The students in Mr. Mirus’ eighth grade English classes at Loveland Middle School (LMS) have been challenged differently lately. Over the past month, they have participated in “Bartleby’s Civil Challenge” – a team-based competition in the form of a scavenger hunt created by their teacher. The students have been collaborating in teams to track down clues from teachers and staff members at LMS to be the first to find the answers to a long list of questions. On Tuesday, after returning from Thanksgiving break, the winning team earned its reward: a live chat with the creator of “Gimkit,” an educational tech tool that is currently all the rage among the students.
“The competition this past month has been an awesome exercise in team work, critical thinking and creativity, and I appreciate my colleagues for helping make this a fun and engaging endeavor for the students,” said LMS Teacher Charlie Mirus. “Josh Feinsilber, the creator of Gimkit, has become something of a legend in my gamified classroom and being able to arrange a live chat with him as the grand prize in the competition was the ultimate reward.”
Mirus has been using Gimkit as an educational tool in his classroom since he joined Loveland at the beginning of the school year. Similar to “Kahoot,” but with more elaborate features, Gimkit is a quiz game that requires knowledge, collaboration, and strategy to win. Students will answer questions on their own devices in their own time, with multiple opportunities for exposure to the subject areas in each “kit” to ensure mastery of the content. As they complete the quizzes, students earn money to reinvest in Gimkit upgrades that align with their strengths. The game also produces a report with powerful data, letting the teacher know where the students need extra help.
The game was created and launched a little over a year ago by Feinsilber, who currently is a high school senior in Seattle, Washington. Through the process of perfecting his game, he has received feedback for improvements from Mirus and the students at Loveland.
“We’ve had an open and productive exchange of ideas,” said Mirus. ”Josh has been really quick in his response to the student feedback, allowing them to see many of their suggestions implemented almost immediately. Altogether, the past month has been a different learning experience for the students and one that exercised the tenacity that we are striving to build at Loveland Middle School. Students need experiences that will challenge their thinking and creativity – it’s the only way they will grow.”
Photo caption: “The biggest value add of a gamified classroom is motivation,” said Charlie Mirus, whose 6th bell English class won a live chat with Josh Feinsilber, the creator of the popular educational game Gimkit.
Article posted on November 30, 2018.