Badges, We Don’t Need No Stinkin Badges

I’ve never been a badge guy.  It’s not that I don’t like showing off my accomplishments or don’t like little rewards along the way.  I’ve never gone out of my way to do things to get badges.  I’ve tried to give out badges in my classes, but I’ve never followed through to consistently give them out in my class.  Recently, my district has started giving out badges for using technology in the classroom and for the first time, the allure of badges is working.

Let me start off by saying that I have not become obsessed with badges, and frankly there are few people who do get obsessive about such things.  I have not suddenly started twitching and showing signs of badge addiction.  Believe me when I say that I will not be joining a “badges anonymous” group any time soon.

When my district sent out a website outlining the various badges you could earn, I laughed a little under my breath.  I figured that I would get to it when I could, and that’s precisely what I did.  The e-mail sat in my inbox for a couple of weeks until I had some “free time”.  I had a couple of minutes before my next class, so I browsed the list of possible badges.  Most of the technology I have used in class before, but there were a few I had never heard of, but maybe I would get to applying for some badges later.

I thought that I had forgotten about the badges all together, but then I found myself thinking about how I’d used some of them in class.  Then all of a sudden I found myself asking my wife if she had heard about some of these things that I had not.  As I was getting ready to go to bed later that week, I found myself looking some of these things up on my iPad lying in bed.  A little nagging desire to know what everything was and how I could use them in class…and it would not leave my brain.

I also started asking questions about the possible badges.  “Why did they choose these products over all the other ones out there?” “Why should I use this product that will get me a badge over something I’m more comfortable with?”  “Who is choosing this list?”  I started interacting with the material on a level that I had not intended.

In the end, I’ve applied for two badges and received three.  I’m not going out of my way to earn badges, but I’m at least willing to consider these services.  And that’s the point, isn’t it?  The point of the badge system isn’t to have 100% of students earn every badge, it’s to have students think critically about their choices and be introspective.

Badges – 1
My Preconceived Notions – 0

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