The use of visualization tools is encouraged in the classroom – especially in technology because of the enormous resources readily available for the field of education. Visual models are engaging to use and students can express more ownership and authenticity when they are employed in creating them. Common activities involve student use of charts, graphs, and organizers.
Badges are another form of visual models. But badges don’t express concepts – they represent achievement of content or merit of knowledge. They indicate accomplishment without a rating system for each accomplishment. A badge represents learning without an A, B, C, D, or F rating.
Do you or someone you know play video games? If so, you should be fairly familiar with badges. Those that don’t play games will also be familiar because we associate badge systems with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
In a physical elementary classroom, a sticker board system is often employed for personal motivation among students. Stickers provide equal status of achievement without ranking some students better than others at, for example, email etiquette. Because a student knows that the accomplishment ranking is equal to anyone else that earns the badge, there is a greater motivation to achieve the expectations for a sticker than for a grade, as emphasized in the following Edudemic link about badges. In an online classroom, badges can be extremely motivating. A teacher can award badges that students display on their portfolios or profile. Visit these links to learn more about badges:
Here is an example of a badge created at http://classbadges.com to represent email etiquette that reads: Achievement in Email Etiquette: subject, salutation, body, and closing
A teacher can set up an account at classbadges.com, create and award badges for classrooms established within its platform. The badges can even link to a document that explains the criteria for achieving the goals of the badge. At these sites for badge creation, always sign up as a teacher when you create an account (if the platform asks).
Here’s another made at Credly:
You can find badge-creation tools at Shake Up Learning, a great resource for teachers: 5 Awesome Resources for Badges in the Classroom and if you’re comfortable with Google Drawing, follow this guide: Create a Badge with Google Drawing
To make a badge, you will often need to create a teacher account and then explore with the tool. I simply right-clicked on the Credly badge once I was happy with it to save it – “Save image as” to Google Drive (you can save to any other drive, external or hard drive). Then I inserted it here.
You can upload an image at Credly if you can’t find an icon you like. Google Search free images (look for clip art styles) are allowed for this because you are altering them, but always check for copyright or Creative Commons licenses. Credly specifies that the icon can’t be larger than a 300 X 300 png image and that it should be transparent for the best effect. You can tell if a png is transparent because it will have a gray and white checkerboard background.
Badges are one step towards de-emphasizing the value placed on the grading system and are great tools for individual motivation. Employ when possible!