Spotlight on CUSD School of Rock

CUSD.jpg

A warm welcome to Campbell Union School District! CUSD launched their game, School of Rock, on August 17. Within a month of launching, nearly half of their staff of 400 teachers had joined the self-directed PD. Participating teachers have shared positive feedback on the game's opportunities for "friendly competition," and "open lines of communication for collaboration."

The district serves 7,500 students in six cities across Santa Clara County. School of Rock advances the districts vision to be a "model for innovative programs and instruction that engages, empowers, and inspires all children to feel safe and thrive."Game missions include: Tech Tools, PLN, Pedagogy, Digital Age Work and Learning, and Professional Collaboration.

CUSD is engaging their teachers in the fun with "Rock Star Swag," from water bottles and t-shirts to iPads and conference registrations. Kami Thordarson, Director of Instructional Technology shared, "CUSD School of Rock is adding an element of fun and competitiveness to our professional development options!  It’s been so exciting to see teachers actively engage in our game and we’ve had a blast dropping off level rewards.  Teachers appreciate the choice as they complete levels and the flexibility to learn from anywhere. We are off to a rocking and rolling start here in CUSD!"

Check out their Twitter feed to see what their teachers are accomplishing: @CUSDInnovate!

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 12.15.29 PM.png
Love it! I like that each lesson doesn’t take that long to complete, and that the lessons are on relevant and interesting topics. You rock!
— Amber Ferrari, Forest Hill Elementary

Open Badges: Digital & Real World Learning

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 10.11.39 AM.png

For the last six months, districts have been able to issue open badges through the Alludo platform. Open badges are "verifiable, portable digital badges with embedded metadata about skills and achievements." Much like a Scouting badge, they are visible proof of competence in a specific area. A practical replacement for paper certificates, they are accessible anywhere, and can't be "lost." Teachers and administrators can display digital badges in their portfolios, in their e-mail signatures, or in a backpack/passport.

While the majority of our districts offer digital badges when players complete a level or mission in a game, there are other ways to use them. As a blended-learning platform, we encourage administrators to offer open badges for in-person experiences. This can be accomplished in many different ways:

  • Set up a new game specifically for in-person trainings.
  • Create an activity in an existing, relevant game, and issue points/badges for attendance.
  • Have players submit a reflection/selfie/artifact from the experience as evidence.

Embracing open badges both on- and offline maximizes the potential of a blended-learning PD program. Teachers are learning and practicing new skills everyday, and open badges are a way to recognize these achievements--whether they were accomplished in a game, in a workshop, or in the classroom.

Learn more about digital badges:

Sharing Your Open Badge

An Introduction to Digital Badges

What Role Do Digital Badges Play in Personalized PD?

Coming Soon: New Catalog Games

content.jpg

We're excited to announce that our team is currently in the process of building out master games that will be accessible to all of our districts. The games will focus on topics and skills we've seen throughout the catalog--and then some! We're working to publish a new level each week, starting with our G Suite Apps Game. Each game will be designed as a building block that districts can adapt and modify to suit their individual needs. Our top priority content is based on your needs, so let us know what you'd like to see! Stay tuned next week for G Suite Apps: Basic Level!

Games will include:

  • G Suite Apps
  • Devices
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE)
  • Student Information Systems (SIS)
  • Assessments
  • Professional Learning Networks & Collaboration
  • Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)
  • Classroom Apps
  • Classroom Management
  • Troubleshooting Tech

Gamification: Hands-on Learning

12352064824_39598351e9_z.jpg

In this series, we're delving into the world of gamification. This week, we'll be focusing on how games provide hands-on opportunities for learning.

You might remember the proverb made famous by Jack Nicholson in The Shining: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." But the reality is that play and work can be one in the same. (If you're sitting amongst a pile of ungraded papers, we understand if you disagree!) Aside from making fun, animals, babies and even adults play to learn--even if it's not necessarily a conscious decision.

Think back on your childhood: what did you learn while playing pretend? Perhaps social skills, and a way to make sense of the grown-up world around you. Battleship? Plotting coordinates. Climbing trees? Gross motor skills. The same goes for animals. In a 2013 BBC article, ethologist Robert Fagen explains that some animal play is a form of practice. "The distinctive aspect of playful practice and learning is that they are generic and variational, requiring varied experiences and stressing interactions between simple components."

Gamification fulfills basic psychological needs, including competence and social relatedness. "Every human strives to feel competent when deliberately influencing the environment they interact with," and has a "basic desire [...] for coherent integration with the social environment." Unlike in "sit-n-git" professional development, gamified learning allows educators to interact directly with subject matter, while experiencing collaboration and friendly competition.

Gamified learning can be truly transformative when it is used to encourage real-life application. While gamified platforms can be useful, learning should not exist solely in a virtual vacuum. Learners should be rewarded (if not required) to exercise their new skills in order to "advance" to the next level.

Gamification: Choice & Engagement

Missions, activities and scoreboards. These components make up the gamified learning experience in Alludo. But a game isn't a gimmick--it emphasizes scaffolding, collaboration, and self-directed learning. It rewards work, and provides users with concrete evidence of their progress.

We’re constantly working to improve our game-building capacity. Not just because it's at the core of our system, but because a better game means more effective learning. We’ll explore this idea in our next series, taking a closer look at how games drive engagement, collaboration, interactivity, and competition.

Spotlight on MESD66

We'd like to welcome Moriarty-Edgewood School District to Alludo! They launched their MESD66 game on August 11--and already have 145 players signed up. The game is designed primarily around technology integration in the classroom, but also includes topics such as navigating the district's network and resolving other technology issues. For this reason, the game is not only useful for teachers, but for other staff members as well. 

Made up of three elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school, the district's mission is to "cultivate positive relationships and inspire each student to excel today and tomorrow." It's no surprise that MESD decided to theme their game around a classic Route 66 road trip, as their district serves both Moriarty and Edgewood, two towns located right beside "The Mother Road."

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.51.39 AM.png

Buckle Up and Get Ready to Roll! (Level 1) activities in MESD66 include a basic instructions on using the platform and general district technologies, and an introduction to implementing G Suite Tools and Chromebooks in the classroom.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.50.57 AM.png

In Pit Stops Along the Way (Level 2), teachers will participate in 21st century classroom, digital citizenship, and project-based learning activities. They'll do a deep dive into G Suite for Education and Google Classroom to earn their Google for Education Certification; and explore Pear Deck, a slide-presentation program. 

Landmarks & Points of Interest (Level 3) and Roadmaps & Travel Guides (Level 4) will be about integrating more technology into the classroom for transformative teaching, and mentoring others along the way. The team is working to construct a Souvenir Shop, where teachers can exchange points for incentive items, and Roadside Attractions to share PD achievements. 

To learn more about MESD and how they're implementing Alludo, visit the district's website or their MESD66 website, and check out their incredible introduction video below!

September 2017 PD Events

September 6, 2017
Dallas, TX
CoffeeEDU Dallas

#CoffeeEDU Dallas is a mini-unconference event for teachers and other educators in the DFW metroplex to connect, learn, and grow by meeting face-to-face and discussing education topics that interest them.

September 9, 2017
Tuscon, AZ
Edcamp Tuscon

If you care about the present and the future of education in southern Arizona – this Tucson unconference is for you.You will create the agenda for the morning yourselves (with support from trained facilitators) based on topics* that you generate and you want to talk about.

All About Alludo

ALemurFavicon-01.png

By now, you know we've said goodbye to Chrome Warrior. While we're still offering our platform and all of it's features, it was time to move on to a brand that would better reflect the direction we're heading in, and where we'll be focusing our efforts in the future.

Chrome Warrior implied a certain leaning towards technology, but our platform had always been about more than that. We'll always keep a sharp focus on teacher professional development and our relationships with our partner school districts. However, we feel that Alludo's gamified learning experience can be beneficial to anyone, including students and other educational organizations. We'll be enhancing the ways the game can provide personalized, choice-based learning. 

We hope that all of our partners will continue to use our platform to encourage collaborative (yet competitive) opportunities for bite-sized learning. Breaking knowledge down into smaller pieces makes it easier to "digest," and take the necessary time to apply it in real-life situations.

Our shift to Alludo could not be possible without the input of our friends at school districts across the state--and now, nationwide! Thanks to you, we've been able to hone in our objectives. Your insights aren't only important to us, their important to your peers in other school districts. That's why we'll continue to support and grow our catalog, and it's open-sourced, collaborative model at no additional cost.

Aside from our new brand, we're working on another exciting feature: author-branded content designed specifically for professional development & teachers. Stay tuned!

From Chrome Warrior To Alludo

You may have noticed that there have been a few changes to our website--and a big change to our name. We’d like to introduce you to Alludo! We’re still offering the a blended learning platform for teachers, administrators, school staff, and even students. However, based on feedback from our partner districts and the evolution of our product, we felt it was time to adopt a name and brand that more accurately reflects what we’re working towards.

Playful learning

ALemurFavicon-01.png

Alludo is Latin for play: something that we’ve always been passionate about in developing our product. Play isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think about learning, but it is part of creating an engaging learning environment. Not to mention, play is an essential part of gamified learning: working both collaboratively and competitively, experimenting, and pursuing new skills or levels.

Before we look ahead to our future as Alludo, we’d like to reflect back on our past as Chrome Warrior.

Goodbye, Chrome warrior

Chrome Warrior started in 2014 as an initiative to introduce Chromebooks at Palm Springs Unified School District. The platform’s sole purpose was to facilitate the rollout of the laptops, and was made up of a single game. We created traditional levels for teachers to work towards: bronze, silver, gold, platinum; and finally, chrome: making Chrome Warrior the highest achievement title for participants.

While this name suited us at the time, it was a common misperception that our product was exclusively developed for technology-based, or Chrome-centered learning. And while the delivery of these professional development programs takes place on laptops or mobile devices, they aren’t necessarily all about keeping up with tech. Our districts use Chrome Warrior to offer training on just about anything -- check out our feature on conversation training at Ocean View.

Since then, our product, audience, and market have drastically evolved. We’ve worked on improving our game with district feedback, and are now able to offer multiple games around multiple topics. We introduced a catalog, so that districts could be inspired by one another. We incorporated Twitter integration, so that districts and teachers could share their achievements. Most importantly, we received a lot of feedback from educators that have helped make our product what it is today: Alludo!

Announcing Alludo!

We knew that we had to change. Alludo, formerly Chrome Warrior, had grown from an application supporting technology PD for teachers into a platform supporting district-wide professional learning. Our audience has expanded from primarily teachers to now supporting games and learning for administrators, principals, students, and now discussions of parents is in the mix.

Still, when you start with a name, it's difficult to imagine another. 

Fortunately, we had help from many of our existing district game administrators - tech coaches, TOSAs, and players. Their participation and honest, candid feedback in our many conversations gave us keen insight. We can't thank everyone enough!

In the end, we landed on a name that we are very excited about. It brings in all the fun and adventure of Chrome Warrior and allows us to leap into the next chapter of our learning adventure with you!

With that, we are pleased to announce that on the evening of August 11th, Chrome Warrior became...