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.

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