Digital badges as evidence of flexible pathways

Realizing the promise of micro-credentialing

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsAs teachers and students grapple with how to implement proficiency-based assessment, flexible pathways and personalized learning, what can we learn from digital badge eco-systems? What’s been tried? What’s worked? 

And what do we need to think about as we implement micro-credentialing to help us grapple, not just with the requirements of Vermont’s Act 77, but with this profound shift in education as we know it?

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What it’s really like to use an LMS with students

edmodo vs Schoology, digital badges and how to leave a great comment

The 21st Century Classroom podcast by the Tarrant Institute5th grade Peoples Academy Middle Level teacher Hannah Lindsey returns this week with a look at what it’s really like to use an LMS with students. She sat down with Mark Olofson to talk about her experiences with edmodo and Schoology in the classroom.

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Using edmodo as an LMS for reading

Students provide evidence of increased engagement with social reading platform

using edmodo as an LMS for reading(Editor’s Note: we asked 5th grade educator Hannah Lindsey to share her experience using the LMS edmodo for a literacy block with students on netbooks. Her blog post is excerpted from a longer reflection prepared for the 2014 AMLE annual conference.)

Does the use of a learning management system impact student engagement and learning outcomes?

Was there a change in learning outcomes and products? Was there a change in student engagement and interest in material, discussions, and each other?

Let’s take a look.

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Tuesday Links Round Up

What We’re Reading

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Digital credentials, quests and middle school math

Because 102 years of Girl Scouts can’t be wrong

New this morning on the blog, Harwood Union Middle School math educator Lisa Therrien discusses how she and her students are using the Badgestack platform to use digital badges, quests and differentiation to turn traditional math teaching on its head.

Badgestack is an online tool that’s now available free as a series of WordPress plugins.

Jumpstart STEM badging with DIY

Here’s a great way to dip your toes in the digital credentialing waters: DIY.org.

What Is It?

Geared for kids 8 and up, DIY.org features dozens of digital badges heavily geared towards doing and making. To earn a badge, students choose to complete 2 or 3 challenges from an array of 7 or 8, and get credit for their learning by sharing the result with everyone on the site. Other users can then like and comment the shared artifacts. There’s a high degree of support, camaraderie and cheering that occurs in comments, with users all in the same skill area remixing and resharing what others have previously created, and being quick to ask for help. It’s an outstanding example of students showing digital citizenship savvy, maybe because part of the site’s Community Guidelines include a guide to “Being Awesome”. (Hint: it involves the phrase “Don’t be a jerk” 🙂

Why Is It Awesome?

A selection of STEM-oriented DIY badgesThe site also features guides for parents to get and stay involved in their students’ growing skill-set, without doing the embarrassing hovering thing (oy), and there’s a section with suggestions for how educators can integrate DIY.org activities into the classroom. DIY is partnering with the National Writing Foundation and Mozilla to publish a guide to aligning various badges with Common Core Standards, and as an educator, you can sign up to get notified of new lesson plans.

With so many of the skills and challenges having both an easy entrypoint and a clear focus on getting students to use their time outside the classroom for individualized learning, this site might be perfect for educators looking at flipped classrooms and/or personalized learning plans. While we’re huge fans of Mozilla’s Open Badges and Learning Times’ BadgeOS, both those systems require some educator overhead in terms of setup and implementation — this is a turnkey system, requiring only that students register for an account. And yes, like almost everything else out there online, students under 13 need parent approval for their accounts.

It also comes in iOS flavor, for all your 1:1, BYOD or general running around needs.

Anyone using this site in their classroom?

Digital badging, e-portfolios and alternative credentialing

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Tarrant Institute professional development coordinator Susan Hennessey discusses the current and future possibilities of digital badging, e-portfolios and alternative credentialing, with such tools as Badgestack and BadgeOS.