One of the key components of gamification is feedback. Games give players timely, if not instantaneous, feedback. The quicker the feedback cycle, the more effectively the player can adjust their strategy. To effectively gamify a classroom, it is crucial that teachers give feedback to every student in their classroom as quickly as possible. In other words, we need methods of collecting, processing and communicating large quantities of data, usually in the form of experience points (XP) and leveling up. This is where technology can give teachers an advantage.
Many teachers who are gamifying their classrooms have been harnessing the power for Google Sheets. A spreadsheet can quickly process data. But what about collecting and reporting? It is often time consuming and tedious to enter data directly into a spreadsheet and a teacher rarely has access to the sheet while they are circulating in the classroom. To remedy this, I have created a an XP calculation and leaderboard sheet that will allow teachers to process data entered from a google form! The sheet also includes charts that one can easily embed in a google site so that students can see data without seeing the original sheet. Here is how you do it…
1. Create a Google Form for the input of student XP- Simply make a “text” item for each student. The “Question Title” should be the students name or ID. (If you want anonymity, use an ID number or an avatar name as the title and put the real student name in the “help text”). *Pro Tip- Bookmark your XP Form link on your mobile device so you can quickly access it and input XP on the go.
2. Copy the XP Calculator Sheet into your Results Spreadsheet- Make a copy of this Classroom XP Calculator and Leaderboard Sheet. From the tab dropdown menu, select “copy to”. Select your Form responses sheet. The XP Calculator sheet will automatically pull the data from your “Form Responses 1” tab. It will Sum the XP of students, look up their level , and also report the name of that level if you have titles to each level. The Purple is a cumulative total for the class. The Yellow is where you customize the minimum number of points and the tiles assigned to each level ( eg. Level 3 Novice) This what the Final Responses Spreadsheet should look like. *NOTE- this methid is designed for NEW sheets! If you don’t have a green checkmark indicating that you are on new sheets, you will have to change the name of your form responses tab to “Form Responses 1”
3. Adjust the sheet to fit your needs- Alter the yellow section to fit the point structure and theme of your class. What is the XP needed for each level? What is each level called? The Leaderboard chart is currently set to show only the top 10 students, but it can be edited to show more or even all students.
*Tweak- If too few students are entered, there may be blank spots at the top of the Green leaderboard section. Just delete any of the #REF at the bottom of the Blue area to fix this problem. **Currently the sheet is set up to support 35 students at a time, but there are ways we could edit it to facilitate more.
Embeding them in a Google site is extremely easy. From your Google Site edit mode, use the Insert menu and then select “Chart” This will prompt you to select the sheet in your Drive where the charts reside. Then just select which chart you would like to embed. That’s it. You could also get embed code for other types of sites like Moodle by clicking the dropdown menu on the upper right of each chart. Select “Publish Chart” and select “Interactive Chart” from the dropdown. Copy the embed code and put it into any website you want.
The website images should update any time the Results sheet is updated by submitting the form! This is what my Google Leaderboard Website looks like.
Remember that effective gamification is not about the points and leaderboards, it is about diversified learning. Slapping some XP on a project does not gamify a classroom. However, points and levels can be powerful feedback tool in a properly gamified system. For more info on best practices for leaderboards check out 6 Tricks for Shameless Leaderboards.
*UPDATE!!! TUTORIAL VIDEO: