About Badges

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
  • sailing
  • 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
  • Instructor
  • 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.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

3 thoughts on “About Badges

  1. Doug,
    Thanks so much for backing up a step, and always being willing to share your knowledge with people. It’s funny – I, too, still have my Guide badge scarf, and I have created blankets for my own boys with their badges (especially the ones showing the trails we’ve completed at Algonquin), but I’m still not sold on the digital version. Have to do some thinking about why that is…


  2. I tried using badges in my classroom last year, my goal being to gamify the class and hopefully engage and motivate my students. I can’t say it was a success, partly do to me not being completely comfortable awarding students for achievement and learning skills, partly due to many of my students not caring about earning badges. I documented my struggle here, if you’re interested: gamification.commons.hwdsb.on.ca .
    Thanks Doug!


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