When it comes to badges, it may be smart to start with the teachers

So You Want to Drive Instruction With Digital Badges? Start With the Teachers

While badging for students shows real promise, a partnership between the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and VIF International Education demonstrates that in the short run the best approach to scaling digital badging is not to focus on students, but on their teachers.

Beginning this past fall, HISD launched a global learning initiative in 28 elementary schools. The district will expand the program to a total of 51 elementary schools for the 2015-16 school year. To ensure program quality for our students, we partnered with VIF to provide our teachers with globally themed online professional development and a customized digital badging system. Within the professional development platform, they also have access to curricular resources and a community of fellow educators to spur and support collaborative projects and innovative approaches. But the core of the system is the badging approach to professional development.


Using Google Drawings in the classroom

10 engaging Google Drawings activities for classes | Ditch That Textbook

Google Drawings is like a digital poster board. Or sheet of paper. Or a blank slate waiting for your great ideas.

Sadly, many educators don’t know about it or know what it does. Maybe part of the reason: when you click “new” in your Google Drive, Drawings is under the “more” tab. (What a shame … one of my favorite Google tools treated like a second-class citizen.)

Inserting Google Drawings into a Google Doc is a trick I use when I want something a little more “fancy”.


Using feedback to help students learn

How To Give Students Specific Feedback That Actually Helps Them Learn

To tell a student “great job”or “this needs work” is a missed opportunity.

Everyone loves to hear they did a great job. And perhaps your student really did nail this latest assignment. But the problem with “great job” is this: it’s not specific. There is no indication of what was done that was successful, and no information about how to replicate this success in future projects.

I don’t grade students, I use feedback to help the students learn from their mistakes and re-submit their work.