I've blogged in the past (see here) about awarding badges on Edmodo to reward students and now the whole process of awarding and managing them is going to become a lot easier. With their newly-released look, Edmodo (as previewed at EdmodoCon last week) is going to let you view a progress grid that shows all the badges available to students in a particular group and who has been given which - in short, it will be giving you a way to track their achievements.
I've read a lot recently about the benefits of awarding badges to children when they demonstrate good capability in different areas of ICT. See: this blog post, this blog post and this video, for instance. It's certainly clear that children enjoy collecting things and I can clearly see the potential that giving badges out could have to increase motivation levels in the subject.
As I've been pondering the issue over the last few months, though one thing that has concerned me is how accessible the scheme actually is - I would only expect children to be working at an age-appropriate level so surely that would mean that the best (e.g. 'gold') badges would only be given out in Year 6, therefore leaving the younger children a bit left out as they aren't capable yet of doing certain tasks. Surely giving badges to reward ICT attainment would just be skewed to the older children? Also, if I deliver a lesson on a particular skill, surely I should be aiming for all the children to succeed to be able to do it by the end, thus needing me to have to constantly give badges out (which would be time-consuming for me and lose their attraction to the children)?
The solution that I'm therefore considering implementing is to award badges not for attainment (although I do expect good quality work) but for being able to independently do different ICT activities at an age-appropriate level outside of the classroom. I've already had success using 'Independent on the Computer Tokens' in ICT lessons - this extension would encourage children to carry on being independent learners at home or even just at lunch time too.
All my ICT learning intentions (without the 'To...' opener) are shown on the mind map below and each of my ICT lesson will use one of them - the idea being that ICT tasks stay consistent throughout the school. I've grouped them into five areas/strands:
- 'text and graphics' ('static' work that can be printed out);
- 'digital creativity' (work whose quality is possibly subject to personal opinion);
- 'multimedia authoring' (work created for vieweing on a computer);
- 'computing' (mathematical-based tasks);
- 'research and communication' (using the Internet).
My thinking is that I can digitally (through Edmodo) award badges to children who can demonstrate to me that they can do different tasks from from a particular strand:
- on completing one task (of a good standard) independently, I will give them some positive feedback and possibly suggest what sort of task they could do next;
- on completing another task in the same strand (but relating to a different skill), I will award them with a plain black-on-white badge;
- on completing a third task in the same strand (relating to a different skill again), I will then award them with a coloured badge.
By not setting out particular requirements for each task beyond the need for it to be of good (age appropriate) quality, this means that children can work towards being given a coloured badge at any year group in any area of ICT that interests them. The whole badge awarding system is therefore accessible to any child who has the motivation to develop/practice their ICT skills outside of the classroom. It also still contains that key element of progression since they can see what other range of tasks they to do in a particular strand in order to improve their capability in it. By only involving 10 badges in total, it means that administering the badges is quite easy for me to manage too.
What do you think of this idea?