SchoolArts Magazine

January 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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David Gran strate that they can use the camera properly in class and successfully complete a short quiz about framing and focus. Badges become increas- ingly harder to achieve as the game progresses. The final badges in your class should represent what your cur- riculum determines is mastery of the defined skill or understanding. Random or surprising badges have the potential to increase engagement in class as well. If a particular work stands out during a class critique, the artist might receive a badge for inno- vation or creativity on the spot. Physical Approaches There are a number of ways to award badges. Obviously, you could design actual badges to hand out to students, but this might be cost prohibitive and inflexible. Alternatively, you could print stickers to represent each badge and create a chart or leaderboard to hang in your room. You could also hand the stickers out to students to put in their sketchbooks. Online Approaches Perhaps the easiest way to distribute badges is to do so online. One of the easiest ways to do this is with Class Dojo ( classdojo.com ). With a simple interface, Class Dojo allows you to award and deduct points for various behaviors in class. Alternatively, you L ast January, I wrote about turning your art class into a game (www.schoolartsdigital. com/i/218040/26), the concept of which has to do with exchang- ing the often external motivation of grades with the intrinsic motivation of working towards stratified levels of mastery. Badge distribution is an important tool for a "gamified" cur- riculum. Recognizing Achievement At the very basic level, badges rec- ognize a specific achievement, like they would in a scout troop or video game. If a student learns how to use line expressively, he or she earns a badge. That student learns how to shade a three-dimensional object? Badge. Now, if the student learns how to apply these skills and render an expressive scene of his or her own composition, that student can receive a higher-level badge that requires other badges to achieve. Badges as Motivation In a video game, some badges can act as hooks; they are easy to achieve and whet the player's appetite to win more badges. In my film class, students win their first badge by simply customiz- ing their profile on the class website. The second badge is a little harder to earn, since students have to demon- could tweak the system to reflect vari- ous skills instead of behaviors. While this site has an excellent interface with fun avatars that students love, it's limited in how it displays and compiles your information. For more freedom in the kinds of badges you issue, Mozilla's Open Badges Project ( openbadges.org ) is integrated into Moodle 2.5 and Black- board. If you use a Wordpress site for a class blog, Credly ( credly.com ) inte- grates with BadgeOS ( badgeos.com ), a plug-in that allows you to award badges directly from your Wordpress- hosted website. Both Open Badges and Credly allow your students to display their badges on an external website along with badges that they might earn from other accreditation agen- cies. Both sites also offer free online software to design badges. In the end, the distribution method doesn't matter as long as the distri- bution of the badges is consistent and authentically connected to skill acquisition. In this way, it is a power- ful tool for connecting the intrinsic motivation of play with hands-on learning. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twenty- first century art education (carrotrevolu- tion.blogspot.com). dsgran@yahoo.com @ R + Art Badges 20 SchoolArts

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