When I started my gamification journey, one of the sore spots, if you will, was the awarding of badges. On the one hand, I agree with the ideas in Daniel Pink's Drive and the overjustification effect, and which translates into "Badges ruining intrinsic motivation to learn". On the other hand, I have a gamer son, who keeps going back to specific games in his collection simply because he wants to get that elusive gold badge just so he can show it off in his profile. So which is it?
As I continued to ponder the answer to this question, I participated in a couple of workshops and PD that offered badges that could be "added to my profile". I was surprised by my own drive to complete the activities, not really for the sake of learning, but because I wanted to show off the badges I had. Badges were giving me a sense of accomplishment and encouraged me to persevere, even when I got bored! If badges were doing this for me, why was I being so reluctant to add them to my classroom?
I began exploring different ways that other educators have used badges and came up with two reasons that if addressed would make me re-think the whole badging issue.
Now, if this is the case, then I knew that I needed to be able to make my own badges. There are several online tools that allow us to do that. Classbadges, Credly and OpenBadges come to mind. However, I prefer to fully create my own simply using GoogleDraw and clearly explained here by Alice Keeler.
GoogleSheets, I decided against it (simply due to time constraints), when I came across Flippity.net's Badge Tracker. With a few tweaks, this tool allowed me to import the data of my existing leaderboard, use my own badges and embed it in my webpage for public viewing. All around win!
For now, I have decided on three types of badges:
Leveled Badges: These symbolize achievement in on-going assignments. Students will earn these badges by scoring well on their weekly writings and reading assignments.
Project Badges: These badges represent the skills and knowledge gained in a specific unit of study within the scope of science and engineering curriculum.
Commitment Badges: These are badges awarded for achievement outside the leveled and project badges. What I envision here is, for example, a "Digital Citizenship" badge or a "Creative Commons" badge.
So, what do you think about adding badges to your gamified classroom? I would love to hear your ideas.
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