Spoiler Alert: We’re launching a DLC Badge Program!
I had the pleasure of leading the DLC’s July Hangout on Digital Badges, which was an opportunity for us to consider the application of digital badges in our own classrooms, and for our use in the DLC.
Rather than selecting a book for participants to read in advance, I shared a list of online resources on digital badges, asking DLC members to read through several of interest in preparation for our conversation.
To push my own digital literacies—something DLC members do regularly—I experimented with YouTube’s annotation feature, adding annotations to the video recording of our “Hangout on Air” to highlight moments of interest. I’ll summarize a few highlights of our discussion, here:
Benefits of Digital Badges
Joe P. (8:00) shared that digital badges could be “acknowledgements of different accomplishments that the students have made throughout [the year].”
Ivelisse B. (12:15) added that we could use badges to acknowledge a range of skills: “We could use them in such a way that some students who would otherwise not be included could be, so that you could reward students for things that aren’t necessarily on the rubric.”
I raised a question about the value of issues badges to all students for a general accomplishment (such as participation), versus more specific or advanced badges: Joe P. (15:25) suggested we recognize participation with an entry-level badge, and issue more specific badges for bigger accomplishments: “Gateway badges for participation are great, and that helps to engage, but I think we need to think in terms of how do we go beyond those for accomplishment?”
Clemencia A. (24:52) added that badges could be a positive incentive to motivate students: “I think it can work as an incentive to encourage kids to do work or to put effort in their work. I think as a teacher, it can be used as a cheap way of rewarding kids. I know some teachers have suggested buying cheap things just to recognize their work. But sometimes you know we have to be careful how much we spend. But if we create these digital badges and give it to kids as a reward for the effort that they put on their work, I think that sounds like a good idea.”
Badges for the DLC
After I previewed a few of the websites we could use to create badges (e.g. Badgelist, Credly) and shared some prototypes I’d designed with the group, we decided that we wanted to move forward with a badge program for the DLC. We discussed a few specific badges, including one to recognize attendees from our 2016 Summer Conference, and played around with the design features on a few badge websites.
We also shared our goals for using badges this year. Clemencia A. (41:39) plans to create and issue badges with Credly for her students.
Ivelisse B. (42:38) is interested in learning more about badges through DLC before trying it in her classroom: “I’d like to try it out first in the DLC. I think it would be helpful for me to play with it a little with the adults before I started to do it with the kids.” One of the advantages of working with a group like the DLC is that we can learn from each other’s experience with new technology, and rely on each other’s support if we choose to adopt something in our own classrooms.
Joe P. (42:51) hopes that our badge program will get more people involved in the DLC: “I like the fact that this is just an opportunity to reach out to others who are either in the DLC right now and maybe would benefit from a little recognition. The fact that we’re looking to expand. This is another little pat on the back. It’s a way to get PD credit because you can prove that you’ve been part of a group and that you’ve accomplished certain things. [ . . . ] So I think it might be beneficial if someone wants to join us, that this is another way to be recognized.”
Badge Program Update
We are currently finalizing the designs for our first set of digital badges, and setting up the program on Badgelist, which will allow us to create an invite-only group for the DLC, and designate multiple members as badge issuers. We are excited to launch our program in the next few weeks, and look forward to sharing the results of our collaborative efforts with current and future DLC members!