Badges. They’re Still Not What I Thought They Were.

I’ve been working lately on some resources related to telling stories about the work that the Badges Team of the New Pathways Initiative has inspired and/or been influenced by. I’ve written some about the team and our work – but not enough. I need to do that more. But what I want to capture right now is a little thing, one thing that I’ve been missing in some of my work on badging.

I spent an hour yesterday listening to Deanna and Liz and Vickie talk about the work they’ve done at the Morehead Writing Project to build an online Summer Institute.  It’s modeled after their traditional Invitational Summer Institute, a multi week summer experience for teachers focusing on writing and teaching and classroom inquiry. Now in its eighth year, the Online SI is chugging right along as a healthy online experience. But Deanna also mentioned that she uses badges as a way of helping the community of a class develop. In a way, she uses them as props or lubricant to help the classes she facilitates pay attention to each other. They give gratitude via badges. They point out things they might otherwise not notice. She’s written an awful lot about badges and how she uses them. Here’s a good place to start if you want to read more.

Yet another reminder to me that the value in badges has very little to do with the credentials, sometimes, and an awful lot to do with the behavior they help describe and make visible.

2 thoughts on “Badges. They’re Still Not What I Thought They Were.

  1. I still have trouble with the whole concept of Badges (which, as you know, Bud, is odd, since our WP site is using them as a framework for leadership opportunities). I’ve earned all sorts of badges from various online spaces and quickly forget about them almost as soon as I earn them. How do make this kind of certification meaningful? That’s the question I keep coming back to …
    Kevin Hodgson´s last blog post ..Make Cycles Never Really End

    1. I’ve been reading a TON about badging recently as a way to recognize development our teachers go through during the year. EDUCAUSE has some good articles and the main thing that comes out in each good implementation is that there is deeper meaning in the badge that’s awarded. So, we will _not_ be issuing badges for signing up for Twitter, starting a blog, etc. Each is built on demonstrating an instructional, pedagogical, or curricular competency as it relates to their specific role. The value is in the growth and the badge recognizes them as leaders in the district.

      I agree with Kevin, though. I’m hesitant to dive in because of the poor implementation examples that are much more numerous that positive, well-developed systems.

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