Today’s tech snack can be found at the following url: https://www.sugarcane.com/
What is it? How can I use it?
Sugarcane is a website that allows you to create different kinds of review games. It was created by the minds behind IXL- a Math and English review site for grades K-12. IXL has expanded its services to include Social Studies and Science, but Sugarcane is a separate service that just happens to be under the IXL company umbrella.
Sugarcane is 100% free and is geared for the K-12th population-however, games can easily be made for the Higher Ed population as well. With Sugarcane, you can make 18 different review games. The games are listed under six different categories: Matching, Associating, Typing, Ordering, Categorizing, and Other. Students do not need a username or password to play any of the games. Students simply need the url. Sugarcane games will work on any Internet enabled device and no install is required for use.
How does it work?
If you want to create games on Sugarcane, you first have to create a free account. Creating an account just requires you to make a username and password. You also have to input an email address. If you have a gmail account, you can use that information to create an account.
After you create an account, you can create what is called a data set. A data set is simply an organized collection of information. Once you create a data set you can create as many games as you want using the data set. Data sets can have text, symbols, or pictures added to them. You can also create games by clicking on the type of game you want to create and creating the data set from that page.
*Note, you can share game individually as urls or you can share all the games associated with a game set. If you used one data set to create a bunch of different games, you simply share the url to the data set. See examples below:
Data set with all the games
You can also copy any existing data set into your account. Once you copy the data set, you can modify it to fit the needs of your class. Why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? Teachers are notorious for "stealing" ...ur I mean "borrowing" ideas from each other.
What are the advantages of using this tool?
Science has proven that playing games has a lot of advantages for students. Playing games releases Dopamine which releases information to different parts of the brain. Dopamine helps us learn new information, improves our memory and helps increase our motivation to complete tasks.
Sugarcane does not have a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) or an accessibility statement available on their site. Based on my first hand knowledge of the contents of the VPAT, however, Sugarcane appears to be a tool that is accessible for people with disabilities. Sugarcane can be used with a mouse, finger or keyboard/joystick. Color is not used as a way to distinguish information, and the fonts are the standard ones that can be read by screen readers. Now to be clear, that does not mean that the product is 100% accessible. For example, there is no ability to add alternative text for images in data sets. This would make it difficult for people who are visually impaired to know what the image is. There is also no way to add a caption for an image. So in terms of accessibility, this product would get a grade of B.
This is an excellent tool that you can use to review and reinforce classroom content. Games can be shared on a class website or wiki page so that students can access the content from home. Students can also review games in groups as part of an in class activity. If you have an LCD projector, you can share games as a whole class activity. If you have younger students ( less than 13 years old) you can make a class account and have students log in to create their own review games to create interactive study guides for upcoming quizzes/tests. Older students can create their own accounts to create their own review games to review content. Students can share their games with their classmates to see if they can stump their classmates. This makes the studying a lot more engaging, and interactive.
Delicious, easy, free and fun! Happy Snacking!