Mr. Flick's Tech Badges: Take 2

#edtech #edchat As many of you know, last year I tried to flip my tech classroom for 4th and 5th graders and have them earn badges for the tech skills they needed to acquire while still in elementary school. I am pleased to report that it was a screaming success. With that said, there are still a number of things that need to be improved, and that is what I am now trying to do.

Student will use technology to help to improve literacy in Nicaragua.

My tech badge program is a mixture of the flipping model, PBL model, and Challenge Based Learning.

This summer I have been watching a lot of TED videos and they have really got me thinking. Thinking about how I can turn my students into little social innovators, students that care about the world around them and then try to do something about it.

So here is some of the info from the PBL planner that I am using to give you an idea...

Name of Project: Bethke Kids Helping Kids Program

Duration: all year long
Subject: Technology
Teacher: Mr. Flickinger
Grade Levels: 3rd, 4th, and 5th
Project Idea:  Students learn how to leverage technology to help change their world following the theme: "Using technology to make our world better."  In order to do this they have to gain certain tech skills (which will be tracked by earning badges) that will allow them to progress to different levels as they create projects that will be part of the Kids Helping Kids Technology Showcase and Dinner with the proceeds going to help a library program in Nicaragua. This will be a red-carpet event with awards to the top projects.
Driving Question: How can I use technology to make the world a better place, starting with me?
Stay tuned for more updates...


Why Edtech Badges, Why Now?

20120906-063729.jpg #edtech #edchat This past summer at a technology conference I attended a session on edtech badges, I found it to be very interesting and in-line with the work I had been doing with my own students for the past year. Then the woman next to me whispered to her friend in disgust, “This is ridiculous, students should learn for the love of learning and not for some silly badge.” The friend mumbled something back in agreement and then promptly left the session. I was left sitting at my skinny little conference table in shock.

How can teachers be so naïve? Do we really thing this generation of students want to learn for the sheer joy of learning? Who are they trying to kid? Research (1) shows that this new crop of students are motivated by three things; choice, effort and persistence. All three of which are part of a solid badge program, joy of learning is not.

Choice: when I recently announced to my students all of the optional edtech badges they could earn (30 plus badges now), they cheered. They love the idea of being able to choose there learning path. Some students loved the idea of a videography strand, where others were more interested in the LEGO engineering strand.

Effort: Students want to know that their effort will be recognized. This is something that badges do really well. Every badge has an element of “sharing” so they get a chance to show the world what they have done as well as a badge they proudly wear on their backpack.

Persistence: Students truly, deep down inside of themselves, do not want badges to to easy to earn. They want them to require some persistence -- this is what gets the respect of their peers. One of the hardest badges to earn in our school is the coveted Director's Badges, which is really hard to get since we only make three movies a year.

So my teachers who sat next to me at that convention, I hope that your little “Badges! We don't need stinkin' badges!” world you live in is working for you, but for the rest of us, badges could just be the thing to get our students the tech skills that they so desperately need.