The grand experiment continues. The Fracture Crisis has continued plodding along at a glacial pace. I severely underestimated the amount of prep work I needed to do to make them game into what I envisioned. I figured I could kind of build as I went along but that hasn't been the case. The narrative hook that I built to kind of push the game along simply has not shown up in enough aspects of the game. It's like we started level 1 of a game, played the tutorial and then never moved on. I really need to think through how the story will arch over the course of a semester or year.
Even with my shortcomings some of the aspects I hoped for have stuck with at least a few of the kids. Just today, in fact, I had a student insist he turned in a quiz that I couldn't find. I told him I'd excuse it since my organization of late has been a mess to say the least. Usually that is more than enough to satisfy kids. Once they know their grade is fine they get over the fact that I may have lost their hard work.
This time though, he had a follow up question.
"Will I still get XP for it?"
Note he didn't ask for points or a grade - he specifically asked about XP. This is good! This means my hope of shifting focus away from arbitrary percentage goals and grades in favor of an ever-increasing scale of achievement has had some success. Since the XP is tied into the level-up and reward system he was genuinely concerned that this would put him behind the other students in those competitions. So, something is going right!
I made some changes over the break to simplify the game a little bit. I cut out about 5 of the skill options leaving students with only 2 choices per level instead of 3. I lowered the overall XP needed to level up and completely disconnected it from grades. Integrating the game with my grading system simply proved to be an uncrackable
puzzle at this point. Until we move to each student having a laptop in the coming years I just don't think it is feasible.
I'm excited to see where the game goes from here now that I've seen some of the difficulties first hand. Seriously, if you can figure out an easy way to track all the points, levels and skills you'll be my hero.
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