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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast
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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast


Gamifying Technology Literacy in a 1:1 School

Badging Initiative - supporting technology literacy in the 1:1 classroom

A Buzz Worthy Strategy to Help Motivate Students
Although it is not a new idea - educators internationally are developing badging systems to recognize, identify, and motivate learners. It is one of the strategies embedded in the Gamification of Curriculum.
A STEAM Badging Program at Stone Magnet Middle School.
We would like to amend our Laptop Policy regarding the customization of the laptop covers for students to permit school-provided badges to be displayed on the top cover. This would be a means of gamifying our curriculum. It would be analogous to Scout Merit Badges, Fighter Pilot Kills, notches on the belt or feathers in the headband.

We would like to limit this initiative particularly to Digital Literacy accomplishments and statuses, although digital skills being used in exemplary curriculum products is certainly encouraged. Most of these challenges will be accomplished on student’s own time after they have completed their classwork, before or after school. We are inviting comment on as well as suggestions for a limited number of badges for this initiative.

We must stress that only officially approved badges are permitted to be adhered to the cover of the laptops. We want to insure not only is there space, removability, and appropriateness, but we want to also increase the value and control the scarcity of these recognitions.

Make learning, achievement, skill attainment visible. Unlike digital badges, these are more visible for peer students and educators in one's physical vicinity.
Celebrate achievement, erect a monument!
Encourage peer support (students can see which peer to go to for help).
Help teachers identify student leaders, mentors.


The Analog-Digital Challenge

This weekend I was visiting with a local electrical engineer in a well-known high tech company. We started talking about the changes about to take place in my school's learning environment (with a 1:1 initiative). I was surprised that (initially) he didn't share my enthusiasm for the potential this project would have. 

When I came home, I ran across this challenge that Rae Niles shared on the ADE list a decade ago. She had gotten it from an anonymous source in Abilene High School I added a few lines myself, and sent it out to my school's teaching staff with this note:

I ask you to forgive the idealistic notion that this is going to be an immediate/easy change... but let's gear up for a major change in our learning culture. Please don't take this as a challenge to the effort or quality of instruction in your classroom, it is meant more to challenge us to think about why the changes coming are worthwhile.

Let's have a little competition at school and get ready for the future.
I will use a laptop and you will use paper and pencil.
 Are you ready?

  • I will access up-to-date information - you have a textbook that is 5 years old.
  • I will immediately know when I misspell a word you have to wait until it's graded.
  • I will learn how to care for technology by using – it you will read about it.
  • I will see math problems in 3d, you will do the odd problems.
  • I will be able to communicate richly using multimedia and review, reflect and revise my communication for a superior final product – you will write 10 facts as a summary our assignment.
  • I will create artwork and poetry and share it with the world you will share yours with the teacher (and maybe the class).
  • I will be able to experience just-in-time learning on demand while your teacher will try and predict when the computers might be needed and try to schedule the lab.
  • I will have 24/7 access to the biggest library in human history, you have the entire class period several times a year if your teacher scheduled the computer lab.
  • I will learn to troubleshoot technology problems, you will wish you had technology.
  • I will work interactively with information while yours will be printed and photocopied.
  • I will select my learning style you will use the teacher's favorite learning style.
  • I will organize my notes electronically, archive them, learn to search and find information in my portfolio, you will struggle with heavy static books/notebooks and a bulky three ring binder with torn, smeared wrinkled and sometimes illegible content.
  • I will collaborate with my peers from around the world and (maybe) you will get to collaborate with peers in your classroom.
  • I will take my learning as far as I want while you must wait for the rest of the class.
  • I will know the difference between and effectively use: ordered lists and unordered lists, hanging indents, a text cell, calculated field, a graphic created with vectors or bitmaps, transparency, chromakey, layers, web authoring, scripting, markup language and basic programming – you will struggle to write within the margins of your paper and build big enough tables to contain your notes, even when you reach an new understanding.
  • I will build additional skills that will transfer to adulthood jobs, social interaction, politics, and life successes while you are limited to only the most rudimentary tools for learning.

The cost of a laptop per year? - $300/year average
The cost of teacher and student training?
The cost of well educated US citizens and workforce? - Priceless
Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc