Hopefully, by now through the blog my readers have an idea of my large-scale vision for the digital badges and project-planning tool. The further the project moves forward, the more details I need to figure out. The bidders for the RFP had a lot of great questions for me and through providing answers my plan begins to build. Specifically what badges we want to offer is something I have been grappling with for some time.
In the fall of 2013 through my practical research course I created a research proposal that stated I wanted to increase autonomy, relatedness, and competence in which based on the Self-Determination Theory created by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan. I am arguing would hopefully increase motivation for our members. Motivation for what? Well motivation to participate in NYLC’s programs both online and in-person and our programs. Our programs are based on NYLC’s mission which is:
to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning.
I have struggled through this argument a few times because Deci, Ryan, deCharms, and others have wrote about the effects of using rewards and the effect it has on extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation. Not considering the power that badges could have, especially if we as an educational field can build common ground around the worth and value exchange of badges. In the least, if you consider offering badges to my members for their actions is almost like giving them a special cookie every time they do something I want them to do. What do I want them to do?
Engage with their peers, learn more about a powerful pedagogy, make plans to make the word a better place, share their knowledge and expertise, change the lives of young people whom they work with everyday by showing them that they have power and voice in this world. If initially, my members engage more because of the badges, the rewards, the external acknowledgement, I don’t care. I have seen lives changed, professions refreshed, and classrooms, schools, and districts turned around completely because of the use of service-learning as a powerful teaching strategy. That is where the intrinsic rewards will come through.
Let me cautiously jump off my soapbox quickly to show you my plan for the digital badges. I shared in my earlier blog post that I loved how Buzz Math organized and shared the details of how to earn badges. In retrospect, my only addition to that and maybe this is possible once you actually sign into Buzz Math is that I would love for you to see exactly who has earned that badge.
The first step in designing the badges was creating a logic model. This is my first attempt and there may be some holes in my theory but somewhere to start and discuss:
From there I move to design, a few years ago I went to a training on engagement pyramids for non-profits. Using their logic, I modified my pyramid to relate to my needs. This is my engagement pyramid acknowledging member’s behaviors from just being present and participating to contributing and then mastery.
From there a breakdown of badges in each area I am calling the GSN Badge Matrix. A never-complete guide to the badges that you can earn from both online and offline participation in NYLC’s programming. I say never-complete with pride as we continue to build and grow at NYLC. As we develop more online tools, events, trainings, and programming we want badging to be a core element across. Thus this badge plan will always serve as a working document.