Teachers felt they needed training on GAFE before implementing it with staff and students. We could not provide them training during the school day due to the cost/availability of substitute teachers. We wanted to find a way to provide PD without adding more time commitments and stress to a teacher’s work day.
After reading a blog post from Kasey Bell about pd badges and Denton ISD’s use of them, I knew this was the solution for us. I contacted the Instructional Technology Department at Denton after exploring their site and was given some great tips that they’ve learned along the way.
Step 1: Creating the Badges
We decided to start small with Google. I created the badges using Google Drawings. We have a variety of experience with Google throughout the district ranging from True Beginner to Extremely Advanced, so I made both a Beginner’s Badge and a Power User Badge for each Google App. We were in our first year of using Schoolwires for our websites so we added badges for that as well.
As more teachers began earning the Google badges, I created a form for teachers to suggest badges. Since the start of our program we have added more categories including Blended Learning, iPads, Flipped Learning and more.
Step 2: Earning the Badges
The ITS’s and Librarians on each campus offer short pd sessions during team planning times, lunch and after school so we wanted to reward participation in these while also providing a self-paced learning option for teachers that could not attend sessions during the school day. There are 2 ways to earn a Google Beginner’s badge: 1) attend a face-to-face session then apply for a badge or 2) watch a video tutorial and pass a short quiz before applying for a badge. We did not require a quiz for the Schoolwires Beginner’s Badge because all staff were required to attend a training session during our back to school PD days.
Our new badges can be earned by teachers providing a description of how they use the tool and links to created content.
Step 3: Creating Tutorials and Quizzes
I created the videos using Camtasia and Google Slides. I then created a YouTube Playlist for the video tutorials – https://goo.gl/AC2QAp. The quizzes were created in Google Forms and are auto-graded by Flubaroo. It is setup to email the teachers their scores after they take a quiz.
Step 4: Creating the Forms
In order to have one form for all of our badges, I used page breaks and the “go to page” feature. Depending on their answers to the questions, it would take them to different pages in the form.
Step 5: Tracking and Awarding the Badges
The Secondary Instructional Technology Specialists then check the results of the badge request form and add it to our badge record sheet. We put a black number 1 for each badge earned. The sheet is setup to total each teacher’s total badges and the campus total. The Elementary ITS/Librarian then checks the badge record sheet for their campus. When they award a badge they change the font color to red. This helps us determine which badges have already been awarded versus those that still need to be distributed.
The badge form also gives the ITS/LMS team a wealth of resources and examples of how our teachers are utilizing technology in our classrooms. It gives us the opportunity to highlight new and creative classroom technology use.
Badge Request Form Responses
Badge Record Sheet
Step 6: Creating the Badge Site
The Badge Site can be found at https://sites.google.com/a/prosper-isd.net/pd-badges/. It started out with only Google and Schoolwires badges but has been updated as teachers are requesting badges for the technology they use in class. I plan to keep updating the site and to create Google Challenges for teachers to complete before next Fall. The program will evolve as our teachers become more tech savvy. I want the program to have something for our beginner’s but also provide hands-on challenges for our more advanced technology users.
Step 7: Implementation
We started the badge program at the high school and 7-8th grade middle school first. Then the 5-6th grade middle school and now all of our elementaries are participating. We provided awards and incentives at the campus level as well as district challenges for bragging rights. Adding the element of gamification and competition to our professional development has certainly created interest! Teachers also like that they have the choice of attending face-to-face sessions or utilizing the self-paced videos and quizzes.
Lessons Learned Along the Way
- Start Small – Choose tech tools that you want teachers to know very well then you can add others as you go.
- Stagger Implementation – by starting with two secondary schools we were able to work out any kinks that came up before our elementary teachers started earning the badges.
- Deliver Badges Promptly – Teachers want their badges ASAP so be prepared. Have badges ready before you start.
- If At First You Don’t Succeed – try again! We have worked out kinks along the way and made our system better than ever!