However, there are some years when I feel like I don’t learn much that is totally revolutionary. This year was that way. My one standout was learning about Flashcard Factory. It wasn’t even its own session but really just an ear-catching moment in another session. But it’s stuck with me because I thought the concept was so cool.
Discover this Cool Tool!
If you’ve heard of Pear Deck, which integrates with Google products, you may not know that they just came out with Flashcard Factory as well. The teacher generates a list of vocabulary words and correct definitions for students. Just that fact makes all the difference. If you’ve ever had your students look up words in the dictionary, you know that, without fail, they find a definition that has nothing to do with what you wanted them to learn. Not so with Flashcard Factory. Using your provided information, they are assigned to a day shift or night shift team in the factory. They sit together in small groups and come up with illustrations and examples for the words and definitions. You then are the quality control to accept or reject definitions that later go into a master set. Intrigued? I was. Watch the video below to see how some real teachers helped me practice this process that you will love using with your students.
Want more cool tools? This video was part of the Twelve Days of Tech-mas, originally hosted at my Facebook Fan Page. Go follow and like it now so you can be in the live audience every Tuesday when my newest tip goes live. But don’t worry if you missed a few. They’re all linked right here:
Day 1: Digital Writing and Drawing
Day 2: Creating Custom Breakout Edu Games
Day 3: New Ideas for Using QR Codes in the Classroom
Day 4: Pretty Up Your Online Life with Colors and Emojis
Day 5: Favorite Chrome Extensions for Teacher Productivity
Day 6: The Best Six Podcasts for Teachers and Teacherpreneurs
Day 7: Creating Your Own Free Embed Code
Day 8: Interactive Student Review with Better Flashcards: Pear Deck Flashcard Factory YOU ARE HERE! 🗺️ 🌍
Day 9: Recognize Incremental Learning and Increase Motivation with Badging
Day 10: Create Recipe Lists and Auto-Populated Emails with Office Quick Parts
Day 11: Automate Your Life by Connecting Favorite Online Tools with IFTTT
Day 12: Organize URLs and Enhance Productivity using Excel Spreadsheets and OneDrive
Let’s face it. Most students will find a subject that, no matter how hard they try, they just won’t get an A in. And while grades are a measure of what students know, and an important measure at that, for students who struggle, they seem unattainable, at least for certain subjects.
Enter badges, or as some call them, micro-credentials. Every student, regardless of final grade, learns skills in a unit that add up to skills in a class. Why not recognize those skills? For example, in my previous days of teaching ninth grade literature, Romeo and Juliet was a major unit in the Spring. During that unit, they learned drama terms, iambic pentameter, and the complex language and hidden meanings of the bard.
Had I known about badges then, I could have awarded one for each of those skills. And I don’t just believe in fluff! They would have had to complete a related assignment to prove their knowledge of that skill. Imagine how empowering that would be for a student–to know that they could learn parts of the whole and work toward the whole, but that their efforts wouldn’t have resulted in disappointment at the end of the unit. In the words of Cher, “If I could turn back time.”
In addition to Shakespearean language, which might not have as many practical applications as some other ideas, badges can be awarded for job skills in career-related classes in our high schools. I have one brother in graphic design and another on the programming side of the computer science field. My goal is to possibly connect some design/comp sci students with someone in the “real world” who could review their employable skills and award micro-credentials that would hold weight when they apply for jobs and internships after school ends. Badges aren’t just for fluff. They are for the latent skills not often rewarded by the traditional school experience.
Have I piqued your interest on badging? Check out this video on the basics. I would love to help you begin badging in your classroom, so leave a comment. Also, this post is the second in a series. Check out this post about my gamification passion and integrating avatars into the classroom.
With Tech and Twang,