ForAllRubrics: an Integrated Rubric & Badging Platform

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We are releasing a major update to ForAllRubrics this Sunday, July 13th.  This update will combine all of the capabilities of the current versions of both ForAllRubrics and ForAllBadges into one integrated Rubric & Badging platform.  ForAllBadges will no longer exist as a separate product. Below is the overview of the integration.


We now support competency-based assessment with a choice of 3 types of scoring:  Rubric, Checklist or Basic Badge.

3 types of scoring


No matter what form of scoring you choose, all assessment data collected can be viewed as an open digital badge.

Open Badges


While designing your assessments, you can choose to see an overview of all your assessments by viewing the badge images.

icon view


Or you can choose to view and manage the details of your assessments in list view.

List view


While viewing your class, you can choose to see an overview of how your students are making progress towards reaching competency on all assessments.

badge board


Or you can choose to focus on one assessment, view details of each student’s performance and manage communication with students and their parents.

my class


When a badge is issued, it signifies that a student has achieved competency according to the criteria described in the badge definition. 

score badge


When a list is scored, each checked item signifies that the student has reached competency for that item.  When all items are checked, the student has achieved competency and the corresponding badge is issued to the student.

score list


When a rubric is scored, each score that is in a “green” rating signifies that the student has reached competency for that item.  When all items are scored with “green” ratings, the student has achieved competency and the corresponding badge is issued to the student.

 

score rubric


When students login, no matter what scoring method you have chosen, they first see a badge view that shows them their progress toward reaching competency.  They can click on their badge to see the scoring details.
student my badges


We hope you’re as excited about this new version of ForAllRubrics as we are!  There are lots of other new features as well and we will be following up with more information on the details.

Badging the C-STEMBE Maker Party

CSTEMBEMakerPartyBadge

On Saturday, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Level Up, the Adler Planetarium and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum used an early version of our Maker Party Web App to issue C-STEMBE Maker Party badges at the absolutely amazing event Destination: Chicago.

Here are some stats as of a day or so after the Maker Party.  About 50 participants earned badges at the event and approximately 100 badges were issued.  So far around 15 participants have registered their access codes to retrieve their badges.

In this post, we are going to share:

  • our initial goals
  • our plans for how to achieve those goals
  • our experience and what we learned
  • our future plans and next steps

Our goals going into the event were:

  • Badging should be easy.  The Maker Party is a busy and exciting event, so the actual issuing of badges needs to be quick and easy.
  • Badging shouldn’t require internet access.   Internet access seems to always fail at the least convenient time, so we don’t want to rely on it.
  • Badging should engage learners.  Learners should be actively involved in the badging process and not just badge recipients.
  • Privacy should be respected.  Badge issuers and earners should be able to participate without being required to provide their email address or other identifying information.
  • Badge earners should own their badges.  Earners should be able to retrieve and save their badges, including all evidence and criteria.  Earners should also be able to share their badges with the Mozilla Open Backpack.
  • Badges should highlight achievements at the event.  Badges should include evidence of the learning that happens at the event, so that learners can reflect on what they accomplished and also share their achievements with others.
  • We should learn a lot.  This is an opportunity to learn about badging at an event and for us to figure out ways to improve how well our Maker Party Web App supports learners at a Maker Party.

Our plan for how to achieve all this was:

  • We will give out cards with unique anonymous access codes for each participant.  Below is design of the cards we’re going to give out.  We are keeping the cards small (the size of a business card), to make it easy to carry the card in a pocket and also to force us to keep our instructions simple.

MakerParty_Front_v2                              MakerParty_Back_v2

  • Two types of badges will be issued: Maker Party Badges and Evidence Badges.  Everyone who registers their access code will receive the C-STEMBE Maker Party badge.  All participants can also earn and issue evidence badges.  The evidence badges will be referenced as evidence for the C-STEMBE Maker Party badge.

CSTEMBEMakerPartyBadge           Achievement Badge

  • Issue badges via a mobile web app.   We are adapting the current ForAllBadges mobile web app to create the C-STEMBE Maker Party app.  The images below are designs for the Maker Party app.  All a participant needs to earn a badge, is a card with an access code.  They don’t need to access the app.The first time a participant accesses the app, they will need to register their access code and set a password for their account.  If they choose to register their email address or telephone number, they will receive a notification that they have earned Maker Party badges by email or sms.

1_Login                      2_Register

Participants will be able to view badges they have received and also issue badges.  They can email open badges (baked with the badge meta-data) to the email address of their choosing.  If they tap on an earned badge, they can view the details of the badge and push the badge to their open backpack.

3_MyBadges                       5_AwardDetails

To issue a badge, the earners’ access codes are entered in the comments box.  Participants do not need internet access to issue badges.

4_IssueBadge

This web app will run on pretty much any device and automatically adapts to the screen size (desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet, handheld or smart phone).

 Our experience and what we learned:

  • The Maker Party was amazing!  The experience was so much better than I could have anticipated.  My 8 and 9 y.o. daughters came along and they LOVED everything.  The high quality of the activities and the enthusiasm of the folks from all the various organizations was inspirational.  I don’t know how the organizers from Chicago Hive and Chicago City of Learning had so much energy or managed to make everything go so smoothly.
  • The badging was really easy if you had a smart phone with wireless access.  If you were offline or on an ipad, the badging experience was still good.  If you were trying to use a connection that was slow or unpredictable, things didn’t work all that well.
  • It wasn’t practical to have learners issue badges at this event.  It was nice that people who were issuing badges could also have badges issued to them.
  • The access codes and the cards worked out really well.  Everyone seemed to understand how they worked right away.  Having everyone write “their mark” to identify their card was really helpful.
  • As people came by our table, we told them, “bring cool stuff you make back here and we’ll take a picture and issue you a badge.”  Kids and parents were both excited about it.  The kids also seemed to appreciate the opportunity to tell us about what they made and show it to us.  It seems like having a table like this is a nice addition to the Maker Party, especially since the activity tables can get really busy and also doing badging can get challenging.
  • Right now participants can email their baked badges to themselves and upload them to the Mozilla Open Backpack.  The basic idea of emailing baked badges to participants seems good, but there are still some technical details to work out in order to have this work smoothly with the current standards.  Luckily there is an Open Badges Tech Panel on Wednesday about evidence.  I’m going to write a separate blog post on badge baking and evidence and hopefully get more feedback then.
  • The Maker Party was an amazing learning experience and we’re looking forward to participating in one again!

Our future plans and next steps:

  • We are already starting on our next blog post on Baked Badges and Evidence.  We’re looking forward to the Open Badges Tech Panel in a couple of days and collaborating with others in the badging community.
  • We have a list of improvements that we are going to make to the Maker Party App.  The next version will be awesome.
  • We are going to release the code to our Maker Party App as open source on GitHub.  Right now the app relies on using ForAllBadges as the backend and all communication is done via a simple API.  Others should be able to either tinker with our code and connect with the FAB backend or use the app with their own website.

If you’ve read this far in the post, you deserve a badge!  Please do share your thoughts with us.  We appreciate the feedback.

 

Why are Badges for School-Age Learners Different?

LearningBeyondLetterGrades_Canvas

I just finished watching the video of the fantastic second live session for the MOOC Learning Beyond Letter Grades.  The panelists Sheryl GrantJonathan Finkelstein and Sunny Lee present an excellent introduction to Open Badges and the reasons that we at Forall Systems are so enthusiastic about the Open Badge movement.  The panel got me thinking about some of the ways that badges are different for school-age learners.

For most learners, the main focus of Open Badges is to “Get recognition for skills you learn anywhere.”  Inherent in the idea of getting recognition is the assumption that badges can open up opportunities and the viewer/evaluator of a badge will be a potential employer, a university or colleagues.  In developing ForAllBadges, we have been interested in thinking about badges for kids as a tool for supporting learning.  In a perfect world, learning opportunities are not a limited resource and children don’t have to compete for access.

During the live session, I jotted down some of the ways that thinking about badges as a tool for learning changes how badges are designed, issued and displayed.

  • The most important evaluator of badges for learning is the learner themselves.  Badges can provide the framework for learners to reflect on their learning experiences and plan for future learning activities. Teachers and parents can use the badges to help support learning, but ideally the learner takes ownership of their own learning process.
  • Authentic assessment and the evidence associated with the badge is often more important than the badge itself.  A video of a science fair presentation or an essay often has more value than the badge or evaluation rubric associated with it.
  • Badges for learning are inherently lifelong.  For a seven year old, their third place finish in the 2nd grade science fair at their elementary school is an accomplishment to be proud of.  Ten years later, when they’re applying to university, the badge itself isn’t worth much.  However the evidence associated with the badge provides an opportunity for the young adult, in writing their application essay, to reflect on their lifelong interest in ecology and include a quote or video from their 7 year old self.  In many ways, these authentic assessments become more valuable as life goes on.
  • Badges can provide the structure for effectively reflecting on progress.  Fundamental skills are often a lifelong pursuit.  For example, writing well is something that all of us can always improve on.  By presenting a timeline view of badges that are aligned with the Common Core Anchor Standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1, learners can reflect on their progress over time in learning to write strong arguments.  The badge and the standards alignment provide the structure to display the authentic writing samples in a meaningful way.
  • Badges can provide the structure for discovering learning opportunities.  A badge displayer such as Badgopolis can provide a view of learning opportunities that relate to the learners previous interests and also present information about how to access those opportunities.

Of course this approach of designing badges for learning is not only applicable to school-aged learners and is a perspective that can also be valuable in other circumstances. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading my thoughts!  Please share your you ideas too.  This is a  fascinating topic and is only just starting to be explored.

21st Century Badge Pathways

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The  website for the 21st Century Badge Pathways project is up!  The project will be officially announced in November at the Association of California School Administrators Leadership Summit.  At that time, 21st Century Badge Pathways will also be available as an open source project.  We’re looking forward to sharing the outstanding work Corona-Norco USD has done in designing Passport to Success: College and Career Readiness.

Launching Digital Badges to Motivate 21st Century Learners

13_SUMMIT_banner

Together with April Moore and Kelly Bruce from the Corona-Norco USD, we will be speaking at the Association of California School Administrators Leadership Summit.  The description of our Practice Session on, “Launching Digital Badges to Motivate 21st Century Learners” is below.

This interactive workshop will briefly highlight a district’s use of digital badges to motivate students to become college and career ready and will provide a synopsis of the research of motivational theories as they apply to the digital badging movement.  Participants will break into small groups and engage in a process to develop their own digital badges. Facilitators will conduct a share out session capturing ideas generated for uses of students’ digital badges. Participants will receive promotional materials, launch kits, access to an open source digital badge portal, and the opportunity to join an educator digital badge usergroup.

We’re looking forward to sharing the outstanding work the Corona-Norco USD has done in designing the Passport to Success: College and Career Readiness system with other school districts.  If you’re going to be at the conference, come say hello to us!

Openness and Open Badge Platforms

At the February 6th Mozilla Open Badges Community Call, Chris Lawrence from the Hive Learning Network brought up the issue of  Badge Platforms not supporting open sharing.  Since Mozilla Open Badges are still very new, it isn’t very surprising that Badge Platforms are not yet interoperable.  Most of the badge platforms are still very much works in progress.  All of these badge platforms that support Mozilla Open Badges, do at least, allow learners to send the badge awards they earn to the Open Badge Backpack.

Since that discussion, we’ve been thinking about what openness means for us and ForAllBadges.  We came up with some ideals about what openness would mean to us:

  • affordable:  Preferably free.
  • open source:  With a current version of source code available on a public site.
  • accessible:  All users can access and use the software on their own.
  • private: By default no access is available to a user’s personal information and the user controls any access to their personal information.
  • transferable: Users own their own badge designs and award data and have the ability to easily download all their data in a reasonable format.

Once an organization chooses a badge platform, what issues lock the organization into their current badge platform and make it difficult to switch to another badge platform?

  1. Badge system designs.  At the current time there isn’t a standard way to export your badge system designs from one badge platform and  import the badge system design for use on another Badge Platform.  If you want to move your badge system from the badge platform you’re currently using, you would need to re-enter it by hand.
  2. Badge award data.  As you issue badges, the badge award information is stored by the Badge Platform in their database.  Right now there isn’t a standard way to export the award information and migrate the data to a new Badge Platform.  It can be very difficult to retrieve information about who you have issued badge awards too and which badges have been earned.
  3. The Open Backpack.  As I understand how the Open Backpack works (please let me know if I’m wrong), once you issue an award to a badge earner, you don’t have anyway to change the url for the badge assertion.  If you’re using a badge platform, it seems this means you’re permanently committed to the badge platform that you used to issue the badge.

We still have a lot more thoughts about Openness and Open Badges, but think I’ll put those thoughts in future posts since we’re eager to hear what openness for Open Badge Platforms means to others.

Badges How to: Using Your Classroom Rubrics to Design a Badge System

Recently teachers and administrators have been asking us for ideas on how to go about implementing badges in their own schools.  In this post, I’m going to describe two approaches for how to take existing classroom rubrics and design complimentary badge systems.  This approach has several advantages:

  • a significant part of the work necessary for designing the badge system has already been done in developing the rubric,
  • teachers can continue to assess students with a proven rubric and
  • the badge system integrates well with the existing learning activities.

Approach 1:  Recognize Skills and Achievements

A primary motivation for Mozilla’s development of Open Badges was in order to recognize skills and achievements that aren’t traditionally recognized.

openbadges

Teachers in areas such as Physical Education, Technology, Special Education and Art are already seeing the value of badges for recognizing their students’ achievements.  This approach is to creating a badge system is demonstrated by Warren Grieve in his ICT Ladders for Badges.  Below is an example rubric he previously developed for evaluating skills with MIT’s Scratch programming language.

Scratch-Rubric

Below are the complementary badges that he designed for ICT Ladders for Badges that correspond to each of the levels of achievement in the rubric.  The criteria for earning a badge is the same as the criteria specified in the original rubric.

basic_scratch_skills_badgeproficient_scratch_skills_badgeadvanced_scratch_skills_badgeexpert_scratch_skills_badge

Like with girl scout badges, this type of badge system provides students a way to:

  • set goals by identifying badges to work towards,
  • reflect on the goals they’ve already reached and
  • share their accomplishments with others.

Approach 2:  Scaffold Learning

A common use for rubrics in the classroom is for supporting student learning and development.  This kind of instructional rubric is typically written in student-friendly language to help students evaluate their own work and improve overtime.  This use of rubrics is well demonstrated by the set of rubrics provided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to support student learning for effectively solving math word problems.  This set of rubrics includes a scoring rubric for use by the teacher and three age appropriate versions of the rubric for use by students.

The  rubric below is the scoring rubric for use by elementary school teachers to inform instruction.  (click on the rubric for a larger image)

Scoring-Rubric

The  rubric below is the instructional rubric for use by 3rd and 4th grade students to support learning.  (click on the rubric for a larger image)

Student-Rubric

The process of learning how to solve math word problems is an ongoing learning activity and requires a significant amount of practice and feedback.  The student friendly rubric is effective at making it clear to students what the expectations are for this learning activity.

In our design for a set of badges that correspond to ISBE’s student friendly rubric, the first change we made was to convert the “Items for Evaluation”  in the original rubric to “Roles to Achieve” in the badge system as follows:

  • Mathematical Knowledge (Do you know it?) —> Math Wizard
  • Strategic Knowledge (How do you plan?) —> Master Detective
  • Explanation (Can you explain it?) —> Expert Explainer

The second change we made was to eliminate the score of zero.  By its nature, badge criteria is positive.  Although it makes sense to award a score of zero if the student doesn’t attempt an answer.  It doesn’t make as much sense to award a badge for doing nothing.

Below is what our initial badges look like.

Student_Badges

The last change we made was to convert the scoring guidelines to badge criteria by removing negative scoring guidelines, since the negative guidelines are implicitly included in the leveled badges.  Below is the the criteria for Math Wizard badges including the struck out text from the original Grade 3-4 Student Rubric for Mathematical Knowledge.

Level 4 Badge Criteria (the same as for scoring rubric)

  • I get the right answer.
  • I label my answer correctly.
  • I use the right math words to show I understand how math works. (Example: I know when to add or subtract.)
  • I work it out with no mistakes.

Level 3 Badge Criteria (almost the same as for scoring rubric)

  • I do the problem, but I and only make small mistakes.

Level 2 Badge Criteria 

  • I understand a little, but I make a lot of big mistakes.
  • I only give part of the answer.

Level 1 Badge Criteria

  • I try to do the problem, but I don’t understand it.

Level 0 – Badge Criteria (no such badge)

  • I don’t try to answer the problem.

With the development of our badge system, we now have three different views of the assessment that all work well together:

  • the teacher scoring rubric for assessing the student’s progress,
  • the student instructional rubric for understanding the expectations and
  • the student badge system for visualizing the learning path.

ForAllRubrics + Badges

We’re in the process of developing a new version of ForAllRubrics that supports both Rubrics and Badges.  This new version will support a badge design process like what has been described in this post.  It will let teachers complete scoring rubrics and the system will automatically generate the appropriate badges for the students.  The students (and their parents) will be able to view the student friendly rubric to understand the scoring on a particular assignment.  The teacher, the student and their parents can view the student’s awarded badges to reflect on the student’s accomplishments to date and view potential badges for setting goals for the future.

If you’re interested helping us test out our new “ForAllRubrics + Badges” and giving us feedback, please send us an email to info@forallsystems.com and we’ll get you set up.  We greatly appreciate comments and suggestions.