Have you ever worked on gaining practical skills like a handshake or changing a flat tire for a grade? The answer is likely, no. The same applies to the classroom — not everything is always about grades.
There are many valuable skills that can be learned beyond traditional subjects. And these skills are needed for students to thrive in the future. Awarding digital badges provides a way to measure student success as they master skills.
What is digital badging?
Digital badging helps shift the student mindset to focus more on accomplishments and less on grades.
A badge reflects your mastery of a skill. Like an athlete wearing a new varsity patch or military personnel gaining a medal, a student receiving a badge for an academic accomplishment is left proud of how far they’ve come.
3 important facts about digital badging and student success
1. Digital badging helps boost achievable goals
My students often ask me if something they’ve done in class will be added to their grade book. Consider this in the context of the traditional grading system for a class like Algebra I. Depending on the teacher, school, district, or state, you may be graded on skills that are very different from those that someone a few states over is learning
2. Digital badging helps measure real-life skills and more
Since badges are only assigned when students succeed in accomplishing a meaningful goal, they ensure that other people — teachers, employers, and others — have more information than just a test score or a graduation rank to consider. Badges are certainly applicable to the traditional subjects of math, reading, science, social studies, and so on. But the possibilities aren’t limited to the content areas currently taught in our schools
Skills like professionalism, innovation, enthusiasm, and cooperation can be effectively acknowledged through badges of achievement, visible to all. These badges can also go beyond the walls of the classroom — because learning happens everywhere
Here’s a general example of a playlist leading to a badge entitled Workplace Professionalism from the office of Mayor Michael D. Tubbs on LRNG’s site:
Completion of this playlist indicates that the user is trained in the strategies and skills that will allow them to function effectively in the workplace. This includes teamwork, communication, professionalism, and time management skills. It also demonstrates knowledge of appropriate workplace attire.
Once you complete the playlist, the badge will clearly signify a Workplace Professionalism achievement. Generally, this intangible skill is presumed among professionals, but it isn’t fully measured. Anyone can say they have excellent workplace professionalism without proof. A badge is verifiable and only awarded to those who actually put in the effort
3. Digital badging offers valuable credibility for the future
We’re going through a noticeable shift in education where older standards are being overturned and modified to fit the needs of students today. For example, at the end of the Industrial Revolution, acquiring content knowledge was key. Students had to learn the three essentials: reading, writing, and arithmetic
Embrace the potential of badging
Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate — we develop personal and professional skills throughout our lives. Badges help reflect your individual learning efforts across industries and can demonstrate the new skills you acquire even into adulthood. In turn, this encourages a culture of learning: one in which we focus more on doing and less on measuring. Grades are just a part of the equation.
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