By: Timonious Downing

Mr. Downing is an experienced and innovative middle school teacher in Maryland who has bravely jumped into to gamifying and flipping his classroom in order to enhance the learning experience for his students. After semester break, he shares his data and thoughts on the results of the first few months.

 

Here I am, half way through the year reflecting on the progress my students have made considering the fact that they had to adapt to a flipped and gamified class. As such, I decided to give them an opportunity to reflect as well through the form of a Teacher Report Card. When I told them that they were going to be given an opportunity to “grade me”, they were THRILLED to say the least. I thought I heard one student say “SWEET REVENGE”!!!

Nevertheless, I put the “teacher report card” online and gave students the link to the google form. I felt like I had just been called to the principal’s office and didn’t know why.  While waiting on responses I wondered how the students truly felt about the class and the new direction we took together.
The “teacher report card” which can be viewed here had 3 sections.  The first section was to evaluate their feelings about the Flipped Class. The second section was to evaluate their feelings about the Gamification component. Finally, the third section was their evaluation of me as a teacher, my teaching style, and professionalism.
The students had to score the flipped and gamified components of the class using a scale.
1=did not help me at all
5=Helped me a lot
The students also had to explain what they liked/disliked about the class, suggestions on how I could make the class better. During the latter part of the report card the students evaluated me using letter grades from A to F.
Here is some of the data:

 

 

 

What I gathered from all their responses was that while majority of the students love the class, both models are not effective tools for ALL students and I am ok with that.  For me it means I have to find other ways to motivate and inspire those students these models couldn’t reach for whatever reason. That is my challenge for the rest of the semester.
What was an eye opener was the graph about gamification and motivation. It was split relatively evenly across the board, which was somewhat confusing. It seems while gamification was fun, in their eyes, it wasn’t the motivating factor for completing their work. But their responses said otherwise. The whole premise behind me implementing gamification was to increase student motivation. However, I do teach talented and gifted students, so perhaps they already  intrinsically motivated. As confusing as this is, we are going to move forward with some new games this semester.
My next step is to switch LMS platforms from Edmodo to 3dgamelab, primarily because 3dgamelab is a true, quest-based, gamified platform. Whereas, Edmodo is not and you have to pull from various places to make it work. If you haven’t checked them out, I implore you to do so. They currently have a free demo account for you to test drive before you sign-up for a subscription. I will discuss the pros and cons of both and how my students feel about the switch in my next blog.
Until next time- keep gaming!
Timonious Downing is a  7th Grade Talented and Gifted RELA Teacher,Technology Liaison,Conference Presenter, and Professional Development Lead Teacher. A former Adjunct Professor at Prince George’s Community College, Timonious utilizies technology in the classroom to flip and gamify his classes. Follow Timonious on Twitter @Techmonious.

 

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