FTW! Turnkey Online Gamification System
I'll get to all the instructions, features, perks, pitfalls, etc. in the comments (there's a lot to say and show) but first, some questions and concerns you might have...
>>> UPDATE <<< The step-by-step instructions begin at the bottom of the comments.
Full or Part-Time? You could use this as a fun way for players (students) to earn extra credit or run one or more of your classes using the gamified system. Take it as far as you want.
Full Disclosure: The WordPress set-up is fairly straight-forward but unless you're a techie with access to a server (I'm not and I don't) you'll probably want help with the initial server-side configuration. Our district IT guys have been ultra-helpful. Without support from your own IT department, you'll either need the knowledge and resources to set up your own server with WordPress or pay for commercial hosting.
The System: WordPress is very user-friendly but the gamification system adds a layer of complexity. Nothing outrageous but it'll take some time to feel at home with the requisite steps. Luckily, there's a lot of repetition involved in getting up and running so you'll have plenty of practice. :)
Support: I'll record step by step instructions (both static and video) for everything you'll need (after WordPress is installed). As I tell my students, if you follow the instructions and just connect the dots, you'll get the picture. Unless...
More Support: I'm active in this community (178 posts and counting) and willing to help whenever I can but a few other teachers are already using this system and I'm certain they'll also be willing to come to your aid. Not only will you not go it alone, soon you'll be the one answering others' questions as well as suggesting modifications and/or improvements. For now, please post questions and suggestions in the comments because others will surely benefit from the ongoing discussion.
History: The idea began with Changing the Game: Assignments as Quests (June 2011), its evolution was documented in Gamifying the Learning Environment: The View from Level 80, (Feb 2012), and an epic discussion ensued (more than 400 comments) after posting Gamified Curriculum Delivery System (Sept 2012).
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The video on Gamified Curriculum Delivery System was recorded at the beginning of the school year. Our plugins are now more responsive, feature-rich, and compatible with any WordPress theme
(so long as the theme is comparable with BuddyPress and bbPress)
. BuddyPress now works with any WordPress theme.
Moral Imperative: You and I both know that our education system is in need of something like this. Actually, the kids deserve more but this is the best we've got... for now. (I'll share what we're working on for the 2014/15 school year in another post).
Test Drive: If you're a teacher and want to see how the system works from a student's perspective, leave a comment with your email address and I'll create an account for you and email the login credentials.
Getting Started: If you want to give this a try, you'll need a website with WordPress installed and configured. You control features and functionality via the WordPress admin panel (I'll share all my plugins and settings). As I said back at the beginning, our district folks set WordPress up for me. Since I don't have access to the server, I'm clueless about the back-end configuration but I know Rob and Ryan (gamified teachers) have both done it on their own. If you want help with that, leave a comment and I'll round up the posse. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, here's how it's done.
Next Step: I'll get to those in the comments. Maybe a mix of features, functionality, ideas, as well as a series of step-by-step instructions would be most helpful. The district is setting up a fresh WP install in a test domain so I can record the steps in an authentic manner. Like I said, they've been ultra-helpful.
Final Word: This is time-consuming but it's worth every minute. If you want to go the distance, you can set up an asynchronous, student-centered, gamified learning environment. No more Goldilocks classrooms! Nothing moves too fast or too slow for the majority of students. With online curriculum, the kids access the material at their own pace. Of course this opens up a new set of challenges. Well get to those too.