Creating a Leaderboard


To motivate students and develop a desire to see their points rise, I need a visual. This is called a leaderboard in the world of video games.  Back when I was doing my graduate work, I witnessed how the leaderboard motivated me. As I said before, gaming wasn’t my thing. And the quests and the things we did to “pass” were out of my comfort zone. However, I finished the class with the second to highest XP. Why? Because I was motivated. I liked seeing my avatar in the lead.


One of the principles I learned about games which carries directly to teaching, is that everything has to be in the ZONE, Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). Well, I am not sure game designers think of Vygotsky’s research when they create games. But think about it, each level gets more challenging, gives enough lives to make it interesting but not too hard or too easy. In this graduate class, Dr. Chris Haskell created a variety of quests. Some were required, but most were optional. You just had to choose enough quests to reach your “grade” goal. There were enough quests that were carefully scaffolded and in my Zone that I was able to learn a significant amount about gamification, while accumulating points (XP). Just as the gamification research shows, students (even unskilled students like me) can be motivated by competition and seeing their XP stack.


In working on this project, I am revisiting some of the articles and post I wrote during my graduate work. As I review the materials on gamification,  what I am attempting to do this semester is not true gamification, but it is a start.  So to build a leaderboard, I did what everyone does, look for free resources on the web. Alice Keeler has some fantastic resources, and I found other people’s posts. But of course, nothing is exactly what I need, so I will have to do some good old fashioned spreadsheet work. If I were building these materials in Adobe Captivate, I would have used the resources created by eLearning Brothers. That will be for my next PD course I write.

For my purposes, I want to pull data from the gradesheets exported from Schoology and create a leaderboard that showed images as my students progressed from one level to another.I am using a Greek God/Goddess theme, so I asked my 12 year old daughter, Tatum, to help me find images. Using what I learned from Alice Keeler, I, rather Tatum, developed the images in Google Drawings. She had fun learning how to import backgrounds and recolor Free and licensed to use images.  


In order to have the images populate in my spreadsheet, I first had to publish them to the web, then use this link in my Google Sheet. Also, I had to decide on my levels and then create a logic statement using a Google Sheet if/then formula (without the ‘then’).  When it was all said and done it looked like this

=if(C2<=600, image(“”),if (And(600<C2,C2<=1300),image (“”), IF(AND(C2>1300, C2<=2000), IMAGE(“…

So, yes this is not a pretty sight. It would be a lot shorter if I had used the Google URL shortener extension, and I will probably make some adjustments when I know I know I have everything just right. The “if” statement compares the cell containing the XP to a value and the “then” is actually a comma after the comparison. The logic needs a value of what to do if the statement is false and that comes after another comma. So in this statement above there are a series of nested if statements and the final one is “” which says if none of these is true return an empty cell. Another thing to notice is that Spreadsheet logic does not notice between statements such as 600<x<=1000. Instead an And function is used, so it would look like AND(600<X, X<=1000).  

Now that I have the formula configured and my images ready. The next step is determining how to update the XP on a regular basis. Because I am not using a program like Captivate and Schoology is not gamification ready. I will have to do some exporting.  


I am excited about the progress I am making so far!