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#6432740 Jul 23, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Guild Officer
354 Posts
So we need to know...Badges – An Effective Way to Provide Credentials or a Gamification Fad?

The Mozilla Foundation has a Open Badge project. The MacArthur Foundation sponsored a competition for Badges for Lifelong Learning last year.

What the difference between this and what we currently have in education?

Educause - 7 Things You Should Know About Badges

Commercial Ventures

Badgeville http://badgeville.com/

Badgestack http://www.badgestack.com/
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#6435244 Jul 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Initiate
34 Posts
Initially, I thought badges - yuck, why are they necessary. Until I got an award, then I realized they can become part of the whole game going on in the classroom. Now I just have to get my creative buzz going and figure some out. Of course, that would depend on the game being played. This is getting a lot more complicated - I LOVE IT!

GrannieTech
Margaret M. Ridgeway, MSED
Concentration: Integrating Technology Into the Classroom
Teacher, St. Helena Central High School
Greensburg, LA
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#6436796 Jul 24, 2012 at 08:06 AM
Cognitive Di...
16 Posts
Badges, it seems, are misunderstood in part due to their general lack of support for the traditional "A, B, C, D, F" grading scale. When completing an assignment/project/quest, and the completion is satisfactory for the educator/facilitator, a badge is awarded. Otherwise, the assignment is returned to the student to be re-completed and re-submitted until the student achieves the badges. This cycle lends itself to an "A or F" scale, which in turn suggests mastery as opposed to rote memorization and regurgitation. As mastery is what we should be encouraging, learning badges can revolutionize education to bring about its inclusion (and I am a big fan), however, as we are stuck on the traditional grading scale, most educators cannot fathom an all or nothing approach. Furthermore, in the ever-increasing egalitarianism in education (in which everyone MUST be on the EXACT SAME PATH with the EXACT SAME education and EXACT SAME opportunities), a mastery approach is heavily discouraged.

Of course, the above is only in reference to learning badges (badges attained when you have illustrated your learned knowledge of the lesson), not necessarily achievement or award badges. These two types of badges are a great way to encourage behavioral learning, such as digital citizenship, responsibility, good samaritanism, teamwork, leadership, and so forth, with which--let's be honest--teachers are secretly tasked.

Now, for educators or administrators (and even for the general public), I believe that badges are a wonderful day of representing credentials earned, especially if backed by reputable sources and authentication is possible. For example, yes, some people will "steal" badges to put on their online CVs and their blogs, but the giver of the badge should someone list on their site the names/handles/websites and/or email addresses of people who are certified (and generally, the people who truthfully earn the badge will want to list their basic info with the badge-source). Employers will need to learn how to verify this sort of information. Also, perhaps having a requirement of using the badge image directly linked from the badge-source (with an embed code that you can only access when you earn the badge) might be an additional way to go. And of course, you can also have badges link to "e-certificates" that feature locked-down PDF documents with signatures and dates.

While general student badges are more representative of mastery and knowledge learned, students could feasibly get badges similar to what educators and administrators would receive. For example, perhaps upon graduation, you also get a badge to post on your e-portfolio.
-----
Catherine H Flippen
SL: Cat Thexios
WoW: Hecatera

Doctoral Student at the University of Florida
Upper School Faculty at Mount Vernon School
about.me/CatFlippen
@CatFlippen
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#6442513 Jul 25, 2012 at 08:37 AM
Initiate
34 Posts
Sheldon seemed to think that badges are a fad that eventually will disappear. However, I haven't seen grades disappear in education, so why would badges, particularly if they act as motivation. It may be that they will evolve, but for my purposes, I think the badges can be used as motivational tools in addition to the XPs. I may use them as one way to get bonus XP. Still working on my game plan, but it is definitely in the works. Some of the bones I have been thinking about for my World Geography class: Travel Agent, Cartographer, Community Developer, Transportation Manager, Climatologist, Columnist, Cultural Attache...any suggestions?
Margaret M. Ridgeway, MSED
Concentration: Integrating Technology Into the Classroom
Teacher, St. Helena Central High School
Greensburg, LA
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#6443235 Jul 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Cataclysmic
128 Posts
I was in the same boat as you when it comes to games. Pre-Xbox360 I didn't see the need for badges and achievements. Then, when I was playing Assassin's Creen and a badge popped up for doing something that was meritorious, I got "hooked".

I think if badges and reward systems are designed well they can be motivating. If they are designed poorly, they can be a distraction (worse case scenario) or just ignored (bast case scenario).

I think that badges are more granular than a final grade for a course. I was talking recently to someone who's department head wanted to create a course in "X". This "X" was actually taught in an existing course, however you would not have known this unless you actually bothered to looked at the syllabus and the assignments for the course. As department head he should have done this anyway, but he did not. Now, if badges were designed to denote novice mastery of "X" , "Y" and "Z" in each course, an administrator COULD run a query in the SIS (student information system) to see who got the "X" badge, and in what course(s). This way, it would be easy to see if the curriculum needs updating, and where.


#6435244 GrannieTech wrote:

Initially, I thought badges - yuck, why are they necessary. Until I got an award, then I realized they can become part of the whole game going on in the classroom. Now I just have to get my creative buzz going and figure some out. Of course, that would depend on the game being played. This is getting a lot more complicated - I LOVE IT!

GrannieTech

--------
Feel free to call me "AK"
Blog: http://idstuff.blogspot.com
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/koutropoulos
@koutropoulos
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#6455551 Jul 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Consigliere
26 Posts
Very nice discussion Hecatera, Grannie Tech, and akoutropoulos. Working in the Career Technical Education side of things, I see badges all the time. But we call them certificates and CTE credentials.

For example, a part time CTE credential requires 4,000 hours of paid experience in the area that you teach. To document this, applicants must provide contact information and job descriptions for employers and clients they worked for. We follow up and verify their experience and times of employment. Once they meet all our requirements, the instructor receives a credential.

I could easily see this being a badge system where CTE credential officers have access to a special badge and award it to those instructors for the initial and renewal credential. Since CTE is national in the US, I could also see ACTE deciding on a national standard for Secondary and Post secondary CTE credentials, which would allow easy national adoption to a badge. Please a lot of credentialing / certificate granting institutions would love to start having their seals or logos circulating to raise greater awareness.
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#6458565 Jul 28, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Initiate
7 Posts
Hecatera talked about badges vs. letter grades.

That said, letter grades are badges! They are labels that carry meaning that represent a level of performance.


This has always been one of the problems I've had with the letter grade system. Just like it doesn't make sense to "average the badges" that someone has gotten, we average letter grades. Underneath those averages, different instructors apply different meaning to those grades, so the average is only really meaningful when comparing people who had the same instructors in the same classes.

Otherwise, well, it's just a game.

Just as how the badges can be used - they could be used for good. But using them just as a carrot instead of a stick is misusing the rewards. I wrote a small piece on badgification on my Because Play Matters blog at http://becauseplaymatters.squarespace.com/blog/2012/3/1/meaningful-badgification.html

Badges can be used to motivate in the same way that treats can be used to change a dog's behavior. Reward-based systems (and the other side of the coin, punishment-based systems) can be used to change behavior, and are easy to use.

But, as humans, aren't we worth more than just operant conditioning through rewards?

If you want to think more about this, take a look at "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn. It will really make you think about using rewards to change behavior.
Associate Professor
School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
http://becauseplaymatters.com
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#6459645 Jul 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Curator
69 Posts
#6458565 Scott Nicholson wrote:

....Badges can be used to motivate in the same way that treats can be used to change a dog's behavior. Reward-based systems (and the other side of the coin, punishment-based systems) can be used to change behavior, and are easy to use.

But, as humans, aren't we worth more than just operant conditioning through rewards?

If you want to think more about this, take a look at "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn. It will really make you think about using rewards to change behavior.



Scott, thanks for raising the issue of the potential negative effects of rewards. This article by Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci has a useful continuum of motivation from extrinsic to intrinsic with implications for the misuse of rewards.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67.
The article comes from a collection of publications on Self Determination Theory at the University of Rochester.
**************************************************
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Profile: http://www.nasaga.org/profile/chrissaeger
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in the beginner's mind the possibilities are many.
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#6459832 Jul 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Initiate
19 Posts
I teach an online course in which the participants are asked to do various activities each mod and usually to produce a "product" which they link to either through the LMS or on the blogs they have created. If the activities in the mod are attempted on time but not done correctly or completely, I give feedback to the students so that they can make corrections. I believe this is a sort of mastery learning.

At the present time, I give the students feedback through the LMS where they are required to post feedback in a forum for each mod called "How did it go?"

However, I would like to utilize badges in some way so that the participants could easily see whether they have completed a mod or whether they still have things to change or complete, but I don't have any idea of how to do this. Any suggestions?
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#6459850 Jul 28, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Initiate
19 Posts
#6442513 GrannieTech wrote:

Sheldon seemed to think that badges are a fad that eventually will disappear. However, I haven't seen grades disappear in education, so why would badges, particularly if they act as motivation. It may be that they will evolve, but for my purposes, I think the badges can be used as motivational tools in addition to the XPs. I may use them as one way to get bonus XP. Still working on my game plan, but it is definitely in the works. Some of the bones I have been thinking about for my World Geography class: Travel Agent, Cartographer, Community Developer, Transportation Manager, Climatologist, Columnist, Cultural Attache...any suggestions?



I am not sure I understand how you want to use badges. Are the designations "travel agent", etc. roles that the students play in cooperative learning groups or are these labels that refer to different levels of acchievement?
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#6460929 Jul 28, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Initiate
34 Posts
My plan was not to use badges as attainment of a level - XPs totals would level them up, but the badges would be an additional reward to recognize great work - for example - a cartographer badge for an outstandingly detailed map. Realistically, everyone could earn a badge but it would primarily be to encourage risk taking and going outside of the routine. Even though I likened badges to grades, attainment of a particular level would more likely be associated with a grade, while badges would be going the extra mile.

GrannieTech
Margaret M. Ridgeway, MSED
Concentration: Integrating Technology Into the Classroom
Teacher, St. Helena Central High School
Greensburg, LA
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#6464195 Jul 29, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Initiate
19 Posts
Grannie (Margaret)

Were you planning on creating rubrics for each of the badge designations so that the students would know how to earn the badges? I was also wondering where the badges would be displayed.

Maryanne
maryanneburgos@gmail.com
http://eduwebtools.blogspot.com
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#6464303 Jul 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Guides
561 Posts
Great discussion, hey we have been getting badges ever since we got that first GOLD STAR on our pre-school drawing. A gold star by any other name is well, er, ah, a BADGE! LOL. I sometimes will put the words "GOLD STAR" on a review in my online classes for an exceptional dropbox (only they see it). I have said in several of these that , "I am not sure I should be giving an adult student a gold star, but you earned it" and have gotten replies that "I haven't gotten a gold star since kindergarten, that made my day! Thank you so much."

I do use a "checklist" in D2L for students, that they check when they have finished an assignment. Only they see the list (I can look if I want to, but it isn't required to do it nor is it a grade) and I have had students say it is quite the motivator to see that checkbox checked next to an assignment, it was 'like getting gold stars"

I have to admit winning a badge, the Artisan in Week Two, really perked me up!

We all still need that little badge of approval, after all isn't that what we are.
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#6464881 Jul 29, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Initiate
34 Posts
#6464195 anciana wrote:

Grannie (Margaret)

Were you planning on creating rubrics for each of the badge designations so that the students would know how to earn the badges? I was also wondering where the badges would be displayed.

Maryanne
maryanneburgos@gmail.com
http://eduwebtools.blogspot.com



As this is a work in progress, I haven't quite decided yet....it may not exactly be a rubric but there would be definite requirements for earning the badges. I've been working on it and I may add a badge or two at each level and have them tied to the particular goal for that level.

GrannieTech
Margaret M. Ridgeway, MSED
Concentration: Integrating Technology Into the Classroom
Teacher, St. Helena Central High School
Greensburg, LA
+1
#6468903 Jul 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Cataclysmic
128 Posts
You are correct, grades are a type of badge (and vice versa). My only problem with grades is that, as a student, I've had teachers who insisted on a bell curve/normal distribution grading. Most people got Cs, regardless of how well they did. This is just plain wrong.

BTW, you can average badges, provided you know their point value and how many badges there are in total. See the XBOX Live badges system for example.

#6458565 Scott Nicholson wrote:

Hecatera talked about badges vs. letter grades.

That said, letter grades are badges! They are labels that carry meaning that represent a level of performance.


This has always been one of the problems I've had with the letter grade system. Just like it doesn't make sense to "average the badges" that someone has gotten, we average letter grades. Underneath those averages, different instructors apply different meaning to those grades, so the average is only really meaningful when comparing people who had the same instructors in the same classes.

Otherwise, well, it's just a game.

Just as how the badges can be used - they could be used for good. But using them just as a carrot instead of a stick is misusing the rewards. I wrote a small piece on badgification on my Because Play Matters blog at http://becauseplaymatters.squarespace.com/blog/2012/3/1/meaningful-badgification.html

Badges can be used to motivate in the same way that treats can be used to change a dog's behavior. Reward-based systems (and the other side of the coin, punishment-based systems) can be used to change behavior, and are easy to use.

But, as humans, aren't we worth more than just operant conditioning through rewards?

If you want to think more about this, take a look at "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn. It will really make you think about using rewards to change behavior.

--------
Feel free to call me "AK"
Blog: http://idstuff.blogspot.com
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/koutropoulos
@koutropoulos
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#6531707 Aug 11, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Guides
561 Posts
I am now having my online students ask me if they get any points for the badges, I told them only bragging rights but I would look at any who had first poster badges for maybe up to 1-2% bonus at end of term if they were tottering on a B/A grade. They said I need second and third poster too. LOL, they got caught up in it.

I am trying to figure out how to use badges in my classes where you have a four point project, that is the proposal, the outline, the in-class presentation and the paper to support that presentation. I was thinking of giving them a puzzle piece so they would have four at the end. . .

I was also thinking of having my grading rubric made into a big puzzle and giving each student a piece or two and have them as a class put it together and that would work as a ice-breaker and they would pay more attention to the requirements. What do you think?
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#6594792 Aug 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Initiate
19 Posts
Great discussion all - my take on it is that badges (or achievements in Xbox) represent milestones or recognition for progress while grades tend to be more about achieving the win-state of the learning game.

Now this gets muddied a little when you think about grades for assignments/tests during semester but I think it still stands up - they are still kind of like boss fights.

Achievements in Xbox games matter far more to me for the Gamer points they add to my overall tally rather than as objects/recognition in themselves (after all, does it really matter whether I was able to shoot 100 pigeons - other than to the completist in me)

Badges for bragging rights alone however, I'm a little unconvinced by. The interesting points raised about using them to mark attainment of specific skillsets or knowledgesets (we refer to these as competencies in the Vocational Education and Training sector here in Australia) suggests that they would exist more as formal results than gold stars.

In a nutshell, once the feel-good buzz wears off, I'm not convinced that badges will necessarily hold learners' attention without the possibility of more meaningful rewards.
My (occasional but getting better) edugaming blog: www.gamerlearner.com
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