On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath speaks to Noah Geisel, an educator, EdTech Coach, trainer, speaker, and expert in Digital Badge Credentials. Brett and Noah discuss equity, access, opportunity and human-centered design.

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Noah Geisel’s Digital Badge Journey

For Noah Geisel, the exploration and use of digital badges originated from a frustration with how people use student data, and how these ways are very predictable and basic. He observed that grades, for the most part, are not telling a great story for who our learners are, and are therefore not a great predictor of future success.

Because of these observations, he had a desire for educators to use student data in a better way, and he began going down the digital credential path as a solution. 

Noah first experienced digital badges at his first Digital Media Competition and developed a passion for this concept. As a result, he had a Chief Academic Officer ask about the digital badges. He found himself in a position where people were asking him questions and he was returning with more questions for them, and eventually he was hired to do digital badge consulting and helping schools build a digital gold standard.

How can schools get started with digital badge credentialing?

Getting started with digital badge credentialing can be a long process and require buy-in from a lot of stakeholders in a school or district. Noah shared some tips for how schools can prepare for a digital badge system.

Have a strong “why”

Anytime something new is implemented, K-12 teams need to know that there will always be someone who is going to raise their hand and ask “why should I care?” Noah explained that having a deserving ‘why’ for digital badges is one of the most important things educators can do starting off with a new program.

Start small

Noah shared that starting small will also do you numerous favors. He recommends that educators take an iterative approach and start small to learn as you go. He explained, “It’s easier to clean up if you spill a punch glass rather than a punch bowl”

Look to models

When starting off with digital badged educators don’t need to reinvent the wheel. They should look at what other people have done before and learn from them so that you can start out closer to where they are. Look at what has and has not worked for other people and use that as a model for your own program.

Don’t lead with technology

One of the biggest mistakes that teams make when implementing new programs that involve technology is focusing on the technology or the vendor first. Noah recommends that teams focus on what they need and what they’re trying to achieve and then look to what technology supports this to determine what they will implement.

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