I posted a blog in June about where we were heading with our badges. Little did I know what a large impact it would have on teachers working on optional professional development.
I feel like I need to give a little bit of background first.
We started with a 1:1 initiative and a brand new LMS 2 years ago. We are well under way into our 3rd year. During that first year we decided to put as much PD on our LMS - Schoology as possible. This would help teachers use the product and get more comfortable. I came up with the idea to use the badge feature in Schoology to keep up with what teachers were completing and what CEU's they had earned. This actually ended up being a great organizational tool.
As we got into our second year we started encourage teachers to work on "certifications". For example we are an Apple School District, so we encourage teachers to become Apple Certified. It actually teaches you a lot about your MacBook and how it can be used with students. We also started looking at the Nearpod Certified Educator, because we had a district-wide subscription to Nearpod. Going through the processes, to me, are about learning more about what you have and learning how to use it better in your classroom. The end result is that the students will benefit.
There was a lot of talk about gamification last year so I got the idea to turn some of our Schoology badges into physical badges. My theory was that if teachers could have something outside their door, that might encourage others to join in and work on their PD. Fast forward to present day..........THEY ARE LOVING IT!!!!! I am getting email after email thanking me and wanting to know more about our optional PD course.
Now what are we giving them for? Well we tossed around lots of ideas. I know that there is a school of thought about more application and less course completion. To start this process out we did not want anything that could be subjective. We also didn't want something that wasn't substantial. We have:
National Board Certified
Nearpod Certified Educator
Schoology Certified (we created 3 levels of courses they had to complete)
Next year we will add more, but I am really please at where we are going. What is next? Gamification of the optional PD course. Stay tuned......