#ISTE2016 #edtech #edbadges There’s a lot to consider when designing a badge program, so I want to take a moment to get back to the basics. One of the most essential foundations of badges is the fact that they are competency based. If you’ve read anything else I’ve written, you’ve probably come across the idea that badges are awarded for skills, not knowledge. I talk about why this important elsewhere, but today, I want to talk about how. How do you make sure your badges build and reward competencies?
To illustrate this process, I’m going to walk you through the birth of a badge. I recently worked with a graphic design teacher who wanted to create a new badge: poster design. We sat down together, and it only took one question to lay the framework for this badge: How do you know that a student is a competent poster designer? The teacher was quickly able to lay out 8-10 different skills that comprised competent poster design. These skills, or competencies, include attractive readable typography, color balance, an attention-attracting element , and clear, high-resolution graphics, to name a few.
Once we had this list of competencies, we asked a second question: how do we make sure students are trained in these competencies? Both of us took to YouTube, and it wasn’t long before we had found several excellent training videos on color balance, typography, and the other necessary skills. All in all, this took about 20 minutes, and my colleague was well on his way to offering another competency-based badge in his classroom. He would then go on to design the badge challenges and the artifact around these competencies, but once he had that list of skills, he had the heart of his badge.
To recap, then, these are the two questions that you can use to ensure your badges are competency-based:
1.How do you know that a student is a competent ______________?
That blank gets filled in with the name of whatever type of practitioner you are asking your students to become for this badge. How do you know that a student is a competent blog poster? How do you know that a student is a competent map designer? How do you know that a student is a competent nutritional meal planner? How do you know that a student is a competent survey preparer and interpreter? How do you know that a student is a competent online researcher? You’ll note that most of these questions end with “er,” which denotes a noun based on an action or process. This phrasing will keep your answers action-based, and soon you’ll have a list of competencies.
2. How do we make sure they are trained in these competencies?
This is the part where your students’ library of resources gets built. Going through your list of competencies, you find or create the videos, articles, lectures, or podcasts that your students will use. Once competency may require multiple resources, or one resource may train students in multiple competencies.
By asking yourself these two basic questions, you will design competency-based badges that will equip your students with invaluable skills.
Brad Flickinger is the Technology Resource Facilitator for The Metropolitan School of Panama in Panama City, Panama.