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 the winter issue of YALS members and subscribers will have the chance to read about badges as a form of demonstrating knowledge and skills. As the author of the article, Sheryl Grant, states, “Badges for learning are digital
credentials that recognize a person’s skills and achievements” I think that this is something that people often miss when talking about badges and learning. The badge is the “proof” of learning it’s not the learning. What do I mean by that? Well, to earn a badge requires work of some kind, whether that work is comprised of reading a series of books or completing a series of lessons. When it comes to professional development badges aren’t just given out willy nilly. They take work to earn
As readers probably know, YALSA has been working on a badging project for just over a year and those working on the initiative have learned a lot about what it takes to build a successful badging system. This includes gaining understanding of what badge earners will have to complete in order to successfully earn a badge. In the next week or so YALSA is soft launching some of its badges to a group of fearless testers who have volunteered to try out what the association developed. These testers will discover that to complete the different badges they will have to go out into the community, talk to teens, talk to community members, talk to colleagues and staff. They will have to develop “artifacts” that demonstrate what they learned by going into the community and actively learning. These artifacts will range from presentations to Twitter accounts and posts. And, actually, earning a badge could take a few weeks, it’s not just an hour or two and you are done. (Learning takes time, we all know that.)