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Shawn Young Inspires Love for Physics

Physics is one subject many high school students dread, especially those who get a headache just by looking at numbers and memorizing formulas. But the students at Le Salesien High School in Sherbrooke, Quebec find the subject greatly amusing and fun – all because of the 11th-grade teacher, Shawn Young, who inspired them to love physics.

Shawn Young is not your average high school physics teacher. He is known for his remarkably amazing skills in the field of gamification and web development. He is the founder of the game known as Classcraft that is now becoming popular to students as well as teachers.

Young used gamification (the use of game thinking and game mechanics) as alternative teaching tool and created Classcraft. Classcraft can transform any subject into a role-playing game wherein students divide into teams and choose their “class” – mages, healers or warriors.

Young made the game wherein it uses a system of real-life rewards and risks. Students with good performance in the classroom are rewarded with experience points (XP) which can be used to learn abilities such as “hunting” that would give them permission to enjoy a meal in class. But if students misbehave, they suffer consequences like having less time to finish answering a test, or worse, a detention. The technique for winning is to work together as a team.

How does playing Classcraft help?

  • Increases the students motivation in class since the game uses real-life rewards and risks – these rewards and risks help students to strive to do better in class and minimize negative behavior
  • Creates a fun environment while learning – the gamifiying experience allows students to learn their subjects while having fun
  • Teaches cooperation and collaboration – students are divided into teams and they can only win by working together
  • Class behavior improvement – minimal misbehavior are observed, while the motivation to do better in class dramatically increased

How to play Classcraft

  • In the classroom

The teacher takes the role of the Gamemaster in the class. The students then point out the actions they want to do or perform, and the teacher logs them in into the web-based platform. Game management usually occupies an estimated time of 5 minutes, over the course of an hour. The rewards, such as more structured class time and easier class management, far outweigh the cost in time. The teacher manages all aspects related to the game, and the students access it in order to check their status and the other players’ as well.

  • Character Classes

To join Classcraft, every student must select a character from the three different character classes. Each as unique abilities and skills.

  1. Mages – supply Action Points (AP); are the strongest among the characters are at risk of dying more often
  2. Warriors – absorb the damage for others by using their protection powers; do not die frequently but cannot use their powers as often
  3. Healers – restore a players life points; are balanced between strength and survival
  • Teams and Strategies
  1. Classcraft is played in teams, and each team consists of 5 or 6 players. The teacher or Gamemaster chooses the members to balance the team with stronger and weaker players.
  2. The success of the team lies upon interdependence – students need to work together in order to win.

With the creation and development of Classcraft, students are learning and enjoying their subjects, at the same time developing good classroom behaviors. Thanks to Shawn Young who desired of inspiring his students to love physics by teaching it in a whole new level.

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