Digital Leaders Badges 1 – 11th December 2012

This post is to talk about our progress with Digital Leaders and starting on the path of Digital Badges, but I want to start this post with this picture…

Maddie, working with a mixed group of KS3 and KS4 SDLs.  I am so pleased to get little snapshots like this of seeing students benefit from the teamwork and responsibilities of SDL work, but always tempered with the thought that this is but a drop in the ocean with the uncertainty in ICT in Education at the moment.

Another highlight was Will (KS4 DL) overhearing me talk about digital disruption, and asking about it when we came onto discussing roles.  If you refer to their video link “Lessons – an arid desert of ICT” then it will come as no surprise that Will has chosen a badge for Digital Disrupter.  I look forward to the design…

In this very confused time for ICT development in schools, I continue to hold fast to my belief that we must invest in our young people, and hold out for what we believe is important for Education and for them.  An aside: I find myself in the position that both the KS4 and KS5 courses I have developed over the last 7 years are defunct, (CiDA and Applied GCE ICT), even though I believe them to have provided the most challenging and suitable learning for my students.   CiDA was the double award DiDA  qualification that provided high challenge skills building, encouraged independent learning and peer feedback through the production of ePortfolios, and provided a broad base for ICT A-level.  I do not know what course we will be teaching next year at KS4 (I have to research more at BETT13) as so far we do not think there is anything appropriate or challenging enough for our students.   We have had to change A-level this year (AQA dropped their Applied GCE) and we only know we will be able to continue with the current Edexcel Applied ICT for one more year because ‘those in power’ have not yet decided how they will mess up the remaining vocational courses.  Overall our education system is not currently fit-for-purpose, is not responsive, but more depressingly, is heading in the opposite direction from where it should be going.

With this backdrop, I was slightly apprehensive to be approached by Tim Riches about discussing Digital Badges, as I try to use my time focussed on DLs and the ICT learning team in school.  My gut feeling was that Digital Badges could be a distraction, but I will hastily add now that I now believe the  scheme could be very important.  Talking to Tim I realised that there was an immediate short-term gain for my digital leaders because DigitalMe’s initial foray into badges was S2R (Supporter to Reporter) and this links with us being a Sports College.  When I set up LLS DLs, my initial Assembly Prezi made links to both Duke of Edinbrough and Sports Leaders – both are already strengths in our school with 109 Years 9s are taking DoFE.  I still believe that potentially that DLs could be more relevant to the workplace than either of these.

*We have to look at an alternative way of accrediting key digital, team and leadership skills*

My Initial discussion with Tim brought in the progression of research/mastery/pass it on (I haven’t heard of Mastery since ePortfolios were ditched from Functional Skills, in favour of a 2 hr exam to measure mastery – I’m reminded of Sir Ken Robinson  relating a Dance Student telling him that 3 years of training and study had resulted in a “B”).  Together with Lucy we outlined possible badge production based on their ideas for a 3 stage process:

Teaching (students or teachers) although I prefer the term coaching
Learn > Apply > then teach/post on blog / present as the outcome
Design – being given a brief > carry out > assessment
I liked the idea of a badge for Responsibility over a period of time…
Again, I can see tie ins to project management with objectives/success criteria/evaluation etc

We finally discussed the idea of value, and ensuring that perception of DL badges needed to be valuable in the jobs market and not seen as geeky.

The creation of badges for Digital Leaders is through a process of reflecting on their practice; recognising the skills and roles involved; then deciding how one will assess that a badge has been earned.  The added bonus at the moment is that a designer will take the ideas for badges and make them of a professional quality.

On the day, a mixture of KS3 and 4 LLS Digital Leaders attended and Tim and Lucy provided an excellent introduction [on slideshare here].  I’m pleased that Andy Park, our sports coordinator, could be at this meeting as he also coordinates Sports Leaders at LLS.

We brainstormed what experiences the DLs had already had eg.  Jo with Tiki Toki, finding an appropriate piece of software and introducing it to the History department.

3 groups of DLs then discussed their experiences so far.

It helped having Y10s involved as they have over 18 months experience now, although the Y9s were not short of ideas too.  We then quickly brainstormed the skills and roles that went with these.

The outcomes of roles were (Remember we are secondary):

Teacher; Designer; Coach; Web Manager ; Presenter; Explorer and my favourite – Digital Disrupter.

The follow up to the meeting, which has already started, is each Digital Leader taking on one of these roles, linked to a specific example that they have at the moment, and then thinking of the assessment and badge design to go with it.

Matthew has taken on Explorer – as he and two other DLs are researching resources for science topics later this term.  Although I may change this as Matthew also created the arid desert Video and could do one as a Producer.

Beth has taken on Designer with the work that DLs did on the school planner design last year.

Luke has taken on Coach, as he is doing outstanding work with Mr Spooner and Toby

and Will is taking on Digital Disrupter as mentioned at the beginning of the post…

This will all take place on Edmodo over the holidays, with Tim and Lucy able to assist.

A big thank you to Tim and Lucy, and our DLs who, as always, were and are exceptional.