Whether you are looking to step up your sticker game in the classroom or looking to introduce gamification into your learning environment, customizable badges are a great way to start!
Badges, by definition, are a special or distinctive mark, token, or device worn as a sign of allegiance, membership, authority, or achievement. The use of badges is not a novelty and has been around for quite some time to motivate and encourage people to achieve certain standards and complete specific tasks. A perfect example of this is the use of badges by Boys and Girls Scouts. They give scouts a patch to recognize each of their achievements and acquired skills. In turn, the scouts wear these patches with pride and honor to show off their accomplishments.
Badges truly are a deceptive little tool that somehow trick us all to do and achieve! With that said, why not harness the power of these simple little tools in the classroom. What's the worse that can happen?
They can help recognize student accomplishments?
They can help provide a quick form of feedback?
They can help demonstrate growth?
They can help track acquired skills?
They can help give students a sense of status and prestige in class?
They can help give students a sense of achievement and belonging?
Well...after giving it some good thought, it's really all about the collectables! That's all that matters. We just like to collect and display for all to see! Everything else is just frivolous perks... or are they?
The reality is that badges provide intrinsic motivation with minimal extrinsic rewards needed. The badges don’t truly hold any monetary or physical value, they merely provide a confirmation of an achievement. Even though they may not hold much physical value, the intrinsic value is truly plentiful!
Convinced yet? If so, then let’s get you started with making some of your own. The following 7 websites are great web tools to get you badging up a storm in your class!
Canva is a free graphic design web tool. It provides complete freedom to design just about anything from banners, to logos, resumes, print ads, infographics and any other type of web or print media! In this case, it’s a great tool for badges too! Canva allows you to download your creations in either jpeg, pdf, or png formats. The best part about Canva is that you can add other collaborators and have multiple designers working together to make and create amazing badges all in one place. When you are done, Canva saves the designs for later use and editing. All you need is to create a free account and all your designs will be automatically saved and stored.
To find out more, click here.
Makebadges is another great web tool for badge making. It does not require an account and it’s straightforward to use. You can quickly create random badges by clicking “Lucky Dip” or customize your own badge from scratch. “Lucky Dip” is a great way to browse through different variations if you are looking for some inspiration and ideas. To customize your own badge, there are four tabs to work your way through. In these tabs, Makebadges gives you the option to pick the shape and colors of the badge, the icon and message displayed, as well as the border type. If you do not see an icon you like, it even allows you to upload your own! Once you are ready, just click download and a png file downloads with your badge! In addition to making badges, this web tool also has the option to create avatars, banners, and site logos. The only drawback to Makebadges is that you cannot save and come back to your creations at a later time.
Credly is a free credential management tool. Not only does it let you create badges, it allows you to issue them and showcase your own as well. Think of Credly as a portfolio system for badges and achievements; the LinkedIn of badges. Credly does require an account to start creating and giving “credits” (badges). Furthermore, those receiving the badges also require their own accounts and profile. In terms of making badges, Credly’s badge creator is much like Makebadges creator where you can pick the shape and colors of the badge, the icon and message displayed, as well as the border type. In Credly, all badges created save and store for later use.
For more information, click here.
Badge List is another free badge management system. Not only can you create your own badges, Badge List also lets you form “groups” and add members to it. Then, within each group, you can populate a list of badges for the members to try and earn. When creating the badges, you can either upload a badge or create your own within their built-in badge editor. You can name each badge, give it a summary, and establish requirements for earning the badge. Each requirement you establish then gives members a button to upload evidence that they completed said requirement. Once all requirements are fulfilled, you can award the member the badge. This is great for creating assignments within a course or chapter, and using each badge as a milestone they must accomplish. Assigning work like this gives students control and choice, but also gives them the opportunity to practice important skills such as time management, prioritization, and organization. Badge List requires that both the teacher and student have accounts.
For more information, click here. You can also watch these tutorial videos.
Makewaves is like a combination of other free web tools. Makewaves has the feel of Edmodo, the badge editor of Makebadges, and a badge management system like Badge List. There is plenty you can do within this free web tool. Both you and students can post announcements and assignments to the wall, customize your profile and class page, and create badges that have requirements. Just like Badge List, members can also submit evidence that they have fulfilled the requirement before you award them the badge. Makewaves requires all involved parties to have accounts.
Watch the following videos for more information.
Openbadges is a free web tool that can be done with or without an account. If you only wish to create a badge, simply click “Design a badge!” to design and then download your badge. If you wish to store badges as well as manage the distribution of them, then you click “Design and Issue badges!”. The second option does require an account. The drawback to issuing your badges through Openbadges is that you must enter the recipient's name and email address rather than select from a populated roster like other web tools. Nonetheless, the badge creator tool for Openbadges gives you plenty of customization options and is a great option!
For more information, click here.
ForAllRubrics is a free web tool for competency-based assessment. It allows you to build class rosters and create standard-aligned rubrics, checklists, and badges. ForAllRubrics also allows you to view class performance and communicate with students, but best of all, it seamlessly integrates with Edmodo classrooms. ForAllRubrics’ main focus may not be badges, but the badge portion of ForAllRubrics does a great job as well! This web tool has a built-in badge creator tool, and just like some of the previously mentioned web tools, these badges can be assigned and students can submit evidence for consideration. What is great about this tool, unlike the rest, is that you can align and assign your badges to standards. Both teachers and students must create an account.
For more information, click here.
Now that you have seen some great options for creating your own custom badges, I hope you are ready to amp up student involvement and motivation in your class! Whether you choose to go with a digital option for issuing badges, or will be giving badges the old fashion way, students will appreciate and look forward to collecting as many badges as possible!
BONUS: Here are two ways you can issue and display student badges.
I am a big spreadsheets geek and use Google Sheets to keep track of student progress and growth in the form of leaderboards. As a result, it was only natural for me to also find a way for using Google Sheets to help with displaying their badges too! Enter 1. Digital:flippity.net, a free web tool that has created a bunch of neat ways of turning Google Spreadsheet information into great visuals and interactive tools for students. I suggest you take a moment to look into all the great things you can do with this tool. In this case, I use the Flippity Badge Tracker tool to digitally showcase all earned badges.
2. Analog: I also provide real-life badges. As for providing students a way to showcase their real-life badges, I provide every student, at the beginning of the school year, with a 9 pocket Trading Card Collecting Page. I purposely make my badges the size of trading cards (using Canva.com) so that they easily slide into the page protector. They then insert this into their three ring binder for safe keeping all year long