The games themselves are the appeal PlayBrighter. Four different games are available: Billionaire, Ionica, Musica and Conspiracy. Characters in the games have an anime feel, so they have a feeling of coolness. The stories attached to each game or mission will also appeal to students and bring an edge of competitiveness to the game.
Some of the games work better than others. In Musica, students increase their chances of getting recording contract by improving different aspects of their music. Every correct answer equals more success in the music business. Conspiracy also ties success directly to answer questions, having students fight villains and spies by answering questions correctly.
However, Billionaire and Ionia are less successful. In Ionia, students more interested in the game will quickly become disinterested when questions pop up to block their view of the board, even though answering questions correctly is how they score points. Billionaire has a fun premise, buying buildings as investments and answering questions to buy the buildings and improve the value of investments, but even after going through the tutorial, some students may be confused about how to play the game and give up rather than click around to try and figure it out.
Over 15,000 questions have already been created by the team at PlayBrighter and they include questions from all sorts of areas. They are organized alphabetically by subject, but it is difficult to make sense of what’s available. A search tool is available to help you find what you need, but unless you search for specific terms, you may not be able to quickly locate what you need.
If you cannot find what you need, you do have the option to create your own question sets. These sets are simple, having you type in a question and answer. You may choose to allow for misspellings in answers or penalize students for answer incorrectly. Because of the way you must create question sets, you are limited to asking questions with precise answers such as vocabulary words, grammar questions and concrete facts.
Create a Question Set
PlayBrighter allows you to quickly add students and assign missions to them. If you add your entire class, you can choose to assign the same mission to all of the students or assign missions to individual students or small groups. You can also add multiple classes of students and assign different missions to each of them. Each student’s answers are recorded and you can quickly analyze who knows the material and who doesn’t.
Mission Set Up Options
When you sign up for an account, you are given a few mission credits to begin with. If you run out of credits, you must contact the website administrators to upgrade your account. While this involves filling out a simple Contact Us form, you fill it out blindly. The website does not provide any information on how much upgrading an account costs or what you get by upgrading your account versus staying in trial mode.
We contacted Playbrighter concerning the lack of pricing information, and got the following response: "We actually have prices up for UK users, but they won't show up in other countries, so translate the prices as you wish... We have three packages: 'Parent' (£9.99/month), 'Educator' (£15.99/month) and 'School' (around £2.50 per student).
If you want to help students review basic skills and concepts in your classroom, PlayBrighter is definitely worth checking out. Your students should enjoy going on the missions and answering questions. Stick with the games Musica and Conspiracy for the maximum effect and to determine for yourself whether it is worth upgrading your account and making the website a regular part of your classroom review.