The Power of Badging

The Power of Badging

Since launching our faculty badging program in August, teachers have earned over 100 badges and provided some intriguing information related to mastery and learning needs. What does this data tell you about our faculty learning and the power of badging?

The Power of Badging
Number of faculty who have earned 8 badges, 7 badges, etc.

The Power of Badging

We rocked it on Summer Learning. Folio, Drones, and Blogging are fairly strong.

Though we’ve spent several faculty meetings focused on formative assessment in recent weeks, only 1 person has applied for and earned the formative assessment badge.

Also, since receiving Clear Touches in every room, only 5 have earned that badge and only 1 faculty member has demonstrated the basics to earn a badge for innovative technology integration. Wonder what the focus of our upcoming meetings might be?

Here are the 12 badges available to faculty since August. Each one has specific criteria and evidence required to earn.

The Power of Badging

Piloting Student Badges in Study Skills

Piloting Student Badges in Study Skills

Since launching ‘central station’ and the designs of our XLR8 summer grant in August (thank you Amy and Chrissy), Middle School faculty have earned over 100 badges. To ensure a successful roll out to students in the future, we are intentionally focusing on the faculty experiencing and understanding the power of badging. While a full scale badging launch for students is still beyond the trees, today we piloted a small scale experiment with students in study skills.

Designed by the Academic Resource team including Samantha Flowers, Ann Plumer, and Kelli Bynum, it is exciting to introduce the Scribe and Taskmaster badges for students!
Piloting Student Badges in Study Skills Piloting Student Badges in Study Skills


The students showed great enthusiasm as we discussed how learning is measured, comparing grades and badges, as well as covering the 6 elements of badge design. They had fantastic ideas for what physical form the badges might take, particularly recommending locker magnets that could be displayed for visitors, tours, and all passersby.

What do you think of these two new badges? Can you imagine these criteria displayed and discussed in a student led conference through the students’ eportfolios?

Leadership Badge Series

Leadership Badge Series

Here is a badge design I am experimenting with as a way to show appreciation and recognition for leadership. This badge does not have a ‘submit evidence’ but it is awarded by me or it has the ‘nominate a peer’ option.

This is the first in a series of leadership badges I will design and issue.

What do you think?

Leadership Badge Series

Student Feedback on ePortfolios

Student Feedback on ePortfolios

Today, students met with their conference mentors to read an article and discuss how to make e-portfolios more relevant for students. Many students do not see the need or value in this practice yet. I led a conversation with about 30 students and loved hearing their thoughts, ideas, complaints, and obstacles because I believe so fully in the power and relevance of e-portfolios as a tool for learning. There is a large gap and disconnect between our vision and the current reality of this initiative. I am totally stoked by this feedback and the conversations students are having. After all, the goal is to engage students and get them to feel a greater sense of ownership of their learning. Read the feedback and share your ideas for how to overcome some of these obstacles. It’s time to take the feedback and iterate…

more student feedback on post-it notes…

I think we should be able to chose the form that we use. e-portfolio, website, blog, etc.
don’t get the point, no one sees it, we don’t really want to use it
give a reason to make e-portfolios
I think that e-portfolios can be easier and more well explained
not really worth it. if teachers want our work so bad they should upload our work to a specific folder
I think we could make it better by not making the students post often
I really do not know, just don’t make them so urgent? I do not know.
We can make it better by get a reward for posting things.
We do not need it as middle schoolers. Do not enjoy it.
Have a goal or a meaning of why we do thing.
Showcase them more. Put them to use more.
Make it easier to navigate
If MVPS needs it to get people to come to MVPS, then why don’t they do it themselves. There’s no point for students to do this when MVPS uses it themselves, not us. Do it yourself.


Scaling Up Badging

Scaling Up Badges

Scaling Up Badging

In a recent professional learning workshop (at #MVCollider), our team made new strides in the pursuit of badging and micro-credentialing. 3 significant insights have got our team thinking. The first insight revolves around how to create a badge using the 6 components of a badge. A second strand fuses badges with vertical learning progressions. The third one envisions taxonomy or a framework for organizing badges and ‘permission’ for ‘local level’ badge building by anyone in the learning community without diluting the quality of the overall badging program.

Build a Badge

At the start of the session, participants were instructed simply to ‘build a badge.’ No further details were provided. Each table cluster had supplies. Teachers began drawing or constructing a physical model of a badge. The facilitators expected, in advance, that most folks would focus on the ‘art design’ of the badge. We took the opportunity to share that there are at least 6 key parts to building a badge. And the place where most folks begin (the art design) is only one part. Clarifying the other elements and being intentional with their design is critical to ensuring an accurate and meaningful measure of student learning.

6 Parts of a Badge

1. Name – Something catchy, fun, or simple and straightforward
2. Description – 1-2 sentence explanation of what the badge is all about
3. Criteria – List of the demonstrations of skill, knowledge, or transfer required
4. Evidence – The process or product that must be submitted for verification
5. Art Design – Something stylish, fun, high def, and visually appealing
6. Form: The actual badge in multiple manifestations: digital, sticker, magnet, patch, etc.

Scaling Up Badging

Empowering Teachers: A Taxonomy for Badging

Consider it a huge WIN when teachers are proposing ways to introduce badging! Once teachers aware are of the components needed to build a badge and they are inspired to take action, how does a school encourage this pursuit while also maintaining the highest quality of the overall badging system? Make sure to create a protocol and flow to ensure high quality, otherwise there is a danger of diluting the excitement and meaning with students.

Members of the MVIFI team have been working on a compelling taxonomy. Trey shared with the Collider seminar how it might work. Badges are classified like elements in certain categories: skills, content, mindsets. Badges that are “unstable” occur in the “classroom specific” or “event specific” categories. These differentiations allow for badges of varying degrees of quality and purpose to be created at any level in an organization. Not all are adopted for external use (or even internal use beyond the local classroom).





Vertical Learning Progressions

A learning progression is a road or pathway that students travel as they progress toward mastery of the skills needed for career and college readiness. Each road follows a route composed of a collection of building blocks that are defined by the content standards for a subject. What if vertical teams or R & D learning outcome teams created ‘vertical badges’ based on the process standards for each discipline? Imagine a study skills badge (a class where there is not a numerical grade) for note-taking. What are the criteria for earning the note-taking badge in 3rd grade? Then again in 4th grade? How are they different in 5th or 6th and so on up through grade 12? Or what about a series of Art badges? One for painting? Clay? Drawing? Photography? All skills that can “level up” each year as new criteria are identified and accomplished. All criteria that can be aligned by a vertical team.

In her blogpost, Making Learning Progressions Visible, Jill Gough highlights the work her team has done related to Susan Brookhart’s book.

Please share your thoughts and reactions? What are your questions? What are your badging ideas? How can we scale up badging?

Formative Assessment Tickets

Formative Assessment via Entry, Transfer, and Exit Tickets

Formative Assessment = a range of formal and informal assessment procedures conducted by teachers during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment.

This morning’s faculty meeting was a lesson in formative assessment. We started the meeting with an entry ticket – a Poll Everywhere survey (thank you Alex Bragg!) about our team’s wildly important goal of ‘expanding the learning measures.’

The original agenda for the meeting was sent to faculty in advance indicating the bulk of the time would be spent on teachers earning badges. After assessing the faculty, the decision was made during the process – to modify the teaching and learning, based on their feedback. We shifted to spending more time talking about examples of implementing entry tickets as formative assessment.

Entry Ticket as Formative AssessmentEntry Ticket as Formative Assessment

Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment

Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment


Faculty Meeting Agenda

Essential Questions:
How skilled are we at designing and delivering formative assessments?
How are we advancing our wildly important goal: expand the learning measures?

Desired Outcomes:
Teachers are given time to earn badges discuss entry tickets as formative assessment
Formative assessment is modeled through entry ticket
Teachers are challenged to try an entry ticket and share results
Conference Mentors discover the next steps for SLCs

Learning Opportunities: (– min)

  1. Cast the Characters (Group Work Norms) (5 min)
  2. Entry Ticket via Poll Everywhere – Badging (5 min)
  3. Give Badge Time (20 min)Discuss entry tickets as a method of formative assessment (not as a sponge activity)
  4. Intro Formative Assessment Tickets (Entry, Transfer, Exit) (5 min)
  5. Share SLC phase 3 & checklist  (5 min)
  6. Amy & Chrissy – Badges! (5 min)

We started the meeting by ‘Casting the Characters’ using our team’s group work norms…

  • Time keeper
  • Encourager
  • Note taking (focus on questions asked)
  • Meta-congater (reflect on the overall flow and engagement of the meeting)

Group Work Norms



We ended the meeting by issuing a call to action Challenge…

Challenge: Utilize an entry ticket for formative assessment and be prepared to share out at October 22 faculty meeting.

Remember, it’s only formative if you use it to modify teaching and learning during the process. Otherwise, it’s just a sponge activity.



And also by recognizing teachers who have earned badges…

View all of the entry ticket survey results here…Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment
Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment



Unleash the Drone!

Unleash the drone!

A crowd of over 350 students and teachers cheered and watched in awe as the DJI Phantom 3 drone was unleashed on middle school during chapel announcements. The drone is the newest piece of interactive technology to be purchased for student and teacher learning. While many fascinating learning opportunities exist with such tech (students will learn to fly, as well as design new uses and explore ethical decision making in current events), our drone has become a vehicle for introducing another emerging technology: digital badging. Unleash the drone!

As a way to expand the learning measures, Mrs. Wilkes and Mrs. Levinson spent the summer researching, designing, and planning how to launch badging with our faculty. In pre-planning, our teachers earned over 60 badges (the Drone Flying Ace) is only one of many exciting new badges that Mount Vernon faculty can earn. Our IT Director Mikey Canup has been awesome at not only supporting our ideas, but helping us implement them! Even when we crashed the drone outside a few weeks ago (two propellors broke in half), he smiled like a forgiving father.

Unleash the Drone
The DJI Phantom 3 flies overhead at Middle School at chapel during announcements.
Unleash the Drone
The crowd cheers wildly as the newest member of the Middle School community is unleashed – the Drone!
Unleash the Drone
Mr. Townsend is thrilled to receive a physical sticker badge to match his digital “Drone Flying Ace” badge!

Although many of the faculty have already received their earned badges via an electronic file, today we recognized those who earned the Drone Flying Ace badge with a secondary, physical sticker to match the digital badge. The sticker can be posted anywhere (mine are on the clear, plastic case protecting my laptop) to display and share new knowledge and skills you have demonstrated. Other badges include demonstrations such as operating a Clear Touch, presenting at a conference, blogging, designing formative assessments, and others.

Unleash the Drone
Mrs. Wilkes and Mrs. Levinson have done the heavy lifting to introduce badging to our faculty. We are exploring ways to expand the learning measures beyond a single, numerical grade. Will it catch on with students?
Unleash the Drone
Two physical sticker badges affixed to my computer cover that match their digital counterparts (posted on Haiku, personal blogs, and Credly). They fit nicely next to the DC super heroes – that’s what our team is – a legion of super heroes with incredible powers!

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.15.19 PMFeatured on Mount Vernon’s News Site!


A Brief History of Badging at MVPS

The jury is still out amongst many about badging. It’s no secret I’m a fan, though much remains to be learned. The work of this summer’s XLR8 summer grant program has only further activated my enthusiasm for exploring and experimenting with badging and micro-credentialing in a variety of scenarios.

Next week, when teachers return for pre-planning, I hope they will begin to see the value (and the fun) and share in the growing interest in badging. I could not be more proud of the work of Amy and Chrissy in this area. Get ready folks!

In anticipation of the work and discovery that’s yet to come, here is a quick recap of some of the journey’s highlights so far…

Summer 2014
MVIFI issues badges through credly for FUSE facilitators
Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.04.48 PM

Fall 2014
– Launched first 4 badges for students to earn focused on Digital Citizenship
– Conducted research and reflected on “Hacking Badges

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 2.49.55 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 2.50.23 PMSummer 2015
– Students Engage in optional DIY summer learing. Earn digital badges.
– 2 #MVMiddle Teachers engage in XLR8 Summer Grant to research & develop badging.
Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.01.48 PM

Fall 2015
– Start with Faculty. Show the value in using badges as a way to expand the learning measures. Why Badges?
– Experiment with Students slowly. Find pockets of excellence (TAB, Duolingo, Study Skills, Chrome Ninja II Camp)
bandanaallcolorsRead article from MVPS website about students embracing badging through summer DIY program.


Expanding the Learning Measures


How might we expand the ways we monitor student progress and the measures of learning beyond quantitative, numerical systems that are not always reliable?

Since May, eight dedicated educators have engaged in four summer grant opportunities to accelerate the work of our entire team, all with the purpose of expanding our ability to measure and monitor student progress and learning.

While our Middle School continues to use a quantitative, numerical grading scale (0-100), we have been working to add additional, qualitative gauges to our dashboard, with the purposes of greater student engagement and ownership, and making learning visible.

The (XLR8) summer grants include:

  • Assessment – Not only a summer grant, but also a school-wide focus for the upcoming year, assessment is a powerful tool in the professional educator’s design kit. This grant will survey the research and narrow the focus into practical applications for teachers. Formative and summative, constructed and selected response, assessment for and of learning, authentic and real-world vs traditional; all of these topics will be explored and expanded.
  • ePortfolios – An ePortfolio is a collection of examples of a learner’s work which may be used for evaluation, information, and celebration. It is a visible record of learning including reflections which provide a representation of student achievement and a set of targets the School wishes to communicate. It includes two sections: the collection and the showcase. The showcase is used to display the best work, like a published collection of a writer’s best work, yet it often includes pieces in it that have been revised or show growth over time.
  • Student Led Conferences – Middle School students will lead two conferences with teachers and parents in 2015-2016 (one Fall, one Spring). The conferences will give meaning to ePortfolios, as well as focus on the quality of work, reflection, and organization skills. Benefits of SLCs include more involved parents, increased student motivation and ownership of learning, meeting standards/learning outcomes, and celebrating each student’s unique passions and interests. The goal of this grant is to research, develop, and communicate the best strategies for implementing student led conferences in Middle School.
  • Badging – A badge is a validated display of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in any learning environment. Badges can represent traditional academic achievement or the acquisition of skills such as collaboration, teamwork, leadership, and other skills. They can be earned by people of all ages, from kindergartners on up, and they can make any notable accomplishments visible to anyone and everyone, including potential employers, teachers, and peer communities. In addition to finding new ways to engage and motivate students, the goal of this grant is to iterate and develop not only a suite of actual badges and criteria, but also a system for how they are issued and displayed, ultimately, in coordination with MVIFI.