Saturday, September 10, 2016

Supercharge your PD with Badges!

So one thing I wanted to put in place when I started as a tech facilitator was pushing teachers to personalize their own learning. Basically, I wanted teachers to have more voice and choice in the kind of technology they were learning to use. I am still working on the voice, but I have been really working hard to add choice via our new district ed tech website.

The main choice component is our tech badges page. With our tech badges teachers simply go through a short course, complete an artifact to provide evidence of learning, and then I issue them a credential with a badge and a testimonial to their new skills.

That's the short version -- here it is a little more in depth:

Choosing a Badge

Teachers start by choosing a badge they want to earn. Since I alone create the courses, we only have nine available, but I aim to continuously add more as the school year goes on. Teachers are given a look at all the badges we currently offer. They click on the tool they want to learn more about and are taken to a page where they read about the tool and how they can use it in their classroom.

Taking a Course

After they read about the tool and decide if it fits their interest, they go through a short course consisting of the basics of it's use. The course is created through an embedded Google Slide. Since the site is built in Google Sites, Slides embeds easily and provides a clean way for a teacher to learn about the tool without having to dig around too much through a bunch of different tabs and websites. Each slide begins with objectives--the skills teachers will learn through the process. Instruction occurs through a series of YouTube videos that discuss different facets of using the tool. To get an idea, check out the WeVideo course I designed below.

After they go through the course, they are instructed to complete a Google Form as evidence of learning. You can check out an example here. When I verify that a teacher has completed the task and they have demonstrated mastery of the tool, I use Credly to issue the credit. Teachers get a badge in the email that looks like this: 

I believe that the best part of the entire process is that it results in a teacher having created something they can use. A lot of PD tends be the type of thing where a bunch of teachers sit in a big room and have someone talking at them for a few hours. When teachers leave, they have nothing to show for it and no new skills. By earning one of these badges, teachers have proven they can use a tool and have created something they can use in their class tomorrow. The personalization and the authenticity of use is what makes this powerful for our teachers. And our teachers receive state mandated PD credit for taking these courses. While it's small now, I seriously think this program is a game changer for teacher tech proficiency in our district.


  1. Love this idea, I happened to see earlier in the week you were doing it via Credly. I love Credly but it's very expensive to issue badges for the different programs. Kudos for getting it started and thank you for an example of how one district is doing it. I would like to push for ours to go in this direction as well. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for reading Joseph, and good luck! It's a process, but we have eventually gotten to a place where we have an effective model for teacher development. Don't hesitate to contact me further if you'd like some help getting started.

      FYI, we use the free version of Credly and it works perfect for our needs.