The Game of Education

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Donald Clark is a reliably controversial blogger but a post last month took the biscuit. Based on some recently-published research that cast doubt on the claims of “brain training” software to produce learning that will generalise to other contexts, he concludes that “Gamification does NOT work!” in education. This is like finding a broken-down rickshaw and concluding that Continue reading

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

How to calibrate quiz percentages to levels or grades

calibrationIf you look in your gradebook for any given student set, you will see that all the results are reported in the grade scheme you chose for that set. It’s easy to take that for granted and not think about how it is achieved – at least I hope it is, because we have worked hard to make the enormous complexity of that task invisible to casual users.

Although teachers very rarely challenge the accuracy of Yacapaca results, I do occasionally get asked about their Continue reading