Digital Badges

Spotlight on PSUSD Cyber Champion Part II

Just last month, we published a spotlight congratulating PSUSD on their Cyber Champion game -- and a lot has already changed since then! Their student-facing digital citizenship game has taken off, with over 1,500 high school students competing and learning. The district expects to release the game to their middle school students in March.

Lead Up at Lead 3

Join Chrome Warrior at the Lead 3.0 Symposium on April 20-22! In addition to hosting a session, we're working with conference organizers to bring participants a personalized PD experience, Lead Up at Lead 3. Participants will explore a variety of sessions, collaborate with peers, engage in social sharing and build lasting connections as they play the game. Lead Up offers three different badge pathways: Connector, Explorer and Learner. In addition to open digital badges, attendees can earn physical stickers completing the missions. Complete all three missions and become a Lead Up Warrior! Be sure and stop by, say hello, and claim your stickers. To join the game, visit We'll be hosting an informational session on Thursday, April 20, for anyone who wants to learn more about Chrome Warrior--and we'll show you how to get started with the Lead Up game.

Here are some ways you can become a Connector, Explorer or Learner:

Create a Voxer account, or show your existing profile Tweet using the #lead3 hashtag Join your colleagues on Voxer or Twitter IRL: Show us your selfie

Share what you learned at a keynote session Get to know the conference schedule Take a selfie with a conference partner Attend a networking session

What is your goal statement? Best practices for LCAP Make an Impact!

Be sure to check out all of the Lead 3.0 workshops, including:

Bring Your Own PD (BYO-PD)
In this session, participants learn the benefits of transforming traditional "Professional Development" to the emerging trend of "Personalized Professional Learning." They consider the research supporting personalized professional learning and explore both free and subscription-based tools to support implementation based on school need. Participants learn best practices in development and implementation, as well as how to avoid pitfalls based on one school's own experience and implementation. Ultimately, participants leave the session equipped with tools to take this practice back to their own sites.

Diving Deeper into Personalized Professional Learning
It’s all about choice! Choice, Choice, Choice! It’s what we know works best for our students and is certainly what we want to promote with our teachers! Come learn how one district developed and successfully implemented a process that allowed every teacher to focus on a personal area of passion. Based on the feedback from all staff, topics were selected and teachers were able to sign up for the “Deep Dive” that they wanted to learn more about. Teachers took a “Dive” into the topic of interest and experienced a deeper level of learning.

Digital Badges to Support Teacher PD
"How can digital badges be used to support and encourage teacher professional development? This session provides answers along with examples of how digital badges are being used across the U.S. in K-12 sites, adult education agencies, and higher education. Learn how to make and manage badges as well as fun ways to create an active learning community."

...And hear more about Hueneme Elementary School District used Chrome Warrior to develop "self-paced, engaging, professional development for our teachers AND administrators" at COAST Like a Boss!

Sharing your Open Badge

Chrome Warrior now allows you to share all the badges that you earn as open badges. We created a short, 2 minute screencast that shows you how. 


Steps to download and share your open badge

  1. From your  Game Board, click on the cloud next to the badge of one of your achievements.
  2. Create or log into your open badge backpack account. They are free and we have a list of compatible backpacks below.
  3. Upload the badge into the backpack.

Once the badge is uploaded, you can explore and share the badge. Most backpacks have utilities to easily share to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.

Open Badge Backpacks

Digital Badge December & Upcoming PD Events

Happy December Chrome Warriors! This month, we'll be taking a look at digital badges and how districts are using them to encourage and evaluate professional development. We'll also be highlighting some of the great work our partner districts have been doing this school year, and share more PD resources. We've also rounded up a list of professional development opportunities that are happening this month locally and online. Check them out!

December 2 – 3, 2016
Worldwide, online
Google Education on Air
It Takes a Teacher

“Sessions around the clock, around the world. Join us for a free, online conference. Share with and learn from other educators. Hear from inspiring speakers. Get tips and tools to help boost student engagement, collaboration and productivity and in the classroom.”

Click here for a list of keynote speakers and breakout sessions.

December 4 – 7, 2016
San Jose, CA
Big Ideas Fest 2016

“Big Ideas Fest convenes all education stakeholders in redesigning the future of education. ISKME's annual event is an extraordinary immersion into collaboration and design that focuses on transformational change in K-20 education. Creative doers and thinkers from diverse levels of education gather to learn from and share with each other. Breaking down silos and empowering champions, Big Ideas Fest places learning at the front and center of all that we do. The participants are inspirational. The work is dynamic. And the results are revolutionary.

Big Ideas Fest's unique format includes RapidFire talks from leading innovators; interactive networking with education's movers and shakers; and Action Collab design-thinking labs that engage groups to brainstorm, prototype, and ultimately create scalable solutions to cumbersome issues in education.”

December 7, 2016
Napa, CA
Napa Valley EdTech TeachUp with Edmodo

“We invite you to join us as we bring together tech-savvy teachers from all around Napa Valley. Looking for a community of fellow educators to discuss new tech and new ways to support student outcomes? This TeachUp is for you.”

December 15, 2016
Worldwide, online
INACOL Assessments and Grading Webinar

“This webinar will provide answer to questions such as: How do teachers design and grade assessments in competency-based systems? How do schools provide students a consistent experience of grades both inside and across classrooms? How do they ensure that students develop genuine mastery of competencies prior to moving on to the next level of learning?Join this webinar to hear from educators in New York City’s Mastery Collaborative for ways to design assessments and enhance grading practices for competency-based learning. Learn how these schools design the grading and assessment experience to teach rigorous competencies while simultaneously developing a positive learning identity in their students. Explore examples of assessments, techniques for equitable grading practice, and best practices for communicating grading systems to students and families. Participants will come away with a deeper awareness of how grading and assessment can enrich and motivate deeper learning.”

GEC Connect: The Game is still On!

A HUGE thank you to all who supported and participated in the Global Education Conference this past week!

Good news! Global Education Conference attendees participating in GEC Connect will have more time to become Connect Champions and earn digital badges! While the conference ended yesterday, more than 125 players worldwide are participating in the game, with more joining everyday.

GEC Connect will remain open until January 1--so keep collaborating, keep competing and keep connecting! You can continue to access all of the content from this year's conference (and previous conferences) on the GEC website and on YouTube.

Players who become Connect Champions will receive a certificate of participation from the conference chairs. Congratulations to all of our champions, and thanks again to the GEC for an incredible experience!

And thank you to GEC Connect Players who have given us some great feedback:

"I love that there were a number of the options that could be easily completed right away simply by taking a screen shot of the many ways I have been participating in the conference. That inspired me to keep going and to want to do more. I especially like that the range of options introduce participants to many features and opportunities within the conference that they might not discover on their own through the GEC Explorations. It has been a great way to make new connections with other conference presenters and participants and to learn and share with them via social media."

-Peggy George

What Does Personalized Professional Development Mean to You?

Just like each student, every teacher is different as he or she is made up of an assortment of experiences, abilities, learning styles, and interests. Just as a 21st century classroom dictates a flexible instructional approach, teacher’s professional growth should command similar personalization and attention. As the education field works to prepare teachers for their numerous roles in schools, how do you individualize each teacher’s potential with purposeful, meaningful professional development?Most teachers want and need to heighten their practices through motivating and applicable workshops and opportunities. However, many teachers throughout our country share the opinion that professional development is more of an inconvenience than a benefit to their career. Many teachers are now pursuing various avenues for instructional improvement on their own, as schools and districts have been slow to let go of the traditional, one-size-fits-all style of professional development.

How are school districts changing PD practices?

School districts that are transitioning away from the customary design of professional development are tapping into social media sites and training outlets offered on line coupled with the implementation of professional learning communities (PLCs). Through present day technology, teachers can instantly share videos on YouTube, exchange lesson ideas on Pinterest, get immediate feedback on Twitter, find answers on educational blogs, and discover novel teaching tools on the web.

What are some guidelines for personalized PD?

According to education innovator Starr Sackstein, “PD should be treated the same as student learning is treated. It should be differentiated for all learners so that all learners get what they need”. Sackstein offers guidelines for implementing personalized PD tailored to engage all educators joined in the training.

Most importantly, Sackstein states, PD needs to align with the needs, interests, and goals of the participants as well as the student population being serviced. This can involve teacher surveys and discussions as well as an examination of student data from various sources within the school. Teachers should also be offered options in building their PD resume. No one likes to be forced to do things, and people are more likely to fully participate in an endeavor when they are given some authority in its planning and implementation.

What is gamification?

Gamification is becoming a popular catchword now in education and provides an avenue for more personalized PD. In this teacher-driven approach, teachers are employed in self-paced training through technology applications founded on game mechanics and design. Unlike the sit-and-get type workshops, gamification allows teachers to be active in their learning and development as they assume control over the direction and pace of their learning.  

What are digital badges?

Another newer technology offered for PD in education is a system of badges. Through this technique, teachers can earn badges, represented as icons, to show digital certification of certain competencies and achievements. This personalized professional learning method is sometimes referred to as micro-credentialing. According to Blattner and Abramovich, leaders in the study of micro-credentialing, “Badges can tell the story of a learner, mark achievements, and reflect a learner’s knowledge, skills, habits and learning pathways in more detail than what is possible with traditional assessments, like grades or certificates”. Badges are simple to share and display through a range of social media channels.  

During the 2012-2103 school year, Penn State University examined the application of digital badges for PD accomplishments with 100 science teachers. The study offered teachers the opportunity to interact with the content of their choice and they could transition through the material at their own pace. Through badges, teachers could digitally display their activity and accomplishment.  A review of reflective logs completed by teachers after they finished showed positive reactions from participants. They liked the components of the badges, which permitted them to display their activity. In addition, they enjoyed receiving immediate feedback from a specialist, and having the time to reflect on their accomplishments when they were done.

Is personalized PD possible?

Michael Fullan, a widely read scholar devoted to school change, tells us that schools working toward improvement need to envision professional development as a ‘cornerstone strategy’. With this in mind, purposeful PD is possible at the school level. If it’s guided by authentic data and moves toward continual, personal growth and change, professional learning is the most powerful means teachers can utilize to gain and develop new knowledge and skills necessary to meet the learning essentials of 21st century students.

What Role Do Digital Badges Play in Personalized Professional Development?

Where and when does learning take place?

The correct answer is…anywhere at any time! The way in which people retrieve, communicate, and distribute information has transformed over the past couple of decades. As we thrive in 21st century instruction, the school building from 8:00-4:00 isn’t necessarily the ideal place or time for learning to happen. This is true for students as well as teachers. For now, let’s focus on teacher learning and development.

Remind me about personalized professional development

As the sit-and-get style of teacher workshops become outdated, educators are engaging in more individualized, innovative learning opportunities classified as personalized professional development (PD). Through this means of enrichment, teachers align their goals, academic standards, interests, and schedules with quality training that is focused on relevant content and collective participation. Within the educational setting, personalized PD can assume a plethora of avenues, audiences, and arrangements as teachers participate in ongoing training and development through personal learning networks (PLNs) such as Edutopia, PBS TeacherLine, TeachingChannel(Tch), Digital Is, EdCamp, and Twitter.  

What are digital badges?

Digital Badges offer one route to personalized PD for educators. In simple terms, digital badges are virtual representations of skills mastered online. According to the MacArthur Foundation, “Digital badges are an assessment and credentialing mechanism that is housed and managed online. Badges are visible and validate learning in both formal and informal settings, and hold the potential to help transform where and how learning is valued”. Through this system, teachers acquire badges, also called micro-credentials, after accruing proficiencies and new skill sets through the internet. Badges are easy to share and showcase through a variety of social media websites.

How are digital badges effective in promoting personalized PD?

Digital badges provide a way for education to modernize credentialing methods and foster the personalized PD desired by teachers. Educators can heighten their instructional knowledge and strategy while accurately reporting their mastery simultaneously. Micro-credentials can be employed for numerous purposes. Through flexible pathways presented by badges, educators can cultivate their teaching identity and leadership capabilities, showcase their skill set for future employers, and spearhead a continuous cycle of learning and growth.

In conclusion

As the paradigm of how teachers earn and showcase credentials transforms, cultivating badges to assume and maintain objectivity and rigor is paramount. As educational leaders work to foster school cultures that value and encourage customized teacher training, school districts need to promote personalized PD opportunities that are flexible enough to meet the needs and interests of all teachers. With relevant, meaningful learning available for educators, students are sure to benefit with equally purposeful and motivating instruction.