though was a shift away from last year’s digital badges which were automated and super easy on my end but students had to seek out if the wanted to examine. For my current badging I simply print primary source pics onto address label stickers with the number of the Season and Episode. I have asked students to put them on their school laptops (1:1 school!) or their required AVID Binders. One student told me ‘I would do anything for one of those badges’. The easy visibility and instant gratification seem to be powerful.
Class Completion Leaderboards – Since I am giving out badges daily it is not much trouble to divide the total completed by the total number of students in the class. This gives a completion rate which I post in a grid at the front of the class. The rate is better than raw numbers since smaller classes are not punished for having fewer total possible completions. Making it a class rate also avoids singling out individual student grades while providing some social pressure to complete work. Classes have cheered while I update the board when the overtake another class. The constant updating also gives an element of ‘most improved’ class as well. In my 1st 100% completion class I have two students who rarely complete their episode assignments. When the 100% was announced they both outed themselves and the class congratulated them – sincerely.
An Acccess Reward to a Breakoutedu game – Access is the 2nd most powerful reward in the SAPS reward schedule. At the start of Season 6 it was announced that only students that completed all 3 episodes would be eligible to participate in the Breakoutedu Challenge. To gain access I would need to see the completed S6 badge (from visible badge system). Several students from every class finished the last two episodes the weekend before the breakout due date simply so the could be part of the Breakout team. Pretty powerful.
Continual Feedback – each of the previous factors relied on the rapid feedback of the students completion status. Without the constant monitoring some of the students would likely have fallen through the cracks.
A criticism of this Flipped Style might be that I am looking just at completion rates. Understandable, however I think of the episodes as introductions that help lead to the formation of deeper contections. Or, as I tell the students the Flipped content is a first date. You don’t learn everything that night, but it gives you a baseline for further investigation of the relationship. For more check out my previous ‘Rogue Mission’ and QWIQR posts.