Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I first got interested in badging over a year ago, when I was exploring the broader topics of gaming and MOOCS. Badges are often used in MOOCS. Pretty soon I was interested in online badging as a topic of its own, apart from gaming or MOOCS. I did some reading on the topic and rolled out my first badges to students in spring 2013. These are adult learners, degreed educators seeking MLS, Master of Library Science. The experience exceeded my expectations. Students really liked the badges and so did I. My presentation at Internet@Schools will describe my experiences, share survey results from students in our program who received badges, and offer some tips and cautions. I feel strongly that badges are great for increasing motivation and for recognizing positive student performance. I also want to stress that badges should NOT be tied to grades. They should be strictly kept apart. Also, there should be badges that any student can earn, not just the top achievers scholastically. Further, there should be clear descriptions of the badges that spell out how each can be earned. I chose to give badges for behaviors I wanted to promote: turning in work early, going beyond the expected with assignments, finding ways to respond to assignments creatively, and communicating well with peers via live and asynchronous chat and discussion boards. My strong recommendation is that badges be online only, posted to a common website, rather than physical objects. They should not in any way be allowed to go beyond simple recognitions. The excesses that happen with reading programs such as Accelerated Reader are to be avoided at all costs. Having spent most of my career in the K-12 environment, I feel confident that badging can be used reward students of all ages. In fact, the group with whom I had the most doubts was adult learners. I was afraid they might think it was too much like something for youngsters. This did not occur. I am looking forward to using badges as long as I continue teaching. I am still polishing my presentation, and will have the final version up at the Internet Librarian Conference Site by Saturday evening. I will also upload to Slideshare and will post that link through this blog. I will also share helpful websites. One I will mention right now is Cred.ly. This online service is great for creating and managing badges. I hope both attendees and readers will find this topic interesting.