Honesty is generally the best policy, right? Well, to be honest with you, I get nervous and my palms get sweaty when I’m “given the reins.” I’m always fearful that whatever I choose to investigate, will be the wrong thing. Period. I mean, there’s never any harm in learning new things, whether in school, at home, or in life. So, at the age of
mumblemumble-something, I am going to attempt to drop the fear, and dive into the unknown!
When I looked through Polly’s post (which happened to be number 37 for me), I noticed a listing for the Teacher’s Guide to Technology and Learning, which had a list of “things” that you may or may not be aware of within the world of technology and education. “Badges,” of which I have never heard, intrigued me. I mean, if I can get a nice little digital doohicky that tells EVERYONE EVERYWHERE that I did SOMETHING, whether or not you know what it even is, SIGN. ME. UP. I am nothing if not a proverbial and perennial only child, seeking approval. I hope that’s okay.
So. BADGES. I KNOW what badges are, at least in a physical, tangible sense. Girl and boy scouts sell cookies and boxes of popcorn, and earn badges for doing that, along with carving blocks of Ivory soap into polar bears, or building a bridge for a “major” environmental project that helps out a community. But DIGITAL badges? New to me!
So, after reading the article that was posted on the Teacher’s Guide, I learned that teachers have the ability to assign work to their students, and once the students have achieved a predetermined amount, they can earn a digital badge, which will be awarded once the work is completed. At this point in time, the only website that the article discussed was ClassBadges. The site is a free online tool that allows teachers (and schools, for that matter) to assign specific value to a variety of badges, whether academic, social, what have you.
Teachers who already are utilizing digital tools for learning and assessment would benefit from the use of ClassBadges!
There are a wide variety of badges to be awarded, from Art and Music, Behavior, ELA, History, Language, Math, Science, and Technology. Teachers can determine what type of achievement each student must have in order to earn the badge, and once earned, students keep the badges, displaying them on the internet.
I “like” the idea of the badges, but honestly, and AGAIN, since I’m in the middle school, and I don’t have a set of students, I have limited access to working continuously with the same kids. In the elementary library, however, I think ClassBadges would be a great big hit! I think I’ll be sharing it with my colleagues at our next department meeting!
Yeah, I would have NEVER gotten the Mathlete badge. Shrug.
Another thing that I noticed within the ClassBadges website was the inclusion of a blog, for users of the site to give other users helpful hints, ideas, and general troubleshooting help when needed. The only drawback that I noticed about the blog is that it hasn’t been updated or written within since 2014. Hopefully, whenever anyone uses the site, they won’t need any “help,” because if you look to the blog for such, you’re going to be out of luck, sad to say.
Overall, I like the idea of the badges! I think the kids, just like “back in the day,” who enjoyed stickers, will enjoy today’s digital badges. No sticky residue, smiles for days, and a teacher who has added yet another tool to her toolbox. It’s a win-win for sure!