Developing a system to award digital badges and introduce gamification in your classroom is catching on like crazy. Students are naturally drawn to these types of achievement awards from their experiences with video games, scouting, and more. Badges, medals, and other achievement awards are common throughout society…so why not leverage this in your classroom.
Luckily, implementing a badge program is easy today. Let’s look at a few ways to get started.
First, you have to spend time developing your badge “constellation.” In short, to be successful, you have to plan what achievements lead to higher achievements and how it all fits together.
Watch this excellent video from BadgeOS regarding the planning of your badge constellation. Before you start a badge program…watch this video and plan! http://badgeos.org/support/tutorials/1-constellations/
Planning your badge constellation, especially one that will generate positive student results is hard! Where do you start? Well, gamifying your entire class for the whole year is just too much. So, start with one, small project or unit.
When you are planning you constellation, defining achievements is key. Sure, you may want to have a few participation-type achievements but the majority of your rewards should be based upon educational outcomes. For example, if the outcome is for students to recognize and describe literary devices used in a particular book, then your achievements could look like this.
Literary Device Level One: Recognize and describe a literary device used in the book. Your description must be written and contain a specific example from the book…
Literacy Device Level Two: You must have three Literary Device Level One Badges before you attempt Level Two. Write a one page short story using one of the literary devices described when earing your Level One badges.
How do you actually give out badges? You can create your own, physical badges but this takes a lot of time to create. By the way, bottle caps work great for physical badges. However, digital badges are fun and easy.
ClassBadges is on option that works great. Teachers can create a free account, manages students, award badges, and more. Students track their progress along the way. The site has a large selection of badges ready to award to students.
For older students, who have email addresses, try Credly. Credly has a great badge design tool and is easy to issue credit. Credly does not have a way to manage student users but is still worth considering.
Are you using badges in your classroom? Do you have any tips?