Rezzly Makes Learning Fun!
Gamification has always been a fuzzy concept to me at best, and a potential teacher nightmare at worse. Too many things could go wrong if done incorrectly and it just scared me off.
To clarify what gamification is and get over my angst, I turned to Chris Haskell and Rezzly for part two (see Blowing Up the Gradebook for part one) on how to incorporate gaming principles into the classroom successfully.
But first, what is Rezzly? Formerly called 3D GameLab, Rezzly is a gamified content creation platform where teachers can design quests and badges to create personalized learning for their students. Haskell gives a brief overview in his video:
Looks pretty flashy, but what does it all mean?
Dr. Haskell first makes the case that in the Information Age there are multiple ways to accomplish tasks and receive credit for those tasks. We must change our thinking first and foremost. Gone are the old ways of tracking student progress with pen and paper.
Next, time-based delivery is starting to be a thing of the past. Alternative ways of pacing are now coming into play. With Rezzly, learning is built more around a continuum and takes into consideration how much a student already knows. If a student can move through curriculum quickly and accomplish 30 modules in one semester versus 10, then they may do so. It’s all about providing a variety of learning experiences and giving students meaningful choices. For example, a teacher can provide 80 activities for a math topic and require a student to pick 20 that appeal to them.
Here is a screenshot of Rezzly’s dashboard that displays a pool of interesting activities from which a student can choose. Again, this reinforces the idea that multiple paths lead to learning. And the beauty of this system is that open resources can be pulled from all over the web and shared between users.
There are a number of vital components shown here: the activity title, point values, resources, student’s ratings (effective feedback!), average time of completion, badges earned, comments, and other important communications found in a LMS. And as explained on Rezzly’s website:
“As students complete each quest, they can level up to new assignments on their journey toward an “A.” Teachers have the ability to approve quests or put them on auto-approval so students can keep progressing while waiting for their teacher’s feedback on milestone work.”
The important thing to note here is that students can redo the assignment for higher points. They are not penalized for what they do not know, but instead may expand their own schema and improve their work as they progress through the activity bank. Check out this student’s perspective of quest-based learning:
One of the cool features of this platform is the ability to grant badges, achievements and awards for quests completed. And the badges can link directly to the Mozilla digital backpack system for handy storage. Teachers also have the option of unlocking extended features when certain levels have been reached, as well as granting virtual and in-class prizes for certain badges. For example, homework passes, ice cream coupons, donated gifts or special privileges can all be used to increase motivation.
It may be a lofty conclusion to make, but I will venture to say Rezzly shows us the future of learning. It’s certainly a fun way to learn, in any case.
Click here for Lisa Dawley’s most excellent Prezi about Rezzly.