Sunday, December 27, 2015

Another online game platform (but this one may be the best one yet for promoting mastery learning)

In a perfect world, we would monitor each student's learning and growth by name and need.  One student may need help with mastering causes of the War of 1812.  Another can't remember the 3/5 Compromise.  How to structure instruction so that each student's individualized needs are met?

A free online game platform that could certainly help is called BrainRush.
BrainRush allows you (or your students) to create learning games that adapt to the learning skill of each player.  To learn about BrainRush I took one of the activities that they had prepared on the Civil Rights Movement.  Whenever I answered a question incorrectly (whoops), that question was pushed back into the deck of upcoming questions.  It was then repeated in a different way several times, giving me extra chances to become confident in the correct answer and demonstrate my mastery.

This video (1:23) gives you a good short introduction to how BrainRush works.
BrainRush has four learning-game formats:
  1. Cards Template: Just like flashcards.  Great for vocabulary; students match the front to the back of cards.
  2. Buckets Template: A categorization activity; students drop and drag text, images, and/or audio into the correct bucket.
  3. Sequencing Template: A chronology or list-order activity; students drag and drop items in order.
  4. Hotspots Template: Students are presented with one image containing 10-15 hotspots, each one corresponding to a different concept to learn.  They match the concept to the hotspot on the map.  Hotspots Templates are best for diagrams and maps.
The last template was the most fun to create and play.  For my practice I uploaded a blank outline map of the contiguous 48 states, and created four hotspots.  I then associated a concept (like the Missouri Compromise Line) to each hotspot.

Playing my activity as a student, I was first shown the image (the map) with the four hotspots I had created.  My first concept was in the left margin, and in the first round, I had to click on the correct hotspot to demonstrate mastery.  Later in the Round 2 I was shown a hotspot and asked to type the correct concept in a dialogue box.

What was great was that I could not complete the activity until I gave correct answers to every concept.  And the activity was personalized for my learning.  Every time I made a mistake, questions about that topic were repeated (several times, interspersed with other questions) until I got it correct several times in a row.

Once you create your activity you post it to the online classroom that you create for your students.

One thing that's great about BrainRush is the amount of online teacher support it gives.  It currently has 9 general video tutorials and three other describing BrainRush's game templates.

BrainRush makes creating engaging and effective activities that promote individualized mastery learning that much more achievable.

1 comment:

Blogger said...

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