BadgeStack™ Adds Reward Badges to Muhlenberg College HYPE Program

Using the BadgeStack learning platform, Muhlenberg College enhanced its HYPE Program this year to include badges to recognize participants’ accomplishments. Since 2006, HYPE, which stands for Healthy Youth Peer Education, has developed leadership and community advocacy skills in local high school students through documentary filmmaking.

The program continues to expand with over one hundred high school participants completing the program. BadgeStack enabled HYPE instructors to create a Learning and Community system where students took on and recorded a series of media-oriented quests, instructors assessed that student work, and peers discussed and critiqued each other’s contributions. Sharable badges – digital credits that recognize achievement and can be displayed publicly across social networks — are awarded for digital storytelling, videography and editing and HYPE-specific internal badges are issued to acknowledge leadership and teamwork.

“The badge system was something new and the teens wanted to play with it, learn it and learn through it, make it their own – from concept to creation to implementation — and that’s the whole idea!” said Anthony Dalton, Digital Cultures Media Specialist and HYPE Instructor at Muhlenberg College.

Students dedicate four weeks of their summer to the program, but do not currently receive any high school or college credit, so the badges add important value to their work. Students’ interest and pride in their badges continues even after they have completed the program.

Richie, a student in the program had this to say about badging: “What I like most about the badges is how they brought everyone in HYPE together in a group effort and how some badges were given for secret things you did that were good.”

“The team at Muhlenberg College has developed a powerful program that is — at its heart — about valuing youth voices,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, director of the BadgeStack Project. “The badges certify real world achievement while giving youth a means to easily share evidence of their accomplishments and skills with peers, instructors and future employers.”