Monday, March 18, 2013

The Back End of Gamification in our 1:1 Professional Development

I have posted several previous blogs on my model for gamification in our professional development. If you are interested in how the idea was started, read "Gamification in Education: It's World of Warcraft without the Warcraft." or "Mission Possible: Playing Games with Professional Development." If you are interested in how I incorporated crowdsourcing into the game, read "Crowdsourcing your 1:1 Professional Development." If you are interested in how I keep track of the points on the back end of the system, continue reading on:)

I will begin by saying that this is by no means the best way to do this. I am not a programmer, I am a physics teacher. My programming skills are completely self-taught and consist of some flash action scripting, enough html to be dangerous, and enough C++ to know that semi-colons are very important. I was talking to my nephew yesterday. He is a computer science major at the University of Iowa. I may have talked him into trying to develop the data analysis of this game for a class project he is doing for his degree. In fact, when Des Moines came to me and asked to see my programming mojo, I told them to hire someone smarter than me to build them an app.

That being said, here is a peak behind the curtain.

When teachers do a mission, they are to receive points depending upon which level the mission falls under. 4th level missions are worth 4 points, etc. I have to record that they did the mission, assign them the points, and then add up their total points. I do it all in google docs for the simple reason that I am comfortable with spreadsheets, and it's free. Here is how it is done. At the end of every mission, teachers submit a google survey to rate the mission's effectiveness. They have to put their mission number, and the survey records their user name.
This data then goes into a spreadsheet for that level. All 4th level missions have the same form on them. 5th level missions have an identical form that feeds into the 5th level point totals. I then create a column on that sheet that truncates the mission number to the first number. Thus mission 403 will be truncated to 4. This is where the mission number turns into the points awarded. 


I then create a pivot table that accesses this information with the teacher's username, mission number, and returns the points awarded. The final column on the pivot table adds the total number of points for that level. The different colors on the table allow us to keep track of chain missions. If someone does all in a chain, they earn a new title. 
The third worksheet on this document is where the totals are linked to the teacher's actual names. Basically, we have a list of names associated with the users, and an equation copies the total column from the pivot table to this "totals" spreadsheet. The equation used is a VLOOKUP, that looks up their username, and returns their total. 

Now that I have their real name associated with their point totals from that level, I simply copy each of the point totals to a different "Leaderboard" spreadsheet. It has columns for each level, and adds the numbers in the end. The actual leaderboard simply references that sheet and is displayed for the staff. 

Easy peasy.

Let me know if there are any questions. If I get ambitious I may do a video tutorial on how this is done to show you around myself. 

Chris
@christopherlike