My brand new Digital Leaders have been trying the brilliance that is the makewav.es site.
For those not clear, makewav.es provides a safe environment for pupils to share blogs, video, stories and photos about subjects which can be linked to digital badges. This then allows you (the teacher/ administrator person) to set tasks, award badges and keep an eye on progress.
A great idea, but one I wasn't sure about for primary. Sure, the pupils enjoyed logging in, shared stories and quickly got the idea but would it work in the long term?
Answer – it does – but like anything else it is based on the preparation. Makewaves allows you to create 3 free badges as part of it's entry-level free package. However, it also allows you to use any other badge created. Enter the fantastic content-creator @gr8ict – who has an amazing site here explaining everything. He, along with @pederosa has created a whole framework of levelled activities linked to badges, meaning that I can award my digital leaders badges for safeguarding activities, presenting, teaching etc.
This is the gamechanger, as a small school we don't have the resources to create our own framework of badges and tasks and without them the site just becomes a blog. The free 'open' badges are perfect – and there are lots of them. My digital leaders have shared their advice, uploaded photos of themselves leading assemblies and, more recently, shared their experience of leading the Hour of Code. They then notify me and wait to gain their 'digital badges'. They have yet to ask me for a physical badge. It seems sharing the digital is enough, at the moment, and as it is an online platform they can share these badges with folks at home easily enough!
Of course you are not limited to Digital Leader work. I already put my Code Club members on there and used a free code club badge another school had created! (Code club should create their own open badges of course…)
It may a bit much for all busy class teachers, and to purchase the full premium license will be a bit out of the reach for schools like mine, but to focus clubs, or to generate a spark it is fab! It could be used to track progress of reflection and evaluation – as I type I'm already thinking of how it could be used for pupil transition reflection!
Check out the site – and the fantastic levelled Digital Leader resources. And let me know how you are using the resource!