Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development in India
To explore the range of ways that digital badge technology could be used to support effective teaching practice in low- to medium-income teacher education by providing insight into the value and motivations that can be built around digital badges and the enablers and challenges to their use.
Effective teaching practice and classroom pedagogic knowledge is considered to be critical for delivering necessary improvements in the quality of education in low- and medium-income countries, such as India. However, there remain significant barriers to engaging and sustaining teachers’ commitment to their continuing professional development and challenges in focusing CPD on individual professional needs. Research on digital badges in high-income contexts has begun to identify a range of key functions for digital badges, as a means of making learning visible. However, this work is (a) usually limited to using badges as a surrogate for a certificate of attendance or participation) (b) often focused on their use with pupils (c) ignores low- and medium-income contexts. Furthermore, interest in digital badges is often preoccupied with badges as artefacts, rather than as an enabling technology that can support new processes and ways of thinking – for example, by supporting educators in better identifying and articulating learning outcomes and in adopting more effective learning design and operationalisation processes. The very act of developing badging schemes therefore requires engagement and articulation by stakeholders as to what skills, practices and capabilities they may usefully correspond to, how these can be flexibly sequenced, and how they can be easily assessed, in accordance with local and individual needs.
The project builds on a successful field visit to Mumbai last summer and a TESS-India workshop in New Delhi in January 2019. Phase 1 (2019-20) has already been successful in supporting knowledge exchange. This has seen the OU providing TISS with expertise to establish automated badging capabilities on their VLE platform, the co-development of three distinct digital badge implementations at TISS, and the co-creation of an evaluation framework. From September, we will be moving into the second stage of the project. This will see broader knowledge exchange with stakeholders, including a virtual workshop (involving educators, policy-makers and teachers), a project report, and direct engagement with state government.
The role of IET
IET's Simon Cross is leading the project - providing academic leadership and management to the project. IET has coordinated various groups at TISS to implement badges in several contexts, develop evaluation instruments and work with them in engaging with stakeholders including government officials. We are leading on writing the project interim and final report and organising a virtual conference workshop in India later in 2020.
We have funds to visit India but this has been prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IET is also handling payments to our Indian partner.
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)