I'm sure many of you would agree with me when I say that children love collecting things and comparing their collections with their friends - especially with whatever the latest 'in' toy is at the moment (it was Mini Trolls at my school just before the summer, for example).
The creators of Edmodo seemed to have spotted this and as such introduced a new feature today to their website for students called 'badges'.
When you now click on a child's avatar picture, you are taken to their profile page and can see what badges they have been awarded by their teachers. Children can get recognition for their achievements and can compare their collections with others to see what other badges they can aim to get rewarded with next.
There are a few generic badges already available for teachers to give to pupils (e.g. to recognise good attendance), however you can create your own to build up a collection of different badges more specifically suited to your children and your school.
I've been having a quick go at designing some badges this afternoon and the ideas that I have come up with so far are to reward children who have:
- learnt how to attach an image to a message;
- learnt how to attach a web link to a message;
- turned in a homework 'assignment' from home;
- consistently used good spellings in their messages;
- changed their avatar picture from the default picture;
- won the merit award given out in school each week to one child from each class;
- posted a message on Edmodo whilst in a different country (as I had a reception pupil login whilst on his holiday to Canada yesterday).
At the moment these are fairly 'serious' badges but I am considering creating some extra more 'fun' badges to reward children with every time they collect an extra 10 badges - this should hopefully keep the children keen to continue working towards reaching new milestones and thus prevent the system from becoming stale.
I can see a huge potential in using badges to try and encourage children to engage with Edmodo more from home and produce quality work on it. I look forward to seeing how successful they become when the new term starts in September!