Badges have been an enormous, crazy success with my 8th grade Spanish students. The badges are one of the newer features rolled out on Edmodo this summer. The badges were inspired by video game incentives, but the appeal is not limited to that demographic. In fact, as a teacher I want to be able to earn more too.
The challenge will be keeping up with awarding the correct badges to deserving students. So far, I have averaged a new badge every 3 days. However, at the beginning of the school year we cover a lot of review topics and each area of mastery earned a badge. My goal for the year is to create a badge for each of the grammar and vocabulary units covered during the year. There will also be another set of badges based on positive behavior in class: participation, helping out, going above & beyond, student blogger, early bird, and anything else I can think of that will motivate them.
I started the year by making a list of synonyms for ‘master.’ I added new blank badges with some of the words, so creating a new badge just includes finding an appropriate image and adding the content name to the master indicator word. There are some fun synonyms like Virtuoso, Wiz, Guru, etc.
The advice from Edmodocon 2011 was to check websites with icon images for the perfect size badge. My favorite resource has been the Icon Archive. There are a multitude of creative and colorful options. I highly recommend checking out the recording of EdmodoCon 2011 (found on the Edmodo Blog). The presentation by Hyle Daley at 6:04:46 provided a lot of inspiration for applying badges in my class.
The typical class begins by someone asking what badges they will be able to earn that day. The students also beg for more time to play the games to win the badges. They just see them as games, but most of them realize that they have to understand the vocabulary or grammar concept to really excel at the games. Study Stack, Quizlet, and Quia are my go to sites for review of concepts and grammar. For the games that keep score, I set a specific point value that will ‘unlock’ the badge. I set it as an attainable challenge. They should not win on the first try, since practice is as important in education as it is in sports. However, I do not want them feeling like they are never going to win a badge so they quit before they seriously try. The current necessary point levels are below – they will change as the year goes on and the students are more familiar with the expectations of each game and they master more content.
- Hungry Bug – 3,000 points
- Bug Match – 3,000 points
- Matching – 2 minutes
- Quiz – 100%
- Test – 92%
- Scatter – 30 seconds
- Space Race – 5,000 points
- Speller – TBD
- Millionaire – 1,000,000 points
- Challenge Board – TBD