Our first-ever 8th Dan student

8th DanMeet Beatrice Wongsanguan, Y11 student at Patana School in Bangkok. Beatrice is the first student ever to achieve the 8th Dan belt in Yacapaca.

In case you do not know, we copied the Judo belt scheme to describe our levels. Students earn White Belt almost immediately, the work up through the colours to Black Belt. After that, they get into the Dan grades, and progress becomes much harder. Achieving each grade is 60% more work than achieving the previous grade was. 60% may not sound like a lot, but it compounds up very fast.

Belt grades are earned primarily through diligence. Regular practice, regular revision and participation in the voluntary extension activities such as peer assessment are key. Beatrice has been using Yacapaca since Y7 (I looked up her records) and is clearly a top performer even in a school renowned for its work ethos.

Congratulations Beatrice! Read the full story in the Patana magazine.

A very short primer on gamification

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Yacapaca is a gamified formative assessment system. I want to discuss briefly what that means, and how we interpret it in software.

Gamification is the art of making things you want to do anyway more fun, and more motivating. To understand why this is so powerful, I recommend this 12-minute TED talk by Seth Priebatsch because it is a lot more fun and motivating than the Continue reading

This is the power of a little tin badge

100%I got this email yesterday from Dr. Mandy Heddle, who teaches in a high-achieving British International School. I have permission to share the story, but I’ll not name the school so as to stay out of their Google searches.

I wanted to share with you that I have a student I have mentored since she was 11 and she is now 17. She is off the charts smart, even for our school, and I can’t wait to see what she does with her life. Very quirky and gothic with a very dark sense of humour. She has won countless awards and accolades, from poetry to mathematics and she could not care less. She slouches up to the stage each assembly and mumbles her thanks. However, I have never seen her utter amazement and joy when her Yacapaca badge arrived in the mail. She was stunned that it actually came and she couldn’t be more proud. It made her week. So thank you so much for such a great programme that makes my students so happy.

Of course I was grinning from ear to ear after reading this. Stories like this are absolutely what make it all worthwhile.

The Badge Log

If your students have enjoyed earning Yacapaca badges, you may need to track exactly who has earned what. There is now a badge log under the More tab. Nothing fancy, but it should meet the need. See yours here.

Badges have been a runaway success this year, with overwhelmingly positive feedback (such as this story from Patana School) about how they are motivating the students.

First ever 7th Dan badge winner

7 Dan Student

My heartfelt congratulations to Rohan Chaurasia at Bangkok Patana School for becoming the first student ever to receive a 7 Dan Yacapaca badge. If you have watched your students earn their White Belt in a day and their Orange Belt in two days, you may not Continue reading