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Increase Retention, Participation and Performance with uBoost Gem


uBoost Ruby Gem


Haiku Learning Systems in collaboration with uBoost, Inc. has developed the uBoost gem and has made it available for free. Using this gem, ruby-based apps can easily take advantage of the uBoost motivation program to increase engagement and student performance.  The motivation program includes redeemable currency, badges,  avatars,  experience points, leader boards, and a rewards program that is customized to customer requirements.

The gem is free under the MIT license and is available via RubyGems. The source code is available at GitHub, and can be cloned and modified to meet specific needs.

uBoost client gem

Source Code up on GitHub

uBoost API v2 Documentation

uBoost Announces Partnership with Haiku Learning Management System


Haiku Learning and uBoost Integration

uBoost, the nation’s premiere student motivation program announced its partnership today with Haiku Learning Systems, an easy-to-use Learning Management System. Qassist will be Haiku’s first customer to use Haiku’s uBoost integration.

Students will now receive real-time recognition for course progression and participation in online community activities like rating and sharing resources; registering new users; and commenting on posts.  Badges, marking their accomplishments, can trigger non-profit giving to selected charitable causes.

uBoost CEO, John Bower, serving on 2013 SIIA Education Division Board of Directors


siia header logo

We are proud to announce that our CEO, John Bower, will be serving his second year as an SIIA Education Division Board Director.  The board includes some of education technology's best thought leaders and we look forward to working closely with its new and returning members to make advancements in education.

Board members represent more than 190 SIIA Education Division member firms that provide software, digital content and other technologies for educational needs. The new board members will help to develop the Division’s initiatives and determine the projects, activities and events to be undertaken by the board.

Check out SIIA's official announcement to view the list of 2013's Board of Directors.

Vote for uBoost - Provide a Day's Worth of Food


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Do you heart uBoost?  We are thrilled to share that uBoost has been nominated for a GAward, for Best Use of Gamification in Education

GAwards are hosted by the Gamification Summit and spotlight businesses in the gamification space.  As you know, gamification  techniques can be applied to education to motivate positive learning behaviors like attendance, assignment completion and course progression.

Thousands of students enrolled in uBoost earned points for academic achievements and chose to donate their points to provide 12,238 days of food to those in need, 29,474 families with clean water and 11,293 dogs awaiting in shelters with another day to find their forever home. Help us continue to allow our children be inspired by their good work by voting for uBoost. Visit the GAward page, sign in with your Facebook or twitter account, and click on the thumbs up icon next to uBoost. Deadline is June 8th. Your vote truly counts!

Winners will be unveiled at the upcoming Gamification Summit on June 19th in San Francisco.  We hope to see you there!


How Do You Maintain Student Engagement Over the Summer?


uboost ucare summer 2012 resized 600
It's no secret that students (and educators) face the end-of-school-year blues.  With summer break right in front of us, it's difficult to keep education their priority.

uBoost sustains student engagement through the summer by adding new content like virtual assets (K-8), merchandise and contests (secondary and post-secondary focused).  When students login over the summer, they will continue to see new opportunities for rewards, motivating them to continue to engage with your online curriculum making retention and completion more likely.

How do you maintain student engagement and connection over the summer?  We would love to share your ideas!

Badges for Learning


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On March 8th, our CEO, John Bower, and Anne Derryberry, a designer and consultant on digital badge systems and game-based learning, hosted a webcast on badges for learning.  Topics included:

  • Game-based learning and badging basics
  • Applications in higher education and online learning
  • Innovative uses of game-based learning and badging in education
  • What to consider when implementing a game-based or badging program

If you missed the Badges for Learning Webcast, you can watch it here.

We would love to hear how you use badges and gaming mechanics to increase targeted student activities you find valuable!


Text Messaging Done Right with uBoost


uBoost recently conduIndependent_test_prepcted a pilot with a national test prep program proving that SMS messaging can radically impact the amount of independent test prep completed by students. 

Results of the pilot were staggering.  On average, students in the program group exhibited 87% more activity than students in the control group, as measured by number of questions answered correctly.

Pilot participants opted in to participating in the program and were split into two groups.  The program group received texts reminding them to prepare for their December 3, 2011 SAT test.  The nine text messages sent over the two weeks leading up to the test used social normative pressure, prizes, and status updates to drive more independent test prep.  The control group did not receive any texts.  When program participants completed test prep questions, they continued to receive their uBoost credits in addition to contest entries for prizes like iPads, gift cards, and iPods.  Winners were selected and announced during the pilot period, encouraging participants to continue to work hard. 

“This study proved that sending messages to users in relevant ways, such as texting, can dramatically increase logons, participation and performance,” said John Bower, CEO of uBoost. “Even students considered motivated and engaged can be influenced to do more work if properly triggered he user motivation ecosystem must include behavior triggers to be truly effective.  Our customers are working closely with us to create customized programs that deliver relevant messages with the goal of driving usage, achievement and ultimately completion." 

uBoost customers can now utilize "texting with a twist" to increase student behaviors that they find most valuable in maximizing program participation and completion.

Learn How to Increase Retention at the SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum


Ed Tech Logo

uBoost is proud to be a Host Sponsor at this year's SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum, the premier business and finance conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology industry, taking place November 28-29 in New York City.

This year’s focus will be on “Doing Business in the New Normal”, which is meant to help education technology companies transition their businesses to meet the realities of today's market.   Attendees will gain valuable insight into how customers and investors are changing their expectations of ed tech publishers and learn about emerging trends in cloud services, mobile devices, OER, and more. 

Our CEO, John Bower, is excited to represent uBoost, as he delivers the introduction to the forum on November 28th and looks forward to sharing how uBoost helps its clients increase student retention.

We hope to see you there!

Increase Engagement, Performance and Retention - Visit us at VSS 2011


vss 2011 Indiana

The Virtual School Symposium (VSS), iNACOL's Annual Conference taking place November 9-11 in Indianapolis, provides professional development for more than 2,000 attendees and K-12 administrators, policy leaders and practitioners; important networking opportunities; access to expertise and analysis, trends and research; and thought-provoking sessions for leaders looking to help shape the future of education. Presentations will highlight K-12 education solutions for college-readiness, credit recovery, teacher improvement and overcoming teacher shortages, web-based core and advanced courses, as well as personalized learning solutions for students across the grade-levels.

uBoost is a proud sponsor of this year's conference and we are looking forward to collaborating with industry leaders to discuss and share best practices on boosting student motivation and supporting teacher teacher effectiveness in an online learning environment. 

Attendees will be able to stop by booth 21 for a demo to find out how our clients like
Carpe Diem increase engagement, performance and retention by using our online motivation tools.

We hope to see you there!

My Avatar Is Cooler Than Yours: Virtual Rewards Produce Real Motivation


Rubles or rupees; yen or yuan; dollars or dinar. Every culture has its own currency which it trades for the things its denizens prize or need. Children, known for creating their own cultures—their own lingo, heroes, and social strata—are no different.

While, as adults and young adults, we attach value to dollars and cents, younger children ascribe as much value (or more) to the things they treasure most, often items which are non-monetary in nature. In days gone by, that might have been marbles or baseball trading cards. Today, it’s more likely an avatar for their favorite video game, a digital pet, or some other status symbol in their own realm.

Researchers studying the effects of incentives on learning, especially short-term incentives, are suggesting how best to leverage those non-monetary things kids value most (thus making these programs more cost-effective for schools and districts to administer)  to motivate students to learn, reward them for their efforts, and in the process, boost attendance and retention levels in school.

What Do We Want?  Motivation. When Do We Want It? Now.

Working together, researchers from the University of Chicago, University of Mannheim, and the University of California San Diego experimented with the effect of short-term incentives on student efforts and published their results in “The Impact of Short-term Incentives on Student Performance.” Drs. Steven D. Levitt, John A. List, Susanne Neckermann and Sally Sadoff tested the effects of low financial gain, high financial gain, non-monetary gain and the loss of their gains on some roughly 6,700 students in the Chicago, Illinois area. By announcing the incentives immediately before the tests were administered, the researchers eliminated the effects of preparation on performance. By modifying the rewards as either available immediately after taking the test or one month later, they could study which scenario—long-term or short-term—is most effective.

Although the effects varied by student body demographic, whether due to age or economic strata, the researchers were able to demonstrate that, while financial rewards were effective for older students, for younger students, non-financial awards were as effective, or in many cases, more effective, than low financial rewards (such as $10) or high rewards (such as $20) in their samples.

The takeaway from the study for educators and administrators is not only that short-term incentives work, but that something as inexpensive as a digital reward, which is easily dispensed and controlled, and affordably obtained, can be an effective means of incenting students to study harder, attend class more regularly, and stay in school as the value and benefit of their rewards increase over time.

What Do We Want? Rewards. When Do We Want Them? Now.

The younger the students, the shorter their attention spans and apparently, their ability (or desire) to consider the long-term consequences of their actions or the rewards promised to them for engaging in the behaviors needed to succeed in school.

The study showed that immediate rewards which be can dispensed right after tests are given and scored, such as gaming avatars or charitable contributions made in students’ names, showed improvements in student performance; in some cases, by twice as much or more, than for those for whom no incentives were provided. These are precisely the types of rewards an online rewards and recognition platform, such as uBoost, can offer.

Learn more: Download “The Impact of Short-term Incentives on Student Performance.”

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