Last week I wrote about setting a homework challenge to learn muscles of the body as an online game - the students then had to post screen grabs on google+ to show they had done it and to be in contention for the hallowed prize of 'King of the Muscles' and a cafe voucher.
I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go, but by Thursday the buzz in all my senior classes was about 'poke-a-muscle'. The boys were so excited about it they'd post a score, and then find out that someone had beaten them, and then rush out of the class at interval to get to a computer and beat the top score. I even had an email on Saturday (two days after the due date) from two boys who had been practicing and spent the afternoon working together to try and beat the original high scores they had submitted with the homework!!!
So, do I think that using this type of competition improved results? Certainly, the way that google+ allowed the students to communicate immediately about how they were getting on with the homework was key, it provided immediate feedback, and allowed them to see how they were comparing with the other students. It celebrated success and encouraged them to try harder than their last effort. I admit, the cafe voucher was probably a positive incentive - as an experiment I think i'll slightly reduce the wager and see how it goes next time!
Overall the highest score was 91.73 - see if you or any of your students can have a go at cracking that!