QuizUp is an application designed for IOS and Android devices where two compete in a quiz. This means that there is a need for an internet connection throughout the game. Initially, the user creates his or her own account, uploads an image that differentiates him from the other contestants and selects the categories of interest, thus giving the necessary meaning to the game.
There are a number of categories from which the user can choose, some of them are of educational content and others are simply less connected to the learning process. These categories include topics from history, technology, literature, science, geography, mathematics, business, film, and even video games. The categories are given beautifully and clearly for the user, while the database of available quizzes is huge, with new quizzes being added daily. It is worth mentioning the ability of the user to compete in two types of play modes. The Single Player Game is a mode where the player is playing alone, essentially struggling without an opponent. His goal is to advance as far as he can in the selected category. The second mode is called Random Opponent Game, where the player faces other players from around the world. Both players have to deal with 7 questions, gathering points according to the answer and the speed that the correct answer was given. Winner is the one who has collected the most points during the session.
One of the most important elements that enhance the player's interest is that in QuizUp he participates in a quiz on topics he already knows enough, as opposed to a more classic knowledge game that puts some random questions to the contestants. QuizUp also differs from other similar applications as it allows the player to communicate with his opponents, start debates, follow others, challenge friends, win achievements, and connect their Facebook and Google+ devices. The experience of the user is also enriched by the fact that regular tournaments are offered in the application. Thus, it can be said that it creates an active community of practice by promoting communication and interaction with other people who share common interests, ultimately leading to the establishment of new knowledge. Whenever a user wins a QuizUp, he wins points that are called experience points. The motivation is also increased because of the engagement that is developed through the option of Rankings, which are the game’s leaderboards. There the player is ranked according to the experience points he has collected in each category of interest.
According to researchers (Vandercruysse, Vandewaetere, Cornillie & Clarebout, 2013), the competition cultivated on videogames will then lead to greater enthusiasm, which will ultimately lead to more concentration and desire for improvement in the subject.
After the Quiz is over, the player receives in-depth feedback on his own and his opponent's selections, and in case of a winning outcome, he is rewarded with specific badges that are visible in his profile, thus further enhancing the gaming feature. According to Prensky (2001), uninterrupted feedback provided in a variety of forms rather than one-dimensional is responsible for establishing knowledge in the mind of the user, leading him to alternate his mistaken choices and ultimately to success.
However, a drawback is the existence of Gems and Coins that are either earned through the application or purchased with real money. Those items allow the user to accumulate more experience points or redeem them to be able to participate in some tournaments while having certain advantages compared to other competitors.
The design of the application is surprisingly good. It is bright and colorful but at the same time well-organized and ergonomic. Players will have no problem navigating in the application, finding the topics they like or participating in a game. During the quiz, the screen is properly designed with minimal distractions. The only thing the player can see is the score, questions and answers along with each player's name and profile picture. This helps the player immerse in the game by placing it in a state of flow. As Gee (2008) has highlighted, video games such as QuizUp offer experiences to people in a virtual world using the gameplay mechanics that it integrates to solve problems in an attractive and fun environment.
QuizUp is a great game that is worthwhile recommending to your students to use either at home or in the classroom through appropriate guidance. Besides, people find learning pleasant under the right conditions, which are often not those found in traditional school. As various scholars believe, schools will surely benefit from the use of videogames in the classroom (Gee, 2004). After all games like QuizUp do not give gamers information that is unrelated to their context, but only those that are necessary, while providing purpose in creating the person's participation in social life, through groups that provide meaning to goals, interpretations, practices, explanations, feedback, and the prerequisites for deep learning through experiences (Gee, 2008)
Gee, J. P. (2008). Learning and games. The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and learning, 3, 21-40.
Gee, J. P. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (8), 15-23.
Prensky, M. (2001). Fun, play, and games: What makes games engaging? In Digital game-based learning. (pp. 11-16). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
Vandercruysse, S., Vandewaetere, M., Cornillie, F., & Clarebout, G. (2013). Competition and students’ perceptions in a game-based language learning environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(6), 927–950. doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9314-5
Minecraft is a building game in which the user is called within its virtual world to place and customize bricks (or as they are called in this game, Blocks) and materials to build constructions that can be functional or not. The user also has to choose from a series of playable scenarios that are distinguished in creative, adventure and survival modes and can also chose to play alone or with others in the multiplayer mode (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015). The particularly useful scenario of creativity is one that provides the greatest potential for educational use as players have unlimited materials to develop the constructions they desire, without being limited by drawbacks such as slow movement from one place to another or the risk their virtual character experiences death, like it happens in the survival mode (Overby & Jones, 2015).
The nature of the game that involves the player in problems with various objects that interact with his decisions, the plethora of choices the user allows, the freedom of movement and choices from the creation of the character to the development of the constructions, puts him in the place of the creator and not just the consumer, resulting in Minecraft being a tool that contains many of the elements of constructivism theories (Overby & Jones, 2015; Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015), redefining it as a highly lucrative and benefitial application to any class (Petrov, 2014).
The game is extremely easy to install and can even work on computer systems or mobile devices with low limited infrastructure, although the multiplayer mode obviously requires internet access (Overby & Jones, 2015; Nebel, Schneider & Rey , 2015). The offered actions that can be implemented in the world are varied and can be used to enhance various teaching subjects such as arts, environmental sensitivity, architecture, mechanics, physics, mathematics and history. (Petrov , 2014; Overby & Jones, 2015).
The benefits associated with the use of Minecraft for educational purposes are a lot. The most important are that Minecraft is linked with the development of students' critical thinking, enhancing creativity, and fostering digital literacy in an environment with increased motivation (Petrov, 2014 (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015). If used in an online environment that allows multi-player involvement, it increases student collaboration and teamwork since it operates as a tool of social constructivism (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015).
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that there is also an educational version of Minecraft available, MinecraftEDU, which provides the appropriate tools for teachers to evaluate student-player moves, easier game management, and a range of other objects to smoothly adapt to the learning process (Nebel, Schneider & Rey, 2015).
Find more at https://minecraft.net/
Nebel, S., Schneider, S., & Rey, G. D. (2016). Mining Learning and Crafting Scientific Experiments: A Literature Review on the Use of Minecraft in Education and Research. Educational Technology & Society, 19 (2): 355-366.
Overby, A. & Jones, B. L. (2015). Virtual LEGOs: Incorporating Minecraft Into the Art Education Curriculum. Art Education, 68 (1), 21-27.
Petrov, A. (2014). Using Minecraft in Education: A Qualitative Study on the Benefits and Challenges of Game-Based Education (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). University of Toronto, Canada.
Classcraft is a free e-learning system that transforms class into a role-playing game, based on the theory of the gamification of learning which attempts to make the learning process even more accessible to students (Analysis of Factors Affecting, 2015). It is basically used as a means of managing the classroom and the behaviors of its members (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017; Bicen & Kocakoyun, 2017). Classcraft transforms school by taking the video game mechanics that provide rich and interesting play experiences and applying them to the classroom setting.The teacher is responsible for coordinating the game since he is the game master.
A computer and a projector are required for viewing the statistics of the students, while students can view their progress and interact with the content by downloading the application which is available for IOS and Android devices.
The game runs in the background during the lesson and it normally takes place simultaneously. The teacher chooses to switch to the game whenever he or she sees that fit or whenever (2015) .
In-game students create an avatar and then are divided into small groups that will compete with one another. The student has the option to customize his own avatar with a number of predefined characters (mage, warrior, healer) each of whom has his / her own powers and weaknesses (Brettton, Sim, & Read, 2016)
These powers represent behaviors and processes that occur within the classroom. For example, the healer's "Ardent Faith" power enables him to confirm a response to a test by asking the professor. In addition, students earn points by answering questions, participating in classroom activities or helping another teammate or even the teacher (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017).
Through a variety of activities, students acquire experience points and improve the level of the hero they have chosen initially, thereby improving their own cognitive ability and behavior.
It is a tool based on behavioral learning theory as learning through classcraft aims to modify the student's behavior. Additional features that classify it in behavioral learning tools are the specific activities to achieve objectives that activities are designed from the beginning by the teacher (Learning Theories, n.d.). Thus the student is not in control of the application since the teacher is the creator and the one who moves the strings and directs all the parameters of reward or punishment within a course context. As far as the assessment of the learner is concerned, it can be said that it follows the behaviorism model as well since the teacher attributes the possible positive or negative reward with the experience points.
Within the framework of classroom management strategies and actions, teachers build a positive ethos within the school unit by recognizing and commending positive behavior and discouraging the unsatisfactory and unacceptable. According to Bretherton, Sim, & Read (2016), Classcraft plays the role of a new behavior system, transforming the traditional responsibility of the teacher.
The positive effects on the learning process include the encouragement for learning, cooperativity and student-to-student communication and effectiveness (2015; Bicen & Kocakoyun, 2017; Bretherton, Sim and Read, 2016). Worth mentioning is the flexibility the students have and the freedom of decision-making given due to the fact that the information that is provided to the users about the consequences of their choices can alter their way of behaving (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017).
Finally, with the adoption of classcraft as a regulator of the appropriate behavior, students' performance is expected to reach higher standards, aiming not only at the optimal learning culture but also in the improved social life and the extended teamwork that follows (Bretherton, Sim, & Read, 2016). Two different elements are extremely worth mentioning regarding Classcraft. On the one hand the tool is shaped in such a way that it contributes to the improvement of an individual level of the pupil and on the other it introduces social skills and interactive actions, which encourages the establishment of learning communities that can help in achieving common goals.
All in all Classcraft, cultivates the development of critical thinking in students, underlining those who believe that games are not just a tool for mere entertainment but they also have huge educational potential (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017). Applications of this type transform the traditional classroom into a learning environment where activities make sense to the pupils and thus create a sense of pleasure under fun situations.
Gamify your own classroom by visiting https://www.classcraft.com/
Analysis of factors affecting user acceptance of the implementation of ClassCraft E-Learning: Case studies faculty of information technology of Tarumanagara university. (2015). 2015 International Conference on Advanced Computer Science and Information Systems (ICACSIS), Advanced Computer Science and Information Systems (ICACSIS), 2015 International Conference on, 73.
Bicen, H., & Kocakoyun, S. (2017). Determination of University Students' Most Preferred Mobile Application for Gamification. World Journal On Educational Technology: Current Issues, 9(1), 18-23.
Bretherton, W., Sim, G., & Read, J. C. (2016). ClassCraft in the Primary School Classroom. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Games Based Learning, 167-74.
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Sanchez, E., Young, S., & Jouneau-Sion, C. (2017). Classcraft: From Gamification to Ludicization of Classroom Management. Education And Information Technologies, 22(2), 497-513.