Sunday, July 10, 2016

ISTE Top 10 - #3 - Challenges and Badges




At ISTE they have a series of sessions known as Snap Shots. It is where you get two sessions in an hour verses one. I like the format mainly because you get more information and ideas for your hour of time.

The ISTE organizers try to relate the two snap shots so they sort of match. For example, I presented a snapshot about ideas for using digital cameras in the classroom (look at the presenter notes to see an explanation of each project) along side a group of teachers presenting about movie making in the classroom.

One snapshot session I went to featured ways to engage teacher learners using challenges and another focused on engaging learners using badges (click on the links to be taken to their presentations). The idea was part of a larger concept of using the challenges and badges as a way of providing micro-credentials for teachers (to read an interesting article on the topic CLICK HERE). To earn micro-credentials, teachers follow activities to demonstrate mastery in a given skill. The idea is that badges will incentivize teachers to earn these micro-credentials. So basically this is a way to gamifying PD.

Honestly the idea of earning badges appeals to me...I earn them with Fitbit and Geocaching...but I am not sure if it would appeal to a lot of our teachers. They are burned out with an ever growing list of things that "have to be done" in the classroom. Still I think it is a concept worth exploring .

I thought that maybe I could do a hybrid of the two. I liked the idea of monthly challenges from the first presentation (as a way of testing the waters):



That way we can test out the badge system on a smaller scale. I liked the cutesy badges from the second presentation - designed in freepik.com and hosted on flippity.net (verses the first presentation designed and hosted in credly.com) but that might be the elementary school teacher in me :):



Obviously the big problem is how to manage the system of badges with as many employees as we have. Luckily we have an awesome tech coach who likes challenges like this (shout out to Estee Williams!). I am going to present this idea at the beginning of the year and if I can get enough support we might give it a whirl as a way of making our PD a little more engaging.  

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