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4-H Goes High-Tech with Digital Badges
Youth participating in Rockets to the Rescue!

4-H Goes High-Tech with Digital Badges

4-H got an upgrade with the use of digital badges for their National Youth Science Day experiment, Rockets to the Rescue!

4-H National Youth Science Day connected thousands of youth across the country through a mutual experiment. 4-H NYSD began in 2008, and since then over 5 million youth have participated in experiments from robotics to alternative energy.

“It gets kids engaged in a learning experience that affects science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Tony Cook. Cook is an Alabama Cooperative Extension System 4-H specialist. He’s been with 4-H for 34 years and has collaborated and partnered with NASA, the National Association of Rocketry and many other science and technology programs.

Rockets to the Rescue!, developed by the University of Arizona, explores aerospace engineering. In light of a natural disaster, participants are asked to design and construct a model rocket to deliver food to disaster victims. You can watch more about the experiment here.

Digital badge

Digital badge

Rockets to the Rescue! allows youth to engage with technology more than ever before with digital badges. A digital badge is an online recognition of learning achievement with metadata that makes it specific to the person to whom it was issued.

After completing the experiment, participants can go online to Canvas Network and complete a short survey to earn their digital badge. You can enroll in the survey here. Students in 4-H will eventually be able to share their digital badges on social media and keep them in an online portfolio.

“A digital badge adds another feature to our project and gives kids another reason to get involved,” said Dr. Kirk A. Astroth, Assistant Dean & Director of Arizona 4-H at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “You can’t get a digital badge for sitting at home on the couch and playing video games.”

Digital badges have the potential to enrich learning in and out of the classroom. They can be used for projects, extracurricular activities, and even online credentials in the working world.

Youth participating in Rockets to the Rescue!

Youth participating in Rockets to the Rescue!

“You can build your collection of learning experiences independently and with credentials like badges you can become more marketable as an individual,” Cook said.  “It can change the dynamics of education.”

Digital badges also connect children throughout the world by “building a sense of accomplishment and at the same time connecting with like-minded youth who have similar interests,” said Pat Boyes, Director of the Washington State University 4-H Youth Development Program.

Youth participating in Rockets to the Rescue!

Youth participating in Rockets to the Rescue!

Both Cook and Astroth hope the use of digital badges in Rockets to the Resuce! will encourage other programs to capitalize on this trend.

“Too many adults don’t know anything about digital badges but their kids do!” Astroth said.

It is not too late to get involved with Rockets to the Rescue! and the digital badge program. The digital badge quiz will be up through November. Check out what events are located in your area.

About Jamie Wallace