Innovation: Education

Blogger of the week: Valerie Sullivan

Valerie Sullivan is the director of curriculum and instruction for the Lamoille South Supervisory Union.
Valerie Sullivan is the director of curriculum and instruction for the Lamoille South Supervisory Union.

It’s no secret that here at the Tarrant Institute, we’re a bit batty for badges. Not just because they’re shiny and fun to sew on a sash, but because in our initial experiments with badging platforms, we’re seeing increased teacher/learner engagement and motivation. But what does that really mean? Here, guest blogger Valerie Sullivan weighs in on Badgestack, the platform we’re using:

The structure itself provides for point, levels, badges, leaderboards, etc. Certain badges promote some of the other features like “phone a friend” allows for taking turns and swapping resources. The ability to click on individual members to see their badge/ quest submissions also provides for swapping resources and includes hidden elements.

I’m a bit of a skeptic and agree with the concern about badging being an extrinsic motivator instead of an intrinsic motivator. How might this impact other learning opportunities or experiences that aren’t badge centered? If all learning used badging might its novelty and even the extrinsic reward wear off?

If saying ‘great job’ or putting an “A”, check plus, or star on the top of the page is not valid, constructive feedback and as the learning theorists suggest none of these promotes learning, editing, reflection and growth than how is a badge any different or better?

We aim to find out! Stay tuned for details.


Audrey Homan

Audrey Homan is a Vermont-based digital media producer, and producer of The 21st Century Classroom podcast. She's worked in non-profit communications for more than a decade, and in her spare time writes tiny video games and mucks about with augmented reality and arduinos, ably assisted by five dogs.

Interviewing students and yelling in PHP are the best parts of her job.

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