Why Digital Badges?

Digital Badges are gaining traction in the professional development arena and have become the standard for measuring individualized PD and rewarding teachers and staff members for going above and beyond commonly held standards for personal and professional learning and advancement. The TRIADvances badge system rewards teachers for getting out of their comfort zones and will hopefully inspire them to challenge their students to do the same.

According to Dr. Terry Grier, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, Digital Badges provide 5 specific features that differ from traditional professional development systems:

“Badging requires demonstrating understanding and implementation of a target content or skill.”

At Triad, as is the case with most schools, our teachers have varying needs and desires for implementing new strategies and integrating technology in their classrooms. The TRIADvances Badging system is driven by the Danielson Evaluation Framework and the SAMR Model of technology integration. To earn a badge, teachers must show proficiency in a particular skill while improving student engagement through the use of a new piece of technology, or through repurposing technology with which they are already comfortable.

“Badging provides recognition and motivation.”

Gamification of professional development is gaining interest in the ed tech community and for good reason. Current professional advancement is often only recognized through college courses or district-sponsored opportunities. But badging allows and encourages teachers to find useful tools or skills that fit their needs, and it provides a platform on which they can be recognized for their accomplishments.

“Badging allows for knowledge circulation among teachers.”

Once teachers are recognized for the work that they have done, the TRIADvances PD system then provides a place for them to share what they’ve done with other teachers in their district and beyond. At the district level, teachers join professional learning communities where they share their successes and struggles and get help or inspiration for their next steps on the journey. They also are encouraged to join professional communities worldwide through the use of social media like Twitter and Instagram to connect with other like-minded educators looking for creative ideas and exciting new tools.

“Badging can be tracked and assessed.”

By using a badging system like ours allows administration and instructional coaches to easily keep track of the work the teachers are pouring into their development and reward them accordingly. The TRIADvances program couples the recognition of the badges with state-required PD hours and stipends that reflect the level of advancement. It’s a win-win for everybody!

“Badging is a scalable enterprise.”

The five TRIADvances badges are earned from level 1 to level 3 following the SAMR model for technology integration. This allows teachers who are new to technology to start at a level with which they are comfortable, and it allows tech-savvy teachers to really test the limits of their abilities and challenge their students to a higher level of critical thinking and creativity.

To read Dr. Grier’s article on the Digital Badging system implemented at HISD, click HERE.