How Global Kids is Developing Badges for Global Kids Youth Leaders

Last month, Global Kids received funds from the MacArthur Foundation to, in part, develop badges for global citizenship and civic participation, and to integrate a badging systems into Global Kids' programming.


So how do you create badges? And how to you create a badging system to certify those badges and give them meaning to both youth recipients and those outside Global Kids to whom they might be shared?


We began this process by creating three seperate groups, all to collaborate with and support the internal development team working with the good folks at LearningTimes (our badge development partner).


The first group is the Badge Fast Action Group (or, B-FAT). B-FAT is composed of a small number of key GK senior staff and will meet regularly, every two weeks, for up to two hours. This group, which will be meeting for its second time only this week, is learning more about badges from game players in our lives (e.g. kids and husbands) and brainstorming different types of badges we might create for GK. The B-FAT will keep on top of the badge development process and ensure that the team developing both badges and the badging system are in close contact with, and informed by, senior staff. At our next meeting, amongst other things, we will review the key indicators we developed as part of a strategic planning process and see how they align to a potential badging framework.


The second group is the Badge Advisory (or, B-Ad(visory)). B-Ad is a much larger group, open to all staff, and meets once a month, for one hour. Each meeting has a particular focus. The first meeting focused on staff members developing badges for particular youth they already know. We asked ourselves: What GK programs do this youth attend, what do we think they learn, and what sort of badges might align with that learning? Each subgroup came up with its own use case and, by the end of the month, will write up their ideas, share them with that particular youth, and report both back to the badge development team.


The third group, which begins later this month, will be composed strictly of Global Kids youth leaders. They will begin working with a collection of over three dozen college letter of recommendations - written by GK staff about GK youth leaders over the past decade - to identify what hard and soft skills we have identified over time that have emerged within GK programming. Later we will compare them with the indicators from the strategic planning process to learn if they are aligned.


We will be doing much more as well, which we will document here when we can, but in general these three strands are the key focus of our efforts this Spring, before we are able to launch a beta and test the system within our summer programs.