Great Lakes Teacher Badging Evaluation Report
In 2013, Shedd Aquarium launched a pilot Teacher Badging program with a set of Great Lakes Science Certified badges. Badges include Intro to Badging, Great Lakes Basics, Invasive Species Defined, Environmental Literacy, Science Literacy, and 21st Century Skills, culminating in the achievement of the Great Lakes Science Certified badge. Each badge includes 3-7 missions that teachers must complete to be awarded a given badge. As of December 31, 2013, 262 people have logged into the site, with 499.75 contact hours recorded in 1140 completed missions. The project was partially funded by the USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region. A variety of methods and tools were used to evaluate the program, including surveys, work product analysis, reflection, and conversation coding. Findings from the evaluation demonstrate that participants have enhanced competence teaching about the environment and science and integrating 21st century skills into lessons. Great Lakes Teacher Badging grows teachers’ knowledge of science, confidence teaching science, and use of resources to do so. The program breaks down and simplifies information to scaffold and motivate learning in enjoyable ways. As a means of professional development, badging provides engaging activities, valuable instructor feedback, and relevant information. Badging has been a successful strategy for teacher professional development. By engaging teachers through curiosity, investigation and solution developing opportunities, multiple learning outcomes were achieved. The platform and curriculum are easily managed by Shedd staff and relationships with teachers are developing and being maintained through online means.