Student empowerment: Students are more motivated to complete tasks and show they have mastered skills because they have chosen how and where they will demonstrate their learning. I teach process of research and all the skills that fall under that umbrella. (Some can be pretty dry; let’s face it, kids don’t get excited about MLA.)

Increased expectations and skill level: With motivated students I am now able to use digital tools to enable them to do some high-level things. Who expects citations from a 3rd grader? I do! We also expect MLA8 because we have introduced several digital tools that help even young learners understand and create citations.

Increased student engagement: Students are motivated and come in ready to work! They value the badges and are more likely to share the achievements they earn in the library with their families.

How to start your own badging program
Here are some things to consider before implementing a badging system in your library, classroom, or school:

What is the purpose of the badge?

How we use #digitalbadges to teach information literacy skills in the elementary library
  • Allow students to implement skills in real-world situations
  • Provide students with the freedom to choose what they are learning about
  • Give students opportunity to address concerns or problems they have

What motivation is there to earn this badge?

  • Address concerns of the students
  • Empower children to innovate and problem solve
  • Highly engaging tools and tech as resources
  • Cool stickers or clip art to show off

What do the students need to demonstrate to earn the badge?

  • Use an inquiry model to help guide research, innovation, and creation
  • Use a rubric to define success and guide their work flow
  • Embrace a FAILure as their First Attempt In Learning
  • Show perseverance, even when work becomes difficult
  • Share their learning with others

How do the students share what they learned?

  • Use digital tools to archive/share
  • Students become “experts” and mentor those who have not earned badge yet
  • Involve classroom teachers, specialists, and administrators so skills and knowledge translate into classroom projects

About the Author:

Barbara Johnson is an elementary librarian teaching grades 3-5 in Colchester, CT. She is the vice president of CASL (CT Association of School Librarians), a member of the AASL Affiliate Assembly, founder of the @MakerMeetup2018, and a social media junkie! Follow her at @technojohnson