Mike Skocko

Game On | Gamified CDS 3.0

Technical Tutorial Published 7/18/13 Last updated on 6/7/19

On July 30, Game On, a new WordPress plugin from the Mac Lab, made its debut at the 2013 Adobe Education Leader Institute at Adobe's Corporate Headquarters in San Jose, CA.

WordPress + Game On = our newest Gamified Curriculum Delivery System.

GameOn has been completely rewritten from the ground up to be a lean, clean gamification engine with less reliance on third party plugins.

Anyone using the CubeGold plugin first developed in Gamified Curriculum Delivery System and further modified in FTW! Turnkey Online Gamification System might consider moving to our new system. (CubeGold will continue to function, it just won't be updated with new features.)

From installation and configuration to implementation and data collection, Game On is a far simpler, more powerful, and more efficient gamification option than CubeGold.

In 2011/12, we first gamified the classroom using Google Forms. In 2012/13, we won an Inspire Award from the Classroom of the Future Foundation for our work with CubeGold. In 2013/14, the game gets serious.

Game On!

Plugin on Github | Direct Download | Video Instructions | Wish List (more to follow)


NOTE: Due to the large number of comments (over 1,000) this resource has grown too sluggish to endure any longer. Hence the need for a second resource. Part II of our conversation is continued here.

  • Dreamweaver

    Design and develop modern, responsive websites.

  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • Illustrator

    Create beautiful vector art and illustrations.

Communication and Collaboration, Research and Information Fluency, Digital Citizenship, Creativity and Innovation, Technology Operations and Concepts, Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making

Web hosting, imagination, and a sense of adventure.

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Tony Martinez-Malo

Posted on 4/13/18 4:27:51 PM Permalink

​I have been flirting with this for some time. I really need to find a way to get all of this figured out this summer.

Blake Hyggen

Posted on 8/28/14 5:12:32 AM Permalink

I wish there was a sample game-on curriculum for Photoshop/Illustrator that I could introduce to my class TOMORROW. I am wanting to implement something like this but am unsure of where to start! AWESOME IDEA!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/28/14 2:33:04 PM Permalink

Hey Blake,

Join our Game On Group and/or check out this page for more info.

We're working on the quest download/upload options but we're probably a month or two away from releasing that. By next summer we should have banks of quests available.

But no reason to wait for that. Come join like-minded PS/AI teachers and begin gamifying your curriculum now!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 7:37:35 PM Permalink



Feel free to add to the threaded comments below and/or join our continuing conversation:

Game On | Gamified CDS | Part II


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/30/13 4:57:17 PM Permalink


A VERSION CHANGE! A new start in so many ways!!!! This will be a HUGE help in troubleshooting... at least we can refer to this big change as a reference! Awesome!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 1:57:41 PM Permalink


Is anyone else frustrated with how long it takes this page to load? (This isn't an Adobe issue; we're just too prolific for our own good.)

Would you be in favor of a fresh start? I feel like we're just getting started with this conversation and we need room to grow. If you're all agreeable, I'll create a Game On Part II resource and we can move into our new spacious home.

Plus the timing is perfect—the significance of the latest update and our move to our new GitHub repository both point to a fresh start.

Yes? No?

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/30/13 2:06:10 PM Permalink

Yes. Great suggestion, Mike.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/30/13 4:47:46 PM Permalink

Yay!! REboot this thread!

Great way to solve the problem!

Maybe when we get good tangents that are related but not specifically the plug itself, we can also break those off, too... and link them here. That will keep this more focused and also give the new kids some good discussions they've started and help their scores on the AEE...

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 5:31:07 PM Permalink

I would be for it, if we could somehow make a .pdf of the important points made in this long list to be attached to the new one. Things like: level points suggestions, theme suggestions, etc.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 10:50:33 PM Permalink

I nominate Donald to create the PDF. Do I hear a second?


Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/30/13 7:16:34 PM Permalink

I'm in!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 2:50:03 AM Permalink

Big problem. I've got a page that won't go away.

I forgot to set the parent (like I always do) and so it put the new page in the menu.

Went back in and edited the page to set parent, but it is still in the menu

Deleted the page. Still in the menu.

Little stinker won't go away.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 2:58:48 AM Permalink

Since that doesn't happen unless your site has been possessed by the dark side, I'm guessing that you have another page loose in your directory or the browser is caching the page in question.

  1. Refresh the page, clear cache, refresh again.
  2. Click on page in menu, edit, and set parent page again.
  3. Call a priest.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 3:20:58 AM Permalink

I went into the menu toolbar and removed it there and that got it out of the menu, but it still refuses to show up under the task menu header. Task 8 is showing under the 'all pages' as being a sub page of Tasks, but it will not show up when viewing the page or when clicking the stats window.

I deleted both the page and the task and rebuilt them from scratch. The parent is set correctly.

I have reset cache numerous times.

I tried building a completely different page and setting 'tasks' as its parent and it will not show up under the parent.

I have looked at it both under Chrome and Safari.

Mike, you should have my login and password information that I sent you a while ago if you want to look under the hood.

I think I need a priest.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 8:48:20 AM Permalink

I hope I'm understanding correctly. Here's what I did:

  1. Navigated to Appearance > Menus
  2. In Pages > Most Recent, selected Task 8
  3. Clicked Add to Menu button
  4. Dragged Task 8 under Task 7 (children of Tasks)
  5. Clicked Save Menu button at bottom of page

I suspect step 5 was the problem.

Is the result what you wanted?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 11:53:19 AM Permalink

See, but I haven't had to do that in the past.

With the last version of Game On, I just created the page and selected the parent and then it did it for me.

Good to know I missed an obvious answer.

Thanks a million for the assistance.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 1:42:33 PM Permalink

Game On has noting to do with your Menu Items in WordPress. (Or at least I don't think it does.)

WP shouldn't care what's on the page. It should just do that thing it does. (Anyone seen that movie?)

If it happens again we'll look into it.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/30/13 1:58:27 PM Permalink

It likely was not using WP custom settings. If you don't organize the menu items yourself under Appearance > Menus, then you are relying solely on the WP parent hierarchal system.
Also, if you have check mark "automatically add new top level pages" WP will put an item with no parent automatically on the menu.

Make sure that you not only saved the menu, but that you also set menu under "manage locations."

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 2:06:37 PM Permalink

Just for clarity: It's 100% your choice but I don't advise putting every quest in the menu. I created around 400 quests last year. (I think eight students Mastered 200–250. Yes, they come in outside of class to work.)

That's a long menu!

Yes, I know: How will the students find the quests? There's no one answer to that.

Yours may be the menu.

My two bits.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 5:33:46 PM Permalink

I only teach GD one class of one semester.. and I think I'm going to break them up into Illustrator and Photoshop - so two different quest lists.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/30/13 8:34:11 PM Permalink

Re: Organizing Mini-Courses

Let's say it's a 2 or 3 week course with Menu tabs for Weeks 1, 2, and 3. Would it matter much then if each week's menu had labeled quests (maybe 10 to 15 quests per week)?

Still trying to decide how I'm going to organize everything. ; 0 )

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 10:16:06 PM Permalink

Wouldn't matter at all. This is 100% your call. Choose whatever method that works best for you. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/30/13 11:40:09 PM Permalink

Re: Tournaments

Another thought: For online instructors like myself, the Game On plugin would also be great to use as a tournament device. Although I must follow the department approved grading rubric and course syllabus, Game On would allow the opportunity to hold tournaments during the 8 week quarter. (for example: holding a week long tournament in Week 5 of the course, which would cover the syllabus materials of Weeks 1 - 5).

So many possibilities. ; 0 )

Mike Skocko

Posted on 10/1/13 2:55:20 PM Permalink

The tournament idea is brilliant, Annette, BRILLIANT!

Keep ideating. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 10:49:58 PM Permalink


First Time Users:

  • Default tasks names (no confusing empty menu items)
  • Default Ranks settings for first 20 levels

Note: We'll be changing some of the default settings in the next update.

New Features and Functionality:

  • Customizable presets for points, currency, and preset name via Game On Options panel.
  • Presets available in both Task Editors
  • Shortcodes listed top and bottom in both Task Editors
  • Title back at top of Lightbox Task Editor
  • Repeat Message functional in Quests (sweet two-step interactivity)
  • Repeating Quests awards Mastery loot (not other 3 stages)
  • Deactivate button in menu below Progress Bar (for emergencies)
  • Clipboard link in menu below website tab in WP admin bar (for convenience)
  • Student websites open in new window from Clipboard


New GitHub Repository: The Mac Lab | Direct Download


Semar and I have thought long and hard about this. We're changing the way we're conducting business. Ezio has proven to be everything we need in a strong, reliable, team member. We're training additional coders with an eye toward the future.

More focused, targeted updates on the way.


Rob: Move your fork to the new repository.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 12:16:04 AM Permalink

what exactly do you mean by 'update your links'?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 1:06:06 AM Permalink

If you had previously bookmarked this page for updates (or the direct link to the plugin you'll find on that page), change that link to this page: Our new home for Game On development.

The former page will not be updated. The new one will receive lots o' love and attention. :)

Bookmark 'em, Danno!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/30/13 1:38:42 AM Permalink

gotcha.. was afraid I was going to have to update all the links in my quests.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/30/13 2:24:39 AM Permalink


USABILITY POWERUP!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 9:08:50 AM Permalink

Lots of this is due to your relentless ideating, Rob. Thanks for the push!

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/30/13 5:14:12 AM Permalink

How do I set my presets in gameon options? I am guessing name it and type four values separated by commas, but when I hit save the numbers disappeared replaced by the first two letters of the title. Any idea?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 8:59:13 AM Permalink

Exactly as you described. The final step is to click the Save Options button at the bottom of the page.

Mine too initially gave the odd result you described but after the page refreshed, the original settings reappeared. (I'll ask Semar why this is happening.)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/29/13 10:03:26 PM Permalink

For those teaching Illustrator:

Adobe Master Class Ilustrator ebook is only 9.99 this week instead of the noral 27.99

Hate to say it after just buying the MacUpdate bundle, but I'm buying this too.

My wife is going to kill me, even though my school will reimburse me.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 7:32:27 PM Permalink


Note: I forgot to change the Permalinks—yes, again—and the glitches reported below do not happen on the fresh site I'm testing on. Sorry for the confusion that follows but I owe it to you to leave it intact... so you can point and laugh at me (and I'll be laughing with you.)

BTW: The update ROCKS! Still looking for bugs.

Before we release this, I'm testing it repeatedly, but here's a peek at what you should have in the next few hours. I tried it on an established test site but couldn't see some of the new features in action (because it doesn't overwrite our settings) so I restarted with a clean slate to record.

EDIT: At the 45 second mark, I pick up 30 XP and $20 somehow. Don't know how or why. Thought I cleared out the database before installing. Bug? Just repeated on 100% new test site with no extra loot. Had to have been my fault. Proceeding to test presets, repeat, and both quest creation options.

BRAVE SOULS ONLY: This is NOT on GitHub yet but if anyone wants to test the update, here's a copy via my server (severed link to avoid confusion now that it's on our new repository). If something goes wrong, the current old version is still on GitHub. Easy to roll back. (But no need to now. It works.)

Note: There are some additional features you may notice that don't quite work yet but hint at functionality to come.

Will report back.

BUG 1: The presets work like a charm (with a charming initial visual oddness that corrects itself). The Repeat Message and functionality works too. The shortcode shows up right from the start. All wonderful! But there's no Insert Task button in the Quest > New Quest workflow. ( Semar is fixing. Semar fixed by asking, Did you change the Permalinks?) Copy and paste shortcode into new page or post for now. It works.

IDIOT ALERT: I forgot to change the Permalinks (again). Will have to start over. All the problems are self-inflicted. (I need more sleep.)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/29/13 8:52:00 PM Permalink

So excited to see the video update! Watch out for those permalinks, Mike. haha


Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/29/13 4:37:33 PM Permalink

Re: Viewing our forum comments by date

Is there a way to sort the comments by date? I find myself having to scroll further and further down the screen to make sure I haven't missed any new posts. Can the comments be viewed by the date that they are made?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 4:59:25 PM Permalink

If only! I wrote the folks behind the scenes earlier this morn asking for two things:

  1. To include the comment's permalink in the email notification we all get.
  2. To plead that the notifications be issued in a timely manner (such as immediately).

I've been previously told that #2 is a known issue, but dang it, if a couple of kids can keep updating a plugin for a growing group of educators, a multi-billion-dollor company should be able to fix that bug!

Having the option to toggle the view by date or threaded would be a big plus too. I've passed that on. Good idea, Annette!

Brute-Force Solution: After weeks of scrolling as Annette described I finally thought to search by date (two days ago). Cmd/Ctrl-F and search by date. Right now, Sep 29 returns 14 matches (15 when this is posted). That makes it a little easier.*

*It's 16 because I put the date in the comment too.

Oh, and the dates are weird because (I'm guessing) Adobe is using a European of Asian clock to mark time/date. So some of today's comments will fall in Sep 29 and others in Sep 30. If anyone catches the change, post it so we can solve that little mystery. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/29/13 8:50:33 PM Permalink

Thanks for the Ctrl-F tip, Mike. Also, could you pass on the suggestion that Adobe allow the moderator to create archive folders for the forum. (ie Allow you the ability to archive older posts by placing them into an Archive folder)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 9:15:42 AM Permalink

You can click the heart icon at the top of any page to mark as a favorite. Your favorites are then archived in your AEE profile.

If you want to take the pages with you, you can Save As... with the browser and they're yours.

Is that what you wanted, Annette?

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/30/13 2:13:54 PM Permalink

Neat! These are GREAT tips that I'll be using!!

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/30/13 2:04:47 PM Permalink

While you are at can you ask them why they have the slowest loading site that I frequent on the Net. The site is better after the overhaul. I couldn't even access most stuff with Chrome before their new design went into place.

Anyhow, for as much money as Adobe makes and being a design company (including DW), their page loads should be faster than the site I host on a 8 year old Xserve from a closet in my classroom.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 2:15:17 PM Permalink

LOL. Yes, this site was glacial for a long time and it has gotten better. I know that Adobe Ed had high hopes for the Exchange but they never imagined the place would spike like it has.

In short, the AEE was/is a victim of it's own success, kind of like this page.

See this comment.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 11:13:29 PM Permalink

Best place to store files so that students can download them without having to login to yet another service?

Or should I just use one that requires login and setup all their accounts using the gmail+ trick?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 12:01:28 AM Permalink

Upload to your server via Add Media in the admin panel. If you ZIP it/them first, the ZIP file automatically downloads.

Easy, eh? :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/29/13 4:09:33 AM Permalink

using Media Temple I don't seem to see an 'add media' option. and the file manager doesn't seem to work the way the help file says it should. Guess I will have to take the time to talk to them.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 4:23:42 AM Permalink

Not in MT, in WP.

It's at the top of the page (+ New > Media) and in the admin end (Media > Add New).

When you're editing a post there's an Add Media button right above the WYSIWYG editor.

Make sense now? :)

(Haven't you been using that to upload your videos?)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/29/13 7:58:39 PM Permalink

Didn't realize I could do that. I've been uploading my videos to Vimeo and linking to them. Will try just uploading with the ones I'm making today.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 8:56:41 PM Permalink

Remember that you have a 30MB file limit. (You don't want videos that large anyway.)

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/30/13 12:57:37 AM Permalink

Man, I think I am losing my mind at times... And, then, this forum comes through again!

Wondering how to handle getting students sample project files for completing tutorials while they move through individual quests... Thought about dropbox, etc... and then your zip file comment.... Voila! Fantastic timing.

Thanks so much!

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/28/13 9:41:09 PM Permalink

I feel as though I opened a sort of Pandora's box. With more engagement from the students, comes more demands on my time... We are deep into the quests. (FTW!) And I am differentiating for each student's skills and needs (so I have students working on a multitude of different skills/projects)... How does one keep up? They are devouring the quests up! (Another win! What a great problem to have...) I am increasing difficulty levels on some of the projects, but this takes time. (TIME: The biggest missing component.)

The biggest piece of this puzzle, that I found profoundly enjoyable, was that I have been able to walk around and give individual attention the entire hour without having other kids feeling bored or left behind. And each question is individualized to the student so no one feels as though their questions are unmerited. This has become one of the best parts of my day, but also leaves me nerve-wracked during my planning time. Mike, I now know why you felt the need to create so many quests...

Any tips or tricks or advice would be appreciated.

Random question: Is anyone using this to teach different preps (i.e. English, Web Design, Math) within the same game?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 9:51:13 PM Permalink

I feel your pain. Teaching the class itself is so much fun I can't stand it.

Students who are struggling don't feel like they are struggling (and aren't keeping the rest of the class held back - like it used to be)

Students who are slacking aren't holding people back (and have started to notice that :: gasp:: they are being left behind - even by the strugglers)

and the best part? students who are eating this like candy and nipping at my heels every second are really showing what they can do when they become self paced.

I can walk around class and answer questions at an easy pace, not thinking that I need to make this kid understand fast so the others aren't bored and I don't lose them.

The biggest struggle has been keeping up with the high achievers. They keep telling me they can take a day off, but I know they would be disappointed. The down side is I havent seen any of the new fall TV shows because I'm squirreled away in my home studio making videos for the next day.

I had originally planned to do this with my Graphic Design and ceramics class, but now am glad I did not, because there is no way I could have kept up.

Next semester I only have Art 1 and Art 2, so I will be attempting this with my Art 2 students and the videos will be more of a 'database' of 'skill sets' and the quests will drive the ideas and then the students will choose their material and access the database to see examples of how to use the materials.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 12:50:19 AM Permalink

Kelly and Donald,

I've read both of your comments over and over and over (with an ever-growing smile on my face). You get it!

It's magical, isn't it?

Keeping Ahead of the Kids: Introduce a long-term quest or two (or more) and forbid clicking the Completion button. (Kelly has seen this because she's curious. The Boss was waiting behind Completion with a stern warning and Reaper was waiting behind Mastery with a penalty.) Leave a link to the next quest within the Accept Message so kids can move on and return when they're ready for more.

Create a Motto: You're never finished in the Mac Lab is mine. Nothing is more poisonous to a thriving, active learning environment that a student or students who have nothing to do. Make sure this never has a chance to happen. Iterations and/or repeatable quests are another option. (We're working on a better repeatable quest workflow.)

Different Preps: Create cross-curricular quests. These introduce collaboration and may even lead you to more organic forms of Linked Learning than CTE is promoting. Lots of Common Core connections too. You can even do this within one class by offering students the option to use any media (or methods) to complete a quest (as this discussion touches on). Allow for autonomy and choice. It's huge!

Assessment: I feel like this is the unspoken concern. You all know I use The World's Simplest Rubric™* ;) and I understand that you might not be comfortable with it. The most important factor is to lay out your policies, expectations, and assessment philosophy and methodology so that all the kids get it. I did it this year in a 13 step orientation and backed up the info in the initial quests. A simpler version is on these five pages. I assess every day as I walk around the room. If you don't already, think about trying that yourself.

*It's also explicitly tied to my policies and expectations.

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/30/13 12:59:25 AM Permalink

My students, IMHO, are so relieved to see the world's simplest rubric. The classroom has seriously been transformed into an hour of learning, and not worrying about individuals points here or there. All very good reminders, as I will be touching in with the students on their current grades soon.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/30/13 2:27:06 PM Permalink

"The classroom has seriously been transformed into an hour of learning..."


Research says that when you pay people enough to make the money issue disappear, they're far more likely to be far more productive.

Grades = Money (in edu)

I've been reading business books and substituting "students" for "employees" and/or "customers" in an attempt to maximize motivation and engagement.

Oddly enough, most of the research just seems to validate what I've stumbled onto via my own edu-experiments.

We're just getting started too. Viva la edu-revolucion!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 5:15:58 PM Permalink

Buying Bought this book. Will give it a review ASAP.

Used my Bing rewards for three Amazon $5 gift cards. =D I knew I was saving up for something good. =P

Have also asked the 'Creative Writing' teacher for guidance...

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/28/13 9:22:45 PM Permalink

Looking forward to your review. :) Would love to know if I should pick this up or not.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 2:07:02 AM Permalink

I need an intervention now. I have a lot of work I neeeed to be doing, and all I want to do is sit and tweak my gamification system.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/28/13 4:20:14 AM Permalink

LOL. I know what you mean, Donald.

I need an intervention too—but from the AEE. Spending waaaay too much time here rather than writing quests.

The first Mac Lab Saturday School of the 2013/14 school year is tomorrow from 6:00 – noon. Time to hit the hay.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 10:24:31 PM Permalink


Three cheers to Ezio for squashing the Accept Message bug. Ezio checked it. Semar checked it. And I just methodically checked it. It works with no apparent side effects.


  1. Do the reinstall dance.
  2. Use the Stats page to visit each of your old quest pages (created before last week's update)
  3. Navigate to one of those pages and Edit Quest

Note: Step 2 is kind of an activation signal to the database. All editing works after the visit.

So sorry to have introduced this bug but so glad to see how Ezio works. The kid's methodical and relentless... and careful. Now Semar won't be carrying the weight of the plugin on his shoulders and we can look forward to more regular feature refinements and updates.

There's also an improved round trip editing workflow with no extra windows opening. And the "more" message is back—as in you need X "more" points to begin this task.

There's more news, but I'll hold off until the updates are ready for prime time. :)

Latest Update

Note: Semar asked if he could jump in if someone reported a problem that he could address. I hope it's okay with everyone that I said yes. Since he's no longer a high school student and is an honest to goodness fingerprinted, background-checked, volunteer mentor in my classroom I felt like he's earned the right. Yes?

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/27/13 11:22:42 PM Permalink

Happy to have Semar in the forum! Just downloaded the latest update.



Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/28/13 3:06:07 AM Permalink

Semar doesn't need my permission when he's a priceless tool to teachers already. I feel like we have to live up to his expectations because of how he exceeds ours!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 3:33:56 AM Permalink

where is the 'like' button in AEE?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/28/13 4:21:11 AM Permalink

You guys are great.

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/28/13 9:23:59 PM Permalink


terrence banks

Posted on 9/29/13 4:53:10 AM Permalink


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 3:33:31 AM Permalink

Mike, cheers for the new update!

Question: after I've updated and edited the quests, can I then copy the quest id into a 'post' and then delete the 'page' so that I am moving from the 'page' to 'post' solution you and Rob have been talking about?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/28/13 4:15:22 AM Permalink

Don't Do That

I just tried that on a test site and deleted the original page when I was finished.

Surprisingly, the round-trip editing worked. Unsurprisingly, there's no record of the quest in the Stats page under Quests after the transfer and deletion. I didn't pay attention to the XP or Gold totals so I have no idea if they were affected.

The advice to switch from pages to posts is 100% Rob (and he may be 100% right). I've looked into it and Semar is now looking into it—and Semar's also working on a one-step, backward-compatible quest creation tool. (Did I say that out loud?)

Bottom Line: If you want to place new quests in posts, go ahead but don't move the old ones.

Note to Semar: We forgot to discuss the Stats page links for Experience and Gold (and Time). They still lead to the Quests themselves rather than the page/post the quest resides. Please put that fix on the to do list. Thanks! :)

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/28/13 9:26:23 PM Permalink

So, can I just say that every reveal makes me giddy. This is like Christmas for teachers (and it's still the beginning of the school year)!

Thanks, Semar and Mike, for everything! I look forward to your updates with anticipation and joy. #keepemcoming :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/29/13 5:26:58 PM Permalink

The editing still doesn't seem to be working. I've navigated to each task through the stats page.

One of my tasks: 'and now for something completely different' doesn't show up in the Stats>Tasks window but instead, 'Task 7' shows up twice.

I've tried editing 'Task 7' and it doesn't change. To be more clear, it DOES change within the 'edit task' and then I click the 'Update' button it doesnt change when I load the page.

Nevermind.. figured that part out at least. Don't use the stats page to navigate to the task. Go to the task like normal then 'edit task.' Then it works to change it.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 5:55:33 PM Permalink

Find the and now for something completely different task. Search for it or just follow your own links until you reach it.

Why is it not in the Stats page? Maybe you changed the name or named two different tasks Task 7 or created the same task twice. I don't know but you might want to do a little sleuthing. If you have multiple pages with the same task, you're bound for trouble.*

*There's always the possibility that we've got a glitch and it's not your fault at all. If so, my apologies.

Once you've gotten to the and now for something completely different task, click Edit Task and it should work. Yes? But check and double-check your links to make sure they're heading to one and only one version of that task.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/27/13 7:08:38 PM Permalink

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 10:59:49 PM Permalink

great find. Now to just convince my wife we can pony up the money for this during the same week that I am spending money to go to a conference. I would get reimbursed of course, but sometimes just losing that money for the week it takes to get the reimbursement can hurt.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/28/13 3:13:36 AM Permalink

And even more importantly . . . Civ V.

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/29/13 12:45:13 PM Permalink

Okay, so I have never played Civilization... Am I missing out on something I *should* be playing? :) (Not that I have time atm.. ha ha)

How many of us on this forum are playing this game?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 3:55:20 PM Permalink

I barely have any time to play WoW any more. I've heard good things about Sid's epic but...

Heck, just looked it up. Sounds interesting enough to consider buying the the bundle. But not for Screenflow. I've been using Snapz Pro since student teaching in 2001. Don't need or want bells and whistles. Just want to record at the size and frame rate I want and move on. (60% actual size at 6 fps)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 3:34:57 AM Permalink

going to buy it on Monday and immediately submit the reimbursement form.. hopefully that won't incur to much wrath. This is to good to pass up.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/27/13 4:29:49 PM Permalink

What is the engagement level in all of your classes? In Florida, the law says that every student has to either take three honors classes or 3 CTE classes. Of course, that means that my classes are the dumping grounds for students who don't care about anything, are over 18 and for damn sure don't give a crap about digital or web design. I think out of all the classes I've taught so far, I've had maybe 10% of my students elect to take my courses because they want to know something about the subject (so much for "electives" huh). It also means that I can't kick anyone out because they need it to graduate. Thankfully, this program has been helping in some regard but I'm still trying to get a hold on making it more engaging for the no-cares.

Is that impossible? For students who absolutely have no desire to do anything - do I just let them coast off into the failure sunset? or do I really push them hard (which seems to have the opposite effect)?

terrence banks

Posted on 9/27/13 5:20:25 PM Permalink

My classes are generally upperclassman, this helps in two ways. These students want to graduate so their engagement level starts off somewhere in the middle. Secondly, the maturity level is higher with these students. Most kids have my class suggested by counselors or other students. So it's not so much a dumping ground now..I have a really good relationship with the counselors and VP of instruction. We have a clear understanding that a dumping ground I will not be...but if they do dump students here..I won't complain to them because those students usually drop. When I taught Beginning art (drawing and painting 7years) it was definitely a dumping ground, but I created a classroom environment where the students knew that effort and growth was king. So whatever I asked them to do they obliged because they knew that what mattered most was their ability to grow and their effort.

Before I became a public education teacher, I worked as a supervisor in several inner city youth centers (6yrs) which gave me tons of experience with a variety of kids before becoming a teacher.. so the kids that don't want to do stuff, I bond with them..joke with them..make them feel comfortable around me. This eventually leads to them trusting my opinion. Which, will get them to do their work..this has never failed me..I don't care how hard or tough the student is, or how they don't want to do their work. I have written 1 referral in almost 10 years of teaching because of this..its more work I must admit..but if I want that classroom environment where students trust me.. its a must.

I let them know ahead of time, I will bug them if I see them slacking off, but at the same time I give them enough space so that i'm not nagging them.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/27/13 5:44:26 PM Permalink

That's kind of the route I've been taking with those students. I've got some good relationships going and I've been able to get more out of them than I ever thought possible.

I guess after a few years of doing it and building up my rep, things will be better. I still have a lot of students in my second level classes that I've never met before so I'm still trying to build those relationships that have been reset by a new teacher coming in.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 2:53:13 AM Permalink

Hey, I think I may have found something that will help with the post vs. page depate

I'm going to start playing with it to see, but I'm sure you WP gurus can determine it's helpfulness faster than me.

If I have time, I'm going to rewrite my site this weekend, but I' doubt I will.. a LOT on my plate from now until next Sunday. =/

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/27/13 12:29:16 PM Permalink

That does kind of the opposite... that will make every post referenced heirarchically (spell that right?)

Remember that it doesn't really matter for main pages. So you can have a heirarchical set of pages for the "cahpters" you would use in heirarchy (Illustrator, photoshop, etc) and then just make categories for all of them, and then put all the pages in posts under that group.

THIS PLUG will make it SUPER easy to add all the posts to your pages in that category.

BTW, Categories can be heirarchical also, and that's not an issue. (unless you have hundreds of categories... in which case you're WAY too organized!! :))

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 12:38:57 PM Permalink

no idea.. don't really understand css coding. In my head they read like they would do the same thing....

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/27/13 7:19:01 PM Permalink

Yeah... they work the same way, too. Problem is just how wordpress has to sort them when you get too many.

Do some HUGE sites use pages and have thousands of them?

Maybe... (doubt it, though). But they're also not running on cheap shared hosting or school configured servers (not every district has a server guru that knows PHP/SQL).

But the bottom line is we want our info to be easily findable. Using categories and tags help in that respect. Want to FORCE an order to your posts? change the date or time so it fits in the right spot.

Or add numbers to the titles and sort by title (use outline format.. 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, 2.01, 2.02, 2.03....)

Bit of a hack? yup... But it's something you'll rarely use because you'll create assignments in order anyway.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/27/13 12:47:54 AM Permalink

Can someone explain the boot camp/reboot camp concept for me?

I am having a hard time trying to figure out how to work my state standards (along with mandatory certification & End of Course exams) with the "choice" we can give our students for a career track. I know it sounds like a different topic but here's what I'm stuggling with.

Is the boot camp all of your state standards and then the kids can jump into extra stuff outside of that? Or is it just the basics of the programs and design concepts and then all the extra stuff outside of it is part of your standards? I'm actually confusing myself with my questions.

Let me make it more clear:

1. Do you guys have end of course exams (or mandatory certification exams) and if you do, how do you handle career track choices for your students when you have to balance a year's worth of required info to pass a test?

2. What does your boot camp cover and if people have to "reboot" how would they have time to learn the new stuff to be able to pass the state's test?

3. What kind of discipline problem would have to occur in order for a student to have to reboot?

In addition to trying this new experiment in my class, I'm also a 2nd year teacher and still trying to figure out how to handle discipline issues. This gamification program has helped a lot to curb issues (along with the grading of work ethic, as opposed to assignments). The problem comes when I grade them. I have to put in at least one grade a week at my school and so I've chosen to do a weekly evaluation with them. I wish I didn't even have to deal with it at all (I hate grades too) but it's a great discipline tool. I have a group of students who have changed their behavior because of a low evaluation grade. But, I'm having trouble keeping track of everyone's behavior because I have a last period of students who are all big talkers but still manage to get their work done.

And... as I'm writing this, I'm kind of figuring this all out in my head. So, I guess let me just ask you veterans this:

1) How much talking in class do you tolerate if kids are doing their work?

The answer to fixing this problem is giving them so much work that they feel like they can't talk but that's just impossible right now until I have some time off! But, I'm still curious to know what your classroom environments are like.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 2:03:27 AM Permalink

Not a different topic at all, Nathan. Relevant questions.

First off, don't get psyched by the gamified environment. All it is is a way to package your curriculum. Deliver your curriculum in just as you would have before, but in four stages.

Think of the four-stage quest this way (oversimplified for brevity)

  • Encounter: The anticipatory set
  • Accept: The assignment
  • Complete: Self-assessment
  • Mastery: Turn in work and reflection

But, of course, you're free to tweak that anyway you see fit. One size does NOT fit all.

As for the rest, we're all doing it our own way. For me, Boot Camp is where kids learn the classroom's operating system. The policies and expectations, workflow and technical skill sets, introductory composition, typographic, color, elements and principles—all the foundational material students need to succeed.

When they graduate from Boot Camp, they face a choice—in my room. Always season to taste and do what works best for you and your students. They can continue serving our clients (we already have a waiting list—lots of projects and more coming in every day) or start their own freelance business. But they have to bring in clients of their own or they work on projects we already have.

Bottom Line: All work serves dual purposes. All work feeds (at least) two birds with one seed.

Combine standards (color theory, elements and principles. etc.) with a project for a client. Always make the project serve more than one purpose. Make it a teachable moment.

If you feel the need to test, test. Do things exactly as you want. The whole purpose of Game On is to deliver YOUR curriculum in a gamified environment that you can bend to suit your needs.

Reboot Camp is my way of handling kids that just don't want to work. I'll tell you one thing though, just the specter of Reaper descending has inspired marginal students to work harder. The fact that they'll have to begin over has had the desired effect... so far.

As with everything else, how far they have to go is up to you. I introduced this to deal with the kid who thinks a D- is passing and therefore good enough.

We'll see how that works.

I hope that helps. Please ask for clarification or other voices.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 3:00:15 AM Permalink

Have to run but realized I'd not answered all of your questions (and won't tonight).


I've found that this rubric works in virtually and scenario.

Some teachers hate it. Some love it. But I don't really care what others think because it works in my room for any student. Combine it with policies, expectations, and a code of honor—all of that is the culture of the classroom—and the kids all know their grade.

It becomes more of a character-building and life-long learning tool than an incremental measuring stick. But it also leads to greater student achievement.

Or so I've found.

The talkers in your class who produce work and while wasting time? Look at the rubric.

It's full-screen on my computer as we talk, one on one. Near the end of the conversation, I point to the rubric and ask, "So, what's your grade?"

Since the grade is tied directly to this rubric, there's no wiggle room. They know. And we always agree.*

*Well, almost always. :)

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/27/13 3:15:51 AM Permalink

I've been using that rubric in my head when I talk to them and I think it's a great idea to have it up on the screen during our evaluations. It's been hard to give it the numerical number I need hammer it home (50 points/week) but having them see exactly what I'm expecting will help them to better see it (and see it in themselves).

I'm going to flesh out the descriptions a little bit (to point out specific behavior I don't want to see) and give them the heads up tomorrow probably. Thanks!!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/27/13 12:39:54 PM Permalink

Can someone explain the boot camp/reboot camp concept for me?

Boot Camp: The kid isn't doing any work and following the rules... you make it even LESS pleasant to continue down that path. Intrinsic Motivation from the other side of the scale!!!

To answer the questions:

1- Yes... HUGE in florida. We have mandated certification exams. But our school has always been in the top 10 schools worldwide in certifications... and I attribute it to this style of teaching directly

2. BOOT CAMP covers the basic rules, procedures etc... but also the ATMOSPHERE and CORE CONCEPTS that make the program successful. A kid doesn't get to boot unless he's not doing the right things anyway. Think of it as remediation, not really punishment. You're helping the kid in BOOT camp get the basics needed for success.

3. It's really not about discipline... it's about re-establishing the basics.

I wish I didn't even have to deal with it at all (I hate grades too) but it's a great discipline tool.

Be careful! Grades shouldn't be tied to discipline at ALL. It "works" for some kids... but only works for your classroom, not the kid. Make the discipline a separate thing altogether. Don't ever get mad, just dispassionately dispense the very fair and strict rules and consequences.

How much talking in class do you tolerate if kids are doing their work?

If the talking is on task and about their projects and work... I like it LOUD. but you can tell when it is getting off task. there's a different "tenor" to the noise. Maybe that just comes with time.

HAMMER hard at the beginning... relax around thanksgiving. Cliche', but true.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/27/13 7:40:33 PM Permalink

Where in Florida are you? I'm in Titusville (Brevard County). A couple of my friends teach at Viera and we are all (very loosely) working together to have gamification more widely used in our county. Maybe there's a way we could get together on some stuff? BTW, I just moved to Florida so I have no idea how far anything is from Titusville. I know that my friends and I could all do well with seeing how you are doing things. That would go a long way towards our efforts.

As far as grades being tied to discipline - what do you mean exactly? I'm not giving people bad grades because they did something bad in class but their grade is affected by how much talking vs. work they are doing (which is kind of the discipline issues I'm dealing with mostly).

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/26/13 9:05:30 PM Permalink

Just got the mockup of the stats page done for the fork (lite&easy version - Here's the mission mockup)

Not going to bother with mockup of the admin bar... will just include the same info with a couple features:

  • Clicking the progress bar will launch stats page. No extra menu item.
  • Clicking stats will bring up the current ADD menu- no extra menu item. You'll need a PIN to change any values. (if you want the kids to be able to change their own... just give them the PIN!)
  • Will include a "Health Meter" for discipline issues... 4 hits depletes the bar. hover for date and reason (strikes also visible on stats page, I forgot to put health meter in there- optimism FTW.)

We're watching the wishlist as well to grab new ideas if any... but basically we want it to do all the same things, but just have a ton of things preset- basically all of the GO options are going to be hardcoded or just blanks for ease of use instead of menus. (for example... period and computer will be dialog boxes instead of a menu the teacher has to build and then the kids have to select... quicker and easier for both.)

also going to think a lot about the interface for teachers and kids for usability... Never use dropdowns when tabs could do the trick, never drag and drop when a button or selection would be easier and more intuitive, etc.

We have NO IDEA when this might get done.. main thing we're looking at is usability and scalability... not flexibility. Flexibility will have to come with how teachers use/implement the system... not how it's built.

All of the ideas from the kids and trying to make the game itself easier to understand so they aren't spending too much time learning all about the game, but rather the content that we want them to actually be engaged with. Many kids don't have a gamer background (I never even thought of that)... so we wanted to make the game mechanics easier so they could focus on strategy and progress more than the complexities of the game mechanics.

I'd love any pushback on that last paragraph as well... That's the team's viewpoint- and they have me convinced at this point... But I wasn't at first. I couldn't articulate a single reason why, so I converted!

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/26/13 10:21:49 PM Permalink

This is ridiculous! It has all of the stuff I am looking for and more. I am so excited to see what wrath Game On! will hath broth on thith worlth of educationth!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/27/13 12:42:33 PM Permalink

**pssst.... hey everyone... that nathan guy has a horrible lisp! Anyone know a good speech pathologist?**


Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/26/13 10:30:35 PM Permalink

Wow! This has been an exciting week!!! Keep us posted, Rob.


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/26/13 12:52:06 AM Permalink

hmmm I seem to remember Pagelines costing more than this...

Could I buy a one month access grab what I need and go or do I need to keep up the membership to keep access to the codes? Or do I need to buy the codes ala carte?

Since a lot of what I ordered for the year was 'out of stock' and thus not filled, I have about $300 to play with still...

yeah, I know I should be more worried about content than looks, but as an art teacher it is hard not to...

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/26/13 1:55:17 AM Permalink

Looks like Pagelines changed how they do business. I can't find any options for the theme purchase or anything about themes at all. I had one month pro plan but I still paid for the theme as well. Not sure what you get with the monthly subscription. Sounds like they are pushing a whole new way of creating wordpress sites that doesn't involve themes?

I have no idea.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 2:26:04 AM Permalink

They've moved from a theme to what they call a DMS—a design management system.

I've been too busy to even look into it but I know (or think I know) it's a drag and drop method of building custom page layouts for WordPress. (You become the theme designer.)

I think.

My theme is still working and that's good enough for now.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/27/13 2:38:33 AM Permalink

I am using customizr them this year. It is free and so far, so good.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 4:06:31 AM Permalink

ok, this is freaking amazing. I hope that kid is going onto college in an arts field.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 1:52:59 PM Permalink

That was the only student art I ever used on a Mac Lab blog post that wasn't one of my own students.

She's worthy of our awe. And the teacher too. Ryan rocks!

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/27/13 2:09:15 PM Permalink

Donald it was amazing. We had a county wide Media Arts competition last year (Orange County is a BIG county) and she won top prize. Everything except the eyes, nose, and mouth are thousands of brush strokes. She was only a Sophomore, too. Here is the one that she did as a freshman. And her self-portrait was crazy good.
The illustrator file got so large that I had to move her to one of our Mac Pros because the iMacs didn't have enough RAM to handle it.
Bad news, as a Junior, I don't have her. She wants to be a video game concept artist. Unfortunately, at my school "art" and "electives" are deemed a waste of time beyond the one-year required for University of California A-G push. She was told she had to take a third year of a foreign language and some AP classes or not get into college. Hopefully I'll see her again next year.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/27/13 12:43:15 PM Permalink

AGREED!!! Holy Crap!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/28/13 12:41:05 AM Permalink

btw, I loooove customizr. Thanks for the suggestion.

but can't for the life of me figure out how to edit the slider with my images.... help?

Got it. =D

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/29/13 12:46:56 PM Permalink

I, too, love this customizr theme! What a great find! Thanks for posting this... Definitely using this for a project in the near future.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/27/13 2:38:50 AM Permalink

I am using customizr them this year. It is free and so far, so good.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/26/13 12:45:44 AM Permalink

I swear I spend most of my time exporting and uploading videos. or rather waiting for them to export and upload. =/

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/26/13 1:43:36 AM Permalink

Yep, I guess you just get used to it and slowly find a workflow to be as efficient as possible.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 2:29:20 AM Permalink

I use that time to write the quest and/or add the shortcode and description for the videos.

Or answer email or whatever. But usually working on framing the lessons just so.

I've made it productive time. Bet you can too! :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 2:50:00 AM Permalink

yeah my little macbook air pretty much hates me if I try to do anything other than export a video. =/

Mostly the video program I'm using crashes and I have to start the export all over again.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 3:29:53 AM Permalink

What program are you using?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 10:29:39 AM Permalink


Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/27/13 3:02:13 PM Permalink

I use screenflow. I have had crash a couple times when I try to export like 7 videos at once. Overall though, works great. I have about a 4 year old MacBook Pro.

Maybe check for a software update?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 5:53:48 PM Permalink

All in all, my students are loving the self paced learning system.

Those that are struggling are not holding the others back (and they don't feel like they are struggling)

Those that are slackers are not holding others back (though they have a shock in store next week when grades come out)

Those that are excelling are pushing me to stay a step ahead of them. (probably my biggest struggle - though will be easier next year when I can just remake the videos that need to be remade, instead of making them all from scratch)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 7:54:37 PM Permalink

Love hearing good news!

When the students are barking at your heels, iteration is your best friend. :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 11:53:04 PM Permalink

I have to finish teaching the basic skills before I can move on to that, but I love the idea... Think I'm going to incorporate some 'Ted talks' segments into the next step to buy me some time. =P

I was out today (just for the morning) and received several messages from the class that is piloting this, that they had caught up and needed 'more.' The good thing is that they are wanting and craving more and not just using the free time to goof off.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 5:51:29 PM Permalink

Can I make a request?
Can everyone post a link to your site that you are using for your gamification?
I've seen Mikes and Robs, but would appreciate seeing how other people are building this as well.
I'm trying to 'prettify' my front page and to make it more user friendly as well,
BUT as I am trying to learn Adobe Illustrator CC fast enought to stay ahead of my dedicated students, I am struggling to keep my head above water.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 6:16:55 PM Permalink

Annette's test site

Don: Here's the link to the test site. It hasn't gone live - I'm still learning how to use WordPress and the plugin. This is a rough, rough draft.




Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 6:36:20 PM Permalink

I like your logo, and am intrigued by the concept of 'trading cards' - can you explain more what those represent/how they are used? Your example reminds me very much of 'Poser' a graphics program I used to use.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 10:01:19 PM Permalink

Thanks, Don. I had the logo designed years back by LogoWorks. I'm so glad to see a Poser user in our forum! I'm using Daz 3D but find myself hanging out in the Poser folders because I like the way they're organized inside of Daz.

For the trading cards listed in the store, I will create some that have character information, subject matter information, and some that contain clues for the game.

I am using a course authoring software which will allow me to hide items inside scenes, so if students pay close attention, they'll be able to locate hidden trading cards throughout the game. Some of the cards will have characters who will provide helpful tips regarding the subject matter (eg a mnemonic for remembering the elements of negligence) or include fun things like mini infographics.

You asked in another thread about creative design for the Web site. I'm studying tv shows and hidden object games. For example, I really like the headers used by Grimm. The designs are eye catching. Now if I could only get in more Photoshop and Daz time. haha And I'm not even going to get started on Illustrator (still struggling with that one).

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 11:48:27 PM Permalink

I'm doing some of that as well... I already have a twitter account set up just for the game (@VivaLosArtistas) and have a poster for it outside my room, but none of them have made the connection yet, as when they follow the Twitter account they will get hidden perks.

Then when they figure that out, I am going to use the app 'Ausrama' to hide even more clues WITHIN the poster. =P

In a couple of weeks, they will make a propaganda poster in the style of Shepard Fairey (he is the first 'character' they meet in my game - although he hasn't come out and given his name yet - but dropped a lot of clues) with the name of the Twitter account as the main focus of the poster.. they might make the connection then. We will see.

I'm intrigued as to what 'authoring' software you are using.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/26/13 2:42:45 AM Permalink

I'm using Raptivity ,Articulate, and Captivate.

Hey, that poster using Aurasma sounds like great fun. Your strategy of dropping clues is awesome! Your students are going to enjoy this experience.

Thanks for sharing.


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/26/13 9:13:33 PM Permalink

Hey annette... for Illustrator, try these. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/26/13 10:38:44 PM Permalink

Thanks, Rob!!! I'll be reviewing them for sure! I need all the help I can get. haha Sure wish I would have started with this computer software stuff before my 40s. Oh, well, better late than never. The journey has been fun and eye opening.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/27/13 4:10:35 AM Permalink

I love Rob's tutorials... totally stole his first two to get my students started... forging ahead on my own now. Teaching Illustrator for 5 more weeks, then onto photoshop for 9 weeks, then done.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/25/13 6:35:09 PM Permalink

Mine is Its "modeled" almost entirely after Mike's site last year when I had as many questions as you. I wanted to have the same theme so we both use pagelines theme.

I think for most people you can click on our user profiles and use the link there to find everyone's website...if they linked it when creating the profile.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 10:11:37 PM Permalink

Adam, I like the side shot on the Coulson site. It caught my attention.

The posted link to the doesn't work, but I was able to manually enter it a separate Web browser. I like how your information is displayed right below the login. I also like the gallery at the bottom of the page. Is the facilitation much easier for your 2nd year?

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/26/13 1:59:08 AM Permalink

Easier...yes, but still a long way to go. There is so much potential that I am missing on. I learn a lot by what doesn't work so I have a long way to go. Having a bank and getting comfortable with wordpress makes everything much smoother, but I still have MANY very late nights. I am at this point only using the game with one of my 10 preps so I am burying myself in an attempt to be great for the distant future. I can't really apply the game to photography and the darkroom so I will always be loaded with work that will pull me away from the game even though it is quickly becoming a passion and part of my teaching philosophy.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/26/13 2:25:06 PM Permalink

Re: photography & darkroom

Your post brought back great memories. In the early 90s, I worked as a research assistant and I would develop film in the department's darkroom. Back then, we had to hand mix all of the chemicals. Is it still done the same way? Probably not, given today's technology. It would be neat if there was a customizable lab type product that could be "fitted" for various subject areas like the darkroom. (sorry . . . going off on a tangent)

Thanks for sharing.


terrence banks

Posted on 9/26/13 4:04:46 PM Permalink

I agree, I teach photography as well. So far the kids love it though, with the autonomy and the teacher demo's its working quite beautifully.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/26/13 6:03:48 PM Permalink

Do you still do traditional lessons in class showing them physically how to work their aperture/shutterspeed on the cameras? Do you still use the videos for most or all the lesson in photography as well? I would love to develop that side. I certainly can for the digital photoshop portion of the semester but the tech skills in the camera I'm not sure how the vids would work aside from video camera actually recording a demo of myself actually using the cameras.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/26/13 8:19:15 PM Permalink

I have a webcam that I got for free from iPevo ( that I use to make traditional demo videos (I also teach Art 1, Ceramics and Art 2), looking for a good wireless microphone headset to use in conjunciton. I'm taking my Art 2 class down this rocky road next semester.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/27/13 6:48:11 AM Permalink

I have integrated the game into every aspect of my class, except I don't use it as a game per say.. I treat it more like a job. All the jobs (assignments) are delivered from the site, If I need to the studio the transition is smooth.

I try not to reinvent the wheel too much. I do a lot of demo's when It comes to the camera but I also use third party embed video's from youtube and links to online photography resources... when I want them to learn a skill and not have to wait on me to get the entire class ready. I am in the process of creating a video for learning the Canon T3. I was just messing around today trying to create some studio lighting tutorials.

My students also do the teaching as well. In my class if you click the mastery button you are game to teach to the class anything that you have mastered. This, I must say has gone extremely well. It forces the students to learn the camera, or photoshop to be able to teach their colleagues. I have a list of students, and I go down the line, every student in my class has agreed to this...I have 3 classes of 40 (photo1) and 2 classes of 25 (photo2)

My advanced students will be making video tutorials this year as well, as one of their job assignments. For photoshop, I create video tutorials and use embed 3rd party videos.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/27/13 4:18:50 PM Permalink

Terrence, if you don't already, consider posting the student tutorials (and publicizing them). The kids really love learning from their peers (and the peer tutors get all puffed up with pride).

Video here | Resource there

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/26/13 5:07:07 PM Permalink

(Replying up higher on the comment chain to reduce shrinkage. ;)

Annette and Donald,

I absolutely LOVE your ideas. You guys are both pushing the game in unexpected directions. Cards, clues, hidden elements, foreshadowing, etc.

You two rock! Can't wait to hear how this works out (and where it goes next).

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/26/13 10:49:30 PM Permalink

Mike: On more than one occassion, I found myself up until 3 am thinking about Game On, and what it means for education. It's an exciting time, and I am so glad that I saw that Game On announcement in the Adobe newsletter. I have experienced nothing but, "You can do it", in this forum. Such great energy! We are only limited by our imagination. (Well of course, I do have moments when my brain seizes up from some of the technical stuff, but that's to be expected. haha)


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/26/13 5:12:23 PM Permalink


You and Ryan must have more preps than the rest of us combined. #superteacher


Seeing "kids love it" and "working quite beautifully" in the same sentence made my day.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/27/13 5:52:36 AM Permalink

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/27/13 2:33:20 PM Permalink

Hi, Terrence. I like the design of the "Employee Login Center" section for Viking Studios

It's also exciting to see the tabs in the left-hand column!!!! What template are you using?

terrence banks

Posted on 9/29/13 4:57:21 AM Permalink

I have had this theme for about two years now, I like what it offers..its simple and has some good features for images. The template is called Showycase, its a photography portfolio theme.

For the employee login area its a plugin called custom meta that I use to remove all the wordpress junk in the normal meta widget..

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/29/13 4:16:33 PM Permalink

Thanks for the info, Terrence. I've been looking for a WordPress theme that has the column of tabs on the left side of the screen but didn't see any. Maybe I am using the wrong search terms. : 0 ) I'll definitely check out Showcase (and custom meta).

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/29/13 2:00:24 PM Permalink

Disclaimer: I spent very little time on the "look" of the site. It is my goal that the students remake all the graphics this semester... And because I needed to get everything built straight away, I used PageLines theme, and mimicked most of Mike's site to a T. (Thanks, Mike!)

The title of the site will also be changing, as I believe that my school is going to move my classroom toward Mike's model, wherein students could take one of several courses within the same hour. (Our Master schedule is locked-tight without wiggle room. They see this model as a way for students to have choice without stressing the FTE and contract issues.) Since the following preps are inter-related, this may be a solution for a long-term scheduling concern.

So, I might be offering the following within the same gamified environment:

- Computer Information Systems I and II

- Introduction to Web Design

- Game Design/ Computer Graphics

- Personal Computing

- Computer Science

- Digital Publishing

Then, next year, I may have multiple hours offering all of the above. I definitely am spending more time on creating content than aesthetics (at least this month).

With all of this in mind, this is why the Posts vs. Pages debate is so relevant. Since the courses above do have overlap, I could create "Missions" where I am pulling specific quests together using tags or categories in order to have the student complete the mission. (This is what I'm thinking anyway...)


Now, if I could roll yearbook-related tasks into the quests and sow two seeds with one watering... page design, photo editing, infographic creation, etc. etc. More students would have personal buy-in with the publication... I see this all coming together... Now, where's that extra time? lol.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/29/13 4:24:19 PM Permalink

Exciting plans, Kelly!

Don't fret putting function over form. There are only so many hours in the day and without the former, the latter doesn't mean a thing. Kind of how Game On is right now.

I'll get Semar working on an eighth day feature so we can all have an extra 24 hours each week to fit in cool ideas like your yearbook class.

Seriously, don't worry about what you think is possible. Just jump in, let the kids know you're all in it together, call it an adventure, and hold on to this fundamental truth (because it really is true).

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/29/13 4:31:35 PM Permalink

Hello, Kelly. My hat goes off to you all who have gone live with the game. I'm still in the planning phase and will be writing everything offline this fall. Reading through your post, I am now beginning to see what was meant by the pages vs posts discussion. I teach business law which can be broken down into the various components (torts, contracts, etc.) I like your idea of pulling the different subjects together using tags or categories.

This forum has been so helpful - especially with WordPress. Your comment about yearbook-related tasks is very interesting. I can see how it all relates - but like you said, where's that extra time!

Here's to our continued success!


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 5:34:54 PM Permalink

Any ideas of why my lightbox shortcodes require the page to be loaded twice before they work?

The first time the page loads the buttons show up with underlined text. When you click on them, nothing happens.

The second time you load the page, they appear without underlined text and function the way they should.

I will go back to the 'old school' method of having video links open in a new tab until I get this fixed.

Just looks 'prettier' with the shortcode.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 5:59:36 PM Permalink

What plugin are you using?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 6:33:17 PM Permalink

shortcodes ultimate

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 7:34:02 PM Permalink

I'm Sgt. Schultz. I know nothing about that one.


Anyone else?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/26/13 3:27:09 PM Permalink

just downloaded a different lightbox plugin.. have yet to test it.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/25/13 4:56:13 PM Permalink

Ok, I'm on a new server...but when I install the plugin...i'm getting this again? The ranks are not working. Did anyone else get the exclamation mark growl? My rank and stats are not being saved on the stats page either. Right now my site is down for the count until I can get things swapped over.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 6:03:03 PM Permalink

PHP/MySQL current? Click Fix Ranks?

(Your link goes to your AEE profile.)

We haven't changed anything since yesterday's points fix. No one else has reported that problem.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/26/13 7:45:30 AM Permalink

things are back to normal..I had to get the tech guys from bluehost to squash the bugs..

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/26/13 10:59:12 AM Permalink

Was the problem with the BH config or GO?

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/26/13 6:11:32 PM Permalink

Terrance, keep me posted on how you like the VPS on bluehost. I am on bluehost and had talked to them last year about when they would offer vps. Is it a lot faster? to you think the price difference is worth the performance boost?

terrence banks

Posted on 9/27/13 6:20:33 AM Permalink

VPS is the "business!"...that's slang for its totally awesome. I will say this..transferring my site over..made me lose a LOT of sleep..But one of the bluehost guys hooked me up..he didn't have was soooooooooooo worth it, it's extremely fast, no 500 errors..all my student can work at the same time..with no lagging. It's worth it for me to pay $30 a month.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 6:33:12 PM Permalink

Terrance, are you using the latest install? If so, you'll need to rollback because it has bugs that the coders are working on.

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/25/13 1:37:03 PM Permalink

Just to be clear... I am ready to move my quests from pages to posts (thanks, Rob!). However, I do need clarity... to understand that all of my students' points, rankings, etc. will stay intact if I am just moving the [go_task id="27"] to a post instead of a page.

I get that I'll have to relink my links, but I just want to be certain that the quest data will be fine before I transform my hierarchy into a taxonomy.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 2:34:21 PM Permalink

Yes. No change in functionality based on where the mission is located.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 2:34:58 PM Permalink

You can leave current quests in place and move new quests to posts and everything will remain copacetic (or as copacetic are things can be right now).

However, if you want to move old quests from the pages they're currently on to new individual posts, I can't guarantee everything will function as before.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 4:28:43 PM Permalink

However, if you want to move old quests from the pages they're currently on to new individual posts, I can't guarantee everything will function as before.

Good call, Mike. Thinking about the database structure... I'd suggest NOT changing anything now. You'll just be moving a shortcode anyway... won't matter much when you do it.

And don't stress about it. Wordpress doesn't get held up much until you're well over a hundred pages... Don't make it a big deal.

However, starting now, to use posts will help your content be more findable and you can use the power of heirarchy.

It's all just a matter of best practices. There's no wrong answer... just possibly better ones when your site really grows.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 2:37:05 PM Permalink

Might want to wait for all that movement until the plug is fixed... were you able to roll back? They still all have the same version number... so it's impossible to tell when/what version was working... If you're not sure, I'd wait and see how it all gets wrapped up.


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 4:05:52 PM Permalink

Ok, definitely missed something... how and why do you use 'posts' instead of 'pages' for tasks?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 4:18:33 PM Permalink

Same way. make a new post, and then just click "insert task" and make the task in the lightbox.

it's not NECESSARY, but it's a better practice because of the way wordpress creates the heirarchy of pages. It has to "re-shuffle" the whole site every time you call on a page to see where it's supposed to go.

The codex (the document written by the creators of wordpress) warns about having too many "heirarchical" post types... pages are a heirarchical type.

I wrote a kinda technical article on it... but this summary in the comments sums it up pretty good. Bottom line- pages are more work for wordpress than posts.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 5:30:50 PM Permalink

Ok, from my limited understanding of WP I was thinking the same thing about pages vs. posts

I will try the new method and see what happens.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 4:16:05 AM Permalink

just got done with the mission mockup... Will hopefully have a mockup of stats soon. That's where it's really got some cool new features. Trying to be content centric- so make the categories of missions (blog, illustrator, art, photoshop, self, etc...) be a major part of the interface and UI- kind of like attributes in RPG's (strength, agility, magic, etc...)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/25/13 4:23:55 AM Permalink

Love the look and concept! Are you looking to create added functionality to GameOn, a new separate plugin, or just brainstorming/dreaming?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 12:35:13 PM Permalink

Probably a new, separate plugin... only because we don't want to be in there messing with the code when the guys are doing something else. Seems some of the usability stuff is being held up because we're all in the year already and don't want to have to go back and edit our missions by copying and pasting info for the accept (main) content. (that seems to be the issue that makes shortcodes, two pages for each mission, etc... necessary, but that's also the biggest usability problem for people sitting down at it the first time.)

We're looking at making it do basically everything Game On does, but have it set so that "best practices" are basically coded in- That's why I was asking for clarification on how many levels you guys have and are the spreads basically just a multiplier.

As you increase flexibility, you do the learning curve. Basically all the plug does is collect points and money, track where you got it from, and let you spend the money in the store.

We're thinking of hard coding everything on the game on setting page. Also probably have presets for the levels already in there, but looking at the code, should not be a problem to leave it in as user definable.

General feeling is that unifying everything rather than making it all definable will help teachers focus on the content, progress, and student experience. Will also help with coding and troubleshooting when there are less variables.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 10:59:26 AM Permalink

Looks great, Rob.

Are you considering customization options for other content areas?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 12:37:34 PM Permalink

Don't think so... We're thinking that the content areas will handle that by just the way they write the missions...

Are you thinking about something specific? Would love to hear what's going on in that brilliant mind, Mike...we might be missing something obvious!

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 3:40:38 PM Permalink

Looks neat, Rob. Will the status bar wording be customizable by the teacher ("found it, read it, did it, rocked it")?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 4:35:59 PM Permalink

Probably... I was just having fun.

if they are static... I can GUARANTEE it won't be schwartzified. ;)

Probably use Mike's terms if it's not changable- Encounter, accept, complete, master.

We're trying to figure out what we really believe the focus to be. It's not about points and gold... but about mastery. How do we not just encourage the kids to mastery with the gold... but actually bring mastery to the forefront as a concept and goal?

The Dash mockup will show ya where we're going with that. Still bouncing ideas around and making sure that the implementation can be lightweight.

Strong emphasis on visual cues and having the student get to make their own choices about learning... simplifying the structure gives them less they MUST learn to "play" well, and lets them focus on the concepts, rather than the game mechanics.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 6:05:06 PM Permalink

Re: I can GUARANTEE it won't be schwartzified. ;)

haha Schwartzification is fine. Like the creative ideas and seeing how your mind works. Will continue to study and learn new things everyday! - - - even if it makes my head hurt. haha

terrence banks

Posted on 9/25/13 4:48:22 PM Permalink

Looks awesome!, reminds me of learndash..

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 11:20:24 PM Permalink

trying to figure out how to get rid of this and this on my front page...


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 12:31:48 AM Permalink

It appears that you've create two posts called trash 1 and trash 2.

Click on Posts (in admin) and delete those two posts. Should solve the problem. :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 1:27:43 AM Permalink

ok to be more specific.. I'm trying to get rid of the word 'Logout' at the top of my home page, and the 'leave a reply, etc. etc.' at the bottom of the home page.

These posts are on my 'put things here to be able to post them somewhere else' generic .wordpress site. =P

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 2:22:50 AM Permalink

The logout is necessary in case you do in fact want to logout (which you will for a variety of reasons -- trust me).

Under Settings > Discussion you can uncheck Allow people to post comments on new articles if you don't want comments.

Does that help?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 5:45:34 PM Permalink

Will find out.

I'm trying to make my 'front page' as pretty as some of y'all's.

Any suggestions?

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 2:33:15 AM Permalink

Sigh.. also, I've told it to not display the sidebar on my 'Tasks' page and I've double checked the settings, but yet when I test view the site, the sidebar is still there.

AND the lightboxes I've added in my Tasks, have to be loaded twice before they'll display.

AND when I go back in to edit the task to get rid of them and go back to the old way they don't go away. Even though when I click edit again, it is showing that it has been changed.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 10:55:20 AM Permalink

Failed editing of the Accept Message is a bug that was introduced in Friday's update. We're working on fixing that. It's affecting everyone right now, myself included.

A fix may be possible today. Believe me, this is our top priority right now.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 5:31:52 PM Permalink

Good to know it's not an error on my part. I am doing my best to wrap my head around all this.

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/24/13 8:03:53 PM Permalink

Looking ahead, how about we set a time and date in July when we can take Semar and Vincent out for a really nice dinner. Multiple times I have screamed a mental *KUDOS* to those two.

Amazing work being produced at exceptional speed. If everything in education worked like this, we would have a pretty awesome thing for everyone involved. #pride #integrity #ownership #teamwork #collectivegoalsetting I could go on and on.

Love it! Thanks, Guys!!!

p.s. On another note, Shortcode Buddy has literally become my buddy. Where was this plugin all my life? :o)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 9:00:06 PM Permalink

Great idea! Michigan or California? :P

Plus, don't leave out Ezio. He's almost got our Accept Message editing bug cracked. (He's coming on strong but only has two hours a day to dedicate to coding.)

Seriously, I'll pass your kind words along, Kelly. The guys will really appreciate that.

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/25/13 12:55:09 PM Permalink

California... I already have a reason to be in San Jose late July. ;)

I'll tack on a couple of days and we can celebrate this year's successes.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 3:50:30 PM Permalink

Re: Setting the Student's Landing Page

When the student first logs in to the game site, it there a way to make the Web site's Home Page be the first screen that the student sees instead of the User's Profile page?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 3:57:30 PM Permalink

Add this to your front page (or a widget):

[sb_login size="small" redirect="current" lostpass="true"]

Include the brackets. I'm not sure if that's part of Game On or Shortcode Buddy. So long as you have both it will work. (It will automatically position itself at the top of the page if you put it on the body.)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 4:10:54 PM Permalink

It's shortcode buddy- so make sure you install it! Very helpful!

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/24/13 4:42:33 PM Permalink

Thanks for that fix! Immensely helpful. :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 5:46:07 PM Permalink

how do you know which page is your 'front page'?

I added it to my 'Home' page, but nothing seemed to change. =/

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 5:57:26 PM Permalink

Settings > Reading in admin

I've selected a static page for mine and also selected Home from the pull-down menu for my front page.

Make sense?

You also have to install and activate Shortcode Buddy. How-to video on this page.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 7:50:54 PM Permalink

Donald, have you installed and activated Shortcode Buddy?

It won't work without it.

Paste: [sb_login size="small" redirect="current" lostpass="true"] right into the visual editor.


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 10:34:54 PM Permalink

yes using shortcode buddy and shortcodes ultimate. I think I have everything else set correctly as well. =/

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 11:23:01 PM Permalink

yes and yes... as far as I can tell, I've done everything correctly... I sent you my login info if you want to take a look.. pretty basic front page ATM.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 11:18:30 PM Permalink

Just for kicks, disable Shortcodes Ultimate and check again just to verify there are no conflicts (be sure to refresh the page when checking).

There are other login plugins you can use but in WordPress, the fewer plugins the better.

EDIT: Says the guy with 13 plugins. ;)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/25/13 1:29:58 AM Permalink

checked.. didn't help. =/

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 10:43:41 PM Permalink

Thanks! Now the login page is showing as the student's landing page. Soooooo happy!

Now, my next question is about the "naming rules". Mike, I created a page and named it "Home". I placed the page called "Home" as a sub item under the Menu HOME.

So, hmmmm . . . have I done this incorrectly . . . or should I have named the page something other than "Home" . . . like "overview" for example?

Still working my way through the rules. : )


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 3:19:23 PM Permalink

My home page is at the root level of the site. The Permalink is: and its title is Home.

Just looked at yours and you seem to have done the same thing. Why there's a Home drop-down under Home in the nav bar is beyond me. (It's not a child page. I looked.)

Anyone else know why this might be happening?

Oh, I see now. Remove the redundant Home from the Menu (in admin -- Appearance > Menus). The parent page will suffice.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 4:11:50 PM Permalink

Mike: Just deleted the redundant Home page from the Menu.

When I try to follow the instructions for creating a static page, there's no "Home" option for me to choose when I click on the dropdown in the Reading section and the Appearance > Customize section.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 4:25:49 PM Permalink

Your link is working right now. Navigate away from the homepage then click Home. See?

Nothing more to do. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 6:20:28 PM Permalink

Still not understanding . . . I don't see where I can go in and edit the Home page with content and the Shortbuddy login / logout code.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/25/13 8:28:02 PM Permalink

Yikes! Where did your Home Page go?

I dug one out of your Trash folder. Is that one right?

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 10:20:17 PM Permalink

Yes, that's it. The Home page is now showing 2 logout links, but I'll stop here for today. I need a nap. haha I'm sure tomorrow it will all make sense.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/26/13 3:25:38 PM Permalink

You had the shortcode in two places on the Home page. I deleted one for you. Fixed now.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/26/13 11:10:32 PM Permalink

Thanks! Couldn't figure that one out. :0 )

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 2:01:04 PM Permalink

Question about how the plug is being used for everyone... Have a programmer who's looking at the plug for me and thinking about ways to streamline the code in a fork.

Would just a set series of percentages work for progress for everyone? For example:

Percentage (XP/gold)

  • Encounter= 5% (5/0)
  • Accept = 15% (15/2)
  • Complete= 30% (30/3)
  • Master = 50% (50/5)
  • total= 100% (100/10)

Then, to change quest values... add a multiplier... .5 for small (50/5), 2 for big (200/20), 3 for epic 300/30)...

I know most of us not using values this simple- myself included... but would anyone find it totally unacceptable?

Then instead of entering in the values for every quest, just enter a multiplier (probably a drop-down with names (small, medium, large, epic). Would also automatically display the values of the quest after the name when you link to it (you'll link directly to quests rather than embed shortcode)

Would this ease of use be a good trade for the lack of flexibility for you in assigning points to the quests?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 2:51:54 PM Permalink

It's certainly simpler but too restrictive for me. Once the current fires are put out we'd like to offer a more customizable solution. I'll explain...

Click on Game On in the admin panel.

At the bottom (currently) there is a method for adding Classifications. I use that to sort students by period(s) and computer number (they supply the details on their Profile page).

We plan on offering an unlimited number of presets for points and currency. You'd fill out a name that makes sense to you for each preset (small, medium, large, etc. if you like that) and tie that name to a set number of points and currency for each preset (5,5,10,30 and 0,0,5,10 or whatever you want for points and currency respectively).

When you create a new quest, you'd choose a setting from a pull down with options like: Small 5,5,10,30 - 0,0,5,10 and so on.

I would advise everyone to keep the currency <50% of the points or you'll have to ramp up the price of items in the store to compensate for inflation. I'm currently awarding 30% of points per quest as currency (and that might be too high). I was at 50% last year and had to raise prices several times during the year to compensate for too much currency in circulation.

In short, we need simplicity, yes, but we also need flexibility.

My two bits. :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 4:23:46 PM Permalink

Understood it's critical that the values be different for different sized quests... but does the spread need to be different?

For example, if you are using 5,5,10,30/0,0,5,10 for small, Is the next size up something like 10,10,20,60/0,0,10,20 or something similar (like within 5 or 10 points??)

More important question... is it critical that it scale with a different spread? Would you need one 100 pt project to go 10,10,20,60 and another to go 5,10,30,50?

The flexibility will come in the points received for each quest. How critical is it that completion be 40% of total for a medium quest, and 60% of total for a large, and 55% for extra large?

Totally agree on Flexibility and simplicity... but also looking for efficiency on the back end so that this can be scalable for a district wide install on one server.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 4:51:15 PM Permalink

There's no reason we can't offer both options and allow users to choose one via a radio button. Yes? :)

As for points, I keep Encounter and Accept on the low, low end this year because there's literally just a mouse click involved. Complete is a self assessment after they've met the quest's requirements. Mastery is taking the project the final 10%* and documenting the process.

*We haven't really talked about The Final 10% which can sometimes take more time than completing the quest.

We all probably want mastery-based learning to some degree. Weighting that stage is part of the game mechanics that drives students in that direction.

As for the different spreads, our projects involve varying levels of engagement/effort. I like the ability to tweak settings to match the moment. Plus, like everyone else, I'm still figuring out how to best utilize our gamified system.

I have no definitive answers.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 6:35:29 PM Permalink

No reason not to have both in the big version... but we're looking for a "lite" version that will make it SUPER easy for a non-techie to use the plug for gamifying classes... AND be super light on the database. We're thinking of a HUGE implementation... like ALL district tech programs running on a single server, not a single server for each program (which is how all of us are set up.)

Here's what we're thinking:

  • Small (50/5) (5,10,15,20... 0,0,1,4)
  • Medium (100/10) (10,20,30,40....0,0,2,8)
  • Large (200/20) (20,40,60,80....0,0,4,16)
  • EPIC (400/40) (40,80,120,160...0,0,8,32)

You might have noticed that the breakdown comes to 60% for just completing... We're thinking that would be the minimum acceptable work... therefore a "D" on standard scales (for integrating from server with gradebook software)

The education research group said that projects should have 4 or 5 categories max, otherwise it's too hard for kids and parents to understand grading. (If teachers wanted to make a project worth more, they could break a huge project down into sections and make each section a quest)

Any pushback on this from anyone?

Would any of the newcomers here appreciate an easy to use, almost "pre-configured" system that just works right out of the box? Enter your assignment, give it a value, and link to it like any page... BAMMO! A gamified curriculum!!!

No more shortcodes, no more setup, focus on the projects and instruction instead of the site setup and configuration.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/24/13 6:56:21 PM Permalink

I keep going both ways. Would the lite version also be less draining on the server?

Simply because I have already gotten used to the customizable options, I would miss them but could probably easily get used to the "easier" version. Like Mike said, I think it feels too soon for me to know what kind of allocations/percentages I would want to work with as I am continually changing my way of thinking what works best for my students.

If your proposed version has the percentages locked in that wouldn't allow me to do a (10%,10%, 30%,50%) if that is would I wanted to change to right? I like the idea of making a non techie version of the plug with less customization as I have several parties interested in this as well but without the skills to implement the system without being buried by tech jargon.

I am kinda dancing on the line. Don't know if that is helpful but I guess its my "current" two cents.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 10:19:58 PM Permalink

Would the lite version also be less draining on the server?

By an order of magnitude. That's the whole idea behind the fork. change the way it holds data to make the calculations super easy.

Ease of use (for teacher AND student) is the second major goal.

Quick question... when you change the level of the quest from small to big- do you try to keep the jumps consistent, or are they just random each time? (like if you had a 50/5 quest, do you basically double everything to make a 100/10 quest?)

If random, does that make it harder for the kids to strategize and understand the points for leveling up? What benefit do you anticipate by randomizing rather than scaling quests?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 8:07:44 PM Permalink

Rob, there's no way we would be able to support two separate versions of the plugin.

We could, however, create a "lite" switch that would automatically lock in certain settings.

Would that a be reasonable solution?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 8:09:24 PM Permalink

The Stats page functionality may have to be throttled way back on the lite version too.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 8:29:40 PM Permalink

I read it but I didn't see it until right now...

If you're tying grades directly to the game, you might as well face the rapid demise of intrinsic motivation and heightened engagement.

You're back to carrots and sticks.

Grades = Money in this equation.

You can read a pile of research or watch this RSA Animate video featuring Dan Pink.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/25/13 12:59:51 AM Permalink

Would any of the newcomers here appreciate an easy to use, almost "pre-configured" system that just works right out of the box?

Rob: I agree that there's a steep learning curve. Most of the time, I have to decipher the comments made in our discussion thread. (smile)

Having an out-of-the-box version that's ready for the teacher to insert the activities/quests would help. I think it would give us newbies a quicker idea of how things flow inside the gaming platform. Then we newbies could move on the full version once we have become proficient with the Lite version. (I'm learning both WordPress and the plugin at the same time, so it's taking me a while to visually organize everything.)


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/25/13 4:24:20 AM Permalink

Thanks for the feedback, Annette!!!

After talking more with the group, I'm starting to get sold on it as well for my own use! There are very few options in the dash that matter much to me upon reflection. Don't care too much what things are called- want it to be faster and easier to use so I can focus on the curriculum itself, not the setup of the delivery system!

These guys are getting me convinced! They keep talking about cutting stuff... and I gripe about it- and they keep asking "How does that promote student engagement, fun, or growth?"

And then I just sit there because I have nothing to say! :P

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 10:09:20 PM Permalink

Man, I just realized that I didn't make something MAJOR clear.... We're talking about a fork. We would hope to trade ideas with the guys... but in no way want to add to their plate!

Sorry if I gave the guys a heart attack!!!

The talk for now is to make a totally separate plug based on GO. The heaviness of the server work and the complexity for non technical users is the primary concern for a large install, and users on shared hosting. The whole reason for talking about the pre-set jump percentages and such is to make it super easy to code, and make the calculations fast and easy so they can be run all the time without killing the server. If the spread is basically always the same, we think a simple equation can do all the lifting instead of the database. We want to store progress, not points (for multiple reasons).

Sexy, Lightweight, and Easy is the mantra. Mockups coming soon. What I saw today was spectacular. I was thinking about how I used the new plug (and the old one based on CP).. and when you see the mockups, you'll get an idea of what we're going for: Making it handle 90-95% of the use case scenarios with NO configuration... run right out of the box.

Mike, hear you loud and clear on tying grades to XP directly... but we can't control how end users are going to use it. I hope that using the plug will at least remove the 0-50% hole of insanity that makes it impossible for kids to come back from a zero. With the current plug, teachers can tie XP to grades if they want. No way to change mindsets with technology.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 11:00:05 PM Permalink

Ah, I think I understand now.

Game On is open source so you're free, of course, to modify and utilize the code as you see fit.

However, you have an ethical and moral responsibility to inform and advise teachers about the pitfalls of tying the game to grades because it will take an inordinate amount of time and effort to undo the damage that will be caused by the widespread misapplication of gamified strategies in classrooms.

This is a curriculum delivery system, NOT a gamified assessment tool.

As for the 0-50% hole of insanity you referred to, I think teachers who still use the 100 point scale should be subject to this.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 11:24:42 PM Permalink

We're looking at a gamified plug that uses game mechanics... We're hearing a lot of interest from the people that do the self-paced PD for a couple districts really interested. The game will be the game, then there will be a test or whatever documentation for inservice points. Those guys care a lot more about engagement than "grade"... they only grade because they have to (and to avoid people using the "clicking my mouse makes me a better educator" pitfall)

it will be designed primarily to let teachers entering this area just jump right in. GameOn has a steep learning curve even for some of us in the forum here... and we TEACH technology for a living.

We just want to make it lightweight, easy, and robust... and focus LESS on scoring than progress.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 11:04:16 PM Permalink

Note: I hereby plead guilty to NOT making every effort to make clear the pitfalls of tying the game to grades in this particular resource.

I've done so elsewhere but that hardly excuses my oversight here.

Feet in fire!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 11:28:35 PM Permalink

Note Back: I do too. I just realized that by thinking it even WAS a big deal how the points are assigned was tied to trying to correlate it to grades. If all we care about is mastery and AMP... the number of points shouldn't matter much.

And we're hoping that the plans we have formulated will almost completely take all eyes off of points and gold as a focus.

Great brainstorming happening... sure hope that the coder can make it happen! :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 7:45:03 AM Permalink


Semar coded an update and sent it to me to test. I tried every back button method I could think of (including the Stats page trick Rob talked about below) and got what appeared to be extra points on the Encounter stage and was able to click through all the other stages repeatedly but ZERO extra points were awarded.

Semar will upload to GitHub in the morning. For now, here's a version hosted on my site: Download


Latest Version

Does not fix the edit/Accept Message problem. Still working on that.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/24/13 2:07:53 PM Permalink

Thanks Semar for hard work and quick fixes!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 2:13:09 AM Permalink

I'm introducing this to my students tomorrow, bugs and all... it is ugly ATM, and my site needs some designwork, and my storyline needs a lot of work, but we all have to start somewhere. Wish me luck.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 3:10:53 AM Permalink

Sir Donald, you are brave and have proven yourself worthy of the title, Game Master.

Let the kids know you're all boldly going... and that when you boldly go, there's always drama. It's part of the adventure.

Have fun!

Psst: That Store video you asked for is on this page. Long, but necessary.

It's called: What's in Store

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 1:10:37 AM Permalink

can someone explain to me what the point of the 'Add' button is? the 'points', 'credits,'minutes'? as to why it is there, how it is supposed to be used, how to actually use it.. the works. =P

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 1:44:18 AM Permalink

Don: I used the "Add" button (the one located to the right of the Stats bar) to manually correct a score for my Demo Student. Now I'm a newbie at this, so it could be that I'm using it incorrectly. ; 0 )

To use it, you will need to place your cursor in the first box and type in a number. Then you will need to type in the abbreviation for your points (For example, I am using Exp, so I would type in Exp for the points.) Once you have inserted the information, you will need to click on the "Add" button at the bottom.

Hope this helps.


Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/24/13 3:01:02 AM Permalink

With the bugs that still occur it allows for me to have students self correct errors. I also still have students track their minutes in class as they have to make up missed minutes and it simulates a work environment. They can add the currency part as awards that I verbally award students for many different things in the classroom. While students could abuse it, if the honor code is built in well I think it can be helpful, especially in the beginning.

PS it can now be turn off so that students don't have access to if if you chose. I think other have turned it off to start their semesters.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 2:10:52 PM Permalink

Thanks for the info, Adam. How can it be turned off?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 3:07:00 PM Permalink

In the admin panel, click on Game On.

Look for Admin Bar Settings and click the Off radio button for the Add Switch.

It's off. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 3:52:49 PM Permalink

Cool. Adding the directions to my ever-growing Game On Word doc. : )

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 12:26:05 AM Permalink

FYI: Training Videos have error message: HTML5: Video File Not Found

Mike: Just want to let ya know that the videos aren't showing on the site.

I know you all are busy working on the latest bugs, so there's no rush. Just wanted to let ya know they're not showing on the site. ( 0 =

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 1:01:13 AM Permalink

Annette, I just clicked every link and each played. I have, however, received that error a few times since installing that plugin. Clicking the link a second time fixed the issue each time in the past.

Try clicking again.

If that doesn't work, operating system and browser? Html5 usually likes current tech.

None of our PC crowd have reported problems (but given the current state of affairs, a rainstorm of new issues wouldn't surprise me).

To quote you, smiling. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 1:35:52 AM Permalink

Internet Explorer is causing the problem . . .

Mike: Just rechecked everything. The error appears when I use Internet Explorer. I just rechecked while using Google Chrome and the videos are viewable! Yaaaaayyyy!


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 3:07:14 AM Permalink

So glad! IE is the one browser we don't test.

Sorry for the glitch. :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 1:11:30 AM Permalink

annette, you mentioned in another post a video on using shortcodes? do you know where that one is? I haven't seen it. Thanks!

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 1:33:55 AM Permalink

Hi, Don. Hmmmm . . . Are you referring to the Shortcode Buddy video? It's located here Training Videos

I am able to see the videos when I'm using Google Chrome. For some reason, I am getting an html5 error with Internet Explorer - so I wouldn't use Internet Explorer browser to view the videos.

: 0 )

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 2:12:16 AM Permalink

Ok, I did not watch that video as I assumed that it was only on installation... will have to go back and watch.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 3:16:51 AM Permalink

Shortcode Buddy allows you to address the students by name (among other things). Very effective and quite the surprise for the kids. (They love it.)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 6:40:53 PM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 8:30:56 PM Permalink

Those first 4 quests should be worth 50 XP each. Will check...

Ran straight through and got 400 XP (along with some strange messages next to the Gold -- Easter eggs?).

However, the error with the Back button is alive, well, and worse than before.

I think I know what happened. Sorry, guys. Maybe we should all roll back a version. This one is bug city!

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/24/13 12:00:14 AM Permalink

I'm at the GitHub site, but I'm not sure how to roll back to the previous version. : 0 )

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 5:29:52 PM Permalink

Got feedback from my little exploiters about how they were grabbing XP... and it is still working today with today's new install.

Here's how they do it:

  • Go to a mission and hit completion or mastery.
  • open the stats page, go to their website using the "website" link
  • hit back button, mastery/complete button reappears and lets you rehit it.

Thanks to Mr. Porras and Mr. Hartigan for the help finding the bug! (newbies in first year class.)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 8:50:37 PM Permalink

Right now it's happening in multiple fashion. It's worse than ever. I've sent an all-alert to the coders.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/23/13 4:20:50 PM Permalink

Does anyone elses stat bar look differently in the backend then in the frontend? I've always had problems with that. My minutes drop down to the next line in the front end. When I add badges (which are awesome by the way!) the line up horizontally in the back end, but in the front end they line up vertically. Some one try to give themselves more than one badge to see if its just me. I might need to mess with the CSS to get the desired result though.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 4:40:47 PM Permalink

This should be an easy fix for Semar. Will let him know.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 4:41:53 PM Permalink

Yup. Stat page could use a ton of CSS tweaks... we're playing with it, too.

Chrome makes it easy to grab the css and just tweak what you need to. I just changed text size from 25 to 20 and that fixed it.

it's back after the update, but easy enough to do.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/23/13 3:42:55 PM Permalink

Ruh Roh. I updated to the new version. I used to have my "Accept" message in the main body of the post. Now there is an "Accept" section, but my content didn't move from the "body" down to the "Accept" section.

Looks like I might have to install the old version, copy and paste into a text file, and the reload the new version?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 3:54:16 PM Permalink

Is this in an existing quest, an old one that's being accessed for the first time, or a new one?

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/23/13 4:01:53 PM Permalink

Existing. Problem is that I don't remember all of the genius that I wrote previously. :)
Since it is the bulk of the quest, kind of a pain. Appears anything that you had in the "body" of an existing quest is gone. I don't see a way to access. Trying find old version of the plug-in now so I can copy and paste the content.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/23/13 4:15:01 PM Permalink

Same here...If I need to go back and change the content in a old encountered quest I can't access it.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/23/13 4:23:03 PM Permalink

I deleted new version. Installed old version. Copy and pasted HTML cold into text editor for each mission. Deleted old version. Installed new version. Copy and pasted HTML code into "Accept" on new version.

Pain for me. No bueno for our less techie/wordpress savvy teachers.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 4:45:23 PM Permalink

but once that change is made, I bet we can link to quests directly!!! so you won't need the shortcode.

Might be worth doing now when we're all relatively short on quests and it's a HUGE usability plus.

The non-techie users are already going to have a problem with linking to the page, not the mission, when they want to link to the mission.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 4:36:40 PM Permalink

The data is still in the database. We'll look into this right now. Am wondering why it's not happening to me but I hear you loud and clear.

Short term fix: roll back to the last version.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 4:47:00 PM Permalink

The no editing issue for the Accept Message is confirmed. A fix is coming.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 2:55:18 PM Permalink

Anyone getting weird points happening with random kids??? Had a kid get an extra eighty million points. Shows student number (which is also login and displayname) as reference. No reference except for his username in the Not intentional.. he came up and told me something was wrong.

For Semar or anyone that wants to help troubleshoot... here are the database entries for wp_go, and here are the ones for wp_go_totals.

new install of the plug this morning. used the link in this thread- NOT a modified version. Vanilla game-on. All kids same network, same browser, cloned image... seems to only have affected 2 kids today during first class.

Seems to be related to the status... status = 6 shouldn't be possible if no missions are repeatable, right? but if it was- should still reference the mission under post_id or page_id... right?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 3:08:34 PM Permalink

Just checked all students via the Clipboard and no one has any extra points in my classes. I've got no idea how this is even possible.

But if I've learned anything from this endeavor, it's that anything is possible.

Will pass this on to the mighty Semar.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 4:40:52 PM Permalink

Confirmed none were repeatable. Have no idea why either because there's not a ton of data in that table.... especially on the glitched entries.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 4:46:21 PM Permalink

"But if I've learned anything from this endeavor, it's that anything is possible."

Yeah, these computer things are not NEARLY as consistent as science tells us they should be! LOL!!!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 5:33:43 PM Permalink

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 12:57:12 PM Permalink

even when I make the simplest task I am getting this error.

It is probably my schools blocking software.

Will try it again tonight when I get home (late)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/23/13 1:36:39 PM Permalink

There needs to be a task id number in the paretheses. Try creating the task by "insert task" button at the top of the page you want to put the task into. When you create the task in that window it should add the task number automatically when you create it. I believe there might be a bug right now that doesn't out the task number into the shortcode if you are creating the task first using the menu on the side of dashboard....maybe that makes sense?

Should look like this:

[go_task id="2295"]

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 2:15:21 PM Permalink

I did use the 'insert task' button at the top of the page. I did 'pages - add new', put the title in for the page, tabbed down into the body, then clicked the button 'insert task' then filled in the info.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 2:33:50 PM Permalink

Donald, did you change the Permalinks to anything other than the default setting?

If you're comfortable giving me a temp admin login I'll take a look.


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 3:42:18 PM Permalink

I did change the permalinks. I have not updated to the newest version yet.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 3:55:32 PM Permalink

Ok.. fixed it. Upgraded to the newest version and everthing seems to be working now. =D

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 4:24:52 PM Permalink

So proud of myself for solving my own problem. (with a hint from MIke) =D

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 11:02:44 PM Permalink

Congrats! But the new version has a few nasty bugs. Semar is on the case. Watch for an update announcement.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 3:19:02 AM Permalink

::insert a long line of expletives here::

I was all set to debut this to my students tomorrow (thanks to Mike's new videos) then I remembered...

I had uploaded the videos to Vimeo and Youtube... both of which are BLOCKED by my district.

going to look into 'Teachertube' tomorow (almost midnight now, NOT going to sit and wait for videos to upload to ANOTHER site)

any suggestions? Can I just upload the videos to the webhost somehow?

Thanks all.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 3:34:14 AM Permalink

Email them to me (if they're under 25MB each) and I'll host them for you.

I'm crashing now (long day) but I'll have links ready for you by 8:00 EST. (Is that early enough?)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 4:17:45 AM Permalink

You can upload to webhost. Should work fine.

Also, check with your district. Explain what you're doing and see if they have a solution. Get your principal to make the request to make it happen.

Who you hosting with? Most are fine with 30 or so users at once hitting video and the game... but at the end of last year I started getting the server too busy and my site would crawl or they'd shut it down for too many processes.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 11:18:04 AM Permalink

The site crawl and too many processes last year was due to our old gamified system. This one is far more efficient.

I think Donald is using a Media Temple Grid and they've got domains set to a 2MB file limit by default. I didn't have time to figure out how to change that setting to advise so I offered the quickest fix I could think of last night. (And I've got classes to prepare for right now. Sorry, Donald.)

Will investigate later. Donald, are you using Media Temple's Grid?

Your advice is far more useful! Thanks, Rob.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 2:17:22 PM Permalink

I am using Media Temple.

I have found that Vimeo is not blocked, but I can only upload 5 videos a day and cannot upload from school.

I have also found that I can upload videos to 'teachertube' which is also not blocked.

So once I solve my new problem (see above) then I should be ready to rock.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 2:59:07 PM Permalink

I use a Vimeo Plus account to get around that but just noticed they upped the price. Have made an inquiry about a Vimeo Edu option.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 3:01:16 PM Permalink

I'll look into MT's method of upping file limits. You should be able to stream from your own site.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/23/13 12:46:30 PM Permalink

Rob, are you still on bluehost? I swithced the them last year and definitely liked it better than GoDaddy. My site is still slower than ideal but better than last year. I still get freezes if I ask all student to go to their stats page. I am assuming to many database hits at once. Not sure I can do anything about it.

Someday I dream of affording my own vps (virtual private server) as I think that is the only way to run the site as fast as what we are used to with normal everyday websites out there. For now we accept that we will work with this to be a part of the game.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 2:57:37 PM Permalink

The Stats page is our resource hog at present. Lots o' queries for lots o' data.

Will talk with Semar about this.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/23/13 4:28:45 PM Permalink

I just switched to a blue host VPS...I will be transferring it over sometime this week. Its semi managed and runs about $ 30 a month. I was with hostgator which only allowed 25 students to be online at once before getting the dreaded 500 error. Last year things worked great, I think with the new additions and features. It's eating up more resources. I have classes of 40 students so only 20 or so being able to get on at once was very annoying. Switching to a VPS was my only option at this time..

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 6:10:36 PM Permalink

Sorry, just saw this one. I have a business selling tutorials for the ACA certification and had to move to VPS for that... $50 a month is too much for classroom site- but I happen to have one already that I just use.

I've always used video instruction... so I don't get the problem with them all hitting it at once. Maybe spread it out somehow by having 3 or 4 missions and round robin the access to certain parts of the site?

Mikes' MT site seems like a good solution, though a bit more pricey.

*EDIT- MT is pricier than cheap hosting, but cheaper than VPS.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 3:47:08 PM Permalink

Donald, I just spoke with an MT rep (chatted actually). He gave me these instructions:

To accomplish this, you must edit your php.ini file, located in the /etc directory. You may have to rename it from php.ini.sample to just php.ini. Once you do that and go into edit mode, you can include these to parameters. Mind you, the "30M" is simply a sample size. If you want to go higher, you can, but keep it reasonable. Just do the following:

1) Mouseover the Domains tab

2) Select your primary domain

3) Click File Manager

4) Click the /etc folder

5) Click the php.ini (or php.ini.sample) file and at the bottom of the file, add:

upload_max_filesize = 30M

The above line does NOT need the semicolon in front of it. Just add it as you see above. Now, be sure that before you save it, that you remove the ".sample" from the filename, so it reads as "php.ini" otherwise, it won't activate.


Just follow each step slowly and surely and it works. I just did it to my site and was able to upload larger files.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 5:24:50 PM Permalink

Thanks Mike,

Unfortunately I have no idea how to upload a video to Media Temple. =/

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 11:07:28 PM Permalink

MT Grid comes with live support. Just login and type into the chat (in the lower right hand corner).

They're über-helpful. Just make sure your video is <30MB or it won't upload.*

*You really should try to keep these under 10MB or you'll have bandwidth issues (unrelated to Game On). I record mine at 6 fps and 60% actual size to keep files small. Don't make one long video. Make several short ones. One to three minutes is a real sweet spot for most kids. Just make sure your titles are descriptive.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/24/13 12:44:18 AM Permalink

I already do make my videos short (2-3 minutes) and break the project into steps.

I've been doing the Adobe Trainer Certification and one of the main complaints I keep voicing to them is the videos they want us to watch are 14-20 minutes long. 0.o

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 1:05:42 AM Permalink

Did MT help you learn to upload your videos?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 5:41:55 PM Permalink


The Store has been restored (pun intended). It was MIA but no one noticed (or you were too polite to mention it). I didn't notice it until I began recording a video explaining how the Store works.

Where'd the Store go?! (Very colorful language in that video... that no longer exists.)

Grab the latest update. Probably won't be the last one today.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 3:02:14 AM Permalink


I've recorded some very basic videos. They're right here for now. I'll be adding to the collection.

Please feel free to request videos.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/22/13 6:18:01 PM Permalink

YEA!!!!! Maybe I can actually get this going now. (that's a BIG maybe)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 6:38:15 PM Permalink

They can, because they think they can.

Listen to Virgil and start believing.

Oh, and play this song on and on and on and on.

Will be recording new videos next. Feel free to ask for specific answers.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/22/13 9:09:00 PM Permalink

no. that song is of the devil. =P

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 11:26:48 AM Permalink

LOL. Find some time to watch Rock of Ages. Very campy musical set in the 80s. The version in that film's finale will heal your Journey wounds. (Warning: Do not watch with your children. Many naughty parts!)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 3:19:48 AM Permalink

Mike, when you have time a video on how to set up the store correctly would be appreciated. TIA. =D

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/23/13 3:37:01 AM Permalink

Just saw this. Will do tomorrow.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/23/13 11:53:05 AM Permalink

That's because it was almost midnight (EST) when I posted it.

No hurry, I still have to come up with a video solution.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/24/13 3:12:35 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:01:32 AM Permalink


Lots of fixes. Old content is no longer missing in action. Round trip editing is back.

Grab the latest version for sleek new quest creation.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 11:08:09 PM Permalink

The "stupid teacher" I referred to in the LATEST UPDATE: WE HAVE BADGES! comment (below) also gave a demonstration that crashed and burned this morning when showing how "easy" it is to set up our gamification system.

Did you know that if you forget to change the Permalinks to anything other than the default setting, not only does the error appear in the Stats page but the quests won't work function at all? (I knew that. It's in my videos.)

Ah, that's one mistake I'll never make again. Live and learn.

#Need MoreSleep

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/21/13 11:15:22 PM Permalink

see this is allgreek to me. permalinks?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 11:21:29 PM Permalink

In admin panel: Settings > Permalinks

The default setting is at the top of the list. Pick something else.

Anything else.

If you don't, the plugin returns errors, the quests won't function, and you have to wear a Stupid Teacher T-shirt for a whole week.


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/22/13 6:16:06 PM Permalink

I wear that tshirt pretty much every day.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 12:04:55 PM Permalink


Edit: Am currently getting a warning in Stats page and am investigating. This will be addressed as soon as Semar wakes from his late night coding marathon.

Note to Self: Follow your own instructions! (Forgot to change the Permalink structure and that caused the error. Stupid teacher!)

Game On > Badge Designer (courtesy of these guys and a whole bunch of custom coding from Semar). And yes, you can also create your own designs in Illustrator or Photoshop. Just save as a PNG with a transparent background.

I've got a presentation in a few hours at our district's first TechFest. After the event, I'll spend the day recording those step by step videos I've been promising (but waiting for necessary functionality to begin).

Short Version: Badges (or Achievements or whatever you want to call them) can be set to be awarded when a student reaches Level X and/or the shortcode can be inserted into a quest (or anywhere else for that matter). Either way, the badges appear in the student's Stats page.

Epic Win!

Latest Update

Note: Still working on fixing the Task > Add New Task glitch. Until we've got a fix, New Page > Insert Task is the answer.

terrence banks

Posted on 9/21/13 4:45:09 PM Permalink


For some reason my task content does not show up now..on my test site as well as main site.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 9:08:01 PM Permalink

Ack! That was supposed to be fixed. Will jump on this today and fix before Monday... I hope. Moved to top of the priorities.

Sorry, Terrence.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 10:36:42 PM Permalink

Terrence, snag the latest update and your content is back.

(We're working on getting it to display in the editor.)

That one's 100% my fault for not double-checking before posting. The fix credit goes to Semar (who didn't cause the problem in the first place).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 1:56:00 AM Permalink

Want to know why the content disappeared?

!== instead of == in an if statement

Fixed now. Grab the update.

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/21/13 6:15:29 PM Permalink

please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please step by step videos for us luddites.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/21/13 6:32:03 PM Permalink

Can students receive a badge for simply opening a page (Hidden page). Also just curious as it might be too difficult, but could a badge be awarded if a student completes all quests in a certain category?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 10:46:15 PM Permalink

Two questions. Two answers...

1. Yes. (Just tested it.)

2. Q: How does the category know if you're done adding quests to it?

2. A: Right now, just add the badge to the last quest in the category (when you're sure you're there.*

*Maybe we can figure something out later but right now... :)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/22/13 12:28:43 AM Permalink

I would love to "someday down the road" be able to have students earn a badge for completing 5 or 10 optional quests from a series like all the toolbar or technique quests. Bascially, a badge for quantity completed rather than in a sequence. Using the last quest in a sequence is certainly a solution for now, as this suggestion is more of a wish list piece.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:03:50 AM Permalink

Have you added that to the Wish List?

(Rhetorical question. Already looked. Make it so.)

I'm recording videos right now. :)

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/24/13 5:07:40 PM Permalink

Love this suggestion!

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/22/13 5:31:30 AM Permalink

I was going to mention the same. Similar to the progress bar suggested by Rob. Say, 5 Illustrator tutorials gets you Illustrator Noob badge, 10 gets you Illustrator Apprentice, etc.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:10:12 PM Permalink

To do this, we should probably settle on a uniform method of identifying the respective quest collections.

Categories? Tags?

A retroactive fix might be possible.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/22/13 1:06:43 AM Permalink

Oh my gosh! I was able to upload and award a badge. It actually showed up in the Demo Student's Stats Page!!!!! I can't believe I inserted the shortcode correctly. haha So exciting!!!!

: 0 )


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:04:49 AM Permalink

You make my day, Annette!

Looks like you won't need the videos.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/22/13 2:54:57 PM Permalink

Thanks for the videos. I watched some last night and will be rewatching them today. (especially the Shortcode Buddy video.)

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/21/13 12:12:01 AM Permalink

Happy Friday evening to you all. I cannot imagine taking this journey with anyone else. The dialogue, the posts, the energy, the enthusiasm... You all make me want to be better - and push me beyond my comfort zone with each update.

I am failing often right now, but my students are having a good time in class, and we are making forward progress despite all obstacles.

I know there is much time being spent on this endeavor. Thank you.

Thank you for exemplifying #eduawesome day in and day out. Enjoy your weekends. (And, yes, I'm looking forward to that next release *tomorrow* :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/21/13 3:01:37 AM Permalink

Thanks, Kelly. It's been a great week, indeed! I am slowly learning my way around, and the Game On team has been very helpful in pointing me in the right direction. Here's to a continued awesome adventure for us all!



Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 3:23:14 AM Permalink

Annette, I love your relentless optimism and positive attitude as you navigate the gamified rapids. You're an inspiration!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 3:23:02 AM Permalink

It's great to have you with us, Kelly. The failure/fun mode you describe is the norm.

I'm looking forward to the update as well because I have a presentation tomorrow morn and I'm counting on the new features!

If not, I guess it's failure/fun mode for me too. :)

Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/21/13 12:09:42 AM Permalink

Happy Friday evening to you all. I cannot imagine taking this journey with anyone else. The dialogue, the posts, the energy, the enthusiasm... You all make me want to be better - and push me beyond my comfort zone with each update.

I am failing often right now, but my students are having a good time in class, and we are making forward progress despite all obstacles.

I know there is much time being spent on this endeavor. Thank you.

Thank you for exemplifying #eduawesome day in and day out. Enjoy your weekends. (And, yes, I'm looking forward to that next release *tomorrow* :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/20/13 3:43:04 PM Permalink

Anyone else like me and forgetting to click the little box to open mission posts in new windows and wish the DEFAULT was to open in new window all the time???


Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/20/13 4:08:47 PM Permalink

Not sure if I have more links open in a new window or move to a new page. Perhaps more windows opening in new pages would benefit some navigation issues. I might consider the change.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/20/13 4:13:35 PM Permalink

I meant a new tab... And that solution didn't work.

Figuring it out now. Will post when solved.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/20/13 4:50:25 PM Permalink

Ugh... I give up. I'd have to hack tinymce (the code used to bring up that navigator)

If the kids leave the mission and then go back to it, it's giving the extra points/gold. That's why I'm trying to fix it.

Think I have a solution that will help with usability AND allow you to change points later for a quest if you made a mistake, it will update them for all users.

Requires heavier coding than I can do... will post suggestion to the guys on GIT

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/20/13 9:10:22 PM Permalink

Uh oh! We thought we had fixed that problem, because I was dealing with the same issues. I put all my movies in lightboxes now so that helps prevent most but I didn't realize it was still giving students repeat points when returning to the quests.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 2:09:29 AM Permalink

There's absolutely no extra points being awarded for backward nav on any of our test sites. Are you able to record the problem to demonstrate what you're referring to?

If it's still happening we need to address.

Note: The Encounter stage will show first stage points in the growl on back nav but no points are actually added to the totals. That's the only glitch we're aware of.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 3:16:59 AM Permalink

Just made a new quest with links on each stage that open in the same window and no extra points or currency was added upon using the back arrow in the browser (even, surprisingly, in the encounter stage).

If this is a problem elsewhere, we need to get to the bottom of it. Can someone confirm that this is a problem? And if you can record the miscue, that'd be valuable as well.

Rob, am I describing the issue you're reporting correctly?


Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/21/13 4:21:27 AM Permalink

Yeah I think I am agreeing with Mike. The Growl image came up saying my students earned an extra 10 points but they were not actually awarded to them in their stats anywhere so it looks bad but no harm so I am fine with dealing with it as we won't even encounter it much with the lightboxes in full use now.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/21/13 6:39:12 PM Permalink

I'm still getting it. I have kids with 389 gold when there's only about 80 possible so far in the game. They're getting it with back buttons.

Will get more info and feeb back on monday. at 389, it was obviously abused. I might not reboot them if they help me solve the problem- I'll just wipe out their gold completely.

Possible Solution- don't save the point values in the user's database, save the progress of the quest and pull actual values from an array of possible points for the quest. If they're level 3 and it re-appoints level 3 again, it won't matter.

Once I find in the database where it's storing stuff, I'll post suggestion

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:41:07 PM Permalink

From a comment below but reposted here for clarity:

I just realized something very, very obvious that I'd not considered before.

Rob has hacked the code and is using a modified version of Game On.

It's entirely possible that he's seeing the old problem of extra gold in his game while we are not. Making a video is not necessary because the problem isn't on our end.

The hacker may be getting bit by his own code.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/21/13 7:19:36 PM Permalink

Ok... looks like the database already refers to the quest. Seems to be storing:

  1. user - who gets the points
  2. status - how far in the quest
  3. post - the quest itself
  4. points - points earned
  5. currency- $ earned
  6. attendance - Attendance scored
  7. reason - ?? assuming leftover from add bar
  8. Page ID- page holding the quest
  9. Count- ?? assuming for repeats?

So what if you just held this instead...
  • User
  • Post - mission itself
  • status - how far they got
  • Count - (repeats)
And a separate table holds the values for points, currency, repeat, and page ID? then when you call the stats page, it hits that array, and grabs values according to status and count.

Then have a separate table for users to store attendance, that holds just date, time, IP? If some teachers or non-teachers don't want to use it (it's a very teacherly thing), then don't even create the table and those entries. Any use where mandatory attendance isn't required would just not even setup that table. Switch it off in GO settings.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 12:48:28 PM Permalink

I'll pass this suggestion on to Semar.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 10:52:02 PM Permalink

Rob, the extra gold has to be leftover from before the fix. We can't get our quests to cough up extra XP or Gold any more.

Not sure what to say other than capture the event on Monday. If it's still a problem somehow, we'll work on it. But right now, it's not on our radar.

You can always just zap the extra loot via the add bar and move on if it's not happening any more.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:15:30 PM Permalink

I just realized something very, very obvious that I'd not considered before.

Rob has hacked the code and is using a modified version of Game On.

It's entirely possible that he's seeing the old problem of extra gold in his game while we are not. Making a video is not necessary because the problem isn't on our end.

The hacker may be getting bit by his own code.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 2:47:16 PM Permalink

Rob, if you're going to use a modified version of Game On—and I applaud you for boldly going where no teacher has gone before—you might want to create a test site to compare the results of our current plugin to those you're seeing on your modified version.

If the results differ, that will enable you to determine whose code is responsible.

Make sense?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/22/13 4:37:33 PM Permalink

Perfect sense... but I'm not running a modified version. My changes got rolled into the core and I'm using that.

It's easy to tell what set of code I'm using... It's version number

Oh, wait... :)

Can I make again the suggestion to start changing that version number? It will really help troubleshoot.

Every time the code is changed and announced, just make the version 0.YR.MO.DY.change... so today's version in the morning would be if we find a problem and update fixes the same day... would be the version number.

I have another version on GIT but it's just CSS changes anyway to make the stats page display right on chrome on PC and remove some orange. :) But CSS can't change functionality, only visibility at most.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 4:54:22 PM Permalink

Then I'm completely baffled as to how the back button is affecting you and your students but not others. Video?

The versioning is essential and will be part of our workflow from this point forward. I'll pass that along.

As for the Stats page... it's butt-ugly. Form is WAY behind function at this point. It hurts my eyes to look at it but it works and we'll continue to add functionality.

Thanks for everything you do.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/23/13 4:27:42 AM Permalink

I don't know how they're doing it either. I can't make it do it... but they did on Wesdnesday. I update code every time I see you post.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/20/13 2:33:16 PM Permalink

I thought I had quests figured out. When I create a task and then try to insert task on new page, it create a new page but doesn't put the shortcode in there. Am I missing something because I thought we had that problem resolved.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 3:37:03 AM Permalink

It was. I just confirmed this is an issue with the latest update.

For now, the workaround is to begin with a new page and Insert Task. That works as advertised.

Have reported this to the guys and we should have a fix ASAP.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/21/13 4:22:46 AM Permalink

Thanks for the confirmation. Thats all I need. I just have to keep confirming I don't lose my mind at 1am or so in the morning when I am still publishing :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 11:15:16 AM Permalink

The guys were working on the same page independently and something went wrong with the merge, knocking out this feature.

Hoping for a fix this weekend. Until then, New Page > Insert Task is the answer.

Your mind is safe. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/20/13 1:49:02 AM Permalink


Is so slick... but doesn't recognize [get_displayname]


Fix on the way...

UPDATE: Note to self: When working on a new test site, be sure to install Shortcode Buddy or shortcodes won't work.

The [get_displayname] shortcode is working just fine.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/20/13 3:29:38 PM Permalink

Lots of things working like this...

Think it has to do with this. a lot of my shortcodes I use in other areas of the site are broken in missions... I'm poking through the code trying to understand the structure...

A nice readme might help. *wink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 11:24:12 AM Permalink

But remember that the broken functionality on BrainBuffet was working when I checked it (in our email conversation). I never asked the guys to check via their PCs though. But the platform shouldn't matter...

Weird. Will probe deeper.

Right now, the ReadMe would come at the expense of functionality.* I'm going to create a fluid set of video tutorials and host it on my site (because the resource I'll also post on the AEE won't be as flexible to maintain).

*The guys are full-time students as well as our coders. Only so many hours to commit. Ezio, our new third (who worked on this last year and is now ready for prime time), should help us move forward more quickly.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/22/13 12:50:25 AM Permalink

Ezio has to be one of the coolest names I have encountered. Perhaps deserving of a characters in the game named Semar, Vincent and Ezio!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 1:04:42 PM Permalink

Agreed. And he's also an uber-exceptional kid. Was talking with his mom yesterday at TechFest (our district tech event -- #techfest13 on twitter if you want more info) and she told me he scored in the top 1% in the nation on the PSAT.

As a freshman.

Other stories are even more amazing. And he's just a junior now.

He goes to Middle College and takes a mix of high school and college classes. His elective involves driving to Valhalla for 2 hours a day in the Mac Lab.

He wants to study computer science.

I think I'm the luckiest teacher in the world.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/22/13 4:42:22 PM Permalink

When it comes to display, not only does platform matter, but even on the same platform, different browsers can matter.

This shouldn't affect the points thing... but display issues can have huge differences among different platforms, browsers, and revisions of browsers.

For example, if you nest display code on one browser, it works, on another it doesn't.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 5:11:07 PM Permalink

Both Semar and Vincent work and test on PCs. I confirm on the Mac end. They both choose to work on Chrome as their primary browser and verify (though not as often as I'd like) on Safari and Firefox.

As I've mentioned before, neither will touch IE and even though it still has a huge following, I'm fine with that. We don't need that headache.

As for browser revisions, that's another area we won't explore.

The future is that way >>>

And that's the only direction we're focused on. :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/22/13 4:56:49 PM Permalink

Right now, the ReadMe would come at the expense of functionality.*

Not sure... because the lack of it comes at the expense of usability... which is often confused for functionality at the user end, and creates "troubleshooting" burdens for non-existent problems for the creator end.

I'm not talking about a novel... but a short reference that addresses the most common issues.

A readme (i'll start writing one) and version numbers save 10x the time they cost... that's why experienced coders all use them once their work is out in the wild. Not a problem when only the coder uses it, but when other do, versioning and documenting saves more problems than it creates for sure.

Got this quote from a friend's website...

At some stage in the process of creation, the creative product—whether painting, poem, or scientific theory–takes on a life of its own and transmits its own needs to its creator. It stands apart from him and summons material from his subconscious. The creator, then, must know when to cease directing his work and when to allow it to direct him. He must know, in short, when his work is likely to be wiser than he.

— George Kneller


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 5:19:09 PM Permalink

Rob, I'm glad you're willing to work on the ReadMe because we've got about 20 fires we're trying to put out right now.

There is ZERO chance I'd ask the guys to work on a ReadMe the near future.

No one has noticed yet but if you look, you might not see the Store in the admin end of your site.

EDIT: Semar just fixed this. *whew*

I'm spending more time on Game On—in this forum, communicating with the guys, and with the people who write directly bypassing the AEE—than I am teaching. It's like having two full-time jobs.

But I'm preaching to the choir. You're spending an inordinate amount of time on this too.

Lucky it's a labor of love.

Oh, love that quote. It sounds so familiar. ;)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/21/13 10:47:33 PM Permalink

Re: Shortcode Buddy

Mike or Rob: What is Shortcode Buddy? I read your comment, Mike, but I don't understand what it means. (In reference to: "UPDATE: Note to self: When working on a new test site, be sure to install Shortcode Buddy or shortcodes won't work.")

Do I need to install Shortcode Buddy?


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 10:58:41 PM Permalink

Shortcode Buddy is Vincent's plugin that, among other things, enables the site to address students by their Display Name (set in their profile on WordPress) via this shortcode:


Other features are described on this page.

It's highly effective to address student by name on your site so yes, you probably want to install it.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/21/13 11:21:14 PM Permalink

Thanks for the explanation, Mike. Getting ready to install it now.


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/19/13 11:03:48 PM Permalink

have some ideas for a modification of the plug:

What about if there was a spot in the stats bar menu that was just a little green button that did a "checkin" kind of like facebook... would record time and IP and could be used for attendance (program it to only click once a day.)

But then ALSO have another RED button that was for the teacher! They can click in if they get extra credit or needs to lose points, and they can enter it like the old add bar themselves, but.... IT NEEDS A PASSWORD AFTER YOU CLICK SUBMIT!!! to eliminate any abuse!!!


Just a thought. Prob beyond my coding ability- but I'll look at it tonight.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/20/13 1:45:28 AM Permalink

Consider that idea passed along to the team. :)


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/20/13 3:40:03 PM Permalink

Thinking about it more with the kids today...

Why is stats page a separate menu? Why not just make it pop up if you click any of your stats in the progress bar menu?
Then to enable attendance, just add the minutes code to the bottom of that menu. They can add or subtract minutes, but not time or XP. Simplifies admin bar for players.

EDIT: will try to code this in today if it's easy enough... at least making all the stats under the progress bar show the stats page.

If I can add the attendance I'll do that as well.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 6:46:22 PM Permalink

Adding a Stats link at the bottom of the list under the Progress Bar makes sense. Great suggestion. Something like this:

  • Points
  • Currency
  • Level
  • Minutes
  • Stats

If it's not overt, users may miss the connection. Yes?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/22/13 6:59:26 PM Permalink

If we were to allow admin to toggle attendance on or off, why not just make it function on login?

The problem with positive manual attendance is that kids will forget. I run a pretty tight ship and lots of kids forgot last year. When we switched to negative attendance in the second semester, there was almost universal joy at the news.

Virtually every kid thought positive attendance was a pointless PITA. (Sure, it's cool for us but do you think they care about that?)

The auto login would track every single login and that info might be worthwhile.* Tracking activity is off the table.

*Might chew processor cycles on initial login though.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/19/13 9:50:29 PM Permalink

Clarifying Pages and Posts... A good read for anyone moving their curriculum online... You'll be tempted to use pages at first... consider taxonomy instead!!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/19/13 9:14:12 PM Permalink

Ahem... Click.

Just place shortcode at Level X or in a quest. Shows up on Stats page.

Coming Saturday. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/20/13 3:28:14 AM Permalink

This is so exciting!!! Can't wait to add my badges . . . Will stay tuned.


Kelly Kermode

Posted on 9/21/13 12:04:29 AM Permalink

Wahoo! Love this!!!!

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/19/13 3:04:02 PM Permalink

Re: Quest Formatting Question

Mike: I am editing my first Quest. While inside the "Quest Options", I click on Rank 1 for the Required Rank section. When I click "Update", the platform changes the entry to "Level 2". For some reason, the "Level 1" designation isn't sticking.

Any suggestions?


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/19/13 9:11:10 PM Permalink

Try it now, Annette.

I changed your Level 1 Rank to 0 points so it didn't conflict with Level 2. (You had accidentally set both to 100.)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/20/13 3:22:11 AM Permalink

Ouch. Right, Level 1 Rank needs to be set at 0.

Just retried it, and everything is working!



Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/20/13 1:22:52 PM Permalink

Great news to begin a Friday. I love it when everything works!

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/19/13 1:51:52 AM Permalink

I can't even figure out how to add student users now. I think I might be in the wrong class. I should be in remedial.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/19/13 8:31:12 AM Permalink

Every journey begins with a single step...

I prefer to fold the process into the self-paced orientation model we're using this year, adding users manually via the Users > Add New option in the admin panel. You'll need a username (I use student ID) and a unique email address. (I collect these via a Google Form that doubles as our class contract or job application as some call it.) Then I set a generic password and post it on the board.

Important: Leave the Role set to Subscriber (the default setting).

In their first quest, students login, change their password, add their real name, a nickname (their display name in the game), website, period, and computer number. (This info is collected and sorted by our Clipboard. Very useful admin tool.)

Many of the others here choose to automate or delegate the process. Rob Schwartz shares his fav method here. And I'm sure others will offer tips if you want to avoid a couple of hours of manual data entry.

Does that help?

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/21/13 2:02:13 PM Permalink

Do you have access to a SiS where you can download your roster to a CSV? We moved to Google Apps for Education a year ago, so all of our students have school Gmail accounts. I am able to download those as part of the CSV, too. I use: I also make their username and password the same as the computer using: Passenger OSX.

Download class roster

Open in Numbers

Delete superflous columns/rows

Import into Passenger

Set username/password (I do initials + id number; password = birthday as 8 digits)


I use that process for creating students accounts for computers, student blogs on self hosted Wordpress, student users on Game On site.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/22/13 3:04:00 PM Permalink

Ryan: Thanks for including the CSV instructions. I'll make a note of the steps in my ever-growing instructions document.

: )


Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/19/13 12:26:01 AM Permalink

WordPress Pluging Question for Rob Schwartz

Rob: Do you know of a particular WordPress plugin that creates a row of photos (and text descriptions) at the bottom of the page, similarly to the formatting shown at the bottom of Mike's Web page? (One of the pics says "Nuts and Bolts".)


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/19/13 7:12:29 PM Permalink

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/20/13 3:24:11 AM Permalink

Thanks for showing me this, Rob! I've had a GREAT week learning from everyone, and I appreciate your assistance.

( 0 :


Donald Peters

Posted on 9/20/13 12:19:31 PM Permalink

do you install the whole .zip or open it and only install the parts you want?

When I tried to install the whole .zip it told me the file size exceeded max.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/21/13 3:10:09 AM Permalink

Donald, I'm not sure. I will be experimenting with the plugin over the weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 4:01:49 AM Permalink

Sorry, I missed this.

Install the ZIP. I've never used that particular plugin so I can't vouch for it but that's the way it works.

Alternate approach: Go to Plugins > Add New, type Shortcodes Ultimate (or whatever you're looking for) in the search field, locate the plugin you're looking for in the list (it's usually the first one in the list if you used its full name), click Install Now,* then Activate.

*It's probably a good idea to click on Details first to check out reviews, the developer's site, how current the plugin is, and other relevant details.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 9:46:01 PM Permalink

Just a heads up. I'm being interviewed tomorrow by Gabe Zickermann at 10:00 EST PST*. Will be archived so my babbling will live on to confuse future generations. ;)

*Thanks, Annette. You are 100% correct. 1:00 EST, 10:00 PST, and other times in the middle. :P

Hey, I grew up on the West Coast. I always thought that Fresno was the Mid-West.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/19/13 12:09:03 AM Permalink

Congrats, Mike! The site has the time as 1 pm EST. Will see ya there. I attended one last year (I was the person in the audience asking when were the major LMS players going to offer gamification plugins.) So glad you and your students are on the cutting edge!


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/20/13 1:34:59 PM Permalink

It was great to see you there, Annette. (And now I know what part of the country you hail from.) I watched the archive last night and cringed at how many times I failed to bring the gamified elements into the conversation—even when prompted.


Live and learn. :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/21/13 3:08:24 AM Permalink

You did great, Mike! Hey, did you notice that Gabe extended a speaker invite to you for a future conference?

The MLM team is on to something great! Tell your team that we teachers are learning new things thanks to them!

:0 )


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/21/13 4:04:10 AM Permalink

Thanks for the kind words and no, I didn't notice. (I've got a big blind spot in front of my face.)

I'll pass along your props to the guys. :)

Donald Peters

Posted on 9/19/13 5:38:38 PM Permalink

Of course my district has the plugin blocked. I'm sure you were fantastic and I look forward to the archived edition (viewed at home of course)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/19/13 9:33:05 PM Permalink

Lots of fun. A little too much rambling but that's par for the course. (Sorry, Gabe. ;)

Archived Version

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/18/13 3:20:58 PM Permalink

Attn: WordPress Newbies

If you're like me, you're relatively new to WordPress. has released a new video covering the latest version of WordPress2013. The good news is that this 30 minute video is accessible for free (at least as of 10 am Friday, Sept. 18 it's appearing as freely accessible on the Web site).

Sept. 20 Update: Jeff Bradbury also has WordPress tutorials posted on his TeacherCast Web site:



Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 4:38:29 PM Permalink

Nice find, Annette. It does seem to be freely accessible right now.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/18/13 1:32:19 PM Permalink

Just a small change request...

When a task has a level requirement, a message saying, "You need 175 points to begin this task." appears when the level has not yet been reached.

Would it be an easy change to say " You need 175 MORE points to begin this task." I think it is just a bit clearer. Also could we ever change the term "points" to whatever we term we have chosen. That might be to much for now but maybe later?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 4:18:24 PM Permalink

More is absolutely, positively necessary for clarity. (I forgot about that one.)

Making the "points" dynamic to reflect our chosen term is also doable and worth doing.

Great suggestions, Adam! Both added to Wish List.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/19/13 9:52:22 PM Permalink


I coded it in the other night and think the guys already brought it into the core. Re-download and reinstall. the newest version hides missions and store items when you're making a link, and adds the word "more."

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/17/13 10:30:43 PM Permalink

On the theme of "Simplify"...


Hey guys... for those of you that want to do it yourself... here is a video explaining how to edit the code for game on so that the missions don't show up in the list of pages to link to:


In the plugin folder, change line 29 in game-on-master/types/tasks/task.php to be false.

Here is a video on how to do it in cpanel.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/18/13 2:38:47 AM Permalink

I have added your video to my Game On instructions document. Still very new to the coding concepts, and I appreciate your sharing of the troubleshooting strategies.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 10:17:06 AM Permalink

I've once again asked the guys to look into whether or not this might cause any unforeseen problems. If it looks safe (and it certainly seems benign enough), I've asked them to include that in the next update because it's an epic usability plus. (Thanks, Rob.)

You guys are free to manually hack the code but you're also invited do it on Game On's GitHub home. We're open source. Register, create a fork, and we'll merge it if it improves the plugin without apparent side effects.

If you do it manually you'll (possibly) have to repeat the process with each update (if the update includes whatever page you've hacked).

Game On!

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/18/13 3:16:14 PM Permalink

Adding your instructions to my Game On documentation . . .

Thanks for a further explanation regarding the "order of things". (Rest easy that I won't be hacking the code any time soon - My brain seizes up everytime I look at a CSS page. haha)


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/18/13 5:47:41 PM Permalink

I'm on my second week of the tweak... and no problems surfacing here...

All it does to wordpress is tell it where to display and not display the content type... since it is a shortcode anyway to get it into a viewable area, and viewing it directly doesn't work... it shouldn't cause any problems.

To hide the store items from being linkable (doesn't work anyway,) change line 67 of the following file the same way.


Until the guys figure out how to just make the items directly linkable by including display features... this solves the usability issue.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/18/13 5:59:31 PM Permalink

There's a branch on Github. I didn't know how to fork it... but I did a branch and that seems to be correct... Mine shows up separately and they still have the original.

Please feel free to send the guys my email so they can email me and tell me how to do it right if I just screwed something up. :)

UPDATE- think I forked.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/18/13 6:27:18 PM Permalink

HERE is my fork if you want to download a prepatched version... I think I'm doing this right.

You want to get the brainbuffetbranch from github.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/18/13 7:02:53 PM Permalink

NEW version in the fork fixes the "need (more) points" issue.

UPDATE- I think they added it to the base plugin.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 9:40:42 PM Permalink

Rob Schwartz, Code Hero!

Keep hacking, bro. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 5:12:54 PM Permalink

Vincent ran out of time this morning but we have an improved method of creating tasks that should go live later today.

The four primary text fields are now called:

  • Encounter Message
  • Accept Message
  • Completion Message
  • Mastery Message
  • (Still working on getting the optional Repeat Message to function as intended)

And in that order. No more pretzel logic! (Remember that album?)

Minimum Level, Points, Currency, and Title are all at the top. (No presets for points and currency yet but it's a high priority.)

Plus we've axed a lot of the confusing options.

Simplify is our mantra right now.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/17/13 7:44:19 PM Permalink

"Simplify is our mantra right now."

Me likey. :) I know a space shuttle must be fun to fly... but everyone can ride a bike. :)

Carrie Foster

Posted on 9/17/13 4:07:11 PM Permalink

Just downloaded the plugin this morning and and am definitely a newbie (in gaming as well as WordPress), so please excuse the questions that might come flooding in from me. I am trying to design a Professional Development game for teachers in my district. The focus of the game is to learn about educational technology and start integrating technology in a meaningful way into the classroom.

I got the plug in installed (from the admin side and then on my individual site). However, when I go to edit the ranks (as shown in your video) I am unable to add any ranks or remove the ones that are already pre-loaded. In addition, in your video, your sidebar on the left has a tab that reads "Tasks". On my sidebar there is only a blank tab between "Pages" and "Store"! What am I doing wrong???

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 5:04:19 PM Permalink

Welcome to the party, Carrie. Great to have you on board. Don't fret questions, just fire away.


In the admin panel, click on Game On and fill in the blank Singular (and plural) Task Names. Whatever you call your Tasks (Quest, Mission, Cage Match, etc.) will populate that empty field. (This is a gotcha that's 100% our fault. We need to populate that field with a generic name.)

Look at the other fields too and feel free to change names (you can always change them again later).

I also turn the Add Switch off to avoid confusion early in the year. You make that call.

As for the Ranks, be sure to click the + button after entering information in the other fields. If you do and nothing happens, chances are it's an issue on the server side.

Try that and please confirm whether it works or not.

One last thing to always keep in mind. :)

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/17/13 2:24:13 PM Permalink

For the Stats Page, when you click on a task in the list, it takes you to the generic task page with no buttons so the students still have to find the original task on the post to hit them.

Also, on the Clipboard, I think it would be awesome if I, as the admin, could click a student's name and it would show me all the specific tasks they need to do so when I'm doing my evaluation it's a little bit easier to talk to them.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 4:44:45 PM Permalink

The Stats page creates accurate links for quests created AFTER that particular update was installed. Old quests are in Limbo. (Semar couldn't get a retroactive fix to work.)

Inelegant Solution: Create a list of links for the kids to access to locate the old quests.

The next Clipboard update will provide links to student Stats pages via their ID number so you'll get your wish. Kinda sorta.

Names lead to webpages at present.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/17/13 7:34:15 PM Permalink

Sounds good! Too bad about the retroactive fix. Is that a permanent problem or is there some solution out there that might do it?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 9:12:40 PM Permalink

Semar's a genius. He may come up with a fix.*

*He already told me, "No way" but I know he reads this to stay current with everyone's feedback.

Nothing's impossible, but the fix might delay other more pressing needs. For now, I'd post links to the early quests and point the students there for temporary navigation. In a few weeks those quests will be an ancient memory anyway.

Apologies. Tech happens. :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/17/13 7:47:51 PM Permalink

If you're making them all posts in a category or collection of categories, try this.

if they're pages (my old way, but I'm moving toward posts), try this.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 9:16:57 PM Permalink

That's what I get for not reading on. Great suggestion, Rob.

The second one is covered by Shortcode Buddy though:

[page_grab] Grabs the Page Title of each page you have and lists them.*

[post_grab] Grabs the Post Title of each post you have and lists them.*

*Each title is a link to the respective page/post.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/18/13 3:47:45 AM Permalink

What would be the advantage of posts over pages?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/19/13 9:58:23 PM Permalink

Click. That should pretty much answer it in a non-technical way.

In reality, there are no differences- just how they're displayed.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/19/13 10:04:24 PM Permalink

I cranked this out to explain the differences. The main "advantage" as we're concerned is that posts are "lighter" on the server than pages.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 10:02:21 AM Permalink

Ryan, I posted my thoughts on the pages+posts strategy right here.

EDIT: But I hadn't been aware of Rob's info at the time.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/16/13 3:09:53 PM Permalink

Re: Retesting a Level 1 Quest

How can I Zero Out the Exp, Gold, and start at Level 1?

I'm trying to get to the screen which has the "Accept" button for the Level 1, Quest 1 activity.

Currently, I'm showing as completed for Level 1 and am in Level 2. Not sure how I can get back to Level 1 so that I can check to see if my "Accept" button is working correctly for the quest.

Right now, my status bar is showing


0 Exp

0 Gold

Level 2

(definitely messed it up)

Any suggestions? (I want to zero out my scores and start at Level 1, Quest, 1).


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/16/13 3:38:19 PM Permalink

We're working on that feature but want to be very careful because it has the potential to wreak havoc.

To test from scratch, create a fake student account and test away. (I usually do this in a second browser -- Admin in Safari, student in Chrome -- so I can stay logged in to both at once.)

Take a screenshot of your ranks and email to to me.

And always remember... :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/17/13 2:01:09 AM Permalink

Glad I asked. : 0 ) Will be testing with the Demo Student from now on.
Just emailed my screenshots.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 2:18:54 AM Permalink

I'm baffled. We may need access to the admin panel to troubleshoot.

If your comfortable in doing so, email me a temporary admin account and we'll look behind the scenes to see if we can spot the problem.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/17/13 4:45:36 PM Permalink

Thanks, Mike. Will email the info right now.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 1:05:27 PM Permalink

Just in case anyone else encounters this problem, the reason for the odd behavior seems to be that Level 1 (or whatever you choose to call the first step in your game) was set to something other than 0.

The points for each level = the starting point for each level. We start with 0 points and so does the first level.


  1. Delete the first Rank
  2. Add a New Rank (Points = 0)
  3. Click Fix the Ranks button
  4. Navigate to another page (you may need a page refresh)
  5. Points should work as expected

To be honest, ZERO points for Level 1 confused me the first time I tried this too.
Did that work, Annette?

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/18/13 3:29:11 PM Permalink

Re: Annette's Update and Question about the counting of Levels

Hello, Mike. Yes, it worked. Thanks for the steps and explanation.

I'm becoming more familiar with the platform. So, when a student clicks on the "Accept" button for the first Quest activity, that is counted as a level, eg Level 1. Next, when the student clicks on the "complete" button, the platform will count that as completion of Level 2. When the student clicks on the last button "Mastery", the platform will count that as having completed Level 3.

Then . . . When the student moves on to the next quest and clicks on the "Accept" button for the new quest, the platform will count it as Level 4, and clicking on the "Complete" button will be counted as Level 5, and the student's clicking on the "Mastery" button will be counted as "Level 6".

Is this right?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/13 5:01:41 PM Permalink

Glad the fix worked.

As for Levels, what you describe could be right if you staggered your points for each quest stage to match the points you set in Ranks but that's not how you have things set up. (And that's a good thing.)

Let me explain...

A quest is worth X number of points. Let's say 50 for this example with the points awarded as follows:

  • 5 (Encountered)
  • 5 (Accepted)
  • 10 (Completed)
  • 30 (Mastered)

Your points for each Level are set in Ranks. Let's say Level 2 is set at 100. In that case, you'd be half way to Level 2 with 50/100 points.
Does that make sense?
The trick is to set points so that students don't jump through the levels too quickly. One quest shouldn't move them through multiple levels.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/19/13 2:41:57 PM Permalink

Ahhhhh . . . Okay. Got it. Headed to the site to take a look at my Rank scoring and will spread out the Quest point allocation eg 5,5,10,30.



Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/16/13 5:04:53 AM Permalink


Too late for lots of details. In short:

  • Leaderboards in Stats (pretty cool implementation too)
  • Names link to websites in Clipboard (names are last, first now too)
  • No double points on back button or refresh
  • Round trip editing
  • Deactivate button on front end* (for emergencies)
  • Cool new progress bar (you may have to empty cache, refresh the page, or log out and back in to get it to appear correctly)

*Will be less garish in next update.

IMPORTANT: If you're using the new plugin, don't click Fix Ranks until we sort this out (see below).

There's no problem. Carry On and Game On! :)

New Version

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/16/13 11:42:13 AM Permalink

I held off on updating for so long because I worried something would go wrong and then at the last minute, right before I left for school, I decided to update.

And... there's a problem. :(

Here's what I get when I hit the Fix Ranks button:

It gives me a timeout error and the progress bar has some numbers and the "filling" sticking out of it.

Is the timeout error something I need to change in PHP? and the filling - is that because of my theme?

EDIT: I emptied the cache and reloaded to fix the progress bar error (like you said to do originally - DUH). Fix Ranks error is still a problem though.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/16/13 12:05:32 PM Permalink

I don't think either Semar or I even thought to try clicking Fix Ranks. I've passed the info along.

Sincere apologies, Nathan! Roll back to the prior version on GitHub. It works fine (as far as I know).

EVERYONE: If you're using the new plugin, don't click Fix Ranks until we sort this out.

Working fine. Ignore warning.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/16/13 1:05:03 PM Permalink

It's okay! I'm not ungrateful. :)

It seems like the points and everything works so I'm not worried but do I need to use that button after I put in everyone's period and computer?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/16/13 3:28:11 PM Permalink

No. Just when you change existing Ranks.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 2:21:04 AM Permalink

Semar reports he never touched ranks and thinks it was just your server balking. We can't replicate the error.

Hopefully it was just a transitory event that won't repeat.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/17/13 2:11:28 PM Permalink

Okay, I just added a new Rank to test and when I hit Fix ranks it all worked out fine.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 7:11:09 PM Permalink

HUGE sigh of relief. Thanks for the news!

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/16/13 2:09:39 PM Permalink

Not confirmed yet by the class but I don't believe the leaderboard is functioning yet. I can see it in the stats page but I can't select a period and no actual data show for anyone yet. I checked safari and chrome. Did I miss anything?

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/16/13 2:36:43 PM Permalink

Yeah, I was trying to find that too. I don't know if it's working either.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/16/13 3:29:43 PM Permalink

Try dragging a period from the Options to Display to the Displaying field.

Cool, eh?

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/16/13 5:08:16 PM Permalink

THAT IS AWESOME! Works Perfect. My students will be stoked! And I jus realized they have the ability to see overall leader board or just their class!! Awesome solution to that dilemma!

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/16/13 6:40:38 PM Permalink

As awesome as it is to have this work - is it a problem that we couldn't figure it out on first glance? Maybe those should just be buttons you can push to make them appear? Just a thought.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 2:27:59 AM Permalink

You probably have a valid point but we have tons of functionality yet to activate and need to keep moving.

Maybe this should go on the long-term wish list.

Aside: This functionality was originally designed by a third member of our team (Ezio) and I'd really like to keep it in place for now to give the kid some props.

Plus there's a lot we can do with similar drag and drop interface elements. Maybe with time...

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/17/13 2:14:33 PM Permalink

Yeah, I think it's a neat function for sure! It's fun to play with.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/17/13 2:35:02 AM Permalink

Glad I read this because I just learned how to add my Demo Student to a Period / Computer Group in the

User Profile section.

Neat to see the Leaderboard info.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/14/13 7:58:45 PM Permalink


Semar and Vincent are checking for code conflicts before uploading to GitHub. (They've been working on two separate sections.) I saw both of these work in class on Friday on a test site:

1. Back button points issue solved. (We can't do anything about a browser being unaware of a page change but the points are no longer collected when the button reappears and is clicked on return.)

Drumroll please...

2. Round trip editing! A dream come true. :)


Working out the last kinks in the Store too.

Important: Name your Store page something other than "store" because the Store Items may be archived at that URL. (Think of it as our way of keeping you from being generic.) :P

Example: Our store is called MLM Store. (MLM = Mac Lab Media)

When finished, points, currency, and time should function as expected.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/14/13 9:48:00 PM Permalink

Awesome!!! My students are going to manually calculate correct scores on Monday and I am going to put the clipboard up on projector as a makeshift leader board.

What exactly is round trip editing?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/14/13 11:27:00 PM Permalink

You may not have to produce a "makeshift" leaderboard. (That's what Semar's working on right now. We'll see if that comes through with this update.)

Round Trip Editing

  1. Publish Task (Quest, Mission, whatever you call it)
  2. Discover mistake, missing info, etc.
  3. Click Edit Task link
  4. Correct mistake, add info, etc.
  5. Click Return to Page (this never worked before)

The big change is that the link actually takes you back to the page the students encounter and you don't have to search for it.
Not sure if this was an issue for you guys but it was a huge headache for me. (Semar knows how happy I was to see this on Friday.)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/14/13 11:56:18 PM Permalink

That will definitely be appreciated. It was frustrating for me as well. Just curious though what happens if the quest in placed on two different pages? Does it just go back to the most recent one you were at?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/15/13 12:15:10 AM Permalink

No idea, but...

Why would you place the same quest on two different pages?

Just a Thought: If I needed to do that I'd create two identical tasks so they'd have two different IDs to track.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/15/13 12:37:21 AM Permalink

I was thinking when different classes use the same site but...yeah still don't know why I couldn't direct them to the same quest if it fits the story. If it doesn't I would need a separate similar quest anyway. Scrap that question.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/13/13 11:56:41 PM Permalink

Ok... So I'm thinking about the usability and a wider spread (Our county wants to implement district wide... about 150 schools). Here are some ideas that I believe should be easy to implement, and interested in other thoughts on solutions in the mean time if you have any:

1- quest presets- instead of entering the points and $$ each time- how about quest presets (like small, medium, large, xlarge, and EPIC?) these would need to be set up in the admin area, but then you can just choose a package so you don't have to remember/enter points each time.

2- keywords on quests... just to add the strength of taxonomy and all the searchability and such. also, might allow removal of hierarchy which is pretty heavy on the database.

3- Change button functions. To insert a quest, have a button that brings up the "create new" page in the overlay, but have an option in there to choose existing quest. Then you don't need any of the other buttons... Just "Insert Quest" on a page or post that brings up a dialog to insert or create new. remove extra and redundant buttons.

4. "Check in" option for admin bar- right now you can have the add button in there or not... How about another option called "checkin" that ONLY allows kids to click to drop in attendance once a day? Just date stamps the click and registers the time you specify. One button to say they're there. Then they can't change points, but they can still self manage attendance.

Those are the ones I think would be easy and seem to be the stumbling blocks or fill in gaps.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/14/13 7:18:03 PM Permalink

Great suggestions, Rob. Responses:

1 - Great idea. Added to Wish List.

2 - Another great idea. It was in the original plan but never got implemented. Added to Wish List. (? - I don't understand how hierarchy is heavy on the database.)

3 - Agreed. Already working on this. Very confusing at present.

4 - We tried this last year and decided (rather unanimously) that positive attendance is busywork. Why mark yourself present 180 times when you can just mark yourself absent a few times?

You forgot one (that will be live later today). :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/17/13 5:43:03 PM Permalink

On Heirarchy:

from the Codex.


( boolean ) ( optional ) Whether the post type is hierarchical (e.g. page). Allows Parent to be specified. The 'supports' parameter should contain 'page-attributes' to show the parent select box on the editor page.

Default: false

Note: this parameter was planned for Pages. Be careful, when choosing it for your custom post type - if you are planning to have many entries (say - over 100), you will run into memory issue. With this parameter set to true WordPress will fetch all entries of that particular post type, together with all meta data, on each administration page load for your post type.


Personally, I've begun to make the shift to posts on a couple sites I run that have a lot of pages... there are a LOT of helpful aspects of the standard post vs page- primarily the filter by category. I now organize my site by thinking about the type of data rather than the bits of data- (for you and I, Mike, by character in the game). This way I can also easily grab and post the topics.


Another perspective on attendance... If the button recorded their IP and time of their click, it would check them in, do the attendance "points/minutes" automatically, and then verify that they were at school. For you, with your policy of the bell... the time of checkin would be recorded as well. This could be the "official Clock" of the class and determine who's tardy, etc...

And for those like me, who are TERRIBLE at attendance, it would really help if the kids were helping with that procedure! ;) The kids that are attendance challenged will not tend to go out of their way to help me solve that problem.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/17/13 7:18:53 PM Permalink

Hierachy: Whoa! That's important to know. I bow to the superior intellect. Thanks for catching that, Rob! Am going to have to rethink my task organization for certain. +1

Attendance: Hadn't considered the IP+time angle together. That does make sense.

Old Dog: Learning new tricks from Rob (yet again). Thanks, buddy! :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/13/13 6:16:44 PM Permalink


Just in case you wanted a quick setup, here's an rtf you can copy and paste levels from. Got them from mike and then converted them into a comma separated listing.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 9/13/13 6:27:38 PM Permalink

I just checked out the new site, Rob. Awesome! I love the imagery and character development intro. It has already has a fantastic gamer feel but the graphic nature removes the bland theme feel of many sites. Is the artwork student's or your's?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/13/13 10:42:38 PM Permalink

All kids' work. And I lost a lot a couple years ago with a network drive crash... Really bummed! Guess it's time to start over! :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/14/13 2:53:17 AM Permalink

Re: Game On newbie here

Hey, Rob. Just took a look at the levels document. Can you explain to us newbies where the information should be posted / uploaded and for what purpose? Also, what is a "threshold box"?



Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/14/13 7:40:01 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing this, Rob!


If you want to use these presets, please be aware that you are free to change names and points. It's just something to get you started if you want.

Here's an amended TXT file.

For Clarity:

1. Navigate to Game On > Ranks in the WordPress admin panel.

2. Copy and paste the Levels info in the first text field (Levels 1 and 2 already exist so I removed them from the list):

3. Copy and paste the numerical info in the second text field (points for Levels 1 and 2 have also been removed):

4. Type a comma in the third text field and click the plus sign to apply settings.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/14/13 9:43:05 PM Permalink

Thanks for the explanation and step-by-step instructions. So excited that I was finally able to get something to come out right on the test site.



Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/14/13 11:29:03 PM Permalink

Is there something in particular I can help you with, Annette?

You've been so patient and I'd really like to help if I can.

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/15/13 1:24:46 PM Permalink

#1: When I fill in the Quest information in the Pages section, I get

["go_task id=""]

What information am I missing in order to get the Quest to properly display?

I tried to insert the yellow highlighted wording from the Permalink, but I just get a page with an Accept button that doesn't work.

[go_task id="level-1-quest-1"]

#2: In what sequence should I be setting up a quest (I named my Task area "Quests".) Do I need to only set up the Quest using the Pages area?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/15/13 2:15:26 PM Permalink

Deactivate, delete, download, upload, and activate the latest version of Game On to solve the missing Task ID problem. (Sorry. Vincent accidentally disabled that during one update. Fixed now.)

I'm not understanding the last question. Rephrase please? :)

Annette Whitby

Posted on 9/16/13 12:47:36 AM Permalink

Re: Question #2

I will email you a screenshot of what I am referring to.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 9/15/13 10:41:07 PM Permalink

Awesome. I came here to specifically look for some examples and here we are!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 9/12/13 1:52:14 PM Permalink

terrence banks

Posted on 9/13/13 7:37:53 AM Permalink

I saw Mike using this once, and I totally started using it too...Kids get a kick out of it!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/14/13 7:43:37 PM Permalink


Ryan Hayes

Posted on 9/11/13 9:39:57 PM Permalink

Is there a shortcode for displaying the list of blogs like last year?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/11/13 10:06:51 PM Permalink

They're working on it. (I need it too.)

Should be soon.