(I just sent this message in an email to Steve Hargadon )

I had a brainstorm that I need your feedback on. Since most districts (and most conferences) make students and teachers wear lanyards with their IDs attached I had a great idea. Why not have a national color-coding system of badges for tech expertise based on the ISTE standards? Red=Newbie, Yellow=Tenderfoot, Orange=Guide, Green=Expert. I don't like those names, just using them as an example. (I know NBCT, ADT, GCT, DEN STARS etc are proud to display their credentials) A program could be developed that has guidelines for everyone to follow to move to the next level of expertise. Each person could acquire the skills needed at his/her own pace and document his/her learning and acquistion of skills in an ePortfolio.

I think this would help every school in our country with the integration of technology. Since being a highly-qualified teacher is important to the NCLB act shouldn’t every teacher get highly qualified in technology? It would be even greater if some kind of monetary incentive could be attached to moving to the next level of expertise, but in these economic times I’m not sure that could be a possibility.

Please let me know what you think about my brainstorm. Could it be implemented starting as a grassroots effort put together by members of my PLN? Or am I just too out of the box?

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I've been thinking about this too, Paula. Especially after our discussions on twitter. I'm willing to work on it with you if you like. I'm thinking different colored lanyards. Looked into a few companies this morning. Rushing out now, but will pull the sites up later to share with you.

I had read earlier this year that there may be a national assessment for tech for teachers in the near future. Did you hear about this?

I've also been trying to brainstorm new titles for the different levels and what each level would entail. I would love to collaborate on this.
Thanks for your response and support. I like the lanyard idea very much. Someone else suggested buttons. I will look into what is happening with national assessment for tech. I believe it should be happening.

You know how the government gives GS numbers to all of their positiions? Maybe something like that. TIS1 (tech integration specialist 1), TIS2, etc. The levels would be based on demonstrating various proficiencies.

Keep the ideas flowing.
I have to think about this more, but my initial thoughts are mixed. I think the idea is great is some respects, but I don't know if people would want the world to know their level of expertise. Would we want our students walking around with different colors on that would translate to beginner or expert? I'm thinking no.

I think it would be difficult to figure out the level of everyone. Would they have to take a test to show their knowledge? While there are national standards, there's not a national assessment that could be administered easily.

Interesting thought.
I agree with you on some levels. People don't want to be labeled, but it is something that just seems to happen within an organized society. Businesses, military, schools all have levels of expertise within them: CEO, sergeant, teacher, administrator etc. People fall somewhere along a continuum whether they want a label or not. We all have much more to learn but some are not willing to take that first step

I believe that if funding could be attached to the various levels of expertise people would be a lot more willing to start the journey. But let’s put funding aside for the moment. If teachers are supposed to be highly qualified, if technology standards are supposed to be taught how is that happening in classrooms where the teacher won’t touch anything related to tech?

I am trying to help those who are newcomers to technology in as positive and supportive a way as possible. The color coding would just be a quick way to check the status of the group. I don’t want it to mean anything negative.

Please continue to add your thoughts to this discussion.
Would this deter some from even wanting to attend a tech conference?
I can relate to all perspectives of this discussion. I definitely think we love to show our pride for what we've accomplished! I am wondering about the idea of maybe a "dog tag" element that could be added (and reused) for 1 central lanyard. When you earn GCT or DEN Star, you would receive this tag to hang on your lanyard at conferences and such. Something in a light weight laminate could be neat with each certification/merit being a designated color so that the collections would be colorful and easily identifiable. I know school schools do something similar. I know of a few tech leaders that issue similar "
keys" for teachers in their districts who complete trainings with the wiki/presentation addresses printed on the back. Wondering if a similar system might be developed nationally that could be hung on a keychain or something else.Thanks for taking initiative to get this going! Love it :)
Like a doctorate or letters at the end of your name?
Interesting idea, Paula. Personally, I think badges that say, "Ask me about...." DEN, Twitter, my blog, GoogleEarth..... might be cool too. I'm afraid that labels of "expert" or "newbie" might get a little "elitist". I'm really sensitive to that, since I think I'm kind of an expert in my own circles, but I don't come close to others in Ed Tech who might be considered a "Big Name". In other words, sometimes these kind of labels might be a bit subjective. I think that ISTE might have been going for your idea with the sticky badge labels, which not all of us are fans of either.

I would support anything that would facilitate conversation and collegiality among attendees.
I like the idea of inviting other teachers to ask us for help by wearing some sort of I.D. that says we're available for that, but I'm worried that labels of any kind that level us by expertise (newbie, advanced, expert, for example) will be sending a message of competition and achievement that will be misconstrued as one-upmanship. What about a button or badge of a more general neature that says, "Ask me about tech" or "Let's talk tech" or "I'm a Geek and I'm proud.".... anything except what "level" we think we are. I do, indeed, like the idea of advertising our willingness to collaborate and our availability to support the use of tech. I think this happens naturally, though, within our own schools. It all comes through personal relationships -- if we're collegiate, professional, and social enough, other teachers in our schools already know us and know what we're capable of doing. A badge may serve as a conversation starter, but we won't need to flash any credentials if we're modeling the use of tech in our lessons and presentations.
I don't think we need to label anybody. As tech users explore they discover who to ask as well as what they do and do not know. No need to rank techies. There are some "Big Names" out there who I feel cannot be asked or are already ranking themselves and wouldn't necessarily be who I'd suggest a newbie ask for help or information.
Why not just a ribbon to add to our name tags? These ribbons need to be available when people register, although I guess ISTE wants then where the merchandise is to draw in customers. Sue Waters did have the buttons for Experts and Newbies. I guess my question would be why does it matter? I would worry too that there is a certain stigma attached to being a newbie (sorry Jason) as opposed to being an expert. Just my two cents.....going OTG now.
very interesting conversation!.....i have heard of national teacher tech ratings and i think they're a good idea. we had a mandatory teacher tech test here in Maryland this year - it will be interesting to see the results. in the meantime i found this test even better than the one we had in MD because it's more about application: What Kind of Tech User Are You?

but i'm also cognizant of not wanting to alienate those tech phobic teachers we're trying to bring over...or offend anyone by "snooty" labels....fine line...and a delicate balance. but definitely worth the convo.
~gwyneth jones



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