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The Validity of Digital Badges as a Currency for Soft Skill Attainment

Jul 28, 2015

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Education

1. Donal Canty, Jeffrey Buckley, Niall Seery & Adrian O'Connor Technology Education Research Group University of Limerick Matt Kelly Coliste Chiarin Funded with support from the European Commission, within project Grading Soft Skills: GRASS, No. 543029-LLP-1-RS-KA3-KA3MP This communication reflects the views only of authors, and the commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein. 2. 3-year longitudinal research project financially supported by the European Union and is being developed with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). The overall objective is to support, monitor, assess, and acknowledge the development of learners' soft skills by leveraging state-of-the-art ICT tools. 8 partners in the consortium from Serbia, Sweden, Ireland and Croatia. 3. This research focuses on representing soft skills of post-primary students in a measurable way, so that these skills can become the subject of formal grading and recognition. School: Coliste Chiarin Course: Junior Cycle Module: Radio & TV Broadcasting - Junior Cycle Short Course Group: 1st Year Participants: 20 Pupils (12 Female, 8 Male) Duration: 4 Weeks (7 class periods) 4. Main Objective To explore the nature of the evidence produced during a soft skills related task which would ultimately contribute to the awarding of a digital badge 5. Evidence 6. Key Activities: Discussion on group work and two of the new Junior Cycle Key Skills: Working with Others and Communicating. Initial jig-saw activity to allow students to develop a further understanding of these skills through application. 7. Key Activities: Group reflection on the jig-saw activity focussing on collaboration. Individual assignment entitled what is good group work?. 8. Key Activities: Students engage in collaboration activity to assemble a video camera. Teacher gathers data by taking real time notes. 9. Key Activities: Teacher reviews videos of students assembling the video camera for further evaluation Students fill in questionnaires for peer and self evaluation 10. All groups successfully assembled the video camera. No student was awarded the Effective Group Member digital credential. It was interesting to note that while a significant amount of time was devoted to explaining the concept of "effective group membership" prior to the assessment, and while all the students involved indicated that they understood the concept, the entire focus of the group shifted to completing the task as fast as possible rather than each individual contributing to the success of the group as soon a the assessment began. Teachers comment after the study 11. All moved to the table but Zoe remained alone working on the camera. Disagreement between Mary, Oran and Brandon. All trying to fix the tripod at the same time. Mary moved away from the tripod and on to the audio section without solving the tripod problem. No individual guiding the entire group. Mary and Oran debate the problem while Brandon watches but says nothing. Total confusion as they tried to mount the camera on the tripod. No agreement amongst all. No one is sure if the take was recorded Oran says he thinks it was not. Mary becomes stressed. Zoe says it is fine. Brandon steps out of the conversation. 12. To be awarded the badge the students must successfully attain in each of the four elements Each student demonstrated that they understood the qualities of an effective collaborator and that they could recognise these in themselves and in others No student demonstrated that they could exercise these skills to solve a problem No student was deemed to be an Effective Group Member as a result 13. Tasks can be designed to integrate soft skills with hard skills in schools Digital badges were a valid currency in this application case for accrediting soft skill attainment The strength of this validity lies in their capacity to track the evidence of soft skill attainment through ICT and the triangulation of evidence As the integration of soft skills for assessment is a relatively new concept, the assessment culture in post-primary schools can impact the students perceptions of soft skill assessment These experiences can lead to rich discussion among students about soft skills and assessment 14. [email protected] Funded with support from the European Commission, within project Grading Soft Skills: GRASS, No. 543029-LLP-1-RS-KA3-KA3MP This communication reflects the views only of authors, and the commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.