Rezzly was launched in alpha version in 2010 to support teens working through a gaming leadership summer camp on the campus of Boise State University. We wanted a digital platform that would help us to run the camp as a game by providing quests, aggregating tasks, tracking progress, and awarding points and achievements as players leveled up. Since that time, many thousands of students of all ages have taken courses, earned extra credit, attended camps and workshops using Rezzly!
Tech Class Goes Virtual with Rezzly
I have used Rezzly as a way to put my entire 6-8th grade middle school technology curriculum online. There have been challenges setting up my entire curriculum as quests, and during the first trimester I could barely keep up creating quests with the fastest student prior to them needing it. My technology curriculum naturally lends itself to a self-paced model. Every student comes in with a different skill set and interpretation of technology. This format provides a vehicle for students to work at their own pace, really learn for understanding of the technology applications and feel successful. In the past, there were times where the fast-paced students didn’t have enough to do, and the struggling students felt hopeless. Now, even when kids are absent they can still complete the course and feel successful. I now have students bugging me during class to hurry up and check off their quests so they can move on to more work. One of the things I want to work on as I develop my curriculum is creating more lessons that achieve the same skill and meet the same standard(s) so students have more “choice” built in.
Guild Hall Days: Language Arts
One day a week students enter a virtual guild hall where they are word crafters who are advancing in a skill to assist future careers: writing. They decide where their training time should be spent by choosing their quests. Learning a writing technique? Writing better sentences? Reading a mentor text? When I can only give students one day a week in the Internet-connected lab, I wanted them to do more than word processing. With Rezzly, I was taught how to create an engaging virtual learning environment tailored to my students’ interests. Their interests form a wide span, and making sure that there is something for everyone keeps me busy! This learning management system allows choice, differentiation, individualization—and learning fun to co-exist. Although it’s a challenge to keep the quests coming because students move through them more quickly than they do assignments in a normal classroom, Rezzly handles the organizational work that often made diversification difficult. Students are experimenting with more web 2.0 tools, more content, and more varied writing experiences than ever before. The system lets me tell students how to complete the quest if their work is below the quest’s standard. They are supported and encouraged. They can try again. When I have the Guild Hall Day sign posted, I hear, “I love Guild Hall Days!”
I am loving this! My students are happier learners thanks to Rezzly. It might be only one day a week, but with Rezzly, they are free to try and try again until they get it right. Bad grades have mutated into something engaging. Like the reformed Grinch, we have grown into something better. The students that are behind have friends telling them, “It’s not so bad. Just do it.” No, I haven’t won them all over, but the ones who are struggling admit that they aren’t working. Somehow, because they can try and try again, there isn’t antagonism in their voices. And when one of them decides to join us, the catch up speed is amazing. I have wanted to use mastery learning for years, but the time logistics of handling the materials and the grading made it impossible. Now, thanks to Rezzly, we are much closer.
National Academy Foundation Curriculum Gamified
At Antioch High School’s Media/Tech Academy, we deliver all our CTE curriculum through Rezzly. As a member academy of the National Academy Foundation, we take the NAF lessons and adapt them to a quest-based format within the GameLab system. For an hour each day (because we’re limited to one lab this year), 130 students currently work on Graphic Design; next year, offerings will expand to include Principles of IT, Web Design, and Computer Networking for all 270 Academy students. The greatest benefit of using Rezzly has been the differentiation of pace that has occurred. Students are able to move quickly or slowly through the curriculum based on their needs. Often we see various students take extra time at different tasks, implying that they are getting a delivery that is more closely tailored to their particular learning style. This has also allowed me to become much more of a coach and “helper” in contrast to previous years when I was responsible for instructional delivery AND student support. It’s a whole different – and so far more effective – way to teach.
Game Design Course
I use Rezzly in my Game Design and Development course; it’s a semester-long elective with three sections of about 25 students. I’ve only been running it for a couple weeks, but so far engagement has been through the roof and I’ve collected a ton of useful data that has helped me plan much more effectively.
I have transformed my traditional classroom into a hybrid learning experience. This has enabled my students to be self directed learners that are actively involved with seeking knowledge, creating meaning, and discovering how they learn best. My students arrive to class each day, login to Rezzly and begin questing. I have seen improvements on time on task, student engagement, homework completion, information retention, and excitement about coming to class.
In Rezzly, I use a game format to help my students study and learn difficult concepts by giving them multiple questions with the answers made available within the quests to help them view concepts from multiple directions. To introduce my quests to my students, I recorded my avatar, Liquid, who gives a basic overview on how to use the gamelab. I used MovieMaker to give audio to my power point slides. I use www.studystack.com (free) to create flashcards, hangman, scrabble, bug match, and online quizzes that contain class content. I will find online tutorials that I can link my students, too. In nursing, many diseases relate to nutrition, and I can create a calcium garden, for example, that would be a picture of the foods that provide good sources of calcium. I upload these pictures and use www.Jigsawplanet.com (free) to create an interactive puzzle for them. If I find a nice article on the topic I am teaching, I will break it up between multiple quests (citing it, of course) which can provide the illusion that they are not reading a full text article. This is my first semester using Rezzly, and I am receiving good feedback.
Professor Mikael Hellstrom, University of Alberta
Human Physiology Course
I have used Rezzly to provide a quest-based environment for my Human Physiology Course. I saw improvements in both student engagement and student learning resulting from the incorporation of the quest-based design principles. 78% of the students in the course felt that they learned more in this environment than in a more traditional lecture format, with 40% identifying the ability to work on their own schedule as a powerful aspect of the design.
What a great class!!!! My students were so excited to be working through our first French unit on Identity. What usually takes me a week to get through was done in 1 class!! They were more open with sharing their insights, were helping each other (despite the fact that most of them were complete strangers at our boarding school) and were asking for more quests. I didn’t assign any quests for homework, but I just keep seeing the XP climbing higher and higher….on the weekend!!! Keeping up with them is going to be tough.
“WoW in Schools” and “MMO in Schools”
The Rezzly platform has become an integral part of the MMO-School movement. It has given us the ability to share our curriculum with pioneering educators around the world. In our district, it is transforming classroom instruction. I’ve witnessed, first-hand, educators who have embraced the philosophy that Rezzly is built upon, challenging the status-quo of public schooling. The game-based learning revolution has begun!
After School Programs
Rezzly has been a rewarding experience for both me and the students. It’s fundamentally changed the way I would approach curriculum development and delivery. It adds news layers of responsibility upfront in terms of preparation especially as it relates to the design template/grid. The template is a priceless tool for navigating and tracking my intended outcomes. You really have to know where you want the final destination to be for the students. You clearly have to map out where you want to go. As an instructor of an after school program, the students are incredibly excited when they come into the lab. The experiential and inquiry-based learning aspects that this platform promotes is reflected in the students’ genuine interest and energy. I have had so much positive feedback from the parents. Challenges: Getting the students to truly reflect on their learning. Everything is so new that they often just want to get to the next new quest. The verification feature provides an adequate solution to those who want to bypass the process.