Tech Time: May 2015

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I just finished year one working on a PhD focusing on Educational Technology, at Arizona State University. As a high school Spanish teacher, I loved to integrate relevant and meaningful technology into my classroom to support student learning. On this blog, it is my goal to do a monthly technology round up of fun tech stuff I've come across. Here goes:


Electronic Badges for Education

A few months ago, I came across ClassBadges, a free site that supports teachers in designing badges that can be awarded to students for performance accomplishments. I think this is such a fun idea!

Pros:

1. Kids would get into the novel technology used, but also would likely be motivated to earn (and keep earning) as many badges as they could.
2. Badges support differentiation: students work at their own pace to earn the badges they do.
3. Teachers get to make any badge they want, with any picture they want. This doesn't seem to be too much work.
4. Badges are performance based: They could be designed to align with the ACTFL I can statements, for example.
5. We know that badges work great as motivators... think Girl Scouts, gaming, even the military.

Cons:

1. If you don't have technology access for all kids, the electronic badges won't be as motivating as a kid being able to check it all the time and really self-motivate.
2. How do you tie the badges to grades? I think this is very possible, but would be unorthodox, possibly confusing for parents and students, and possibly stress evoking for the teacher.
3. Structuring class time (or out of class time) for students to demonstrate their performance abilities in order to earn new badges might be challenging to coordinate. Especially when you have classes of 35 - 42 students as I have.
4. I fear that motivated students would do excellent with the badge system, but unmotivated students might just drop off. How do you fuel friendly competition of sorts to get everyone motivated?

Just some thoughts! Would love to hear if anyone is using ClassBadges or similar systems!

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