“Project Falcon” – Gamification of Teacher Learning – Update #1

Project Falcon is not really the name of this project, it just sounds cooler than Gamification Model of Technology Teacher Learning.

Earlier this year when I applied to the Google Innovator Academy, I had to decide on a project related to education that I would want to work on.  Over the last year we have been implementing various aspects and types of gamification into our teacher learning at our schools.  My project idea was to create a model that other schools could easily modify and implement, that allowed them to gamify their professional learning.  The learning does not need to be around technology but it would allow districts to easily use the principles of gamification to improve their professional learning.  The design principle that I am borrowing from what we learned at the Google Innovator Academy was the idea to start small but dream big, and to use user feedback along the way to iterate, iterate, iterate.  I wanted to use Google Apps as the main tool in order to reduce the need for new log-ins or learning of another tool.  This should make it much easier for teachers to get started and have a better chance at keeping the momentum going.  I also tried to create categories of Challenges based on the specific learning needs/outcomes of the teachers involved and focus on technology use that improves student learning.  You can find the Google Site that we are using for this initial roll-out at https://sites.google.com/ames.k12.ia.us/acsdelementarytechgamification/home


3 Main Goals of Gamification

  • Give examples of effective uses of technology (goals/challenges) and provide resources that meet their needs to be successful.

  • Recognize their (teachers’) learning through the use of badges, points, and other methods.

  • Create a way to share out what is happening in classrooms in order to help drive collaboration.


Initial Rollout

  • In my district we have a group of Model Teachers, as part of the Teacher Leadership Grant from the state of Iowa, that will provide a smaller group of teachers to test out the model and provide feedback to improve it.

  • Introduced to Elementary Model Teachers at our first Teacher Leader Training days at the end of September, first week of October.

  • Focusing on 4 of the 5 categories as the 5th category will require other professional learning work to be completed in the district prior to the challenges being created.  Initial focus will be on Google Apps, Professional Learning, Digital Learning (for students), and Formative Assessment.

Example Challenges

  • The majority of the Challenges will be focused on student/teacher learning without mention of a specific tool.  However, there are certain tools or resources that are common or needed as part of other professional learning outcomes in our district that will require the Challenges to be based on those tools/resources.

  • As we are starting our 1:1 initiative with Chromebooks in our Elementaries this year, Google Apps will be a major focus as this will be a primary tool used by many but can be used in a wide variety of ways.

Leaderboard and Badges

  • I am using an Awesome Table to display the total points and badges that teachers have earned.  The forms, that they fill out to get their points, feed into a pivot table which will sum up their points for each category.  That pivot table is brought into another sheet that has the headers for the Awesome Table.  The key is the set of equations on that sheet that will pull in the correct badge for each teacher based on their score in each category.  The badges had to be hosted on an external Google Site, not a school account Google Site, in order for them to show up.


  • My goal is to simplify the spreadsheets to make it much easier for anyone to use but for now, the equations are as simple as I can get them.  You can find out more about my sheets by watching the video below, and then click on the links to see examples of the Form and the Awesome Table sheet.

Template Form

Template Spreadsheet

Sharing and Classroom Examples

  • An important aspect of this whole project is that teachers are sharing out examples as they are implementing new ideas into the classroom.  For now, the artifacts are pulled from the Form results and put into one sheet with each category going into a different column.  Turning the links that they submit into clickable links in the Awesome Table is much easier with the implementation of Templates in Awesome Tables.  This allows for quick and easy access to what teachers are doing but may need some work as more and more artifacts are submitted so that the great examples do not get lost in the large amounts of other examples.


The key to this project will be teacher, user, feedback.  As the small group of teachers involved in this use the site and attempt challenges, we will be better able to improve it for their learning.  Their feedback will be the driving force of the changes we make between now and when we are comfortable sharing the “finished” template with all.

If you are interested in receiving updates about the project, if you want to be able to implement it yourself when it is ready, please fill out this simple Google Form.


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