Guest Blog by Autumn Riley, Assistant Principal Linda Jobe Middle School, former High School English Teacher in Mansfield ISD
Looking for a new way to spark some excitement in the classroom? Consider using the Badgr tool in Canvas to issue digital badges to increase engagement with material in (and outside of) the classroom.
Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops have long known the power of a badge to motivate and engage participants. Educators can harness that same style of tool to spark excitement in students to accomplish tasks and move through course objectives.
What are Badges?
Badges are icons (or pictures) that represent the accomplishment of learning a skill or completing a task. (Think of it like an online “Merit Badge”.) “Digital badges capture and communicate an accomplishment of some kind.” (GVSU). They are visual representations of skills or performance levels.
Badges are an “at glance” way to get a sense of what a student has accomplished in a class or program. Using badges can inspire competition amongst students and can shift the focus away from a number score towards mastery of an objective.
Badgr is a built-in digital tool or LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) for Canvas to allow Teachers (or other Course Instructors – like administrators) the ability to award Course Participants a badge for successful completion of a Module. It makes it easy to add badges to modules and materials that are already in Canvas.
If you don’t use Canvas as your LMS, Badgr has a website that can be used with other platforms to issue badges.
Basics of Badging: An Example
Imagine students complete a Module over a topic and receive a Badge for completion (and mastery of that skill).
For Example: Students work through a Module on Thesis Statements. When they have successfully scored an 80% on the Thesis Identification Quiz, they complete the Module and receive the “Successful Thesis Identifier Badge”.
What are some other ways to use Badges in the classroom?
- Competition element through built in leaderboard (Can be toggled on/off in Canvas)
- Create Teams, Groups, or “Houses” to target strengths and abilities
- Affirmation of Student Successes
- Provides novelty and variety outside of the traditional number score system (more standards based)
- Different modules to earn the same badges
- Utilize with Mastery Paths for a truly personalized learning experience for all students
- Use in RTI classes to showcase the “building blocks” of learning (Think of it like visual representations of scaffolding)
What are some ways to use Badges OUTSIDE the classroom?
For Club Sponsors
- Track Community Service Hours
- Mandatory Club/Organization Requirements
- Meeting Attendance Badges (to encourage attendance and participation)
- Track Social Emotional Learning Curriculum Completions (by Teachers or by Students_
- Use as to train teachers on Restorative Practice Strategies
- Use with groups for training modules and accountability
- Gamify Professional Development for Teachers (or OnBoarding for new staff)
- Award Teachers Badges for Achieving Lead Measures
- Encourage healthy competition amongst staff for “Tech Tools” Badges.