As a student I have always struggled with due dates. The concept of time management has been on my to do list since the 3rd grade. I recently realized that I probably will never cross “time management” off the do list. My gifted and talented 5th graders struggle tremendously with due dates as well. I am certainly not complaining about my class of self-motivated, critical thinking, always want to go above and beyond magnet students. On the other hand, their perfectionism and “I am not ready to submit my work yet” attitudes can hinder my long term plans for teaching. Due dates also seemed to be an issue for my general education 5th grade students I had two years ago. Recently, I discovered the magic in turning my project and problem based learning activities into digital badges.
The concept of gamifying learning for students through the use of digital badges is a relatively new trend in education. The badges that students are earning in my class are all the hype out in our little Portable classroom. “What step are you on? I am so close to earning my Digital Story Telling Badge!” says one student to another. I am lucky enough to teach in a county that uses one of the best Learning Management Systems on the e-Learning market, My Big Campus. A few months ago the developers at My Big Campus added the digital badges feature for teachers. Now teachers who use My Big Campus can award their students these awesome achievement badges right to the student’s profile page.
The screenshot below explain show some of the current achievement badges students are earning in my class. Although the full description of the badge is not visible, I often add a due date in the description. Students in my class understand that their work must be submitted on time in order for them to receive the badge.
As pictured below, students can display the badges proudly just as teachers include their achievements on their Twitter page or underneath their email signature. Until recently, the students in my class had never viewed each other’s profile pages. During their morning routine they log onto My Big Campus first thing and many students enjoy seeing which badges their peers have earned.
For teachers who also have the luxury of using My Big Campus, I encourage you to view the screencast I made on creating and awarding achievement badges. I suggest that teachers who are not My Big Campus users take a look at Mozilla’s Open Badges program.
- David Dulberger