Methods of Awarding Badges in BadgeOS

The BadgeOS plugin offers a variety of ways to verify students have reached the goals associated with each achievement. As a teacher, each badge you design will ask you to choose from one of the following possibilities:

Submission (Reviewed)

Students hand in evidence by typing into a text box or by attaching a file.

For something text based, the text box is great. I often use it for answers to questions, or a link to a product hosted elsewhere. For products too large to attach for practical reasons (e.g., videos), I often have the students show me the product in person so we can have a quick conference about it and then have them submit a self-reflection paragraph as their evidence.

Being able to attach files allows for many possibilities. Besides the obvious option of attaching documents, I often have students submit a photo of something they created with “low tech” methods, or take a screen shot of a score on an online tool, etc.

You will then review each submission and approve or deny the submission to award the badge. You may comment and provide feedback on each submission also. This is my preferred method of awarding badges by far.

Submission (Auto-Accepted)

Students must hand in evidence via text box or file attachment; however, the badge is automatically given to the student as soon as they hand in their evidence, without needing the teacher to review and approve it.

You are trusting your students to only submit if warranted; however, teachers do always have the ability to revoke a badge, if needed. This may be a good option for something simple and straightforward.

For example, after attending an all-school assembly with a guest-speaker, you may ask your students to submit their reflections and reactions to what the guest said.

Nomination

Students can nominate other students to award them a badge. There is a drop-down menu listing all your students where they will pick their nominee and a text box where they will justify why that student is deserving of that particular badge.

I use nominations to reinforce the character traits my students learn about in our monthly assemblies. It can be a balancing act to make sure nominations do not become a popularity contest. For that reason, I never assign points to receiving nominated badges. I don’t want students making “deals” with their friends to award each other badges just to bump up their point totals. When points are out of the picture, some of that still happens but I find it is minimized.

As the teacher, you will review all nominations before they are awarded to approve or deny them. I am not shy with denying nominations or asking nominees to further justify their rationale if it was not specific enough.

Admin Awarded

These badges can only be given out by teachers (WordPress “admins”) by manually going into a students’ profile and selecting to award the badge by picking it from a list.

Personally, I found I was often forgetting to hand out badges so I switched all my “admin awarded” badges to be “submission (reviewed)” badges so that students had a mechanism to remind me to give it to them. For example, we often play Kahoot in class and I give a badge to the winner. While this is a great use-case for an admin-awarded badge, by allowing a submission box, students can gently “nudge” me by submitting a “I won Kahoot on September 29th” message that then appears in my submission queue. Hitting “approve” on the submission is a lot quicker than admin-awarding, too. Long story short – I really don’t recommend using this type!

Completing Steps

This is the most complex way to award a badge. First of all, you have to remember that “steps” in the sense that we think of it as teachers can be included in any award-by type. My submission reviewed badges often have a multi-step process (e.g., the steps of the writing process) to reach the final end step where something is handed in. This is not that.

Steps in this sense are computer quantifiable steps. After you select this awarded-by type, you can scroll down to the box where you can define exactly what the steps are. For example, things like “changing your profile picture”, “posting 10 times on the activity feed”, “achieving 4 quest badges” can be steps.

This achievement type can be useful for a larger goal that has sub-badges that lead to achieving the big badge. You can do things like having students earn badges A, B and C plus respond to 10 questions on a discussion forum. Or complete 4 out of 6 challenge badges to be awarded the mission badge. You can require steps be achieved in a certain order so you can build a progression of skills that lead to an overall competency. There really are a lot of possibilities.

I highly recommend browsing the drop down menus in the “add steps” setup area to see exactly what’s possible. Also, check out the BadgeOS tutorial video about completing steps.

Minimum Number of Points

You can associate points to some or all of the badges. As the students collect badges, their point totals can grow. You can then use this points total to trigger badges that are awarded by passing defined points thresholds. I used this feature to create levels badges (e.g., Level 1 = 50 points, Level 2 = 100 points, etc).

Erica
Erica is an elementary French and technology teacher in Ontario, Canada. She is the creator of www.frenchquest.ca and www.eduquest.ca

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