Friday, May 18, 2018

Badges in the Classroom

Gamification is all around us. Any of you have a Fitbit? And have you ever walked extra steps to get that little star that says you exceeded your goal? I am all about intrinsic motivation in the classroom, but we also know students need to be able to see progress happening.

Have you considered badging for skill mastery? A badge certifies a student has mastered a specific skill. I used a system much like digital badges back in the Stone Age days of my teaching. I made hundreds of laminated cards (like trading cards) students earned when they mastered a specific piece of content. They kept them on key rings. Now we can do the same thing digitally.

Most of you have probably heard different ideas about adding game elements to your classroom. You may have even looked into some of the badging tools out there. Did you know you can create your own badges and issue them using Google tools?

These were created in Google Drawings-

There isn't one right way to use badges in the classroom.

You could:
  • Save your badges to Google Keep and add them to student work done in Docs, Slides, Sheets, or Drawings.
  • Create a Google Sheet that issues badges as students complete tasks.
  • Offer badges for taking on personal challenges to grow in a specific area.

Alice Keeler makes a good point about the intrinsic vs. extrinsic debate over badging.

If the conversations are centered around the learning the focus will be on the learning. However, if the conversations are around badge earning this will put the focus on the badges and thus more on extrinsic motivators.

Do you have ways you use badges in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Noteflight ~ Chromebook + Music = Amazing!

I happened to be reading through the latest from #GoogleClassroom Teacher Tips, and I read about Noteflight paired with Google Classroom. Armed with a Chromebook and creativity, students can write their own music! The website has a premium version, but I can see where the free version has great value.

From Noteflight:

People who make music -- amateurs and professionals, students and teachers -- want to share that music with others, sooner or later. But most software for working with notated music treats the Internet as an afterthought: it's geared to saving your music on your own computer's hard disk, not to sharing your music with other people. It's painful to share musical scores online today, and as software inventors, we knew how much better it could be. People expect to be able to do their creative work wherever they go, and a crop of new browser-based applications make it incredibly easy to create and publish word-processing documents or spreadsheets online. We feel musical documents should be just as accessible.