This week, GK spent a productive day visiting The Epstein Middle School School in Atlanta, where the school has implemented a badging system beginning with their sixth grade. Global Kids, along with staff at Epstein, custom designed a badging system to support the development of independent learning skills amongst the student body, funded by the Covenant Foundation.
The system is based on the recognition that learning in the 21st Century takes place not just in classrooms, but after school and through informal uses of digital media. To develop life-long learning skills, youth need to recognize how they are learning valuable skills across these venues and how to strategically navigate these sites of learning. Badge systems are designed to provide scaffolding, motivation, and recognition.
(Youth who are working on badges at Epstein can receive a power-up to miss certain classes to work on their next badge. They must wear this tag on the right to identify themselves.)
The Epstein Badging System includes a number of elements, including the badges themselves, digital transcripts, a badge management system, a badge submission process, committees, learning rubrics, back-end infrastructure, and digital portfolios.