Digital Badge Boards with Google Docs


Badges are pretty popular these days. There are a number of sites out that allow you to create and distribute badges. But today, I want to show you how you can create a pretty awesome digital badge board for your classroom using nothing more than Google Docs. Let’s get started!



First, we’ll go to Google and log into our Drive. From there, we’ll create a new Google Doc. I’m going to name this one Social Studies Badge Board. Since this board is meant to be digital, I’m going adjust the page size to give me a little more real estate to work with. Under FILE > PAGE SETUP, I can find the PAPER SIZE options. Using the TABLOID size option will greatly increase the amount of space I have on each page. You can also change the color of the page here, if you want your badge board to have a different color than the traditional white.

Now let’s start building the board. First, I’m going to go to the TABLE tab and select INSERT TABLE. I want my table to have seven columns across the page because I need one column for the student’s name, plus an additional column for each of the six badges they can earn. The number of rows you select will depend on the number of students you will be issuing badges to. For this demo, I’m just going to do a few students.

I’m going to turn the top row into the title. I’ll select all the columns and choose MERGE CELLS from the TABLE tab. Then I’ll give the entire row a background color and adjust the title text and size as needed.

I’ll add in my student names and tweak those cells a little too. Giving the entire column a background color and adjusting the text as needed. To allow me to make my badges a little bigger, I like to add some space above and below each student’s name.

Now it’s time to bring in the badges I have created. I have conveniently placed all my badges in a folder on my desktop. This makes it really easy for me to drag and drop them into the badge board. If you have any issues with drag and drop, you can also insert images using the INSERT IMAGE option found under the INSERT tab.

Notice I’m only inserting images into the top row. This is by design. I’m going to get my badges set up the way I want them in the top row and just copy and paste them into the rows that follow.

I want all the badges to appear grayed out until a student has completed all their work for that unit and has successfully earned their badge. So here’s the next step. I’m going to click on each badge and select IMAGE OPTIONS from the toolbar. Then under RECOLOR, I’ll select the grayscale option. Also, I personally like to turn the transparency down to about 50%. I’ll repeat this process for each badge. Once all my badges are grayed out, I’ll simply copy and paste them into the following rows.

If you’re like me and don’t like the seeing the dark lines between each cell, you can right click anywhere on your table and choose TABLE PROPERTIES and adjust the table borders accordingly.

So how do you issue badges? Well it’s as easy as two clicks. When John earns his Reconstruction Rock Star badge, I click on his badge, and then click the RESET IMAGE option on the toolbar. This turns the badge back to its original color and when John (or any other student) views this document, it will be pretty easy to see which students have earned which badges.

What makes Google a great tool for digital badges is how easy it is for students and parents to access it. Sharing your badge board is as easy as sharing a Google Doc. Just make sure in the sharing settings, that other’s rights are set to VIEW ONLY, so they can’t make any changes to your badge board. Now you can share the link to digital badge board with students on your Google Classroom or even post it on your classroom web site.


Screen Shot 2012-05-02 at 2.40.29 PM


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