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.
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?