Day 46 (of 186) badges – should there be a expiration date on badges/certificates/gamification?
I have started to introduce the concepts of “badges” to my class – specifically around using Spheros with our iPads (courtesy of @cuebc). Creating a sense of scaffolding and differentiation along with some exploration:
- remote control through a maze
- change colours of sphero
- code the robot to go forward, stop and come back and stop at your feat
- code the robot to go through the maze
- teach a student in a primary class to code the robot to go forward, stop and come back.
The badges may change (as this is a “thinking phase” we are going through as a class) and evolve over time as we work out some of the kinks of goal setting.
CONNECTION 1: This connected with me because I am currently spending some of my professional development day working on my own “badges” as part of the Microsoft Educators program. Some are easier than others, based on schema and interest level (and dis-interest level as a workshop event “tested” the roll-out of a new pricing scheme for Microsoft products in education-world with pricing “per user” – not per FTE and even each volunteer would have to be counted as a ‘cost’ for the district/school to pay)
CONNECTION 2: I also saw a sign (in the big city) advertising for forklift operators and it was a reminder that once upon a time I did get a forklift operation certificate that was “non-expiring”. But I haven’t used it in a loooong time…..so is it fair and accurate that I’m “still qualified”?
WONDER: If I learn how to be a Microsoft Educator but then not use it in the school setting (Apple Teacher/Educator and Google Certification may have more relevance) is it fair to still advertise myself as a Microsoft Educator – and sure, if it’s recent (ie now/this year) it makes sense….but should there be an expiry? If I am good at skype-ing now, is that indicative of future performance (same warning as stock traders) as the programs and software continue to get updated? If you don’t use it, do you lose it….rest is rust….etc – lots of warnings about staying active in use….
It’s similar to the ‘badges’ students earn that are letter grades – just because they got an “A” in spelling because they could memorize lists of words for a weekly test does not mean that they continued to use the words correctly in other environments. Students who learn a concept in one class (ie area & perimeter) may have a ‘badge’ for that topic, but should they be able to keep it if they can’t transfer the skill to another subject area because it’s “different” (ie using area in socials projects but it wasn’t math, so…..). Is a students achievement valid if they don’t recall and remember how to use the information that they had at one point in time at a later date?
Is it valid for a high score champion to brag about what they once did if they are no longer working on maintaining those skills? Or is the pride on knowing that you got your initials into the arcade game screen once enough to know that you ‘retired on top’? As I look back on my own transcripts I know there are some subjects that I know a lot more about now and could probably ‘show better achievement’ and others that I freely acknowledged that I peaked back then….But I think that ‘date awareness’ will be key – the badges I earned back in boy scouts are still valid in most cases (collection badge) but might be worth a conversation about ongoing use (knot tying) and my own “practice” on all three “main OS’s impacting education” (Apple MS Google) will vary depending on what my students are using at school and at home….in the meantime I think badges show a more accurate “earning” of a topic (ie badge for Multiplying 2 digits by 2 digits) vs an ‘overall’ badge for math! The thinking will continue – and any sharing is much appreciated!
I want to spend more time thinking about gamification – and even came across a related blog that will help: https://www.mrhebert.org/blog/how-the-blood-of-dragons-made-me-a-better-teacher