Digital Badges for staff and students by @suemcl1

I have been working through a lot of courses on the Microsoft Educator website over the last few months. Some of this is part of my learning as an MIE Expert and some of it has been driven by the fact that I can get a badge to show what I have done. I have been upskilling in a lot of areas and it’s not always easy to prove that you have those skills, but I have found that doing these courses and gaining a digital badge has given me a lot of personal satisfaction.  I have also found myself looking at what other badges are on offer, to see if any other courses interest me, whereas, without the badges, I probably would have just gone there to learn specific skills. Some badges are relevant, some aren’t (I don’t have a passion for Mystery Skype in large quantities due to the type of classes I teach) so I will be picking and choosing which will be of use or interest, but I know that the badge at the end is a good motivator if I’m feeling a bit blasé about learning something new.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Sue McLachlan and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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This has been a new experience for me – although I have had badges before at conferences when I have presented or attended, but I really haven’t experienced them as a student would. I did get some for being a connected educator last year from Core-Ed and this site has some really good information and links to video about being a Connected Educator and the badge system. Mozilla has a great wiki with lots of information as well.

Before I was introduced to the Microsoft site, I had spent quite a bit of time over the last year setting up some digital badges for the skills that we have based our School of Apps on:

  • Self Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creative Thinking
  • Communication
  • Presentation
  • Collaboration

The process has been long, working through issues with our backpack provider and making sure the badges are working correctly, but I feel it has been worth it.

I spent a lot of time reading about digital badges, and about these skills so that I could set them up in the best possible way for our students.

What can badges do for students?

Often a large percentage of our class time is working towards assessments and credits that the students need to enable them to pass their qualification. So many articles now are reinforcing that some of the other skills are actually far more important when it comes to getting a job and looking at what students can actually do. These skills that we based the School of Apps on, are ones that are used in all courses (transferable skills) and are also the qualities that employers are looking for.

Students can gain these at 3 levels to show their proficiency and I have written criteria for these that outlines what each badge is for. An example is our Level 1 Presentation skills.

Criteria for all Presentation badges:

  • Plan their presentation by gathering relevant information
  • Organise the presentation effectively
  • Use appropriate media for displaying data and enhancing the presentation
  • Use effective verbal and non-verbal techniques when making a presentation
  • Effectively field questions
  • Respond to feedback from peers and the educator

Requirements – each level has certain things that they must achieve.

Level 1:

  • Includes information relevant to the topic
  • Present to a small audience (peer group)
  • Has good timing, good voice control and eye contact
  • Short 1-2 min presentation
  • Basic use of presentation tools (such as a basic powerpoint with graphics)
  • Effective content with start, middle, conclusion
  • Connects with the audience
  • Answers simple questions with ease
  • Reflects on their presentation

Students can access their badges through a backpack and are able to download and share them.
They can also connect their backpack to their social media account and display their badges. This could also be within a CV for prospective employers.

Although this is still in its testing stage with my classes, I am keen to pursue this way of thinking and see if students rise to the challenge. As for me, I’m going to do some more learning today and hopefully get another badge.

Further Reading:
Using Digital Badges as Assessment Tools
Use of Digital Badges
Digital Badges to Motivate students
Things you should know about badges
Badges unlocking jobs

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