Adventures in Badging – Comm Tech 2017/8

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Badging can be a powerful pedagogical tool for learning and assessment in the classroom. My Communication Technology courses for Grade 10 to 12 students seemed to be a good fit as students developed their skills using Adobe and other creative digital tools. I must confess to always feeling slightly uneasy giving numerical grades on student work and creativity despite rubrics, checklists and anecdotal notes. Perhaps badging provides an additional “alternative” tool that seems more in line with encouraging play, risk-taking and perhaps true innovation. As students completed activities, they received badges (usually up to three per unit) to indicate their progress along with a completed rubric, feedback and the numerical mark or level. However, usually I issued them at strategic moments in the course. One strategy I employed was to issue a badge promptly on a specific due date. This gave me the opportunity to positively highlight a student’s hard work and progress at a specific milestone. In a one to one conversation, I also offered them a physical badge and encouragement for their progress. (Almost 100% accepted them and almost all stuck them on their tablet.) Implicit in this teaching moment is a subtle message to who have yet to submit their work and have not yet earned their badge. ūüėȬ† Many students yet to submit then approached me with a timetable to complete and I could then offer help and support if and when needed. In short, badging shifted the conversation to be more proactive and positive as students are recognized for meeting the deadline and expectations rather than gaining attention in class settings for missing a deadline or check-in.

Both research and practice find that using the badge as a motivator is problematic as it is appealing to some students and could actually have the opposite effect as the worth of the badge is dismissed. Therefore, I explained that the badge was simply an indicator of their progress for themselves and perhaps for their peers. My practice was to offer the badge positively when students completed a particular or milestone. I would focus my conversation on their work, progress and creativity rather using the badge as a motivator.

Physical or Digital badging? (Both?) 

Both.

I decided to use OneNote and particularly the OneNote Class Notebook as a place shared only between the student and myself for students to collect and share their virtual/digital badges.

onBadges

virtual badge1

I offered these digital badges to students and they could be earned and issued anytime throughout the course. I housed these badges in a student’s OneNote which was shared between themselves and me only. Students were the “issuer” of this digital badge but I could check that they met the criteria through our conversations and their progress in their OneNote Class Notebook. I liked this non-linear approach to the course, as very little management was needed from me yet the drawback was that my (naturally busy) students would often de-emphasize these accomplishments as a priority when compared to their projects especially during the “crunch time” as tests and assignments became more numerous from a multitude of courses. Finally, I did offer the opportunity for students to create their own virtual badges which is important as they had great ideas in the integration of new technologies. I will continue and refine these practices so that students help co-create the course experience with me.

Physical Badges

badges comp

The physical badge is an excellent indicator of student progress and each badge was linked with a specific expectation in the course. As I issued the physical badge, many students would place the badge on their device which was great. Every student usually accepted the badge and I like how the badge became an indicator of their experience and progress with particular software. They were fun (as many comment indicate below.)

physical badges1

Creating the physical badges

I used the avery.ca site to link perfectly with the product number for easy printing.

avery2.PNG

I encouraged students to collaborate with their peers inside and outside the course with their “tech superpowers”. I shared a potential situation where a student not in the course would notice the Photoshop, Premiere (or other) badge on their tablet and then strike up conversation or potentially a collaboration for a school based or non-school based activity. This could be the start of a wonderful collaboration (and perhaps even a start-up) between with the badge as the conversation starter.

Student Feedback

I added a question to my outgoing survey for students about badging to get their feedback.

response to badges

badges2

badging1

All and all, badging was a success for most and I will continue to refine and use this pedagogical tool with my students. Emphasis is as always on their learning and progress. The badge is and remains an indicator (not a reward) and I see it as a good opportunity to share an important moment with a student to value their hard work. Accessing student input and feedback is a gift and critical and I will make sure to to have lots of copies of badges in case they get worn and torn in the hustle and bustle of our #tabletlife in our 1:1 environment. I also like the future potential for this practice as students’ progress continues when they move from the Grade 11 to 12 course. (Some may even put the badge on their portfolios and at our school we have student-led conferences and what about when they graduate…

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to further discussions and chats on Twitter and specifically at #badgechatk12.


Interested in learning more?

How can digital badging aid learning?

What does Assessment look like in Makerspaces? (surprise, surprise, badging 

Digital Badging: a valuable addition to assessment practice

Making Learning Transparent with Digital Badging

 

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Why self-directed learning is a powerful opportunity for educators


My Mom always said that I liked to be in charge of my own time. She would appreciate the irony that my students feel the same way! However, I still think it is vital to set your own goals as a life-long learner and educator. Self-directed learning offers rich opportunities for myself and my students going forward. The affordances of today’s technology (i.e. MOOC’s, open educational resources (i.e. video, screencasts, auto-graded assessments…) and social networking make today or tomorrow (or whenever!) a good time to explore self-directed learning as a vital and useful pedagogy for myself and my students in the foreseeable future. In addition, as a busy educator and parent, the opportunity to schedule my own learning without sacrificing my core focus on my family is critical and makes this form of learning very appealing. In short, my motivation is strongest when I select my own learning goals.

What is self-directed learning?

Self-directed learning is a self-motivated, informal and anytime/anywhere approach to learning using online resources. “In self-directed education, the individual masters all the activities usually conducted by the teacher: selecting goals, selecting content, selecting and organizing learning experiences, managing one‚Äôs time and effort, evaluating progress and redesigning one‚Äôs strategies for greater effect.” (Gibbons 2008) MOOC’s or Massive Open Online Courses provide an excellent opportunity for self-directed learners to select specific parts or entire courses to meet their learning goals. MOOC’s are offered by traditional and well respected universities (i.e. Harvard, Cambridge, Western, Toronto, London etc.) in an online setting with a capacity for a vast number of students facilitated through websites like Coursera, Udacity etc. At the conclusion of the course, a record of completion is added to your account and a validated certificate is available for a small fee and the validation of your identity. Essentially the experience is free and open to anyone with the motivation to complete all the requirements set by the instructor or one can complete the units relevant to one’s own goals.

My interests in education and technology integration led me to explore online learning resources offered by software companies and other organizations to aid my students and professional practice. Many companies offer certificates, badges, designations and other forms of accreditation that provide an indicator of your competency with a specific technology. Some examples include the Microsoft in Education Expert (#MIEE) designation, Google Educator, Apple Teacher, SMART Exemplary Educator etc. These accreditation opportunities are particularly relevant and significant today as technology is increasingly integrated in education. From both an employer and employee perspective, they can offer validation of a person’s competency with a specific educational technology and their dedication to self-directed learning. In addition, many offer opportunities for learners to connect to a Personal Learning Network (PLN) of global educators using that specific technology with their students.

What is my experience so far with self-directed learning?

  1. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s)

I have had a few experiences with MOOC’s through the Coursera site which were very positive. I completed a course from the University of London called “ICT in Primary Education” which was fascinating as I had a chance to interact with educators from all continents through chat-rooms and discussion boards. I definitely felt privileged by the accessibility of my students to the latest technology and was inspired by resourceful educators integrating technology as powerful learning tools for their students. Many dedicated educators were using all kinds of technology to aid their students’ learning despite facing challenges of equity, infrastructure and lack of support from communities. In addition, to the benefits of connecting with other hard-working educators, the course also included a collaborative and innovative aspect to assessment. As part of each assignment, students (mostly educators) were assigned a few random assignments of colleagues to evaluate using a specific rubric.¬† With so many students in the course, an average of your scores was used for grading which was an innovative way to “crowd-source” assessment.1 Feel free to read more here from my notes if interested.

In March of this year, I completed a course called Indigenous Canada offered by the University of Alberta which completely altered my thinking and world view on History and perspectives on events in Canada and North America AKA “Turtle Island” . In this course, I was introduced to familiar topics of Canadian History but using an Indigenous worldview and perspective. I was confronted with a worldview mostly hidden or marginalized from my formal education and life in Canada which was mostly taught using a colonial perspective. The intersectionality of aboriginality, gender, sex, culture, place of residence among others combined with institutionalized and informal racism and culture clash has resulted in many challenges for Indigenous peoples today. Yet, their culture and ideas continues to resonant though powerful ideology, their roles as leaders and stewards of the land and environment.¬† In short, I was forever changed to be more emphatic and understanding towards Indigenous Peoples, recognize their diversity and their triumphs and tragedies (i.e. betrayals by settlers, institutionalized racism, Residential Schools and today less access to equitable health, infrastructure and justice from Canadian institutions.) Yet despite the critical evaluation and acknowledgement of past and present challenges for Indigenous peoples, the course emphasized hope and progress for the future which was inspiring. This course was so invaluable with powerful resources and perspectives to help me create a more inclusive and diverse History classroom for my students and myself as a Canadian. Here is a quick list of 150 acts of reconciliation which is particularly inspiring.¬†

2. Technology certifications

Many companies including Apple with their Apple Teacher program, Google with Google Educator programs and  Microsoft with their Microsoft in Education offer training videos, resources (i.e. OneNote folders) and even detailed online courses. Many of these resources lead to certifications and can be great for familiarizing yourself with the software and picking up some tips for best practices. However, it is critical that educators adapt these ideas to the specific needs of their students and learning goals in order provide richer learning opportunities. In our school, we have adopted Microsoft products mostly on the strength of the Microsoft Surface, OneNote and its digital inking possibilities and so I sought out the Microsoft in Education certificates and make use of Microsoft in Education portal and related social media for learning resources.

Here is a screenshot of some of the course selections available at the moment. More are added as technology is added or updated.

On the site, there are a number of courses which consist of videos and other learning tools and resources (i.e. OneNote folders and usually end with a quiz. The beginning of each course has the date posted, duration, likes and badges offered for completion. Upon the successful completion of the quiz (usually 80%) a badge is earned which appears on your account and as a record on a printable or sharable training transcript.

Here is an example of my achievements in the program so far. (Still much to learn)

The OneNote and OneNote Class Notebook resources have been particularly significant in our Upper School (G9-12) environment as teachers use OneNote for their professional practices and the Class Notebook with students in each class. I also regularly use Microsoft Forms, Sway, Photos, Flipgrid and Skype to provide unique learning experiences for my students. The benefit of this site is that it provides a collection of learning resources specific to my needs as an educator in my school. I have had heard similar stories from educators using other software companies. (i.e Apple, Google etc.) Finally, I would feel comfortable sharing my designation (#MIEE) with others (i.e.  colleagues, administration, potential employees, parents, resume, LinkedIn and other social media sites etc. to demonstrate my proficiency with this technology.

Another website that offers self-learning possibilities for educators is at Common Sense Media which specializes in educational technology and is particularly effective at promoting and providing materials for educators to teach Digital Citizenship with students. The Common Sense Media site also provides reviews and rates the appropriateness of media including games, movies, television programs and other technology for children, parents and educators. In the past, I have utilized their resources to create a digital citizenship curriculum in my school, develop digital citizenship through a web portal, help train teachers in the integration of tablets in a 1:1 setting and browse the educator reviews to explore the latest educational technology. I have provided app reviews on the site myself and contributed to their blog. Finally, the site also offers accreditation in the form of a badge and a chance to connect with similar minded educators in a PLN focused on digital citizenship and educational technology regardless of brand.

The Adobe Education Exchange is another site that is particular useful to myself and my high school students who use Photoshop, Audition, Premiere and After Effects among many others in their school and personal projects. Our school recently upgraded to the latest Adobe CC platform and I am in the process of utilizing this portal to upgrade my skills from older versions of Adobe that is most familiar to myself and my students.

Learning resources include self-paced workshops to be completed at your own pace, collaborative courses which are offered over a particular time by a facilitator and a great way to extend your PLN, live events which are presented over Adobe Connect (A dynamic online tool which provides an excellent stage for online meetings, courses and webinars) and finally, Adobe offers accreditation called the Adobe Education Trainer to help others use Adobe products. The search option by ISTE and Common Core Standards is particularly interesting as ISTE are a leading organization for students and teachers that provide specific and well established standards to evaluate their technology skills.

So what is next for self-directed learning. ISTE are now interested in providing teacher accreditation for technology skills and coupled with their well-respected standards for students and teachers and technology curriculum. They critically evaluated this question and it is clear they now see the value of offering accreditation for educators as indicated in the tweet below.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Sites for learning to code and developing your computational thinking skills like Codecademy (and many others) are suitable for a self-directed learning approach. Lynda.com (many local libraries offer free access) is very helpful for videos and courses on specific technologies. YouTube of course is helpful but can be “hit-and-miss” if looking for specific skills. Finally, social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are so helpful when educators share links to their teacher-created tools, guides and resources to help your professional practice. (Just like I am doing now.)

Finally, I wanted to mention that self-directed learning should NOT replace but instead supplement more formal learning in educational settings. (For me, after four years completing my Masters encouraged me to continue to learn and establish new goals using the new affordances and online learning environments available today.) I hope this was helpful. What self-directed learning resources have you found helpful in your experience or professional practice? Feel free to add your comments and suggestions below.


Sources

Contact North (2012) A New Pedagogy is Emerging…And Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor. Ontario Distance Education and Training Network. Retrieved from http://www.faithformationlearningexchange.net/uploads/5/2/4/6/5246709/a_new_pedagogy_is_emerging_-_and_online_learning_is_a_key_contributing_factor.pdf

Garrison, D.R. (1997) Self-Directed Learning: Toward a Comprehensive Model, Adult Education Quarterly Vol 48, Issue 1, pp. 18 – 33 First Published November 1, 1997 Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/074171369704800103

Gibbons, Maurice (2008) Towards a theory of SDL: A study of experts without formal training. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology (Spring, 1980), pp. 41-56. Personal Power Press International Retrieved from https://www.selfdirectedlearning.com/index.php/toward-a-theory

Herlong, Koh, and Eric Patnoudes. (2015) Are Educator Certifications РSuch as Google Certified Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator РMeaningful? ISTE | Blog. N.p., 27 Mar. 2015. Web. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=355.


  1. I believe that a high and low score were eliminated from your score to help with normalization. Also as a student I belief there was an option to “appeal” your mark if needed. Personally, this course was all about the experience and the grade was secondary.

OneNote is my ultimate curation and organizational tool – OneNote in Education Part 1 of 3


There is no question that OneNote is the most significant tool in my day-to-day work as an educator. It has featured in my teaching practice since 2008(!) In the next few blog posts, I will outline some of the ways I use this software to enhance my professional practice.

OneNote aids my teaching and learning in three significant ways. Firstly, I use OneNote as a private “thinking space” to explore and refine my ideas by curating research from online sources, links, documents, notes and even sketches (despite my lack of artistic skills!) Secondly, I use it as a dynamic intranet in my school and learning community to collaborate, share and connect with colleagues for day-to-day school life. Finally, I use OneNote and specifically the OneNote Class Notebook as a vibrant, comprehensive, pedagogical and learning space to interact and engage with my students using a few different levels of collaboration. I currently teach History and Communication Technology at the high school level, and I try to model my own use of OneNote as a learning tool and provide opportunities for students to use OneNote to explore their own private ideas in a safe “sandbox”. Not only does OneNote provide a safe place for them to develop their ideas to their potential but I actively encourage them to extend their ideas without fear of failure and adopt a growth mindset as articulated by Carol Dweck. In this digital space, I look to provide guidance, help and support at appropriate times to aid their progress and learning.

I truly value the idea of having a safe, private and versatile tool to record and refine ideas and OneNote provides this affordance as part of my information gathering and ongoing research. I have lost track of the amount of times I have later re-read or re-used materials for a lesson or presentation that I have collected and curated in a OneNote folder from my reading. OneNote provides a digital space curated by me to recall(and rediscover) ideas and materials. One of the challenges of self-directed or directed professional development is timing so that I can recall and apply my learning at the exact time needed in his profession. OneNote allows me to curate, save for a later time with easy recall thereby allowing me to work more effectively. Harold Jarche in his blog and writing outlines his Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) method which he “describes as a set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world, and work more effectively. He has developed a popular Seek-Sense-Share framework which identifies the 3 key elements of PKM” (Hart, Web)

Below I created a diagram that outlines my daily habits in terms of knowledge accumulation based on the ideas of Jarche and inspired by the design of Hart. I re-created and personalized this diagram by adding the platforms and software relevant to my routines in the SEEK and SHARE stages.

OneNote offers opportunities to archive my research into relevant tabs, tags and pages with a search bar thrown in for good measure. When I am in the SENSE stage, I am either co-creating understanding of the material with my students or colleagues or simply storing the materials (text, media, links etc.) away for future analysis and study. OneNote is my choice for archiving relevant materials as it is more versatile than social bookmarking services as I can retain the material rather than being at the mercy of links remaining live or at the same URL. I use the Clip to OneNote browser extension but could also simply copy and paste the text and media from the web as OneNote automatically records the URL. The other advantage of this approach is that it keeps the material searchable in OneNote which is a time saver.

A Printout to OneNote is also available as a back up but the text is not searchable unless using an image to text conversion which cuts down on efficiency. Combining this routine of information gathering with the affordances of this software to include text, links with sketches, files, video, audio and increasingly more embeddable content (i.e. forms, videos etc.)¬† allows OneNote to become a “redefining” tool for research, archiving and writing for teachers, students and learners. (Tagging the material is also an excellent routine but that aspect demands a separate post.)

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Below are a few screenshots from my OneNote folders below. I currently organize my notebooks by topic and course.

I use it to plan lessons with files, links, notes and reflections close at hand.

I use my folder to collect documentation that includes embeddable video content

 

In Part Two, I will discuss and share some of the ways in which my colleagues and I use OneNote as a working space and intranet to share and collaborate on our day-to-day adventures as educators in school life. Finally in Part 3, I will explore the advantages of the Class Notebook add-on which allows me to co-create my courses with my students creating a digital textbook and how OneNote can serve as a vibrant, creative, safe space or “thoughtbook” for innovation and design.

Thanks for reading. What did I miss? Feel free to comment below to make suggestions with how you use OneNote or other tools you use for archiving.


References

Dweck, Carol (2014) “Developing a Growth Mindset”. Dir. StanfordAlumni.¬†YouTube. YouTube, 09 Oct. 2014. Web.

Gini-Neuman, Garfield and Laura. “Using Thoughtbooks to Sustain Inquiry” The Critical Thinking Consortium. 2016.

Hart, Jane¬† (2013) Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. “Learning in the Modern Workplace.” N.p., 02 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 July 2018. Retrieved from:¬†http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2013/11/30/my-daily-pkm-routine-practices-and-toolset/

Jarche, Harold PKMastery., Posted 2013-12-02; Filed under. “Ask What Value You Can Add.”Harold Jarche. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2018. Retrieved from:¬†http://jarche.com/2013/12/ask-what-value-you-can-add/

Puentedura, Ruben (2014). Learning, Technology, and the SAMR Model: Goals, Processes, and Practice. Available from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/06/29/LearningTechnologySAMRModel.pdf