I started to consider my options for this final project many months ago.
Being in a new school and new library program, I didn’t have a unit to rework. I do feel more comfortable working with secondary students, but I haven’t built relationships with teachers in secondary, as well as I have with elementary students – for a few reasons. Namely, elementary teachers classes are closer to the library. So, we see each other 3 or 4 times a day whether we plan to or not. Also, elementary students are scheduled to come to the library once a week. I kinda wish middle/high were also scheduled in routinely. Maybe next year!
So, I knew if this was going to be a successful endeavor, I’d have to work with elementary teachers.
Collaboration is essential, as a COETAILER, and as a librarian.
Because I didn’t have a unit to rework and elementary teachers timetables are so full on, I realized I’d have to do something in the library that I could implement without imparting too much on teachers. As a librarian, I know how important is to collaborate with teachers to make learning richer for all of us. Also, I know it takes many months – if not years – to build that professional relationship to where we can trust each other.
With that, I was lucky enough to get a few of my teachers on board with a reading challenge for this project.
They’re on board just as long as it doesn’t interfere with that they’ve got to do in class time, and they don’t have to do any work. That’s fair enough – I know they’re incredibly busy. As stated before, we’re just not at that point in the relationship where we can collaborate outside of “what can you do to help me today”. I understand this is part of a librarian’s job. It takes time. I’m happy enough that they’re willing to help me get kids excited to explore different genres.
Take what you can get and do the best you can with that.
The goal of the project, using digital badges as a way to inspire individual reading journeys, is to inspire students to read different genres, share their thoughts with each other in different ways, and give feedback to each other. Also, with badging, we can go in many different directions. It doesn’t have to be just about reading. It could be about sharing, reflecting, etc.
Badging leaves things wide open.
It’s important for students to show learning/growth in order to receive a badge. The learning outcome must be clear.
For this project it’s reading and sharing your thoughts and experience with what has been read.
Honestly, kids and teachers have “things to do” on their plates. So, this is for fun. It’s not compulsory.
I prepared for this in a number of ways:
- Course 4 had us look at badging and personalized learning. That’s where my intrigue began.
- I took it a bit further and took a mini course to see what someone else’s experience looked like. This course was pretty great, actually. It gave me some helpful incite.
- I had to set up a platform that was accessible from within China. For hours, I played with all the platforms you could imagine. Badgr, Classbadge, open badges, and many more to find one that was not blocked in China, relatively easy to navigate, etc.
- I created badges. This take a long time to do. I explored a few different options. Canva is ended up being the easiest and best. MakeBadges was easy and cool, too.
- I made a video to introduce the project to students, too.
I could have made it more enticing, but I thought my face would be good enough! (jk).
Ideally, I want the kids to engage with this in a way that is individual to them, exciting, and I hope it inspires students to read more and share with others. That’s it. It’s all about exploration and sharing – libraries, in my mind, have always been about this!!!
Have you tried digital badges or physical badges?