Finding what’s out there already: Integration Working Group

At the September meeting of the Integration Working Group we revisited our goals, and after discussion we realized that there was a fourth goal that we needed to add to our initial three to really cover all aspects of integration.  If we were to integrate badging into the formal education system, we would not only have to think about classroom integration, but also how badges would be recognized and “counted” within the learning management systems that many districts use to track student grades, test scores, attendance and all other facets of their academic life.  So we added our fourth goal: Integration with formal education learning management systems

The rest of our time was spent thinking about how to forward our three initial goals:

  1. Explore and define the effective relationship between institutional level (content) badges and skills badges like C-STEMBE.
  2. Collaborate with Chicago City of Learning (CCOL, and other badge issuing platforms) to integrate C-STEMBE badges within the their frameworks.
  3. Incorporation of youth/participant voice (also in equity working group)

Explore how content badges & skills badges work together

Since many of the C-STEMBE participating organization have been working with badges for a year+ now, we thought the best way to start unpacking how skills and content badges best work together was by getting the lay of the land and looking at how they have already been used together by us and by others.  We can then use those examples to parse out the strategies different organizations used and how successful they were (or weren’t!). So the upshot is that we’re developing a case study template based on project management and change management case study template in use. Particularly the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership Case Studies Template and Mindtools Case Study-Based Learning templates so that we collect the same information from each partner and we create case studies that are useful and sensitive to the experiences of all participants.

We also agreed to look at the HASTAC website and resources where they have examples of about a billion different badging platforms, but please let us know if you have others!

Incorporate youth/participant voice

As we got deeper into discussion of how different kinds of badges work together, it seemed that we couldn’t really separate out how skills/content badges are integrated with each other without thinking about how badges are integrated into the learning context in general, which of course, depends on how instructors and youth value them.

Ding, Ding, Ding! — we needed to get with the Valuing group and get their input on the case study template and on an interview protocol for instructors.  We plan to get the survey to a broad audience, leveraging the Teach for America community of over 500 teachers, the Adler’s middle and high school teacher community, Project Syncere’s teachers at the 20-30 schools they work with, and and Project Exploration educators, among others.

Because learning (and badging) happens in a variety of education contexts, the survey will need to be relevant for both formal and informal educators so we get the broadest range of perspectives. We;re also planning to ask a select number of teacher to participate in a focus group so that we have the chance to ask more in depth questions.

Integrate with formal education management systems

We are thinking also about how to integrate badges more broadly into the education community by using work with the Chicago Public Schools as a case study, to see whether we can work with them to integrate badging into Cityspan, their data management system. While this is a Chicago-specific database, we think that the model could be useful in other cities as well, since most large school districts have some type of database that houses student information.  Badges could then be tied to student IDs the same way as grades, service learning hours, attendance, and standardized test scores. They could then be leveraged and shared in the same ways as other traditional measures of student achievement. One question that will have to be address in this context is how student privacy is managed as information is carried across systems. We have some concerns that we’re still thinking about. As will all surveys, respondents tend to self select, those who have strong positive and negative opinions respond, so how do we get the opinions of fence-sitters and newbies?

Our next steps are to draft the teacher survey and the case study template, so we could really…use your brain…

  1. How can we get a group of educators that includes ALL perspectives to complete the survey and participate in the focus group?
  2. Do you have case study protocols or teacher interview protocols that you’ve used for badging or you think are great and can be adapted?  We’d love to know what they are and where to find them.
  3. Do YOU have case studies of how you used badges that you can share with us?  We’d love to hear what you’ve been doing so we can add it to our archive of case studies! Please post links to any documents/resources you can share. Some of the things we’d like to know
    1. If you’ve badged both skills and content, how did they work together
    2. Did you have a hierarchy of badges where students would have to earn skills and content badges to earn a larger program badge
    3. Did you separate out skills and content into two different categories and award the separately
    4. Did you include skills and content criteria in a single badge?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the above. Share your work, case studies, etc. and we’ll continue to make progress together!


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