We have been reflecting on badges since last summer and have been trying to find the best way forward. Initially we wondered if a national or international ICT related organisation might launch a range of badges for 4 – 11 year olds but word on the Internet was that this was not likely to happen, at least for the forseeable future. There are associated legal issues for organisations in the USA awarding badges, i.e. they cannot award them direct if the child is under 13 years old and perhaps similar legislation applies in the UK, or organisations here do not have a vision for such awards currently?
We are confident a series of badges, available nationally, would be very popular with schools as they would demonstrate agreed standards throughout the UK in relation to different ICT skills. They would be highly portable and could form part of a portfolio as children moved on to secondary education, or transferred between schools at a younger age. Perhaps they will be introduced in the future!
However, the more we thought about it we became increasingly keen to develop our own badges. We could decide exactly what each badge was awarded for and once we had introduced one or two badges to our pupils they could increasingly take ownership for the design and criteria of further badges.
We still wondered how best to design and award our badges. Edmodo was suggested as a possible option and this works well for a number of schools. However, we have just introduced class blogs using WordPress so this was the route we were keen to use. We have decided to trail Year Group badges for Years 1 – 4 and individual badges for pupils in Years 5 and 6; we can extend individual badges at a later date should we wish.
Regarding design, the answer for us came via some posts by Martin Waller – thank you again Martin! @MultiMartin http://changinghorizons.net/2012/09/blogging-and-badges/
Martin shared that he uses a graphics package on his PC to produce badges and his class use MS Paint to make their badges. If you would like to see examples of the badges they have designed see Class 5 blog http://class5.htrblogs.net/2012/11/18/new-badges/
So we had the last piece in the jigsaw. We found some free designs via a Web 2.0 badge generator, http://www.webestools.com/web20-badge-generator-free-image-beta-photoshop-web20-badge-generator.html and started exploring with MS Paint.
We are just beginning and anticipate awarding a range of badges to cover a) key ICT skills, b) the application of skills (e.g. Match Reporter), c) digital leadership and d) when pupils join a group such as ‘Book Review’. However, once the first few badges are launched it will be over to the pupils to lead this initiative forward, they will be the driving force to the scope and criteria of the badges.