1. I appreciate having the opportunity to meet with Paul Allison of the New York City Writing Project to discuss Open Badges. I think that the idea of using badges as a means of tracking academic progress is a very innovative way of evaluating students. I like the idea that students would engage in their own self-evaluation to determine if they met the criteria for earning their badges.
2. I appreciate Lauren Tan’s work with the Watts Youth Collective and his 5th grade students. His approach to teaching and creating an atmosphere of family and acceptance within his classroom inspired by his own upbringing as an immigrant sends a valuable message to his fellow educators. He says that “Being able to go outside of the box is really the difference” and I agree. His work with the WYC, which brings together students within his own community who want to promote social change through media, is evidence how connected learning can take place successfully at the community level. Here is a link to a video highlighting Laurence Tan’s work:
3. I appreciate having the opportunity to create my first badge, the “Inspired Minds Award.” I think that this is a very creative way to incorporate technology into the classroom while also exposing students to an alternative means of assessment.
4. I appreciate the work that my classmates put into making their first badges, as well. I loved Kelly’s “Self-Reflection” badge, as well as a quote from her blog post – “I feel that as an educator, student, and life long learner, we need to constantly reflect on our practices in order to improve. This is also true in our Connected Learning class. This course has really made me think about the way in which I deliver new information to my students, and how I accomplish the objectives of my lessons.” I think that self reflection is one of the most overlooked but useful tools that educators can use to improve upon their practice. Kelly’s badge can be found here:
5. I also appreciated how Lizzy incorporated some humor into her badge, which was inspired by a bad habit that I’m sure many of us would like to break. The “Profanity Free” badge awards students who can go five consecutive days without using profane words (or gestures!) I liked how Lizzy addressed the badge’s utility for addressing character accomplishments as well as academic accomplishments during Wednesday’s Hangout. I agree that as educators, we should not only be teaching students how to be learners but also how to be good, decent people. Lizzy’s badge can be found here:
Lizzy’s badge – http://badges.p2pu.org/en/badge/view/679/
6. I appreciated the “Pushouts and Dropouts in Philadelphia Schools” video shared by Lizzy. It opened my eyes to stereotypes that we often place on students who drop out of school and helped to highlight the various reasons why students drop out and how they rationalize that decision. How do we get all students to believe that “School is a start to a new life” as one student states in the video, and how do we support students who are at risk of dropping out? How do we create an environment that allows students to feel safe, as advocated by the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools initiative, and how do we make students feel a part of a greater classroom and school community that will decrease the likelihood of them dropping out? Here is a link to the “Pushouts” video:
7. Lastly, I appreciated the idea of student portfolios that was discussed by Paul Allison. I think that using online portfolios is a great way of incorporating a more holistic and formative means of assessment for our students that goes beyond the traditional multiple choice, standardized test model of assessment. I loved his suggestion that students would earn badges that would then be linked to individual student work which supports the criteria for that badge. I like how this can be tied in with programs such as Mozilla Open Badges, which allows students to share evidence of their learning through various social media forums, by accumulating badges and placing them inside of a “badge backpack” which allows them to highlight their skills and accomplishments.