GooseChase Scavenger Hunt App Review

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IMG_0893Part of what I love about my job is my interaction with our student-based tech team known as the TEACH Team (Tech Experts and Computer Helpers). This group is a compilation of 25 of the most creative, technology savvy thinkers in our middle/high school student body. I have the privilege of leading this group through trainings, activities, and the daily grind of working our Help Desk. They are our testers, our drop-everything-and-go fixers, and our guinea pigs. The most recent guinea pig extravaganza involved the testing of a scavenger hunt app that I’ve researched and played with but had never had the chance to implement.

The app is called GooseChase. This is where formative assessment meets mobility and creativity! The premise of the app is to serve as a host for scavenger hunts of any kind, and it truly does deliver. Claiming to be a “scavenger hunt for the masses,” GooseChase makes it very easy to add what it calls “missions,” both of the pre-made and self-made variety. It could easily be used for the standard youth group or party game scavenger hunt. That use alone would make it a worthwhile download. However, it’s the way that it can be used in education as an assessment tool that really gets me pumped!

IMG_0896I wanted a way to formatively test my students on their tech skills, ability to adapt to a challenge, and problem solving techniques. Hence, the birth of the RV TEACH Team Test of Wits and Wisdom scavenger hunt. By creating a free account online here, and downloading the coordinating app here or here, I was able to easily create a game that assessed the various skills I needed to, while offering a fun, movement-filled way in which to do it.

IMG_0899The game consisted of several of the pre-made missions and a large collection of my own missions that really put my kids to the test (pun intended). There were silly missions that had students challenging others to arm wrestling matches and capturing video of the event. There were missions that checked for tech prowess by using Google Advanced Search options to locate images with noncommercial reuse licenses. There were audio missions, social media missions, text missions, and physical missions. There were dance missions, interview missions, selfie missions, and photoshop missions. As you can see, GooseChase offers such freedom to create exactly what you want.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.43.54 PMTo get a hunt going, you must give it a start and stop time when setting it up. You can opt to password protect your game as well (definitely a suggestion when you’re doing this for an assessment such as this). Students then go onto the app, which is available for any mobile device, and create a log in. They are then allowed to sign into the game. In the free version, you are allowed up to 5 teams. This worked perfectly for my small group.

The real beauty of GooseChase, though, is found in the real-time uploads and points tracker. When creating a GooseChase mission, you can assign points. There are some recommended point values or you can select a custom point value. Within the Mission List Stats on the right (see photo), you can see how many questions and to what value you have assigned them. As the game is progressing, I can stay at “home-base” and watch the activities/submissions roll in. I have the ability to decline any that don’t fit the bill, so the speak. I may or may not have had to wipe tears generated by hysterical laughter from my cheeks more than once.

IMG_0897This really is an app you have to try! It is suitable for any age as long as they can read the missions. It makes learning and assessment engaging and enjoyable for everyone (including the teacher). And, frankly, once the end of May rolls around, we are all feeling it… that mental struggle.

Give this a shot! Go on a wild GooseChase with your students. Literally. I promise that it will not disappoint.

Giving Our Students A Voice

Giving Our Students A Voice In The Collection Development Of Our Library With The New Mackin Compendium App

With spring here and the end of the school year approaching, it is also time for us to do one more round of gathering ideas and reviews for books we might want to add to our collections in the library.

The most important thing to me as I place orders and add new books is to listen to the voice of our students and get their input on the books that we choose.  I always want to fill the library with the books they want to read, the authors they love, and the illustrators who inspire their creativity.

I love sharing School Library Journal with them every month.  They enjoy looking through all of the new books as they scan the covers and read the reviews.  We also check out websites with reviews, follow authors and illustrators, and share the books we have seen at bookstores and in other libraries.

And one of the best places for all of us to go is the Mackin Compendium app.

Last week my friends at Mackin Educational Resources announced something very special for the Spring.

I was so excited to see that they have released a new Mackin Compendium App just in time for us to use as we make our choices.

Last year when they released the first version of the Compendium App, we couldn’t be more excited….It was like nothing we had ever seen.  But now….This app is even better!

For some of you, perhaps you don’t know what Compendium is…..So let me tell you and share a little information from the Mackin Educational Resources website.

Compendium is unique to Mackin….and one of my favorite resources as a teacher librarian, educator, and someone who loves books, authors, and illustrators.  Above you can read all about what makes it so unique and special.

With the new Spring 2014 issue, there are a few things that make it even more awesome!
As you open the app, there are several choices.
By “Browsing the Current Issue”, you will be taken into all of the different area including the grade levels, nonprint, other, and Mackin Recommends…..which I personally LOVE.

It was fun to watch the fourth graders in the library as they went to the different sections.

They opened up School Library Journal and also used the books on the new book shelf to start their searching.  Once in the Compendium app, they let the reviews guide their research for new books.

And with this new app, there is one element that is going to be very helpful to us….”My Faves”.


By each title, you will see a purple button that says “Adds to Faves” with a heart by it….Just click on that to add to your “My Faves” list.  You will click on the “Remove Fave” to take it out of your favorites as well.

It is also easy to “Delete all annotations” at the bottom of each list.  This is a quick way to start again.

The students love this new feature.  Not only is it fun for them to create their “My Faves” lists,  it also gives them ownership and a voice in this process.

Once their lists are created, they can even email the list by clicking on the little letter in the right hand corner of the app.

I received several lists like the one above in my email.  I love being able to go through what they have sent me to create lists of books to order within my Mackin account.

Over the last week, I also used the new app a lot on my spring break.  My family and I went to Disney World where we spent a lot of time standing in line for autographs from all of the characters and for the attractions.

With the new Mackin Compendium app I was able to browse through the current issue and mark books I thought would be something great for us to add to our library collection.

I also sent a few of my own lists to my associate and myself.  This is one element that is going to be very helpful as a time saver and collection development tool.

As you can see, the new app from Mackin rocks!  It brings wonderful new books to our fingertips and gives us the information we all need to enrich our collections.

You can download the Mackin Compendium Spring 2014 app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon’s Kindle.