How many of you like to play games? Maybe you like board games or card games that you can play with your family and friends. Maybe you like to play video games on the PlayStation or Xbox. Or maybe you are more into games that you can play on your iPad or phone. One thing that has become a trend in a lot of the digital games is the idea of earning badges to symbolize advancement in the game. People love to compete for those badges. Some teachers have even integrated this gamification into the learning process. Today I want to share with you something that Apple has developed that can allow all of us as educators to collect our own badges, and maybe learn some new things in the process.
A couple of days ago I saw a post on Twitter from an educator that I follow saying that he had just earned a new badge in the Apple Teacher Program. I didn’t know much about the program, but a quick Google search took me to Apple’s site with more information about the program (click here if you want to check out the site!).
Reading over the short pieces of information on that site, I learned that through this program you could learn how to use built-in apps to “enhance creativity and productivity” in the classroom. As you complete lessons, you can take a quiz, and if you pass the quiz you earn a badge.
I decided to sign up so that I could learn more about the program. Once I was signed up (almost instantaneous – you sign up with your Apple ID, and then you receive an email with the link to sign in to the Apple Teacher Learning Center), I was able to find links to learning resources for teachers, inspiration for new things to try out, and links to earn badges that are based on the iPad or the Mac. Since we are 1:1 with the iPad, that is where I went first, and without having to participate in any lessons I was able to pass quizzes to earn a couple of the badges.
There are options to earn general badges for the iPad, to learn about productivity, and to learn ways to integrate creativity with the iPad. There are also badges for specific apps like Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, and GarageBand. When you select a badge you want to earn, you have the option to go to a Starter Guide with tons of information about apps – I just skimmed through looking for things that were new to me. What I also found interesting about the started guide is that it instructed you on how to play with the app in order to learn to use it better. We all know that we learn better by doing! In addition to the starter guide, there are links to online help for the app, or even options to sign up for a live workshop at the Apple Store. Once you feel like you understand the app, you can take a quiz and earn a badge.
In addition to the original options for badges, once you complete all the badges you earn an official Apple Teacher logo, as well as access to additional learning resources and badges. I wanted to share this with you because I found it interesting.
Have any of you ventured into the Apple Teacher Program in the past? There seem to be tons of great (and free) resources that could be used in the classroom. Share with us if you decide to sign up, and then let us know as you add badges to your collection!