Many readers know about the YALSA Badges for Lifelong Learning project. But, in case you missed the information about it, the association has been working for a couple of years to develop a curriculum and online system that provides library staff working with teens – not just teen librarians – the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge to help them succeed in their work. In December YALSA launched a beta version of the system they developed which focuses on learning plans that help staff gain skills in three areas of YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth – Communication, Outreach, and Marketing; Leadership and Professionalism; and Access to Information.
The process of developing the learning management system and the activities that library staff would complete in order to earn badges provided YALSA with opportunities to think about exactly what staff needed to know in order to be successful with teens. It also helped those working on the badges better understand what badging is all about and how to help others understand what badging is all about. The key is the badge is the representation of the learning, it’s not the learning itself. A successful badging system for anyone – adults or teens or children – requires a lot of thought about what makes successful learning. What is required in order to evaluate learning experiences. And, what is required in order to be successful in earning a badge.
Anyone can now learn about the YALSA badges, the process the badge development team went through in developing the learning, and the outcomes reached in a case study published by Mozilla and HASTAC. You can also read about other badging projects.
In the Winter 2014 issue of YALS readers will get the chance to learn about badges in an article by Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/ MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition. The article provides a great overview of what badges are all about and how you can use them in your own professional development, as well as with the teens with which you work.
But, reading about badges isn’t all you can do to learn about them. At the ALA Midwinter 2014 Meetings in Philadelphia, YALSA is sponsoring a program all about their new badging system. You’ll get to learn how the system works and how you can get involved in earning badges as a part of your own, or your colleagues, professional development. The program is on Sunday, January 26 from 8:30 to 10AM in room 108B at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
YALSA currently has about 35 testers working on the three badges already in place. The testers are providing feedback on what works and doesn’t work in the badge earning process. At Midwinter 2014 if you want to be a tester too, you can let us know at the program that you are ready, willing, and able.
If you want to learn a bit more about badges before you attend the program at Midwinter check out the December post on the YALS site all about YALSA’s project and then also take a look at posts published on the YALSAblog over the last year.
In each issue of YALS at least one article is dedicated to giving readers information on YALSA’s current initiatives. In this YALS post we’d like to give readers information on YALSA’s badging project – a project funded by the MacArthur Foundation; Mozilla; and the Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC). The monies give YALSA the chance to develop a set of badges to help those working with teens in libraries gain skills and knowledge. The badges, which will launch in the spring, focus on the seven competencies covered in YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth.
You might wonder, what are badges and why should I care? We’ve got some answers for you in this podcast with me, Matthew Moffett – YALSA’s Podcast Manager, and association Board member Sarah Sogigian.