JoinMakewaves Arrow How to use badges to increase motivation and track attainment online

For those of a certain age, ‘Badges’ may bring to mind scouts and knots but today badges have been reinvented for a digital age and now they have the power to transform how schools assess, reward and monitor student attainment.

Makewaves Images

3 Common badge mistakes & how to avoid them

  • Bad looking badges The look and virtual feel of a badge is important for engaging young people.
  • Badges Inflation Avoid creating lots of badges for small achievements.
  • Why should I bother? It is possible to create a meaningful badge that students will value.
“Badges have really encouraged pupils to write more online”

– Leona Tindall, Teacher

An Open Badge is an image with digital data woven into it about who earned it, what they had to do and the evidence of them having done the task eg a link to a blog or a video - All this can be displayed on your social media profile page so visitors can easily see what skills you have and what you have achieved.

Unlike traditional qualifications, that can only be awarded by sanctioned bodies who define the terms and time scales, Open Badges can be made and awarded by individual schools or teachers on the terms that fit your curriculum and aims. For example badges for completing flipped learning tasks at home or mapping out a whole competency based approach.

“Badges prove to be a great incentive and it brings the competitiveness in the group. What a great addition!”

– Valentia Burley, Teacher

Makewaves has pioneered the use of badges for schools and has developed easy to use tools for teachers to quickly make and award badges to students. Educators can make their own badges or choose from a library of ready made ones to award. Students can explore and complete fun learning missions to earn badges and display all of their achievements safely on their own Makewaves eportfolio.

“I love earning badges. It shows the effort that I have put in has been recognised and my work is being appreciated. I think the badges encourages people to get involved as I get lots of people asking me how I have so many badges on Makewaves.”

– Sweetheart1, Student

Learning today happens everywhere and increasingly takes different forms - from physics experiments in the lab to engineering in Minecraft from reading on Kindles to writing blogs on mobiles. Traditional assessment and qualifications, while still valid, cannot keep pace with this change. Digital Badges provide a highly flexible way for schools to recognise, incentivise and track progress in this new connected learning world.

“[our children] love earning their badges, it keeps them motivated. They are constantly coming up with ideas. The motivation behind this is further badges through getting their stories featured as well. This makes them really proud.”

– Parent of students on Makewaves

Makewaves Badges

S2R Bronze Journalist
Supporter to Reporter has a number of sports badges available. S2R Bronze Journalist is awarded for demonstrating a range of sports reporting styles.

Reporter of the Month
Each month the Makewaves team select one reporter who has been consistently making excellent Stories and Blogs to be our Reporter of the Month.

Inspiration: Stellar Science Reporter Badge

Catmose College used badges to bring a new, interactive element to STEM activities and engage reluctant students in the subject. Science week at Catmose is an opportunity for the whole school to take part in a range of science and engineering activities ranging from careers fairs to rocket launches. Whilst the programme is a great way to find out about different aspects of STEM it is always a challenge to engage all the students and to capture all the learning opportunities happening throughout the week.

The Stellar Science Reporter Badge was a badge that students wanted to earn but that also achieved key learning goals for the school. Through creating video blogs about the different experiments and interviewing visiting experts the students created a record of the week for parents to view and at the same time the students learned about STEM by stealth.

To achieve this, selected students were set the Stellar Science Reporting mission that outlined how many activities they needed to report on and how often they had to blog. The badge was designed to appeal to young people and its limited edition status meant students were eager to earn and display it to their friends. At the end of the week badges were awarded and messages sent to all the other students in school to celebrate the reporters’ success. This positive feedback and peer recognition provided additional kudos to the badges and reinforced the positive STEM experience for the learners - hopefully leading to better engagement in future.

“I strongly hope that we will do it next year and I look forward to it.”

SatNav, Student