Frequently Asked Questions
Click on each question below to expand and collapse information about TAMRITZ badge learning.
What does the word “TAMRITZ” mean?
In Hebrew, TAMRITZ means “incentive.”
TAMRITZ provides three incentives for schools to participate in a badge-based, connected learning space:
1. Student Learning: Badge-empowered learning platform for student collaboration within schools and between schools, focused on developing habits of connected learning and digital citizenship
2. Professional Development: Community of practice and ongoing professional development workshops, webinars and conversations for educators, Grades 5-8
3. Digital Badge Learning Clearinghouse: An online badging exchange, sharing out graphics, curricular design, rubrics and exemplars from the trenches — kicks off Spring 2014 with TAMRITZ BadgeFest
What is a simple explanation of digital badge learning?
Digital badge learning is an innovative approach to instructional design and learning that rewards and documents student achievements across a wide range of disciplines, experiences and learning pathways.
Think merit badges earned in scouting and in leadership programs. Students follow their passions, take multiple pathways to achievement, and earn a badge signifying their accomplishments.
Now digitize the badge and some of the learning experiences. Badges recognize student achievements within and beyond the classroom walls. Badge learning supports online learning experiences, as well as face-to-face learning.
More than a graphic icon, badges have data “baked” into them, telling the story of the learner and his/her accomplishments. Because of this special coding, badges cannot be copied or pirated. As a micro-credential, badges communicate a skill or achievement that may be displayed through a variety of social media interfaces (depending on COPPA guidelines).
What is a Badge? (2:45)
How are badges tied to the gamification of learning?
What is important to know about badges and gamification is that badges are all about frequent feedback. Badges are milestones markers within a learning journey and provide multiple opportunities for students to reflect and share their accomplishments and continue to evolve their understandings.
Badges are commonly seen in video games, where players level up their skills as they move through the game successfully. These may be noticed as icons, tokens or points. By leveling up, players may unlock new privileges or superpowers, which are referred to as “power ups.” Throughout the game, players receive frequent feedback, are kept on the edge of challenge, and fail forward until they ultimately win the game.
Badges in learning also may signify a learner leveling up their skill set. Badges may be tied to points and leaderboards. Some badge learning systems recognize both soft skills and hard skills. For soft skill recognition, a badge may be triggered by a positive behavior within a learning community or through a peer and/or teacher nomination.
Some badges may be “stealth,” meaning they are hidden and awarded by surprise for an activity or for demonstrating a desired behavior. Some badge learning communities also recognize accomplishments by awarding special privileges to the learners (power ups), which should be directly tied to the theme of the learning. For example, students who earn a badge for demonstrating a deep understanding of digital citizenship and online safety may unlock the privilege of checking out a laptop from the school’s library.
Who is implementing badge learning?
In addition to the Mozilla Foundation and the MacArthur Foundations establishing a global badge learning ecosystem, higher education, museums, corporations and K-12 schools are embracing this innovative approach to learning. For instance, well-known organizations like Purdue University, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California, Smithsonian, Intel and Disney-Pixar, the Douglas County School District (Colorado), New York City Department of Education and the Chicago Botanical Gardens are developing digital badge learning credentials. “Badges are gaining currency at the same time that a growing number of elite universities have begun offering free or low-cost, noncredit courses to anyone with access to the Internet and a desire to learn” (“Show Me Your Badge,” The New York Times, November 2, 2011). These MOOCs, or massive open online courses, may issue badges through Edx from institutions like MIT, Harvard University, Berkeley, Georgetown University and more.
TAMRITZ supports a cohort of schools who are developing their own badge learning programs. Here are our clients.
Read More About Badge Learning:
How does badge learning reflect current trends in pedagogy?
When designed and implemented effectively, badge learning reflects current research on how youth interact with digital media and learning, trends in technology integration and the NETSs (National Educational Technology Standards) crafted by educators with ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education).
Badge learning also supports the connected learning movement when designed within a framework that reflects student interests, core academics and peer support.
Mozilla’s White Paper on Open Badges
MacArthur Foundation’s Reports, “Living and Learning With New Media: Findings from Digital Youth Project”
Connected Learning – Research, reports, infographic and videos
Can digital badge learning apply to any content area?
Yes. Badge learning is an approach to curriculum design and student learning, based on learning outcomes. No matter what the content, badge learning can engage learners and capture achievements across the curriculum. Badge learning may apply to formal and informal learning, enrichment programs, independent learning, service learning and more.
By establishing a team of faculty members at your school as a “badge learning advisory team,” you may be able to leverage badges to connect learning inside-of-school to learning that happens outside-of-school.
How can badge learning support my current curriculum?
TAMRITZ provides training in structuring your current curriculum around a badge learning experience. Starting with student learning outcomes, you will zoom in on the granular pieces of the learning to the more global outcomes. This scaffolding creates transparent learning pathways, relies on clear rubrics and encourages formative and frequent feedback. By building a variety of learning pathways, students will be engaged by having agency and choice over their learning.
How can badge learning support the implementation of NEW curriculum?
Similar to adapting curriculum already in place, badge learning can serve as the structure for developing new curriculum, starting with essential questions and learner outcomes. Badge-empowered learning also provides teachers with opportunities to reward soft skills, like online and community behaviors, which may not be captured by traditional and less flexible assessment practices.
Why is TAMRITZ referred to as a “learning network?”
TAMRITZ is a digital badge learning network designed to connect Jewish Day School students and educators through collaborative, project-based learning experiences. This means that Jewish Day School students and educators across North America can easily collaborate, co-create and learn together.
TAMRITZ believes that the synergy of a connected learning environment pushes learning forward and allows students and educators to accomplish more than they would by learning on their own.
TAMRITZ seeks to break down the silos, transform how learning happens and ignite collaboration.
How can TAMRITZ support blended learning?
The TAMRITZ learning community is a digital space for collaborating, tracking learning pathways, interacting with peers and teachers, publishing work, receiving feedback and reflecting on learning experiences.
Blended learning environments often rely on a vibrant online learning space where students are coached by skilled educators in online and face-to-face environments. TAMRITZ naturally supports blended learning, relying on best practices for creating community within online learning environments.
Badge learning may connect learning outside-of-school to inside-of-school learning. Some learning may take place online and some may take place face-to-face, depending on the needs of your school’s learning program.
For which grade levels is TAMRITZ’s badge learning system available to?
Currently, TAMRITZ is targeting Grades 5-8. The “Digital Age Learning” course, a badge-based and online learning experience, focuses on developing habits of connected learners and digital citizens. Teachers co-facilitate this learning experience with the TAMRITZ staff, which provides a job-embedded, hands-on, low-stakes opportunity to co-lead badge learning with the support of colleagues.
Teachers K-8 may benefit from the professional development course, “Digital Age Teaching,” as it focuses on leveling up teachers’ skill sets in digital media and learning literacies. A badge-based, online course, teachers learn within a socially connected community of practice where they tinker with tools and practices appropriate for the modern classroom. The course has a heavier emphasis on resources best for the middle school classroom.
Why is TAMRITZ targeting Grades 5-8?
TAMRITZ believes that as students enter the middle school and high school years, badge learning enhances the themes of self-directed learning and taking ownership for oneself, which is developmentally appropriate for the adolescent years.
Research on how youth interact with new media also reflects that between ages 12-18, students’ online lives really take off, extending peer relationships in their online world; exploring interests and passions; and developing meaningful relationships with adult mentors as they dig deeper into learning.
Is TAMRITZ Mozilla Open Badges compliant?
Absolutely! TAMRITZ uses Credly integration to issue Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) compliant badges, a standard created by the Mozilla Foundation. This means that badges issued by TAMRITZ may be shared through a variety of social media interfaces. The data that tells the story of the learner (issuer, learning outcomes, rubric) is embedded into each badge.
For students 13+ (based on COPPA guidelines), badges they earn can be sent to the Mozilla Open Badge Backpack, allowing their badges to be displayed online, anywhere they choose. However, for students under 13, digital badges are issued only within the online learning community. Schools may choose to display badges on student blogs or through digital portfolios. Badges may also be displayed on school bulletin boards or printed on certificates for public recognition within the school community.
What web-based software does TAMRITZ use for the badging experience?
Badge learning is not specific to any one learning platform or software program. A variety of tools can be used to design badge learning programs, issue badges, display badges and curate learning journeys, many which are open source.
Currently, TAMRITZ uses open source WordPress and the badging plugin BadgeOS to create a vibrant badge learning ecosystem for Jewish Day School students and teachers. Skilled in online learning and on the cutting edge of badge learning development, Credly experts (makers of BadgeOS) consult with TAMRITZ staff to build and design an interface that reflects best practices in digital media and learning.
For schools who already have learning management systems in place, TAMRITZ helps design the best user-friendly interface and process for developing a badge learning program and for issuing badges to students. For example, schools using the LMS Haiku, Credly’s badge creation and issuing tool, is automatically integrated within that system. Some schools choose to use blogfolios, wikisfolios and more.