First, this app is awesome. It’s basically creating a scavenger for the kids. The kids
love it and it is so simple for the kids to use. You can allow a text answer, GPS location (not really that good for lower schools, as I have yet to try it), photo entry and video entry. Also, a special thanks to Ms. Karre Sloan over at Donelson Christian Academy for telling me about this app. Go Wlidcats!
To start the GooseChase, though not super quick, was easy enough for most fourth graders to figure it out. To be honest, the few that couldn’t figure out how to create an account and find the chase were probably too excited to calmly do it. Just download the GooseChase app, create an account, search for the title of the game and then join. You can set up teams in advance, which I would recommend if you have the time (you can even create a password for them) or they can join and create their own team name.
For starters, there is a free version of it. If you are a teacher, you can have up to five teams going at once. I first opted for the $49 a year Educator Plus plan, so I could have unlimited games going on at once and could also have ten teams in each one. After just two games, I quickly upgraded to the Educator Premium plan. For a reasonable fee of $199, you can have unlimited games going with up to 40 teams per game, which I plan on doing soon.
I don’t think I’ve seen a more excited group of kids. We trusted them to go around the school in small groups and every single group was engaged.
I encourage you to test it out by getting the free EDU plan (up to five teams), and creating a simple classroom one. I wouldn’t do much on the educational side on the very first game. The goal is to get used to the user interface and understand the process.
The video to shows a child performing the mission "Is there a cow in here" in which you had to moo like a cow in a public place. I literally cried when I watched it.
The Awesomeness of it.
The support over at is great! I mean it is awesome. Got a question at 11:30 at night, you’re likely to have an answer by the time you wake up in the morning, if not before you go to bed.
It’s reasonably priced. As educators, we are hoping for free stuff. But, you get what you pay for and the price is worth it. A small $49 fee is worth it for the entire year that you get to use it.
Kids do NOT have to verify an email. This is crucial since many lower school kids do not, and should not, have access to a school email account. I wish they could simply find the event, click on their team name (Team names would have to be set up by the organizer) and then enter a pin number (set up by the teacher). Again, this wasn’t an issue with 4th grade. But, the 1st graders will have a difficult time or the teachers will have to set up the iPads first for the kids, which shouldn’t be too bad. I’m doing this on November 2, so I’ll have more info on this. I heard that they might be changing this late next year. But, currently, it is a quick process and not a hassle at all.
Submitting a mission is crazy simple. The first day I used it, not a single student asked for help submitting their problem. NOT A SINGLE student. This is utterly amazing.
It causes the students to actually read the question. For instance, the directions say to take a photo with you in it. If they simply take a photo, they can lose all or some of the points. They’ll struggle the first time and go for speed, but they’ll soon realize that they’ll lose points if they don’t read the actual directions.
You can send a notification to everyone at the same time. This is great for time warnings or to give everyone notice that a new mission has been added. When we did a weekend chase, I deleted incorrect submissions and let them try again on the first day. At the end of the day, I let parents know that they must follow directions for the rest of the weekend and that we would just deduct points from here on out.
You can deduct all the points or some of the points based on the mission. Students get notified when points are deducted.
You can download all the submissions after the game is over. You can then upload the photos and videos for the kids to view without the app. It even organizes them in nice little folders for you with specifically named files.
(I really wouldn’t call it “Bad”. It’s just things that could be improved.)
You can’t complete photo/video submissions by uploading from your camera roll / photo gallery. As a teacher, this would be an excellent app to use on a field trip. They can see all of the challenges offline, but you can’t submit anything unless you’re online. The reason I was told is that they used to allow it, but people would find images online and submit. I understand this setting, but I wish that I, as the game organizer, could allow uploading. This basically nixes the idea of taking it on a field trip with class iPads, unless you are going somewhere with easily accessible wifi or your own wifi hub. I’ve been in touch with the company and this might be an option in the future.
Kids can resubmit, even if you don’t want them to. If you deduct points, they can just resubmit and it overrides their last submission. Yes, you can tell the kids not to do it, but some of them are going to do it anyway. As far as I know, you have to remember if you have deducted points already from a group. So if you do a giant one for your school and have 80 participants, good luck remembering! One tip is to wait until it is over and closed before you deduct. Perhaps that is why they allow this, but there is an issue with this, which goes with my next point.
The activity feed is live for everyone. I don’t know a way to turn it off. This is an issue if for privacy in some capacity. Also, if the assignment is to show work on a problem, BOOM! The other kids have the answer on the activity feed. This happened during a GooseChase at our school. We had an obscure painting name posted as a mission. Out of the first three classes that did it, not a single one found it. One lucky group found it during a game. Soon after, four or five other groups miraculously found it as well. Allow us to turn that off. The text submission is hidden, but not any of the videos or photo uploads.
Deducting points is somewhat of a pain. You have to click on the gear (on the submission). Click “add bonus” Click in the box where to enter the number. Type in the minus sign and then the number of points you want to deduct. Then click “Give Bonus” (even though it’s a negative bonus and not actually a bonus) and then click off of the screen or click on the “close” button. Out of the hundreds of missions that the kids have done, probably 5% are deducted a number differently than the total. If they would just add a quick button to delete all points, it would save about six steps and 10-15 seconds per submission that you have to do this. I recommend waiting until almost everyone is done and then clicking on the leaderboard. Then, you can go through each one and see the challenge, points awarded. Here’s how to do that.
You have to have a mission title and a mission description. Sometimes, just the title is enough (like Take a photo of a duck), but then you have to write a description as well.
If they allowed just one box, it would be possible to quickly upload a spreadsheet with descriptions, points and style type (photo, text, gps or video), instead of having to do them one by one.
Setting the custom points takes about four steps when it should take one. Yeah, first world problems, I know. But, when you are creating 20 missions and each one is different from the default option (which is 400), it becomes a hassle. You have to click on the points (which defaults to 400), then you have to click “custom” then you have to double click the “400” and then you can change it. Why not just click in the box and change it?
Your mission bank (those questions that you have created) is only organized alphabetically. If you do have a bank of science questions, a bank of social studies questions, etc., you have to individually search for them. Say you also want to create a copy of about 15 questions that you created for a previous search, but for a new class period. You have to singularly search and find those questions again and add them...one….by….one. It would be nice to create folders (related to subjects) and import 15 or so, that would be great. Or, if you could somehow press control and click on multiple questions and then import all of them, that would be nice too. You can just duplicate a mission though, but then if you wanted to add a group of specifically tagged questions, you have to go find them...one...by...one.
If a user creates an account and can’t find the information or pin number, the admin can’t figure out their pin.
1. Wait till it is over to deduct points. Go to the leaderboard and then click on the top score. It’s so much easier to do them that way. You can see the title of the submission and deduct points.
2. Create obvious rules like that you don’t have to state on each mission. Rules like:
You can’t find an image online.
You’d think that would be understood by everyone, but it isn’t.
Just because someone submits something, doesn’t mean that they are actually getting points. They may be disqualified after the chase is over.
3. Create a tie breaker. We once did a chase right before Halloween and several kids completed all of the challenges and tied. We created a tie breaker worth just 10 points, but the bonus was given to the largest pumpkin, which would break the tie.
4. Create acronyms like
YMBII - which stands for You Must Be In It.
FTD - Follow the directions.
DNFD- Which stands for Did Not Follow Directions.
This will help when deducting points or writing out directions.
What I wish I could do.
Be able to comment.
Currently, you have to deduct or add points in order to comment. If you want to comment, you have to give them zero points and then comment. It would be nice to be able to say that something is creative without having to give or take away points. The bonus of zero points kind of throws of the kids sometimes.
Disable the live activity feed
I spoke on this earlier. If kids don’t know how to do something, they’ll just watch the activity feed an sometimes copy.
Quickly set the points system.
Like I said early, it’s about four steps to set a custom points. You could just default to 400 for all of them though. (I have no early idea why the odd number of 400 is the default.)
Quickly deduct points. (Click for my solution for the developers.)
It’s tedious. If they don’t get it and you don’t want to comment, make it quicker.
Upload images or videos for challenges.
This would be an obvious solution for schools that have iPads and take them on field trips.
Disallow multiple submissions.
If you deduct points from a submission, the kids can just upload another one and it overrides the previous one that you deducted points for. Unless you remember (and you can easily forget if you have 20 teams and 20 missions), any new submission will override their previous one. The organizer should have the ability to turn that feature off so you’re not seeing multiple submissions. Let them do it once. This is another reason why it’s better to wait until the game is over before you start deducting points.
Allow the admin to deduct or add points from the GooseChase app.
Currently, you have to do it from a computer. This isn’t a big deal, but it would be more convenient to do it right from your phone when you’re looking at submissions.