Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Credly....Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Today's blog is thanks to Tim Kasper, Director of eLearning for Danville Community Schools.

Recognition, praise, accomplishment....these are all things that we strive for and are at the core of what motivates us.  Everyone wants to be recognized for what they accomplish, especially students.  In the digital age that we live in, it is so easy to share with the world what you have accomplished and this has driven the "badge movement."

I first heard of this concept at the iNACOL Global Symposium a few years ago when it was held in Indianapolis. It was mentioned in a keynote given by Steve Midgley.  In his talk, he claimed that badging may one day be the most prevalent way for us, as digital citizens, to display our works and accomplishments.  An interesting take on this is described in this article by the New York Times.

Probably the most well-known use of badges are the 'merit-badges' by the Boys Scouts of America.  There are many skills and tasks that Boy Scouts are asked to achieve.  Their mastery in that achievement is displayed as an embroidered badge that is usually sewn on sash or shirt.  Digital badges work in a similar manner, but they can be displayed digitally in a variety of means such as blogs and other social media.

One of the badging services that I've come across is Credly.  Credly easily allows a person to set up and issue badges.  From a teacher point of view, think about all of the awards and recognition that you give out to students.  Perhaps it's "Speller of the Week" or "Multiplication Math Whiz."  If some portion of your class is online and your students (or parents) all have an email account, then you are good to go with Credly.

The process is fairly simple.  When you set up an account, you can choose to set up as an individual user or an organization.  Credly then takes you step-by-step for creating a new badge, editing it, and finally issuing it.
As you create a badge, think about what your end-user (students or staff) must do to earn it.  There is a required space to enter what the badge signifies and what was done to earn it.  Be as general or as specific as you want.  The fun part of creating a badge is designing it.  Credly has quite a few formats and templates for designing a custom badge.  You can even upload an image.

To issue the badge, all you need are email addresses of your recipients.  They will receive notification and a full description and image of their badge.  To actually claim the badge, they will be prompted to quickly create their own account on Credly.  From there the user can share their badge across social media and even embed it into their own website or blog.

Entrepreneur Art Williams once said that in order to become an effective leader and get the most out of people, you have to become an "expert in praise." Principals who show praise and admiration of their teachers will get the most out of them.  Teachers who show praise and admiration of their students will get the most out of them.  Badging is a great way to recognize and praise those with whom you work.  It provides a way to tell the world what you have achieved and what you are skilled in.

Credly is one of a few badging-services out there for educators.  There is also classbadges.com and Mozilla's Open Badges.

Do you see a way you can use Credly or another badging service in your school or classroom? Share how you're using badging or how you might use badging in the future.

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