#digitalstudies, feedback, blogging and badges

The experimental #digitalstudies project is more than a term in.  Pupils are starting to use the blogs more, we’re using feedback based on Ron Berger’s public critique a lot more effectively than at the start.  I have also been party to some quality discussions between students as they used the gold/silver/bronze criteria to story board their movies and plan in advance what they would film.

Better than 'I like the colours' eh?

Better than ‘I like the colours’ eh?

It’s not all plain sailing. The complexity of the project means that some learners are having trouble seeing their way through. I’m having to plan on the fly a lot more.  Also, it is difficult to manage learners at so many different stages in the same lesson.  My biggest bugbear though, has been badges.

The golden vision was that I would create virtual badges that I would be able to ‘issue’ to learners for different aspects of the project, like story boarding, editing, HTML webpage creation etc.  These would be based on a bronze/silver/gold framework that I and others felt (and still feel) is instantly more accessible to learners and parents than a vaguely comprehensible ‘6b’, ‘5c’ etc.

These badges would be displayed on pupil blogs, at the top or on the side, a bit like XBox achievements or scout badges on your sleeve.  however, it’s proving complex.  Mozilla have a system called openbadges that I was hoping to use.  However, I don’t think it’s quite ready for public consumption yet.

For the past month or so I’ve been trying to get my head round issuing embedding badges on pupil blogs.  I’ve come to the conclusion that at the moment, there isn’t a system (that I know of) that is time and effort effective enough to be used.  As a teacher, it needs to be fairly simple and time effective to set up and painless to use.

I do, however have a wishlist of features for an issuing system:

A website where I can:

  • Create an issuer account.
  • Upload badges that I have created.
  • Create badges using online templates.
  • Generate classes of pupils (much like I can in Storybird or Kidblog) from csv files.
  • Create categories of badge for classes (like bronze/silver/gold HTML for example) and attach criteria info.
  • Assign badges to pupils via a radio button system or similar – Johnny has earned gold story boarding and silver blogging.

A plugin for pupil blogs that displays the badges issued by me in a sidebar or header.

That’s not much to ask for is it?  In the meantime, here are a few quick badge designs I’m playing with. If you can improve on them, please do and send me copies!  They are based on these criteria.


EDIT – Feb 2013

I’ve got round thew problem somewhat by hosting the badges on my WordPress site and embedding them in the comments section of relevant posts.  This still doesn’t let me have an overview or allow the students to display all badges earned on their home page though.  You can see an example here:



2 thoughts on “#digitalstudies, feedback, blogging and badges

  1. Like the badges. What I’d quite like and don’t have the time to develop at the moment, is a Moodle plug-in that will issue badges based on completion-criteria and based on grades. Ideally I’d want to, as you say above, be able to award badges manually as well with some sort of point-and-click interface.

    What I’m not clear on is how students would display their badges. I know that OpenBadges is supposed to handle this but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of support for it at the moment with 3rd party tools. It would be great if there was a Facebook app for instance that would post new badges awarded to their timeline (if they wanted it to). Or if there was a way in Moodle of publishing what badges someone has to their profile page (for instance).

    In principal its a great idea but more widespread adoption by 3rd party developers is needed before it becomes especially useful.

    • Cheers Pete. The badges are about as simple as it gets on Fireworks, I’m sure a decent designer could give them a bit of pizazz.

      I think we need to adopt “I don’t quite have time to develop at the moment” as a motto! We could get T shirts made, if we only got a minute.

      As for displaying badges, there are wordpress and non wordpress plugins that @dajbelshaw kindly put me on to today:

      I just want a third party issuing service that lets me do all the gubbins on my list. From a teaching point of view, not everyone has/will be prepared to put the time in to make it work. I’m dead keen, and I’m struggling. I need to make it much easier and more intuitive for our staff if it will fly.

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