Earlier this year, WTB selected 4 top finalist organizations to pilot WTB’s newest endeavor – the community-oriented City of Learning initiative: LRNG:Badgerland.
Middle College, a dual-credit program for HS seniors offered in partnership with Madison College, local high schools, Workforce Development Board of Southcentral Wisconsin and run through the Dane County Schools Consortium, was chosen to explore how the new LRNG approach could be used to prepare and support students for personal and academic success beyond high school. The Middle College pilot linked traditional curricula with local workplace opportunities and online educational experiences.
The Middle College project has resulted in two new micro-credential Badges: “Work Readiness” and “Building My Future”. To earn each badge, students must complete a series of integrated classroom, in-community and online activities, and reflect on what the new experiences mean to them. Student work is captured in personal digital portfolios to demonstrate student competencies and skills. Once assessed and deemed competent in a target area, students earn a digital badge which recognizes those competencies. The credentials and recognized skills can be uploaded to school portfolios, resumes, LinkedIn profiles and shared with family and friends.
Although the pilot is still in progress, Middle College Youth Career Services Specialist Megan Sievers reflects on her experience using LRNG to create new educational activities, enhance her curricula and engage students, and what insights the experience has taught her about her students:
“The students and I found the LRNG platform very intuitive to use. It’s colorful, modern, and simple to navigate. As an educator, I loved that it linked organizations that were already contributing to work readiness concepts. It made it very simple to get inspired with new ideas and fine tune different lessons to my particular group of students. Students were able to be self-directed and work at their own pace on the platform. This also made it really helpful for holding students accountable for their work, despite any absences.The best part was reading the artifacts that my students submitted. Several students surprised me with the level of insight and engagement that they contributed to their responses.”
Sievers continues: “What I see as the biggest value for the LRNG platform is that there really are endless possibilities for customizing for your classroom. Previously, I had struggled with finding a way to make abstract work readiness topics more concrete. LRNG allowed me to take these different concepts and create a badge that could demonstrate a student was ready for a summer work experience. Already, I am excited to try creating new playlists and improving on current ones.”
Congratulations, Megan and your Middle College students, on your groundbreaking work in this area!