Blog Post

4-H Robotics Badges

4-H digital badges are beginning to take shape as we work through the requirements for each of the badges.  Determining the requirements and the issuing process is much more difficult than I had imagined mainly due to the varied structure of 4-H.  Each LGU (Land Grant University) runs their program a little bit differently.  But more importantly, as we drill down from the state to county to local 4-H clubs and programs there are many permutations that should be considered for our badging system.  For example, in some states it is the local volunteer that works closely with youth to earn a robotics badge while the 4-H Educator (Agent) supports the volunteer.  Other states may have 4-H Educators or classroom teachers work more closely with the youth.  The fact is that there are many scenarios that will have to be taken into account when badges are issued. Our proposed badging system will require that youth and adults work together to complete the issuing process by providing several bodies of evidence.  Adult leaders will be required to guide the learning process and review and approve the bodies of evidence and then recommend the 4-H digital badge to the county and/or state 4-H representative.



I agree that determining the requirement for issuing badges is more difficult than we first thought it would be.

I think that this topic is perhaps worthy of one of the "unconference" experiences.

Deciding what constitutes a badge, and how many levels of badges to give, while considering that there is a group goal to have each badge be meaningful as a possible resume item, is tricky. Do we want each organization to have their own individual levels, or do we want something set up so we know each badge has a certain standard? E.g., do we get one badge for a one-hour seminar we listen to and also one badge for a semester course we've participated in - including various performances and research?


Erin Knight (Mozilla Foundation) wrote a really good blog post that unpacks very similar questions -- in the context of how their team approached the design of the Webmaker badge system:

I also highly recommend Erin's Three T's of Badge System Design: Types, Touchpoints, and Technology. I recently heard Kyle Peck talk about his eRubric tool and the need to differentiate the categories or criteria we create for assessment, which is similar to what Erin gets at in her comments about identifying types. (Cathy Davidson will have an article in Fast Company on Kyle's tool in the next few days, so I'll loop back to post that url when it's published). 

Erin is going to be at the September Workshop and will be speaking on Thursday, so we'll all have a chance to talk in more detail about this.  Looking forward to the conversation!