In a word, YES! Prosper ISD started our first badge program in October 2015 and implemented an updated version in August of 2017. The Instructional Technology team works hard to make sure we are challenging our teachers while providing them with what they need to be successful and impact student learning. I interviewed a few teachers to find out how the program has impacted student learning across Prosper ISD. Here’s what they had to say!
Ashley Adams (@AshleyMiAdams) is a third grade teacher at Hughes Elementary. Through the badge program, she has started taking a closer look at how she integrates technology in her classroom. “The program has enabled me to collaborate with my teammates on technology, and how it can benefit and enhance our lessons.” She now looks for ways to make her lessons more student-centered and to include different ways for students to express their learning.
Cheramie Hawkins (@educatorcher) is a second grade teacher at Rucker Elementary. She has over 19 years of K-12 classroom experience and is in her second year in Prosper ISD. She has embraced our badge program this year as a way to help her transform her classroom through technology integration. “I was excited to change things in my room.” Cheramie told me, “Our kids need to have a different level of knowledge than in the past and the badge program laid everything out for me.”
The badge program has also helped change Cheramie’s mindset while planning her lessons. She is constantly looking for ways to challenge her students to be in charge of their own learning by asking herself, “What can they do or create to show their learning and share it with others?” She has created a safe environment for her kids to grow as they fail forward. “I feel like my kids are retaining more knowledge that in years past. They are in charge of the learning, I’m just the proctor.” Some of Cheramie’s favorite tools to use with her students are Google Classroom, Flipgrid and Seesaw.
I asked Jaci Baxter (@JaciBaxter), a science teacher at Rogers Middle School, how her participation in the badge program has influenced her students. “They’re definitely engaged with technology and they use more shared documents and teach one another. They have also collaborated on a couple projects in class. The last big project was a newscast, and we had some pretty amazing products come out of the assignment-true products of collaboration and team-work.”
Amy Bermudez (@ELARwithMsB) is a fan of the badge program, and thinks it has pushed her to make her lessons better. “I already naturally do a lot of substitution, augmentation, and even modification. I like the visual [of the badge poster] and being able to see my progress. As my team was planning our last unit, I kept brainstorming how to take it to the next level to get redefinition. The other 7th grade ELAR teachers are on board too, so we work together to brainstorm ideas.”
Kassidy Wagner (@wagner_kassidy) and Jess Mullins (@mullinsmath) are Rogers Middle School math teachers. When I asked Kassidy about the new badge program she told us, “Honestly I was hesitant this year, because I felt as if I had just “finished” getting badges with the original program. However, when I learned what the new program entailed, I realized it was much more suitable for my teaching style and that it would be much more collaborative in terms of students and colleagues.” Jess shared how the program has changed how she plans her lessons. “Previously I would be focused more on the content (“the what” I was teaching) and now I focus more on “the how” and “the why” to figure out what strategy I’m going to use to teach the content, what technology I’m going to incorporate and what skills the students will be using.”
Kristy Smith (@KristyS1985) is a sixth grade social studies teacher at Reynolds Middle School. You can get a sneak peak into her classroom by checking out #Room409 on Twitter! Kristy is always up for a challenge and I asked her how the program has changed her teaching. “My lessons have shifted to the kids doing the investigating and the teaching whereas before it was so easy to just stand and deliver the material.” She also shared that it has changed the culture of her classroom as students realize their voice is important!
I asked Kristy what we could do to improve our current program. “Teachers need to know the “why.” I think a lot of teachers feel the badge program is just another thing for teachers to fill out and do. If teachers can see the bigger picture, the purpose behind the badge program, then I think more teachers would be willing to shift their mindset.”
Stephanie Anticona (@Anticona_Math), a Rogers MS math teacher, loves that Redefinition has helped her reach outside the four walls of her classroom. “We have started collaborating with other students outside of Prosper and it is very exciting. We have worked with a group of students in Washington state and we will be working with a group of students from Irving, TX in May.”
Shawna Easton (@ShawnaEaston03), an ELAR teacher at Rogers Middle School, pointed out an important connection that she has made by participating in the badge program. “I collaborate with my ITS a lot more now! I’m more mindful about incorporating tech and exactly how.”
Want more information on creating your own badge program? Read about our programs then contact us! We are happy to share our experience and templates with you.