doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Badges for Footprints

I had a couple of tabs open in my browser today during my reading and, as I stared at them, I wondered if somehow they could be combined.

The first tab was open to the story “11 Tips For Students To Manage Their Digital Footprints“.  It is hard to argue with any of the tips.

  • Use Privacy Settings
  • Keep a List of Accounts
  • Don’t Overshare
  • Use a Password Keeper
  • Google Yourself
  • Monitor Linking Accounts
  • Use a Secondary Email
  • You Don’t Need 12 Email Addresses
  • Sending is Like Publishing Forever
  • Understand That Searches are Social
  • Use Digital Tools to Manage Your Footprint

Read the full blog post where they flesh each of these out in detail.  It’s good advice.  Could you add more?  Remove some?

Now, let’s take it to the classroom.  As students increasingly are going online, using various tools, getting connected, aren’t each of these worthy of discussion in the classroom?  Particularly in lieu of a formal curriculum?

But let’s take it even further.  After a discussion, wouldn’t each of these topic be worthy of a blog post by students?  It would be a good test to see if they understand the concepts simply by describing how they understand each AND how they plan to put each into their own practice.

So, what about the second tab that I had open.

It was open to Mozilla’s OpenBadges page.  I’m fascinated with the concept of badging and certainly achieving a level of competence is worthy of a badge to celebrate.  It’s not a new concept – I had a collection of badges I earned as I worked my way through the Red Cross and Royal Life Saving Society swimming and life saving levels.  I also had a collection of badges to show that I had demonstrated competencies in Boy Scouts.  Earning the badges encompassed the best of what we talk about in terms of assessment.  Perform a task at a certain level of competency and you receive the badge.

So, why not meld the two concepts as part of a program of digital literacy?

Discuss and research these important topics in class and then students blog their understanding.  If the content of the blog shows the required understanding, the student earns a digital badge to proudly post on her/his blog.  They’re learning; mom and dad can see that there is a sincere addressing of the topics in the classroom; you’re addressing many of the traditional curriculum expectations for your grade level in other subject areas and you’re doing the right thing dealing with digital literacies.


2 responses to “Badges for Footprints”

  1. Great post, Doug! Recently, I’ve been putting together a digital citizenship and literacy curriculum for our school so your post was an important read. Common Sense Media has a curriculum out for younger kids (grades 1-5) with a digital passport, much like the badge system you’re talking about. Kids learn lessons through series of videos, games and role playing and earn passports for different level. I am going to take your suggestion and design our middle school curriculum and add the badges!
    Thanks for your work and inspiring teachers everywhere!



    1. That’s wonderful news, Yoon Soo. I’ll be very interested in hearing how your project goes. I think it’s on the right track.


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