Introducing Faculty Badges: Winter Edition 2017

Today was the grand unveiling of the new suite of badges designed for faculty by Amy Wilkes and Katie Cain. Like a kid at Christmas, I still get excited when new badges are designed and introduced. These badges are only available through the end of April, so don’t let them pass by you.

Remember, a badge has six elements to its design. Although the artwork is often the most visible and appealing aspect of a badge, it is only 1/6 of the design. Like a quarterback who gets all the credit when a team wins, the artwork can overshadow the other 5/6 of the badge. 

There are a number of things I really like and wish to highlight about these particular badges. First, I love how we have developed specific ‘families’ of badges. For example, there are now 3 badges related to PBL (project based learning). They look very similar, yet they are distinctive. True learners and die hard badgers will collect them all.






Next, notice how the badges offered are not only highly relevant to the larger mission and work of the whole school, but also how they combine multiple school initiatives. For example, the Spotlight on the 4 C’s incorporates the wildly important Mount Vernon Mindsets (4 of the 6 21st century core competencies) AND the spotlight feature of Folio Collaborative along with the important practice of learning walks (see more on learning walks).

Finally, the Random Act of Kindness badge breaks new ground by being the first badge you cannot apply for yourself. A colleague must apply on your behalf. I’m interested to see how this one plays out in the weeks ahead.

And on a final, final note…I think my favorite ‘family’ of badges currently are the Challenge Badges. I love the colors and ‘look’ of these badges. And, I love each of the challenges associated with them. To me, they are the most ‘fun’ of all the criteria. The Blogger Challenge was an early success last summer. The Visible Thinking Routine Challenge was equally fun as teachers posted their classes in action to twitter and Ann Plumer featured the work on bulletin boards in middle school spaces on each campus. I hope our teachers will go for it with the Virtual Reality challenge. 

The Power of the Scoreboard & Accountability

The Power of the Scoreboard & Accountability

Badging interest exploded with the faculty program’s initial launch in August. After months of plateauing, another spike occurred when we measured progress in December and January through a series of infographics and charts. We teased prizes, but as of yet, we have not even specified what those prizes might be. Therefore, it isn’t clear whether the hope of winning prizes has any impact. The scoreboard, and the accountability that comes with it, seems to be the driving force behind this second surge in badges earned. Perhaps accountability coupled with time of year?

Badges Jan 31, 2016
Create your own infographics

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.21.14 PM

What Does This Badge Get Me?

What Does This Badge Get Me?

Continuing to explore how a badging system can be used to communicate and measure learning, we conducted an analysis of each individual and team’s progress. There are 11 possible badges that any individual can earn including: Blogger, Clear Touch, Drone, Folio, Innovative Formative Assessment, Innovative Technology Integration, Presenter, Summer Learning, Teaching Through Art, Twitter Chat Moderator, Create Your Own Badge. The Summer Grant badge was omitted because not everyone had the opportunity to earn it (only 8 grants were awarded last summer). Some badges afford the opportunity for multiple badges (ex: Innovative Formative Assessment has 3 Level Ups), but only 1 credit is given per category regardless of how many badges are earned (for the purposes of this chart).

Currency and Competition

We are planning to share this data with our team tomorrow morning in the faculty meeting, hoping to stir up a little friendly competition. The goal of our badging system is to help educators learn new skills and improve one’s craft, ultimately benefiting the students. We expect to see each grade level team (and the admin team) hold one another accountable because the badges they earn are about to turn into a form of currency.

Each team that reaches 100% can earn some rather impressive prizes for their students and classrooms. No joke. These are going to be some exciting, high-ticket items. All teams have the opportunity to win a prize by reaching 100%. The teams that reach 100% the fastest will have the first choice of the items. (Items to be revealed soon.)