Product Review of Hall of Heroes
Hall of Heroes is a social and emotional learning game that is designed to help learners transition to middle school. Students begin by designing their own customizable “superhero” avatar. Soon after, learners are given a quick orientation to their school by the stoic and heroic Principal Shields. Students are encouraged to interact with characters by choosing one of three options that appear in speech bubbles, which can be read aloud. These answers are logged and later appear in an assessment report for educators; a teacher dashboard provides data on whole-group and individual student progress. Students can get help by clicking a question mark on the lower-left side of their screen, which either repeats a tutorial or has written instructions.
Players progress through levels, which include learning how to get to lockers, figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, learning how to help classmates with homework, and more. These levels may require anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes to complete. Some of the supplemental activities require fine motor skills such as being able to navigate a mouse or touchpad and may require additional staff assistance.
Teachers can use Hall of Heroes to reinforce social-learning concepts as learners transition to middle school. Use it in the first weeks of school to orient learners to the social nuances they’ll need for the year and beyond. Let learners play at individual, self-paced intervals. Or project the game during whole-group instruction to allow the group to discuss and practice problem-solving skills. Ask learners to engage their background knowledge of school transitions and talk about times they’ve experienced the same situations as their avatars.
Additionally, consider using this game as another level of support for multiple populations who may be struggling with social and emotional learning concepts. Teachers can examine individual student or group data to see where re-teaching or reinforcement of certain concepts should occur.
In Hall of Heroes, learners navigate the transition to a superhero middle school, including making new friends, dealing with peer pressure, and discovering their strengths. The developer notes that as middle school learners start to become influenced more by friends than adults, peer characters in the game offer friendly advice and cues for how to behave in new situations. Because this is a simulated environment, learners may feel more comfortable practicing the unwritten rules presented in the game before trying them in real-world situations.
The levels in the game progress in a way that is interactive and fun, although they are a bit time consuming. The characters are diverse, each having their own superpower; learners are encouraged to respect and admire these characters for their own unique strengths. Character skills such as compassion, gratitude, self-control, empathy, humility, teamwork, collaboration, and communication are built into each level and most interactions, which makes this web-based game a wonderful tool for learning.
Overall User Consensus About the App
The ability to design custom avatars to role-play the transition to middle school, combined with vibrant graphics throughout the game, encourages learners to come back for more.
Curriculum and Instruction
Social learning is baked into the experience, which encourages learners to use teamwork, solve problems, create friendships, and understand the social nuances of the transition to middle school.