Siemens Digital Badges
Siemens are the first engineering company in the UK to launch their own unique STEM skills programme with digital badges, based on the Siemens award winning STEM education portal resources.
What are digital badges?Today, learning happens everywhere. But we often struggle to capture valuable learning that takes place outside formal qualifications. Siemens digital badges enable young people to do that by showcasing their achievements and gaining evidence-based endorsement for their STEM skills.
By earning a badge, young people are able to show what they have learnt, evidence the activities they have undertaken and who has issued the badge. These can then be collected and shared across the web, forming a rich picture of individual’s achievements.
The badges are used by thousands of organisations across the world.
We are designing badges to communicate the skills we are looking for future and support young people gain the skills they need for a career in STEM. Siemens digital badges are based on the award-winning Siemens education portal KS1-4 STEM resources and are designed to inspire young people to consider a STEM career.
Tips for teachers
Siemens digital badges can be used in a variety of ways – for example:
- For an out-of-school-hours club – if such a club includes pupils of varying ages, backgrounds and experience, the digital badges are sufficiently varied and flexible to encourage a wide range of responses.
- For individual pupils interested in an additional challenge, taking the form of enrichment and enhancement activities.
- As parts of lessons to provide challenge and recognition for study and exploration.
- As an alternative curriculum for pupils for whom the mainstream provision is considered inappropriate.
Similarly, the way in which Siemens digital badges might be used in class can be varied as well – for example, as:
- Stimulus for discussion, thinking and general engage among pupils. The supporting materials provide ideas as to what can be used but these shouldn’t be seen as prescriptive.
- Group class activity. A teacher leading a group can encourage an exchange of ideas and cross fertilisation of thoughts.
The badges are designed as a way for pupils to express their own ideas and developing their own solutions, allowing a range of responses; there is never a single correct answer. At an earlier stage, it is good to have an exchange of initial ideas, questions and suggestions without drawing out whole solutions. Generally speaking, getting pupils to the point where they have developed their own ideas to a fair extent is important before tentative solutions are shared.
Badges can be used in a number of ways to benefit young people. As the Siemens badges are supported by award-winning resource materials, teachers will find it relatively straightforward to use an Explorer or Challenger project in class that's aligned with the curriculum.
For the young people taking the badges, all required resources will be signposted within the badge missions. For teachers or those awarding the badges, full schemes of work and lesson plans for each of them can be found here:
- Curiosity: Explorer Curiosity Passport
- Energy: Explorer The Monte Rosa Mountain Hut
- Energy: Challenger eZero Island
- On the Move: Explorer Green Power Challenge
- On the Move: Challenger Inspired Bus Company
The badges range in difficulty:
- Level 1 - Explorer badges (7-11 yrs) - 35 minutes to 1 hour
- Level 2 - Challenger badges (12-16 yrs) - 1 hour (with tasks set for homework)
- Level 3 - Careers badges (16+ yrs) - TBA
As the suggested age ranges indicate, explorer badge missions are simple to complete, intended to spark students’ interest in STEM. Challenger and Career badges require a deeper engagement with STEM, as young people must use research skills and creative thinking to progress skills relevant for a career in STEM. All badges have been designed to provide users with stimulating activities outside the classroom and can be completed in one sitting.
- The badges recognise learning that has taken place in a less formal or structured way, with more emphasis being placed upon attributes such as resourcefulness, resilience and creativity. These are some of the characteristics expected of tomorrow’s engineers.
- Pupils will see those areas of the curriculum in a different light. They are encouraged to make links and draw upon ideas from a variety of places, including other STEM subjects and the broader curriculum.
- It provides formal recognition of valuable learning with a simple assessment system. This is a useful opportunity for pupils to be rewarded for their efforts without the need to comply with extensive assessment requirements.
Siemens digital badges provide young people with a way to develop STEM skills in and beyond the classroom. They are intended to recognise and reward young people for developing skills required for industry. Earning digital badges can support young peoples’ pathways from school to further and higher education and into jobs and careers. Digital badges also provide young people with the opportunity to interact directly with future employers, and build a digital CV and online credentials from an early age.
Participating in and completing badges will allow young people to further their understanding of STEM topics and technologies, as well as develop skills required to pursue a STEM career path.
The digital badge missions also provide young people with the opportunity to engage with Siemens as a potential employer, unlocking exclusive access to information and opportunities relating to future careers in STEM.
For teaching professionals, badges are a recognised pathway for STEM based CPD, enabling them to build on practical delivery to help bring to life the interplay between classroom learning and the world of work skills and employability.
Assessment criteria for the badge are set out in the badge missions in the 'how to complete the task' instructions. Evidence is reviewed by academy managers, and users will be awarded the badge after completing each of the required elements and uploading this as evidence for each badge task. The academy manager then reviews the evidence and, if it meets the assessment criteria, awards the badge.
Once the badge has been awarded, it will appear on a learner’s unique skills profile page. Young people can share their pages with friends, family and potential employers or education institutions to demonstrate the skills they’ve gained.
As well as sharing the link to their skills profile, young people may also choose to share individual badges on their own social media channels. Through earning and sharing achievements young people can build their confidence and ability to articulate their skills, helping to unlock the opportunities that matter to them.
The Makewaves platform is a fully moderated platform that many schools use for younger students. The OBA is an open learning platform, only accessible for young people aged 13+. We recommend all individuals follow good practice guidance about how to stay safe online and teachers working with young people on the platform follow their own internal guidance and social media policy.
OBA and Makewaves use digital credentials built on Open badge technology, which means anyone earning badges through either platforms can push them to their Mozilla backpack and share alongside badges they have earned through other platforms or organisations. By bringing together a number of partners, the OBA and MakeWaves offer on-going learning opportunities to young people and a lifelong learning solution.
Open badges are suitable for anyone at any age! The Siemens badge programme aims to provide a clear STEM pathway from age 7 and beyond 16+ into the workplace. Young people can engage with the badge level that is most suited to their needs, and then work through a range of subsequent badges that help them to gain the knowledge and understanding required to pursue a career in STEM.