Opinion: APS digital badging experience needs improvement

Feature Photo By: Irl Paulalengan – The Aveda Instructor gave students a tour around the Aveda campus and clinic floor. She also explained purpose of each station. 

By: Irl Paulalengan, Review Staff

Becoming the bridge between students and career path is the main purpose of Digital Badging. But, do students really know about this program? Do students understand about this resources and benefits from it?

On Monday, January 29th, I went on a field trip with APS Digital Badging Program Learning Experience to learn a lot about the beauty industry.

Digital badging is a program that the Aurora Public Schools made for students to develop 21st-century skills, such as collaboration, critical thinking, information literacy, invention, and self-direction. Those skills could be shown from student’s work and behavior in class.

Invention is one of 5 Badges that the Digital Badges Program offers. To get one summit badge, students need to complete 4 sub-badges in that category. (Irl Paulalengan)

Kevin Reibau is the Director of Learning Resources for APS and he initiates the Digital Badging Program.

“So Kevin is my brother, and one night, we sat down at dinner time, and talked about how to connect these students with the opportunities to learn what’s next. And It’s kind of building up from there,” said Joann, Campus Director of Aveda Institute.

“Then I went to Josh [Kusch is the Specialist for Programs & Partnerships of APS College and Career Success] and we kind of work together to make this digital badging happen,” said Reibau.

While many of my friends didn’t know anything about Digital Badging, I’m privileged to get the Summit Digital Badge which gives me opportunities to meet up with Digital Badge Partners. My first Digital Badge Learning Experience is on an institute inside the beauty industry: Aveda Institute Denver.

When I first got on the bus, I found myself surrounded by middle schoolers. On our way there, I overheard a lot of conversation on how they don’t really know why they were going here, and they were just glad to get outside of the classroom. This made me believe that these students don’t really understand their purposes on going to Digital Badging Learning Experience.

Located in downtown Denver, Aveda Institute is a salon and spa that also offers specialist school. Here, students got a tour around the campus and their practical room, such as the salon and the massage center.

Personally, I liked this program and the experience I got, but I didn’t like the fact that the students on this trip were clueless to what they were doing.

Digital Badging Program is available for students from elementary school to high school. For me, this program is unnecessary for students below high school. Most of the student that went on this trip still don’t know what they wanted to do. Some of them even talked about how they don’t know anything about this, they just know that they go out from school.

“I like this trip. They show all of the haircut and hair treatment and stuff,” said April Aguina, an eighth-grader from Vista Peak. Only a handful of students were passionate about working in the beauty industry.

Students are quietly listening to the instructor inside of an esthiology classroom. The Aveda Students spent their first 9 months of school inside a classroom before they could start practice on clinic floor. (Irl Paulalengan)

Most of them just enjoyed being downtown. Hopefully, they learn something from it.

“I think [The Digital badge Learning Experience in Aveda Institute] was okay. It’s not that great but I think it was okay.,” said Carmen, a student from South Middle School.

When these students were asked about what field they want to work in for the future, many of them still don’t know and they are not really engaging with the sponsor at Aveda Institute.

I asked Josh why most of the students that got this digital badging learning experience were middle schoolers. He said that most of the high school students are more interested in job opportunities, not just career paths.

“We’re still trying to improve and ask our partner to provide more job opportunities, so more high schoolers could be on the program because now, we only have a few for high schoolers.”

Overall, I loved the opportunity to explore new things at Aveda Institute — cosmetology is one of the big passions I have. The only thing that could be improved is how this Digital Badge Program might be able to engage more students that are truly passionate about the field they are interested in, not just put some students on a bus to learn something that they do not really care about.

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