Rob Schwartz

Gameplay and Story Share Zone

So... I experimented with a lot of story this year (the opposite of the "simplifying" I wanted to do...) and want to see what you guys are doing to steal ideas. Thought if we shared our intros and orientations it might be cool- and we can also steal missions from each other! I'll go first....

I use this orientation the first few days with all the schedule changes and getting the permission forms back. That moves right into the GAME which leads to where I list all the missions in this "Strategy Guide" for BOOT camp

What are you guys doing for orientation/meet the team/get the kids rolling? 

5 / 5 • 2 Ratings

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Matthew Miller

Posted on 10/13/15 9:34:59 AM Permalink

Not entirely related to GameOn nor story, but I just had to share this. A group of students in my Intro to Programming Course came by at lunch today to talk about Esab, the city in which they start the game (they're just about out of it at this point in the year), Gnimmargorp the country, and the back-story. They are gathering ideas because they want to build the city of Esab within Minecraft. So I may someday have a digital model of what my city looks like, imagined and built by students based on the vague framework, storyline, and map that I've created.

I'm geeking out. :-D

Mike Skocko

Posted on 10/13/15 7:51:00 PM Permalink


Love it.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/18/15 11:42:02 AM Permalink

There are myriad ways Twine could be used but it strikes me as a (possible) way to sketch out plans for your own story in the fall.

I know I'm going to play with it. Heck, it might even help shape the development and structure of quest pods. (Getting so close to releasing the first iteration. :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/4/15 5:08:21 PM Permalink

Maria Popova tweeted today about a great new article she's written at BrainPickings, about Joseph Campbell's 11-step Hero's Journey. Made me think about how I can ensure all 11 stages are available in my game, to framework around the monomyth structure nearly everyone understands at a gut level because of the cultural stories they know. Oh, and there's a great animated short that summarizes the whole journey.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/4/15 5:25:48 PM Permalink

Genius! Hadn't even considered the Hero's Journey. And the video is nicely done! Great find, Matthew.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/2/15 3:52:33 PM Permalink

My wife and I watched The Imitation Game last night. I was struck by several moments but I'll just address one (without spoiling the movie for any who've yet to see it).

It's amazing how often distraction leads to revelation.

Today's Spring BreakQuest (SBQs are explained in my April 1 entry below) involves design advice from someone with no formal training in art or design. I dare you to watch this TED Talk and NOT come up with at least one new idea for your own story.

Warning: You'll encounter a few naughty words.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/19/15 2:30:35 PM Permalink

Just watched this and discovered a wonderful site about intuitive design - has great ideas for design techology (physical stuff) as well as graphic design. Great thought (or conversation) provoker.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/19/15 2:51:49 PM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/1/15 6:54:38 PM Permalink

We're on spring break this week and because some veterans requested it, I resurrected BreakQuests. In the past I've had Thanksgiving, Winter, and of course, Spring BreakQuests. This time, thanks to our time and date filters, I don't have to nerf them manually. Each day's quest is loaded with loot but is nerfed 90% at midnight. It's been fun trying to come up with interesting activities that don't require commercial software. When I went to bed last night, one of my final thoughts was, What in the world can I do for April Fools Day?

Here's a screenshot today's homepage and here's one of the quest. The cheesy image on the homepage was intentional and the quote to the right replaced this week's slightly more profound message from Sir Ken (which will return again tomorrow). The quest itself is pretty off the wall and needs to be refined and altered for next year but note the loot in the screenshot. Yes, a lot of loot ebbs before flowing and the net result is a 98.3% chance at 1 gold. Can't wait to hear stories of panic for those who didn't read the loot values.

The chance for real loot is contained in the comment I added. Can you find the URL?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/26/15 8:13:40 AM Permalink

Last night (my time) I had the pleasure of presenting Gnimmargorp to the wonderful folks in the Metagame Book Club; we're reading The Multiplayer Classroom right now. I gave a tour and we discussed my implementation of Game On and gamification in the classroom in general for about 50 minutes (my bit starts at 07:12 and runs through 58:07). Lots of great discussion about implementing, results in the classroom, AMP, Mike Skocko, The Mac Lab, Game On, and much more. There's another 30 minutes-ish after my share in which the book, terminology, and provoking questions are covered.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/26/15 1:57:15 PM Permalink

I admire your calm, coherent presentation style, Matthew. Well done!

And here's hoping some girls do sign up for next year's coding classes in Egypt. :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/26/15 4:33:44 PM Permalink

My current students have apparently been talking the class up, including to their female peers, so I have hopes. Should know in about a month, after the wrap-up of registration happens. /me has fingers crossed

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/26/15 4:39:46 PM Permalink

Word of mouth is the best way to build the program. When the kids become your advocates, the quality of applicants increases along with quantity. Keep up the outstanding work!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/27/15 6:43:41 PM Permalink

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/27/15 10:45:11 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/26/15 2:43:51 PM Permalink

Why do links on the AEE do this sometimes? (I know Matthew knows how to make links. The same thing happens to me sometimes. If you look at the source, links on the AEE are long, convoluted collection of code that's probably tied to harvesting usage data.) Clicking your link does nothing on my end. Right-clicking and opening the link in a new widow leads to:


Problem accessing /content-rendering/v1/public/opinion/why-storytelling-will-be-the-biggest-business-skill-of-the-next-5-years

. Reason:
 Bad Request
(I wonder if that ^ will show. It'll probably revert to plain text.)

Anyway, here's the page with the storytelling article. What struck me most was the connection to Kickstarter. I've actually been considering a campaign. Thanks to the article, I'm that much closer to fitting the pieces together.

Great find, as always, Matthew!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/26/15 4:35:49 PM Permalink

Huh. For some reason there is a "< / p >" on the end of that link, rather than after the link, which causes it to break. What a weird thing. Thanks for catching it and providing a working version, Mike.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/17/15 2:57:40 PM Permalink

A new twist that was suggested by one of my players is turning out pretty nice, so I thought I'd write it up here for you guys, in case it fits with any of your classes. Michael (the player), saw my note in The Emporium (my store) about making suggestions and requests. He asked if we could have some kind of advanced quest available through the store. He also suggested it be locked or otherwise obscure, so part of the fun of that quest was figuring out how to get to it. A final part of the suggestion was that this be outside of our usual course material path(s).

I wanted to take this a bit further and throw in some randomness to make it a bit more unpredictable. So I now have a store item in The Emporium called a 'basket of keys.' When you puchase a key, you get a link that is randomly generated to one of several advanced quests I've built. The key that you get both provides a clue regarding how to get to that quest and the actual password (key) that you'll need to unlock more than the 'encounter' level of it.

How I arranged this involved several elements.

  • First, I added the Random Content plug-in. This creates a new custom post type, Random, which does not show up anywhere the usual posts/quests/asides/etc do. It also creates a shortcode that can be inserted anywhere. When the shortcode is called, the plug-in chooses one of the random items and displays it. This is where I wrote up the "key" items. Eg:

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a Neila Srebmun key. I hope you enjoy using it.
What's that? Nope, I haven't the foggiest how to use or even where you might use it. I'm sure it works somewhere...somebody went to the trouble of making it, after all...
Good luck!
(you might want to write down the name of your key...just in case)
  • Then I created a series of quests which I didn't link directly anywhere. But using the name of the key, you can create a URL that will take you to the associated quest. Within the quest, I locked stage 2 using a password, which is the string of random letters and numbers from the key (random item) page.
  • One twist here is that since it's a random item, players have no way to get back to it once they've closed the page after purchasing it, so I make sure to remind them to save that information, including the name of the key, first.
  • Mike Skocko

    Posted on 1/17/15 3:21:50 PM Permalink

    Amazing idea, Matthew! Let us know how this plays out.

    Matthew Miller

    Posted on 1/27/15 10:44:43 AM Permalink

    Result #1 so far: conversations about integrity. Turns out that it's not possible, in any way I've found yet, to set this up in a way that prevents players from simply returning for another 'random' key until they have the entire basket of them collected. As soon as a player realized this, we had a nice conversation about integrity and the fact that this whole game system rests on it. It was a great opportunity. At this point, I don't think I'd change to a technology mediated lock on this even it if was available. The opportunity for another great conversation like that is too powerful to miss.

    Matthew Miller

    Posted on 3/26/15 4:38:13 PM Permalink

    Result #2: the students who have found these have been so interested in them that they've worked on other quests just to amass enough money to get one of each type of key (which can take more than it might seem initially, since they're assigned randomly, so it can take multiple tries to get the whole set). This inspires me to create a bunch more, so there really is a full basket of them for next year. This is going to be a great way to add in reinforcing practice (none of what's needed for these is new).

    Matthew Miller

    Posted on 1/4/15 12:28:34 AM Permalink

    Mike Skocko

    Posted on 1/4/15 4:48:25 PM Permalink


    Love the push in that direction. So much to incorporate in next fall's iteration.

    Adam Coulson

    Posted on 11/6/14 3:40:25 AM Permalink

    If anyone is interested in a cool easy way to possibly add to your story with some cool and simple video templates check out It looks like it could be great especially if you use a secret agent or business theme. I'm going to use it to introduce characters and deliver some story elements in the future.

    Oh yeah its also free for a basic account.

    Matthew Miller

    Posted on 9/16/14 5:04:35 PM Permalink

    Many of these come from my blog entry "Rewarding Ideas / Power Ups" at

      1UP cards: can be earned in various ways and turned in to get another chance at a question or assignment

    • Cross-out: used on a test to remove some (or all) incorrect answers (can be for one player, the guild, or the class)

    • Open book for X minutes on next exam

    • Choose your own teammate on the next group exercise

    • Change guilds

    • X minutes of free time during class

    • Use the same evidence as a classmate during one exercise

    • Ask the guild/class (for use when at the front or otherwise singled out for performance)

    • Extended time for an exam/assignment/etc

    • Earn double XP (experience points), KP (knowledge points), etc (a one-time buff)

    • If you use competition - remove X% of time or answers from your opponents

    • Unlock special skills within the game world - especially if you have a game involving battle, combat, or building of some sort

    • When doing certain challenges, allow (time limited?) access to restricted or better resources, references, or supplies

    • Use ipod or music device during work time

    • Add a song to to the class playlist

    • Control the class playlist for a period

    • Write a note-card for yourself for use on a test later (one cool option I've heard about (Michael Matera) is to then tear up the card into several pieces and let the student draw one at random to use on the test (let them know in advance that this will be done))

    • Get a hint on a Boss level

    • See questions for exam or other future work in advance

    • All questions answered by a player or a group w/in a specific time (could even be during a test) will earn XP

    • Players get an extra clue or two during a hunt/exercise/etc

    • Earning badges: students must earn one leader badge and 3 other badges in any quarter/semester in order to get an A (doesn’t earn them an A, but without those badges the highest they can earn is a B)

    • Access to special quests otherwise inaccessible

    • Other places I've seen with great ideas include these write-ups on the blogs of Dan Slaughter, Chris Aviles, and Philip Vinogradov. Finally, for your amusement more than inspiration, I present the 10 video game power-ups that would make school waaay easier.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/18/14 2:22:29 PM Permalink

      AMAZING AMAZING IDEAS!!!! And unbelievable resources!!

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 10/4/14 6:35:53 PM Permalink

      Now that I finally have my store (The Exchange) set up, I'm going to pilfer Matthew's best ideas.

      Cosmetic and new functionality coming to a store near you very soon.

      The coders are in the room! :)

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 3/10/15 6:24:20 AM Permalink

      Ryan Hayes

      Posted on 9/16/14 4:24:30 AM Permalink

      Speaking of character e-mails . . .

      It reminded me of site that I came across last year where the teacher had set up an A.R.G. for his English class. He had fake twitter, Google voice, etc. for his characters. I checked back after reading below and he has some good tips/reflections on story for his game. I reccomend scrubbing through his site:

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/18/14 2:23:56 PM Permalink

      I love how Hayes uses the term "scrubbing through"- it's the coolest part of being a nerd to have crossover vocabulary.

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/8/14 6:30:52 PM Permalink

      So today I had my most succesful single class, ever. Hunters and Healers. Woot!

      I opened by telling the kids that a Repaer had been seen in the river near Esab (our city). Repaers catch the weak and the outliers (had to explain that vocab word), so we want our cohort to be strong and cohesive. In order to ensure that they are, I said, we're going to play Hunters and Healers. To hunt, you will look at other players' Codex entries (our name for Blog) and find any missing entries, any that are too short, weakly composed, etc. If you successfully hunt a Codex author, you must then help Heal by ensuring the author is aware of the problem and writes or improves the entry. As the Hunter, you must document the original version (or lack thereof) and the revised version in an entry on your own Codex.

      I offered a reward of 75XP, 10gold and 1 honor point for any successful hunts (I think I'll have to reduce the gold for future episodes of this sort). I warned that the Repaer is coming on Tuesday to wind through the Codex; anyone it catches will loose 300XP of health, have to pay a healer 50 gold, and gain a damage point as well. (This is high motivation right now, as most of the players don't quite have 300XP nor 50 gold yet.)

      Both of the students who had zero Codex entries filled out their blogs completely today. Many others who were marginal (on either side of the line) substantially beefed up their entries. In spite overly analytical student pointing out that this is "just peer editing, right?" everyone had fun! Lots of fun. Almost every student will be receiving a reward for a successful hunt. The most ironic moment of the day came when two players approached to inform each other that their Codex entry needed work, and the entries were the same ones on both blogs. :-)

      It was 100% engagement, lots of good reflection and peer coaching, and a great success in my book. (Best of all, my principal chose that moment to come by for a classroom observation - what could be better than a fully engaged classroom of kids eager to explain how they were peer editing each other's reflection websites?!?). Thanks to Mike and Rob for putting me on to this idea; it's been a really powerful one.

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/9/14 1:47:33 PM Permalink

      H&H evolved as a suggestion from a student. The whole story is somewhere in the thousands of comments in our old AEE threads.

      It began as Bounty Hunters—students looking for law-breakers in the room. Funny thing, the kid (Muhammad) thought his idea was too harsh and he asked for a way to help without hurting (taking loot from the offending student). We dropped the "Bounty" from the title and added Healers.

      Muhammad gets full credit for this one.

      And yes, H&H days are some of the most engaging of the year. More work is accomplished per minute than in any other day of the year.

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/10/14 4:04:15 AM Permalink

      I love this idea! Everyday my students create a do now journal (writing of some sort). I am finding myself weighed down with reading them all on a daily basis and replying! This would be a great way for them to share, and hold each other accountable. I haven't quite gotten my gamification system up and going (anxiously working toward it), but this strategy is noted!!

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/11/14 5:45:50 AM Permalink

      Glad you like it, Syrita! May I encourage you, when you use it, to come back here and share how it worked in your classroom? I'd love to hear. The more stories we post here, the richer a resource it is for others to mine for ideas. Many of my best ideas been swiped wholesale or been inspired by comments from Mike, Rob, Chris and others who share here.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/15/14 2:37:57 AM Permalink

      was JUST coming here to the game on site to post suggestions request ideas about how to do H/H days. Thanks SO much for the post. Gives some good ideas on how to do it. I'll also be asking kids tomorrow for help figuring it out and let you know any insights.

      I think I'm gonna start by having every student post a screenshot of their stats page. This way, other kids can tell what they're documenting having done already and know what to look for.

      My biggest concern is for kids falsely (either intentionally or mistakenly) marking missions mastered and there's not even a post in their blog about it. I think the screenshot thing will help.

      I'm worried about how to check for accuracy and do all the "book keeping" on this part...

      EDIT- I didn't come to post suggestions...but to ASK PEOPLE TO post suggestions about how to do H/H days... Just wanted to reflect on how amazing this group is. Matthew answered my question before I even aksed it. I was in a sleep deprived stupor and so happy to have an answer- I mistyped! Sorry!

      Matthew's becoming another source of AMAZING inspiration- thanks for raising the bar, Matthew!

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/7/14 10:55:15 PM Permalink

      Rob, I notice that in the section to the right on your page, there are gamer tags that link to a blog. It seems that each student has a blog in which to journal his/her task? Is this on portfolio space linked to your gaming site? Or through another source? What do you do to show the students how to get started in the process?

      I'm still beginning to understand, so I hope these aren't crazy questions.

      ***Edit*** (Sorry, couldn't reply to my own post) I think I found the answer by taking a look at Alice Keeler's manual for Game On. The blogs on your site must be what is covered in "Setting up Multi-blog sites (eg: for students)". I am guessing?!

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/8/14 5:58:37 PM Permalink

      I don't know about Rob's, but that description is exactly what I use (I wrote that part ;-). My students each have a blog they write on, which is set up in a parallel installation of Wordpress, without the Game-on plug-in installed. I also use the Class Blogs plugin and theme from Oberlin college, which helps in managing and displaying all the player's blogs in one easy spot.

      Edit: here's an example of what this looks like at my blog site:

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/10/14 4:09:00 AM Permalink

      OK, the example helps a lot! I believe I understand. I'm going to give it a try! Thanks.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/16/14 1:20:32 AM Permalink


      The name of your game is programming backwards!!! LOVE IT!!!

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/16/14 1:27:44 PM Permalink

      D'oh! You'd think a guy with a character named Balcam as his gamification expert would have seen that right off the bat.


      It was as obvious as the blind spot in front of my face.

      Just so it's clear... I'm the guy with Balcam. I didn't see [the name of your game] = programming backwards until Rob pointed it out. Didn't mean to sound like I was pointing a finger Rob's way. It was pointed right at my own BlindEye. :)

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/16/14 4:35:00 PM Permalink

      D'oh! I've been on Rob's site many times and never saw that. What a delightful day!

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/16/14 4:34:21 PM Permalink

      Yeah! I love it when people figure it out and have that kind of reaction. Thanks for sharing the fiero, Rob!

      I do have fun when my players eventually figure it out. When last year's players finally got it, around April, they spent about 20 minutes figuring out all the names in the game (they're all made using the same pattern, and the avatar names are all historical/influential personalities within Computer Science). It was such a hoot! [Note to self - have side quest rewards that involve the stories of major CS contributors, so the players will have a reference for the names once they realize the pattern. Thanks for inspiring that thought, Rob!]

      As a favor, would you revise that comment to indicate that "The name of your game" is programming backwards? That way if they google it, this page doesn't pop up. Some of my players are pretty expert searchers. ;-)

      Brandon, one of the teachers here who is also gamifying his course, took my idea of using a repeatable pattern to create unusual names, modified it a smideon, and has created a similar easter egg in his game. I'm not sure his players will figure it out, but I'm eager to hear the result when they are finally in on the secret.

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/9/14 1:39:36 PM Permalink

      The gamertags—the student Displayname in their WordPress profile—are set by the student.

      If your students have websites—using any method you want, not just WPMS—require them to add the URL to the website field in their profile and the link is automatically generated.

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/10/14 4:12:30 AM Permalink

      That makes sense! Thank you!

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/15/14 2:42:32 AM Permalink

      Sorry for the late reply- if you check out my BOOT page, you'll see how I have the kids set up their own blogs using a separate WPMU install that the school pays for.

      I know it used to be a problem to make the GO site and the student blogs the same site... Not sure if it's still necessary to have a separate site for student blogs- but I suspect it's good practice either way.

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/15/14 5:01:56 AM Permalink

      I've been checking out your page a lot acutally! There are so many items on your site that I'd like to "beg, borrow, and/or steal" (i.e. "G.A.M.E.", gamr). I've been so overwhelmed with getting started with Game On/Lesson Planning etc. Yet, I thought on something I heard/saw on both your page and Mike's; you guys have been doing this a while. I am just getting started with a page altogether, and I have very few self-created tutorials. It's been a vision! Now, I get to make it reality...but I have so many ideas, that I am scatterbrained!

      I am thinking of having the students get set up on Edublogs...maybe. Right now, I have them using Google Docs to document all work/do now assignments. I enjoy the ability to view, comment, share, collaborate, etc. But, Mike mentioned in the above post, that they could add a url for website in their profile...maybe I could just start by having them link their Google Doc file in place of a site? Still working on getting everything up and going for now.

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/15/14 10:24:52 AM Permalink

      Linking to a Google Doc would work so long as they're not creating a new doc for each quest. If so, a doc with links to all the others would work.

      As you know, the sharing would be set to anyone with the link can view (or comment). I imagine they give you editing permissions, too.

      The scatterbrained part I'm well acquainted with. :)

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/16/14 1:02:37 AM Permalink

      And I just added a feature request where there could be a URL added for mastery... that would enable anyone using just google docs to add a URL for each individual mission as a link. But it's a new request and the kids are doing a SPECTACULAR job making things happen- no telling when this might happen.

      Someone above mentioned edublogs- which happens to run on wordpress as well, that could be a cool way to get started for free! :) (as well as

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/19/14 10:21:58 AM Permalink

      It may happen very soon, Rob. What a great idea (as usual)!

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/19/14 3:15:11 AM Permalink

      Two browser windows with 10-11 tabs each, switching between ideas and/or project! Geezh!

      Yes and yes to the sharing/permissions statements. I think I have most students on track of keeping the same document for all post. Yet, from what I am notice with with several Game On pages...the blogs are a plus! I love the students documenting their own growth process. It's organized, date-stamped, etc. Note to self: It might be wise to make the switch all at once (Game On and Blogging)!

      Just a P.S...
      I'm in grad school right now, and I came across this video that made me think of what the kids are building to help teachers help other kids! It's like BF Skinner's vision in SUPERPOWER mode! The Game On student team ROCKS!!!! How cool is that?!

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/19/14 10:22:53 AM Permalink

      Love the Skinner vid. Will share that and your comment with the team, Syrita. :)

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/7/14 12:21:04 PM Permalink

      My Yearbook orientation looks a lot like Mike's did last year (stealing from the best, eh) but I'm already writing up a revised version based on the questions and feedback I got this year, so next year will be different again. My characters will remain the same, though.

      The orientation for Introduction to Programming is more like a full quarter long, introducing various aspects of the game little by little while having the players dive right into programming as soon as possible, in Scratch. You're welcome to take a look, but it is getting fleshed out daily right now, so looking back in a couple months may be a fuller view.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/7/14 3:01:49 PM Permalink

      AWESOME MATT!!! Love how for Programming you even have it's own domain for the GAME! SUPER COOL! Probably stealing that next year!

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/8/14 6:00:48 PM Permalink

      Yeah, the kids think that's pretty cool. To increase the immersion factor, I also created accounts and email addresse for all the characters, so posts are listed as having been created by the appropriate character, who also emails them about stuff. They initially thought I had a staff somewhere I was working with and that it wasn't 'our' game but someone else's we were just playing. When they realized I was doing it all, my cool cred went waay up. ;-)

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/15/14 2:44:33 AM Permalink


      But I'm not gonna try until the new classes @ new year. TOTALLY LOVE the idea of each character even having email at brainbuffet! One of the most amazing ideas! WOW!

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/15/14 7:22:42 AM Permalink

      Gosh. I'm glad I've been able to contribute to your game, too. You and Mike (in particular) have upped my game so much! I'm sure your kids will feel the difference.

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/15/14 10:08:07 AM Permalink

      Another note (more for new folks reading in the future than for Rob, Mike and the usual suspects): the original need for an email belonging to each character in the game relates to the requirement in WordPress that each account have a unique email address. I was creating an account for each of my characters in order to have each quest that was 'owned' by a character be listed as having been created by that character. All in service to a greater immersion factor.

      Having done this about the most inefficient way possible the first time around, my recommendation would be to:

      1. Create a list of your characters (I wanted a name and which domain or subject area each was responsible for within my game world.)
      2. Gather an image for each character. High resolution is best; all the systems involved here are capable of down-sizing them automatically.
      3. Create your email addresses. I used forwarders just to make keeping track of the email messages easier. You might prefer to consolidate game emails in a different acount than your primary work or home inboxes; I get dozens of emails on game days. YMMV
      4. Create your in-game Wordpress accounts, linked to the email addresses.
      5. Set up a/your Gravatar account so that each email address has the appropriate avatar image attached.

      After that, it's delightfully automatic...provided you remember to log into the appropriate account when creating your quests. :-P

      Ryan Hayes

      Posted on 9/15/14 5:32:50 AM Permalink

      I, too, may still the character e-mail idea. I could even have gravatars for each character linked to their email account. Did you just create them using gmail or something?

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/15/14 7:21:14 AM Permalink

      My host (bluehost) allows me to define what they call "Forwarders," so that I have a list of a couple dozen email addresses that all forward to my school email account. In gmail (we're a Google Apps school), I defined each address as one I could send from as well. Then I went to gravatar and set up each email address with it's own character's image. Bit of work on the front end, but really helps with the immersion factor.

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/15/14 9:38:29 AM Permalink

      That's just brilliant, Matthew. So stealing that!

      Like Rob said, too late to try that this year but in the plan for 2015/16.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/16/14 1:09:05 AM Permalink

      That is such an amazing idea- LOVE how immersive the whole thing is!!! I gotta figure out how to implement now---

      Funny- mike an I were talking about reducing characters this summer- but I ended up not only keeping them, but expanding the exposition text... so there's a lot of scene stuff, character descriptions of mannerisms- non-verbal communication, etc. Lots of work... but just as much fun!!

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/18/14 2:35:46 PM Permalink

      Bumping out for space:

      Just found an AMAZING trick!!! In Gmail- you can create multiple email addresses by using the + sign in an email.

      For example, I'm

      I can also set up an address of and that will still come to my inbox at gmail but I can search, sort, etc by using the plus sign..

      Don't think I can send using that but still figuring it out.

      ETA: here's where I got the original idea.

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/7/14 5:45:18 AM Permalink

      I wish I'd known about Game On earlier! I would have had it all set up and ready to go for my students for this school year! I just happened to stumble across a blog/site, a guess you could call it the predecessor of Game On, which struck major curiosity! I contacted the blog owner through a Google Doc...and immediate correspondence! I'm so excited, impressed and overwhelmed with this new find. I am ready to take your ideas and hopefully find somewhere to start!

      How many missions would you say that you have planned out for your students? In implement this, I have concerns about students who enjoy the experience getting ahead of my plans. So much to do, write plans, work on a Master's, be mom...ugh...can I buy more hours for the day!!!

      Thanks for your input!

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/7/14 11:58:53 AM Permalink

      I have concerns about students who enjoy the experience getting ahead of my plans.

      I'm willing to bet that everyone here has experienced those very students. Those dang kids! Why are they so anxious to gobble up my curriculum? I've got a bunch of them in my room this year, too.

      This isn't a problem. This is a dream come true.

      Here's a broken page. I'm going to convert the videos to MP4s and begin to rebuild it today as 100+ individual quests. Feel free to repurpose any of that or anything you find on the Mac Lab, my old site, or any resource I've ever created. I bet everyone here would welcome you to copy their projects, too. Copy, paste, and edit to fit your needs. I know Rob feels the same way.

      Sometime in the somewhat near future we'll begin building a project bank and a way to download then upload each other's quests.

      We're all in the not enough time to do it all situation and we're all learning how to use this crazy-powerful, customizable tool the students have built. Thank goodness we've discovered a way to motivate and engage students like never before. Sure makes the job feel the same—motivating and engaging.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/7/14 3:04:22 PM Permalink

      Yep- as Mike said- it's ALWAYS an adventure... it's a little more work at first, but WELL worth it!

      I also set up some basic open missons. LOYO and GOYO (learn on your own, and grow on your own) that they can find their own interest and explore until I catch up with them... but have gotten some AWESOME lesson plans from kids going off on their own!

      As Mike said... it's a dream come true!

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/7/14 4:44:41 PM Permalink

      Love the LOYO/GOYO idea!

      Stealing that!

      Matthew Miller

      Posted on 9/8/14 6:02:43 PM Permalink

      Absolutely want to steal this idea. Rob, could you post links to the quests as starters for us? I'll post mine back as soon as I get them written up.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/15/14 2:51:46 AM Permalink

      GOYO are here

      LOYO are here.

      Different sizes of each are determined by the GAMR- how long the video is they watched, or how big the personal challenge.

      Syrita Ramos

      Posted on 9/10/14 4:17:07 AM Permalink

      LOYO/GOYO!!! This type of works helps prepare HS student for college and life! Love this idea! I love lesson plans that target student interest (engagement)!
      Do you require them to submit to you a topic for a mission or task?

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/15/14 2:49:21 AM Permalink

      No- don't require they submit the topic. As a matter of fact, one student just posted a GOYO that she posted with a password because it was kind of private and didn't want everyone to be able to read it. She sent me the password so I could check it (she didn't know since it's a school WPMU that I set up, I can get in anyway).

      Loved the initiative, loved the trust, and loved that she took a good serious look inside and said "yeah- I'm gonna work on getting this dent fixed."

      GOYO is my fave part of the class. And by letting the kids pick their own topics, I don't open myself up for any chance of offending parents who think a particular topic isn't really where a teacher should bring classes.

      Rob Schwartz

      Posted on 9/6/14 4:09:21 AM Permalink

      Mike Skocko

      Posted on 9/7/14 12:01:38 PM Permalink

      Yep, that's where it all began this year.

      Thanks for posting it for me, bro. :)