Gamifying Genius Hour

This is going to be one of those think-out-loud kind of posts.  If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that I am a big advocate for Genius Hour, and that I have been playing with the idea of gamifying my classroom.  Actually, I made an attempt at both of these last year with my gifted 5th graders.  The Genius Hour was pretty successful.  However, the gamifying got bogged down.  I had a whole system of levels that the students could work through, badges they could earn (that they designed), and new privileges they would gain at each level.  My method of tracking everything fell apart, though, when I could not get the reports I needed from Class Dojo, the site I was using to record the progress of the students.  Class Dojo now has those reports, so I am considering giving it another try.

I want to focus on gamifying Genius Hour, in particular.  I am working on: levels with increasing challenges and privileges, ways to “level up”, “Easter Eggs” (hidden messages they can discover), and ways to encourage collaboration and problem solving.  Just to clarify, I am not necessarily using video games in the classroom – just the attributes of video games that can increase engagement.

This year, I plan to start Genius Hour with 3rd and 4th, as well as with my 5th graders.  (I meet with each grade level once a week.)

Knowing that I have a tendency to needlessly complicate things, I thought I would put this post out there to see if anyone has used the gamification concept with Genius Hour, and to hear any suggestions you may have.  I have found many online sources, such as the infographic below, to support gamification, and several education blogs with descriptions of its use, but I have not found any, yet, that combine it with Genius Hour.  I’d be happy to receive your tweets/suggestions regarding this topic @terrieichholz or in the comments below.

Gamification Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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