Imagine that you are a Wizard Cyborg, exploring your way through a sixth grade adventure. To survive, you must gain experience points through subject knowledge and good behavior. On any given Friday, you may be selected by your teacher to battle to against your peers to the tune of Pokémon – winner takes all. What is this alternate reality that your 12-year-old self lives in? This is ClassRealm.
What is ClassRealm, you ask?
ClassRealm is an idea that brings gamification to the classroom to create a grand learning adventure for students. Essentially, ClassRealm is bringing video games to school. And it’s a good thing.
“When you think about it, schools are already kind of like video games,” said Ben Bertoli, CEO of ClassRealm and sixth grade teacher at Danville Middle School. “If you do well on tests and quizzes, you are rewarded with letter grades. Those who earn all A’s, never miss school or never get in trouble are usually rewarded. Gamification takes that aspect of education and expands upon it.”
In the simplest terms, ClassRealm is a customizable, web-based tool that can be used by teachers, students and parents to introduce gamification into the classroom, encourage better behavior patterns and promote creative expression. The ClassRealm system is based on role-playing games such as Pokémon, Final Fantasy, and even some classic tabletop rule sets such as Dungeons & Dragons. Students can level up, gain achievements and even fight off enemies with their knowledge and good deeds. These gaming ideals come from years and years of video game influence. ClassRealm aims to bring as many gaming aspects to the system as possible, while still keeping the core educational values. One of the key features of ClassRealm is that it will be built to adapt to any and every classroom, no matter the setting or current year. Curriculum, standards and teaching styles are altered constantly, and ClassRealm will follow suit.
It sounds good. But does ClassRealm work?
ClassRealm began as a simple idea that Bertoli implemented in his classroom. In this original “beta testing,” ClassRealm motivated students on a consistent basis. Students participated more and worked harder. The system created a sense of community in the classroom and even more importantly, allowed students to have fun while learning.
“The real reward of learning something new is the knowledge you gain, but many students don’t quite grasp that concept at a young age,” Bertoli said. “Gamification is a way to make learning more of a fun experience for students, and can also help teachers track student data and achievements.”
Recent features of ClassRealm in the international video game blog Kotaku, Wired’s Geek Dad blog and International Business Times brought in a flood of responses, feedback and questions to the ClassRealm team. People like the idea, and they want more.
To develop a ClassRealm web-application that is extremely efficient and attractive to students, Bertoli partnered with college classmate Courtny Cotten, CCO of ClassRealm, to design a user experience that fits the needs of teachers, students and parents. The duo enlisted the support of David Mathew, CTO of ClassRealm, to build the software needed to support the ClassRealm system.
A lot of work has been done already, but to really make an impact ClassRealm needs support. Bertoli and company have launched a Kickstarter project to raise $65,000 in funding. That’s a lot of money, but every penny will be worth it.
At launch, ClassRealm will feature:
• Custom-made characters
• Experience Point (XP) and Hit Point (HP) tracking
• Built-in and Teacher-made achievements
• Attendance, assignment and participation tracking
• ClassRealm Edventures
• Side quests (additional lessons)
• Responsive web design
• Printable ClassRealm Sheets
To learn even more about ClassRealm, visit the Kickstarter page at kickstart.classrealm.com, or visit our blog site at www.classrealm.com. You can also follow Sami the Samurai Yeti (ClassRealm’s official mascot) on Twitter at @ClassRealm for updates.
ClassRealm is a customizable classroom management system built on role-playing themes. Teachers can use ClassRealm to set up specific goals and achievements for individual students or entire classes, as well as track student data and progress. Students can earn achievements and experience points by doing a wide array of school-related tasks, such as doing well on tests, helping others and reading extra books. Parents can use ClassRealm to follow their child’s many adventures online and can even create personalized side quests. ClassRealm makes learning a grand adventure!
The ClassRealm team is composed of Chief Executive Officer (and sixth grade teacher) Ben Bertoli, Indianapolis; Chief Creative Officer (and graphic designer) Courtny Cotten, Carmel; Chief Technology Officer (and software engineer) David Mathew, Carmel. Bertoli and Cotten are both graduates of the University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Ind, Mathew is a graduate of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., and adjunct professor at the University of Indianapolis.