Badge platform for schools

Badge Bonanza Case Study:
Pupil-friendly website to reward children for exploring their local town

"Working with Switchplane has enabled us to transform an idea into reality"

Project Overview

Services Provided

Front-end website, digital badge management, reporting, user and group management, PDF certificate generation, scalability

A little bit about Hastings Opportunity Area

The Hastings Opportunity Area (HOA) is a government-backed initiative to help every young person from the Hastings area to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them. Switchplane has been working with this organisation since early 2019 to help create the engaging "Badge Bonanza" platform for pupils and staff to use.

The Solution

HOA was seeking an innovative solution to engage and reward young people for learning and using local services such as the library, museums and parks. They wanted to create an online platform that gamified the process of pushing boundaries, discovering new places, and having new experiences that broaden their horizons.

Switchplane has built a platform that allows schools and local organisations to create events such as visiting a museum, joining an after-school club, or learning a new skill. Pupils can then claim a digital badge as a reward for participating in these events.

Front-end website design

Our in-house graphic designer provided a clean and engaging brand with bright colours and strong graphics, tying in with the Hastings Opportunity Area colour scheme. The ease of use and navigation for children was considered fully, and fun badges were created to tie in with each of the four badge categories. Inspiration for the "gamification" of the platform and elements of the design were taken from game sites such as Pokémon Go, popular with the target age group.

Digital badge management

Administrators, either at HOA or at school-level, have access to create their own badges on the Badge Bonanza platform, which are linked to one of four categories; Learning, Doing, Helping and Exploring. The badge creators can build badge events, adding images and video, and creating a unique claim code for successful entrants to use on completion of their activity.

On the flip side, pupils with accounts are able to log in to the site to earn these badges by entering the claim code via a mobile-friendly web app. On entering the code, the badge will then be recorded against the user.

Reporting

The Badge Bonanza platform provides reporting for all levels of user: pupils can view their performance via a dynamic progress bar and can see which badges they have collected; school staff can view class leaderboards, so classes can compete head to head, and assess overall engagement by pupil; HOA can view reports on overall engagement across all participating schools.

User and group management

One of the key requirements was to ensure the safeguarding of young people. Given the age of the target Key Stage 2 users, Switchplane built a solution that doesn’t rely on users having email addresses. There is an underlying permission-based system to ensure that users only have access to what they should. In order to keep access monitored, pupils' accounts are created by school staff once parental permission has been given.

In turn, there are higher level permissions for the administration of the website. School staff can create specific badges for their own pupils, and HOA administrators can set platform-wide badges which all pupils can aim to achieve, regardless of school. This structure is also reflected in the reporting of badge completion progress.

On-the-fly PDF generation

At the end of a pupil's participation in the Badge Bonanza scheme, pupils receive printed certificates showing the number of badges they earned. These are generated a template and live information on badge progress, so any recently claimed badges wouldn't be missed. School staff have the ability to generate the certificates for the whole class, personalised with names and badges earned, saving the manual task of collating this information by hand.

Scalability

With the platform now tested in several primary schools, HOA are looking to increase the impact of the platform by rolling out to more schools and help broaden the horizons of many more young people. The platform is built to accommodate this inevitable scaling up; as usage increases and multiple classes or schools are online at once, the platform can withstand this easily and additional user accounts can be created and managed by administrators.

The platform was planned in such a way that administrators at HOA can oversee the addition of new schools to the platform, then at school-level, administrators can add pupils. This makes the workload for all parties manageable as the scheme grows.

“Working with Switchplane has enabled us to transform an idea into reality and we’re really excited about how the platform will help improve the life chances of young people across Hastings.”

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