Digital belts on ninja avatars

  • Dear Zen Masters =)

    I just wanted to write down here some ideas for the Zen platform.

    • It would be super awesome to have a ninja avatar below the profile picture. We can have different avatars for kids and mentors.
    • If kids could earn digital belts (just like the digital badges) and dress their avatars with these belts, that would be amazing! Then everyone can check out their cool avatars and the black belt that they earned during the latest Coolest Projects ;)
    • As a short term solution, is it possible to create digital badges for belts of different colors (white, yellow, red, green, blue, black)? We have recently started experimenting with physical wrist belts in our CoderDojo Waterloo. It would be awesome to have a digital version of these belts so any CoderDojo in the world could try it out as well.

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Hi Pavlo,

    Awesome ideas! As you may know our development team is pretty small so the avatar and avatar belt ideas are unlikely to be high up in our priority list for the minute. However, if you or any other volunteers (or friends) want to build out these, or any additional features to Zen, we’d love to get you set up and started :) With the avatars we’d need to look at the cost element for hosting on AWS before it’s built as well but it is something we have discussed previously internally as being a cool idea.

    On the belts/badges idea, USB Belts are an awesome rewarding mechanism for Dojos and we created badges for Dojos who couldn’t afford to purchase and reward USB Belts. As USB Belts (and their representative colours) are not based on universal criteria we decided against using this for badges as they must have specific criteria. Trying to homogenise the USB awards system would be incredibly difficult as it is open for each Dojo to set their own criteria for belts but we have given an outline that Dojos can use.

    Just out of interest what are the criteria of your belts and perhaps I can help you match them to current badges available! Check out the full list of badges here >>

    Thanks for the feedback, please keep it coming :)

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Also one more bit I forgot to mention, soon we are hoping to add the feature where Ninjas can pick their top 3 favourite badges to be displayed above others on their profile. Hoping this will also give kids a bit more pride in the badges they have!

  • Hi @Rosa-Langhammer!

    The challenges in our belt system are designed around the programming as well as soft skills.

    The programming skills have three levels (basic, intermediate and advanced) and the tools for these levels can be freely chosen by kids depending on what path they like to follow (games, websites, apps, Minecraft etc.). As a rough guideline, the basic tools are block-based programming languages, the intermediate ones - text-based programming languages, the advanced ones - professional software packages or modules. The examples of the tools and corresponding tutorials are also given for each path. We would like kids to explore different tools that’s why we only specify the level and let kids decide for themselves.

    The belts for soft skills are filled in between the programming belts. They focus on teamwork, contribution to the community and growth mindset. I think these are extremely important for kids development.

    My dilemma with badges is that they are only for specific tools while kids may have use many others (like Minecraft or Raspberry Pi). In addition, there are no badges for soft skills and I really would like to keep them. So the badges for belts would be ideal since it allows the flexibility for Dojos to implement their own challenges.

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Hi @Pavlo thanks for sending this, don’t know how I missed it this week :).

    Check out our badges page as we do have badges for soft skills and as for other badges please request any which you feel are missing.

    For digital badging standards we must keep a clear criteria for them to be recognisable but I’d be interested in hearing other community members opinions on this too as we can’t input clear criteria where different Dojos are setting different criteria.

    If anyone else has input on this please chime in :)

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