Badges Outside of School

In this post in the YALSAblog series on badging programs we look at the way that programs that serve teens in their out of school hours are integrating badges into their programs and services. There are a lot of interesting ways these programs are using badges and they can serve as models for libraries that might want to develop their own programs. Or, present opportunities for partnerships between community organizations and libraries who can develop badging programs together.

While some schools are just now realizing the usefulness of badges, some out of school time programs, like Girl Scouts, have been using badges for years. Now, even Girl Scouts, are using badges in new ways. “My Girl Scout Sash is an App, aims to encourage girls ages 5-17, with an emphasis on those in middle and high school, to learn app development as a way of seeing computer programming and other science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) skills as career choices….”

Another out-of-school time program that is giving young people the chance to earn badges is MOUSE. “MOUSE’s Wins! system for badging engages program participants in building and demonstrating hard and soft skills, and rewards youth and educators for community-building across their national network online.”

The Providence After School Alliance is also working on a digital badge program. This project gives teens the chance to develop skills in areas such as web development, learning from local web designers, and earn badges that show skills gained outside the traditional classroom. As stated in a Providence Journal article, “The hope is that PASA, along with its community partners, will notice that the student has an affinity for graphic design. Then PASA, working with the schools, can guide that student toward a high school with courses that can further her career. Imagine a high school senior who has compiled a package of badges that demonstrate his knowledge of computer code. That digital resumé could be submitted as part of his college application in addition to his traditional high school transcript. The badge backpack might eventually become part of a student’s academic portfolio, helping him land a job or find collaborators.”

You can learn more about badging programs and YALSA’s Badges for Lifelong Learning project in previous blog posts.

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