During the summer of 2016, 25 students from Parkway West High School experienced digital learning and badging with LRNG through Philadelphia Academies, Inc.’s Experience in Education internship program. The summer internship program is an extension of school year programming at Parkway West High School, which includes three years of in-school instruction and a school year practicum experience. Students who successfully complete all classes and activities are eligible to earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, a nationally recognized entry level credential for Early Childhood Education.
During the summer, Parkway West students worked at six different high quality childcare centers in West Philadelphia and Center City. The interns worked onsite Monday through Thursday, then participated in CDA-aligned professional development on Fridays on LRNG. Two playlists were developed for LRNG to support this work: ECE Health and Safety Basics and ECE Professional Skills. First year students participated in the Health and Safety Basics playlist, which consisted of Local and Digital XPs: FEMA Multihazard Planning for Childcare, CPR Training and Certification, Choking Hazards for Kids, Child Nutrition, Hand washing for Preschoolers, and Fire Safety. Second and Third year students participated in the more advanced ECE Professional Skills playlist, with six Digital XPs: Get Physical: Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Cognitive Development: It’s All in the Senses, Get Ready to Read! Early Literacy at Home, Getting to Know You! Self & Families, Social-Emotional Skills: You Are My Guide, and Investigate! Program Management & Professionalism. Curricular activities and CDA alignment were supported by the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC). The interns enjoyed the work, and found the badges challenging but rewarding. They enjoyed doing real world activities such as creating presentations and lesson plans based on what they learned, and liked the interactive component of conducting some of these lessons with their centers. LRNG helped the students codify and take ownership over their summer learning and knowledge acquisition. By the end of the summer, students learned how to include the digital badge on their resume as a way to talk about their new skills and knowledge.