Games 101: Understanding gaming benefits and terms

Any teacher can play Classcraft, even if they don’t have any prior knowledge or experience with games. This guide will help you get up to speed with the principles behind them and common terms.

Benefits of Games

Games are much more than entertainment; they’re a force that we can leverage for good in the classroom. Children learn organically as they play: Video games teach competency, foster social relationships, provide necessary feedback to improve, and much more.

Gamification takes the principles of games and applies them to non-game situations, such as the classroom. Classcraft uses technology as a way to facilitate classroom management, and it borrows the aesthetic and fundamental appeal of games to engage students.

However, there’s no virtual world that students run around in and explore. Instead, the gameplay is grounded in the real-class social experience, which means screen time is kept to a minimum and the real transformation happens directly in the classroom. By working in teams, students will learn the value of collaboration, establish positive behavior habits, and watch their progress grow throughout the year.

Common Terms

Action Points (AP) - What students spend to use powers. A little AP regenerates automatically every day at midnight, and Mages can restore AP with their powers.

Book of Laments - A checklist of all student "sentences" received from "falling in battle." When a student completes their sentence, you can check them off the list.

Boss - An especially fierce monster in a video game. Typically, bosses are tests of a player’s learned skills and prowess. In Classcraft, a “Boss Battle” is a quiz that tests student learning and understanding of the course material.

Characters / Avatars - Each player has a “character” or “avatar,” or a virtual person in the game that they control. In Classcraft, the characters are the Warriors, Mages, and Healers that students play as.

Character class - Either refers to a Warrior, Mage, or Healer. (Eg., his character class is a Mage.)

  • Warrior - One of the character roles in Classcraft. Traditionally, Warriors are physically strong and ready for battle. In Classcraft, this makes them ideal protectors. They use their powers to defend their teammates from “damage” in the game.

  • Mage - One of the character roles in Classcraft. In RPGs, Mages are magic users, wielders of elemental “powers.” In Classcraft, Mages use their powers to restore their teammates’ Action Points so that they can continue using their powers regularly.

  • Healer - One of the character roles in Classcraft. In RPGs, Healers restore their teammates’ Health Points by using powers, and they serve the same purpose in Classcraft.

Class Tools - Tools to gamify your lessons and curriculum, such as the Boss Battles, Timer, and Stopwatch. Learn more about the Class Tools here.

Class View - The view in the game that enables you to see all students and their character information in a simple, organized list. Facilitates point distribution on a class-wide level or by filters such as character class.

Cursed die - Refers to the automatic mechanic in the game that chooses a student’s fate, or "sentence,” when they fall in battle.

Damage - This refers to a loss of Health Points, or HP. In RPGs, damage is taken when a monster attacks the hero. In Classcraft, the teacher removes HP when a student does negative behavior in class.

Delayed Damage - An option for dealing with damage. Dealing with the damage later enables you and your students to handle HP loss at a more convenient time. Delayed damage is added to your Delayed Damage queue at the top of the "game dashboard."

Experience Points (XP) - The teacher awards students with XP for doing good behavior in class. When students gain a certain amount of XP (typically 1,000 XP, but can vary), they’ll “level up.”

Experience Points are represented by the yellow bar, and there’s no limit to the amount students can earn.

Fall in battle - What happens when a student loses all their HP. This state is not permanent.

Game dashboard - The main game interface where you can view students (players), their characters, and teams, as well as give/remove game points.

Game feed - The newspaper icon in the top right of your dashboard, which records the date and time of everything that happens in your classroom (students gaining and losing points, falling in battle, or using their powers). You can limit what appears in the game feed in your class settings.

Gamemaster - That’s you, the teacher!

Game stats / points - Current character information related to level, XP, AP, HP, and GP.

Gear / Equipment - Clothing, armor, etc. for characters. Students can spend GP to unlock whole outfits, or they can mix and match different types of gear pieces (headgear, shoes, pants, etc.) to create a unique look.

Gold Pieces (GP) - Special currency in Classcraft. Students earn GP automatically by leveling up and training “pets,” and the teacher can award GP when students go above and beyond in the classroom. Parents can also give students up to 15 GP a day from their parent accounts. GP allows students to unlock new “gear” for their characters.

Health Points (HP) - Sometimes called Hit Points. This is the player’s life energy. In RPGs, when a character loses all their HP, it’s game over. In Classcraft, when a student loses all their HP, they “fall in battle” and receive a “sentence” that they must complete. They then come back into the game with 1 HP.

Health Points are represented by the red bar, and students cannot earn more HP than their maximum allotted amount (shown when the bar is full). Healers can restore HP with their powers.

Hero Pact - The Hero Pact is a resource that teachers can print out and have students sign to indicate their commitment to playing the game. 

Level - An indicator of a student’s overall progress. The higher a student’s level, the more Experience Points they’ve earned, and thus the more good behavior they’ve shown in class.

Level up - What happens when a student gains enough XP to reach a new level in the game. Leveling up is good because it awards students a Power Point that they can use to learn a new power. The ultimate level in the game is Level 18, as reaching this point means that students can learn all the powers in the game.

Multi-Class - Refers to students who are playing in multiple classes with the same character.

Pets - Special companions that students can unlock and train to earn extra GP. Students can equip pets so that they appear next to their character on the game dashboard.

Players - The people playing the game. In Classcraft, these are the students!

Players View - The default view on the game dashboard. Shows you all students, as well as their characters and teammates.

Powers - Any skill or special ability. In Classcraft, this refers to the game-based, personal, and academic powers that the teacher sets. Examples include using notes on an exam, getting to leave the classroom for a few minutes, etc. Once a power is learned, students must use “Action Points” to use it.

Power Points (PP) - What students use to learn new powers in the game. These are represented by the hand symbol. One Power Point is earned each time a student “levels up.” Powers on the first row of the power tree cost 1 PP to learn, powers on the second row cost 2 PP, and powers on the third row cost 3 PP.

Power tree - An assortment of nine different powers for each character class. Students progress through the power tree by spending “Power Points.” Powers in the first row of the tree unlock powers on the second row, and powers on the second row unlock powers on the third row. Students must have enough Power Points and know any necessary “prerequisite powers” to learn a new power.

Prerequisite powers - Any powers that are required for a student to learn first before unlocking a new power. On the power tree, these are indicated by the path of arrows. For example, “Protect 1” is required to learn “Protect 2,” so “Protect 1” is the prerequisite power.

Presets - Reasons for awarding or removing points. These are customizable and can be chosen from a list for XP, HP, and GP.

Quests - In RPGs, missions that players go on in order to earn gold or progress in the game. In Classcraft, “Quests” are personalized, self-paced learning adventures that students complete. Learn more about Quests here.

Random events - Special, randomized conditions that set the tone for the class at the beginning of the day. Random events can have positive, negative, or silly implications for students, teams, or the entire class. 

Regen / Regeneration -AP and HP "regen" rates refer to how much AP/HP students regain automatically at midnight each day. For example, the default AP regen rate is 4 AP per day.

Action Points are represented by the blue bar, and students cannot earn more AP than their maximum allotted amount (shown when the bar is full).

Role-playing game (RPG) - Classcraft is an example of a fantasy role-playing game, or RPG, where players assume the role of a great and powerful hero adventuring in a fantasy land.

Sentence - The consequence for falling in battle. Typically, these are tasks or conditions of the teacher's choosing that students must complete. Examples include bringing a treat for the class, detention, or copying a text.

Teams View - The view on the game dashboard that organizes students into teams for easy point distribution on a team level.

Wondering about another term? Email to request it be added to this list.

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