Weekly Challenges Update

Last Tuesday I wrote about Fortnite’s Weekly Challenges and how we can all have a victory every class. This week I tried out this format. Interestingly, as is often the case, everything takes longer than I anticipated. The challenges were interesting for the students though I would like a bit more variety. As a proof of concept though it looks like this will work well for a Hybrid and Distance Learning set up. For this week I used a Google Slide format to create the challenges. Sadly, I cannot figure out how to add that to the wordpress post so here are a few screenshots.

For the text on the opening slide I used Earthbound Text Generator.

Since I am expected to use Google Classroom throughout the Hybrid/Distance/Virtual Learning models I settled on creating a second Google Slide on which students will put their completed challenges. This does have a couple benefits in spite of its overall clumsiness. The first is that Google Classroom auto creates Google Slides files for each student in their assignment page. Second, I can see the students update their slides in real time which allows me to give them rapid feedback even within the social distance setting.

Along with the weekly challenges I have had a larger project (called a Historical Questing Option) worth more XP. I allowed students to work on this instead. Interestingly, having the weekly options motivated several students to work on the larger project. This strikes me as that phenomena in which I have papers to grade which motivates me to instead do the dishes.

So what is going on here?

Gamified principles talk about “RAMP” motivators. Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. I think that the key to this has been allowing students the autonomy to select the work they want to complete. Also important is the purpose of the weekly challenges. While some students jumped on the Quizizz activity because it was easily the fastest path to XP the majority of students did not. Most students that dove into the Weekly Challenges began working on the National History Day project options. They seemed to have split roughly evenly between investigating the Category options and finding resources from new databases. The NHD project is a big project that allows students to research a topic of their own choosing (again autonomy) and these weekly options serve an important purpose.

Where this can go.

Like the Fortnite Model I would like to include some daily challenges that expire at the end of the class period. These would be simpler challenges worth less XP. As of right now I have the weekly challenges open until this Sunday. The difficulty in this is that more valuable activities need more feedback so the dynamic is a bit flipped – maybe daily activities should be the ones that are collaborative or require teacher interactions. Having a larger unit based project option like the Historical Questing Option also seems useful as it allows for a longer term commitment and feels more like a journey.

What am I missing?

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