I had some questions thrown my way after my post yesterday about edmettle. It was about my reference to Open Badges.
Badges should not be a new concept. I know that they’ve been around as long as I can remember.
As a Boy Scout, every time I was able to perform some sort of skill proficiency, I earned a badge. Some notable ones remain in memory:
- winter camping
- life saving
I also went through the Canadian Red Cross and Royal Life Saving Society swimming, life saving programs. Lots of badges were collected here.
- various swimming levels
- National Lifeguard Service
They meant a great deal at the time and I think I still have them stored in a closet around here somewhere. They were the culmination of achievement for a level that had many specific requirements. When you met them, you received a badge.
In education, we use them all the time. They typically are a checkmark or a sticker signifying that the student meets certain requirements. I suppose a graduation certificate or diploma could be considered the ultimate.
As we turn our views online, why not badges there? For the past Bring IT, Together conferences, we created badges for workshop leaders to display on their blogs / wikis / webpages to let the world know that their proposal had been accepted.
So, how about badges for real life? From my perspective, one of the leaders in this area is the Mozilla Open Badges project. Display a proficiency, earn a badge, and then display it electronically (if you wish). In your classroom, what’s to stop you from assigning badges as a visual confirmation that a student has met a certain standard? Mozilla has designed a backpack just for that purpose.
Or, if you’re not ready to go the full distance, create the badges within your own classroom community and have students post them to their blog. It would be a great opportunity for a reflection post to talk about what the achievement mean to them. You might also want to check out ClassBadges for additional ideas and resources or even check out the Creating Badges 101 page.