Badges for Assessment – Why Not?

Ever since participating in a Blackboard Collaborate session with Doug Belshaw at ETMOOC 2013,  I’ve been wanting to learn more about badges as an authentic way for students to demonstrate and receive credit for their learning. With our province so heavily engaged in curriculum redesign, and with educators being called upon to consider new and innovative ways to plan, carry out and assess learning; I’m leaving no rock unturned in an effort to support them in their efforts. Badges, to me, looks like something worth exploring further.

Look here if you would like to gain a better understanding of the concept of badges. I encourage you to read the “Ten Things to Know About Badges.”

OPEN BADGES

I quickly became intrigued while looking through the Mozilla Open Badges platform, however it seemed as though most of the badges were designed for high school and adult learners, so, as an elementary principal I decided to see if there was anything out there for younger students, and in doing so, came across a free website called ClassBadges. I like this one because teachers can set up and manage a class account where each student has an individual login. Badges could be selected from an existing bank or customized for individual students or classes, and easily be aligned to academic goals, curriculum outcomes, or 21st century competencies. Teachers could work with students to identify areas of interest, then create criteria that would need to be met in order to earn that particular badge. The teacher would award badges electronically to students when they were satisfied the criteria had been met. Once awarded, the student would be given access to the badge, which could be displayed anywhere electronically.  Each badge, with its criteria could be added to the bank for other students who may be interested in earning that badge themselves. Can you see the possibilities here?

Sample Badge from

Sample Badge from ClassBadges Website

Sample Badge from ClassBadges Website

Sample Badge from ClassBadges Website

Badges, I think, could offer a way to document different types of authentic learning both inside and outside the school. Perhaps they could place an emphasis on important competencies such as global awareness, digital citizenship, collaboration, and creativity. Perhaps they could provide students with more control over their own learning and give a more complete picture of their abilities in relation to the program of study. Once earned, perhaps a digital portfolio (website, wiki, blog, etc.) could be used to house, display and share badges with others.

Sigh… there I go again with my pie in the sky thinking. It would be easy to list the many reasons why “badges” (and so many other forward thinking ideas) just won’t work, but to that I say, “If it’s important you’ll find a way; if it’s not you’ll find an excuse.”

I encourage you to explore badges and let me know what you think.

Categories: 21st Century Competencies, 21st Century Learning, Education Transformation, ETMOOC | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Badges for Assessment – Why Not?

  1. Greg-

    Badges are a first step toward empowering teachers to gamify their classes.

    There is real potential to create something more powerful than a report card that validates authentic achievement so that we don’t rely so heavily on standardized assessments.

    The trick will be to roll it out with intent, remove subjectivity, and make the badges meaningful.

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  2. Hey Greg – I’ve been using classbadges.com all year with my 5th grade students for all the reasons you outlined above. I absolutely love the site and the gentleman who runs it is a teacher himself, so he knows how to make it work for education!

    That being said, I have had a hard time keeping up with awarding them to my students. I think it will soon be streamlined to eliminate wasted time when awarding them to students. Check out how students in my class earn their badges (using essential questions and reflection questions): http://psolarz.weebly.com/how-to-earn-your-blog-badges.html

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  3. Another good website is http://www.forallbadges.com, which links to Mozilla Open Badges but lets you design your own badges! Edmodo also allows for awarding student badges, either theirs or your own design. I’ve designed some for my classroom (they’re on Teachers Pay Teachers but free to download if anyone wants to use them!) http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Classroom-Badges-Achievements-and-Rewards

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  4. Reblogged this on Insatiable Learner and commented:
    Interested in trying badges with elementary students at my school and perhaps teachers as well.

    Like

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