Welcome to the Realm! Before you start throwing handfuls of money at the screen or exiting out of this tab in disgust I feel it's only fair I explain what exactly ClassRealm is. In simplest terms ClassRealm is a customizable web-based tool that can be used by teachers, students and parents to track student achievements, provide students with entertaining and educational adventures, as well as improve their overall academic performance. ClassRealm will be accessible from any web-enabled desktop or mobile device.
The ClassRealm system is based on role playing games such as Pokémon, Final Fantasy, and even some classic table-top rulesets such as Dungeons & Dragons. Students can level up, gain achievements and even fight off enemies with their knowledge and good deeds. These gaming ideals come from years and years of video game influence. The ClassRealm team wants to bring as many gaming aspects to the system as possible, while still keeping the core educational values.
ClassRealm's focus is showing students a path to content mastery as well as proving that learning can be an exciting journey for everyone involved. We encourage and reward students to do work they may normally find unrewarding or pointless. ClassRealm is also a way to tap into children's creativity and harness their desire to have fun and learn at their own pace. We leverage this to encourage them to master their classroom content.
Education is an ever evolving system and it has changed rapidly with the influx of technology and social standards over the years. One of the key features of ClassRealm is that we are building it to adapt to any and every classroom, no matter the setting or current year. Curriculum, standards, and teaching styles are altered constantly, and ClassRealm will follow suit.
Here's a little about how teachers, students, and parents can benefit from ClassRealm.
ClassRealm is an online management system built for teachers by teachers. It gives educators the ability to completely customize their own classroom world. Setting up achievements, experience points, hit points, "edventures" and character details are just a few of the customizable elements of ClassRealm. Implementing ClassRealm will motivate students, help teachers track lesson trends, and give classrooms a sense of community. Its sole purpose is to make teaching more fun and effective for both teachers and those being taught. ClassRealm is being designed from the ground up to eliminate the hassle of developing a system manually and will provide the tools to create, track, and manage your classroom's every move.
Though students don't have as much control over ClassRealm's initial set up as teachers they still play the most important role. What good is a kingdom if there are no citizens? Students pick from a list of fantasy/sci-fi races and enhancers to create a ClassRealm persona. This character is their key to another world. All of the character's information and actions are controlled by the student. Students can earn teacher-made achievements and gain experience points throughout the school day, as well as earn points and achievements online at home. Getting an A on a test is great, but earning a shiny virtual "Test Slayer" achievement is more fun. We want to push students to their full potential by offering them an entertaining and educational world that they can influence and be a part of.
Parents love to know what's going on in the classroom. ClassRealm gives parents a chance to see what their student is up to at school on a daily basis. By checking a student's character profile, parents can see where their students are excelling and where they need help. Parents can also create "Side Quests" specifically to motivate their student. These quests can be public or secret and are only shared with the student and the teacher.
For more info on ClassRealm visit the ClassRealm Blog, read the story that started it all on Kotaku, or follow our official mascot Sami the Samurai Yeti on Twitter!
Classroom Beta Testing
Before ClassRealm grew in to the system you see now it was a simple idea I implemented in my 6th grade classroom. I'm happy to report that ClassRealm is still going strong and motivating students on a consistant basis. Obviously it does not have all the aspects that we hope to include in our final project, as I was simply using a paper list, a bulletin board, and a self-made web page. Did every student's grade point average skyrocket to a perfect 4.0? No. Did every student ace their last standardized test? Probably not. But I did find students participating more and working harder, especially some that could usually care less. ClassRealm has yielded a great sense of community in my classroom. One that is based on hard work and doing right by others. Some students don't care as much as others, but that goes without saying. As long as I'm helping at least one student reach their full potential I don't plan on stopping. Luckily I have many students excelling, some more than others, because of ClassRealm.
What Will ClassRealm Feature at Launch?
ClassRealm has grown substantially since its initial creation and we will include the following features at launch (assuming we hit our goal!). The more we raise the more we can do!
Custom Made Characters - Students will have the option of picking from multiple fantasy/sci-fi races and enhancers. With three factors involved (race, enhancer, and gender) there will be over 200 different characters for students to choose from, not to mention different color schemes and armor choices. A student's character can be anything from a Frost Elf to a Werewolf Pirate. Students can also write a bio for their character and add specific details, which they can share with their friends and fellow classmates. A student's real name and personal data will NEVER be available to the public. Only teachers can see students real names and only those picked by the student can see their bio.
The ClassRealm Race Election will be held in June to determine the final fantasy/sci-fi race we will include in the character database. Each race is represented more than 20 times using different enhancers and genders! Only those pledging $25 or more can vote in the election. Those pledging large amounts of money even get the chance to include their own race and enhancers in the ClassRealm world in the future.
Experience Point (XP) and Hit Point (HP) Tracking - Experience points, much like any RPG, are the heart of ClassRealm. Teachers can give out XP as they see fit throughout the day and students can earn them on their own when playing online. Teachers can customize how many XP it takes for their students to level up as well as set up hit points for the students' characters. Hit points are lost when a student misbehaves or fails to turn in work. Both XP and HP are completely optional, so teachers can choose to use both, one, or neither.
Built-in and Teacher Made Achievements - Many students, especially in middle and high school, lack motivation when it comes to grades and their behavior. ClassRealm achievements give teachers the chance to reward students for anything and everything school related. Helping others, acing tests, showing up on time, reading, writing, participating in class discussion - the possibilities are endless. ClassRealm will provide a core set of standard achievements that teachers can choose from, as well as giving them the option to create their own. You'd be surprised how much extra effort students will put in when a shiny virtual badge is on the line.
Attendance, Assignment, and Participation Tracking - When it comes to giving students achievements and experience points for attendance, assignments and participation it's a pain to have to look in other programs and systems just to find the data. This is why ClassRealm will feature easy to use input methods to track these important student interactions. Data will be stored and can be viewed at any time.
ClassRealm Edventures - ClassRealm is based on video games, so it's only fair that there is an actual gaming aspect to it. ClassRealm Edventures will give students the chance to fight off baddies, explore new lands and earn experience through the power of knowledge. Can't find any good Edventures on ClassRealm? Make your own! Teachers can customize their very own Edventures featuring content from any grade level or subject. These Edventures can then be shared with the class or even the entire teaching world. The more users ClassRealm gets, the bigger the Edventure grows!
Side Quests - As mentioned in the Parents section, Side Quests are created by parents to push students in certain areas. Side Quests are only seen by the participating student, unless otherwise specified. For example: A parent could set up a Side Quest called "Clock Conquerer" for their son who is constantly late to class. Every time he shows up on time he gets a mark and once he reaches 20 marks he gets to go to the movies. ClassRealm will even remind teachers to look for Side Quest actions at personalized times.
Responsive Web Design - There is no denying that technology such as iPads and web-enabled tablets are becoming main stream in the world of education. We want to give teachers a chance to leverage this technology to their advantage while in the classroom. The ClassRealm web-app will make taking attendance, giving out XP and recording achievements a breeze. Responsive web design will let our site adapt to the device or browser it's opened on, meaning ClassRealm will accessible by any teacher with an internet connection. Students and parents can also use the ClassRealm site to check up on their character and earn virtual rewards.
Printable ClassRealm Sheets - It's foolish to think that every teacher in the world has access to a mobile web based device to use in front of their class. This is why we will include ClassRealm sheets that teachers can use the old fashioned way - with a pencil! Available sheets will include experience points, hit points, achievements and attendance. Pen and paper to the rescue!
Why Should I Back ClassRealm?
You may have noticed that ClassRealm is not a video game in the traditional sense. It's much more than that. ClassRealm gives teachers the chance to make learning fun for students in ways that the world hasn't quite seen. Yes, this is a system designed for teachers, students and parents. You may not be one of those at the moment, but consider how your contribution can help all of those who will use this system to educate future students.
Many students dread going to school because it's tedious, difficult, or not challenging enough. Many teachers can't quite get through to their students. Many parents have run out of ways to motivate their children in the classroom. YOU can help us innovate!
A special shout out to gamers who care enough about the medium and about education to donate their hard earned cash. I have seen the gaming community pull together and influence many great ideas, and it is my hope ClassRealm can become one of them. Thank you for showing the world that gamers care about education!
Where Does This Money Go?
You may be wondering why we need $65,000 to make a web-application like ClassRealm. We want to spare no expense in making ClassRealm an extremely efficient and attractive application for teachers, students and parents. Kickstarter funds will go towards:
- Illustrations and Interface art assets (Alice needs to eat!)
- Back end web systems development
- Music and sound effects
- Edventures game development
- Paying for all your cool swag and shipping it to you
- Server configuration, hosting, and overall system architecture
Founder Ben Bertoli & Creative Lead Courtny Cotten will be donating every ounce of their own efforts and free time into making ClassRealm a successful project. That being said, they will not be taking proceeds from any of the Kickstarter funding.
We've done our best to include some really nifty rewards. Pictured below is the limited edition ClassRealm t-shirt, printable bookmark, and bumper sticker choices. All rewards are guaranteed to be awesome!*
*Opinions may vary
We are proud to announce that we will also be introducing a new educational based trading card game called ClassRealm: Math Monsters! This game helps students review math facts while battling each other as mythical creatures and ClassRealm characters. Math Monsters! can be played with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as more advance math such as fractions and negative integers. Below are a few examples of the Math Monsters! cards that will be given to backers at different reward levels. Our play testing has proven that students love it!
We'll add more about the card game in the coming days, including an in depth look at how to play and what to expect. Yes, the numbers are supposed to be upside down!
Will ClassRealm be Free?
Yes and no. ClassRealm will have a free option as well as a paid one. The paid option, known as ClassRealm+, can be purchased at a three month, six month, or year long price. ClassRealm Basic, which will be free, will feature everything a teacher needs to start their own ClassRealm, as well as dozens of customizable options. ClassRealm+ will feature more content and enhanced options. This means more characters to choose from, more customizable games, more lesson plan options, a larger choice of preset achievements and more classroom tools for tracking data. If you start out with basic you can upgrade to ClassRealm+ at any time, but you will never be forced to do so.
We don't plan on building the ClassRealm interface and then leaving it to collect virtual dust. Education is constantly changing and our goal is to keep updating the site with content and options. Sadly, we can't afford to do this if we aren't generating income from ClassRealm. The vast majority of income made by ClassRealm will go back in to the site. We're not some evil company who is trying to squeeze money from hard working teachers and school corporations, but we're also not a team of multi–millionaires who can afford to pay outright for everything we need. We believe ClassRealm can become one of the best educational tools in years, but we can't do it alone.
The Future of ClassRealm
As stated above (many times), ClassRealm is a system full of potential and with time that system will only get better. Here are a few items we would like to include in the near future. Who knows, if we go beyond our 65K goal we may be able to make some of these ideas a reality sooner than we had planned!
- Easy to use lesson plan templates for teachers
- A lesson plan community for teachers to share, create, and explore available lesson plans
- More games and lessons linked to Common Core Standards
- More characters for students to choose from
- Seating chart manager for teachers
- Advanced game mechanics
- Pre-made and custom curriculum based worlds for students to explore
- Small helpful classroom applications for teacher use
- More language options for our overseas friends
Meet the Team
Ben Bertoli - Ben is passionate teacher, long time gamer, and super tall guy. He is a graduate of the University of Indianapolis where he ran track and studied Elementary Education. Ben loves classic RPGs and platforming adventures, especially on the Super Nintendo. Ben also loves to make school more fun for his students and find creative ways to teach. He is currently teaching 6th grade in Indianapolis. Ben will handle the educational side of ClassRealm, making sure it is a tool teachers can harness and students will benefit from.
Courtny Cotten - Courtny is a full time user experience and web designer. The majority of ClassRealm's business aspects, as well as the user interface design will be handled by Courtny. When he isn't busy designing beautiful, highly usable interfaces, Courtny can be found spending time with his wife, playing on the court over at Dribbble (www.dribbble.com/courtnycotten) or losing a few hours to Skyrim.
David Mathew - Dave is an accomplished computer engineer, business guru and all around technical wizard. He studied computer engineering at Rose-Hulman Institue of Technology, voted the best engineering school in the United States 13 years in a row. Dave does all the heavy lifting when it comes to creating web applications and also works full time as a software engineer/user experience designer.
Alice Carroll - Japanese culture fanatic, avid gamer, and mind blowingly awesome artist. Alice is a full time illustrator hailing from Canberra, Australia. She is often inspired by video game art and loves to put her own spin on classic characters. Alice will be doing all the artwork for ClassRealm - that includes over 200 different characters, dozens of achievement badges and various backgrounds! Her work can be found at http://www.alicecarroll.net/.
Having International Pledging Problems?
We realize that education is a part of every culture and we are thrilled that people from around the world want to back ClassRealm. This being said, there seem to be some issues when it comes to international pledging on Kickstarter. The lovely fellows over at Double Fine Studios seem to have worked out the kinks to this problem in their Kickstarter forum.
Your best bet is to purchase a prepaid amazon cash card and use it for the donation to ClassRealm. Be sure to add $1 more than the prize amount to make sure the donation goes through.