Planet Badges

Hand Crafted Open Badges Display

Chris McAvoy

Sun Sep 21 2014 20:35:02 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Earning an Open Badge is easy, there’s plenty of places that offer them, with more issuers signing up every day. Once you’ve earned an open badge, you can push it to your backpack, but what if you want to include the badge on your blog, or your artisanal hand crafted web page?

You could download the baked open badge and host it on your site. You could tell people it’s a baked badge, but using that information isn’t super easy. Last year, Mike Larsson had a great idea to build a JS library that would discover open badges on a page, and make them dynamic so that a visitor to the page would know what they were, not just a simple graphic, but a full-blown recognition for a skill or achievement.

Since his original prototype, the process of baking a badge has changed, plus Atul Varma built a library to allow baking and unbaking in the browser. This summer, Joe Curlee and I took all these pieces, prototypes and ideas and pulled them together into a single JS library you can include in a page to make the open badges on that page more dynamic.

There’s a demo of the library in action on Curlee’s Github. It shows a baked badge on the page, when you click the unbake button, it takes the baked information from the image and makes the badge dynamic and clickable. We added the button to make it clear what was happening on the page, but in a normal scenario, you’d just let the library do it’s thing and transform the badges on the page automatically. You can grab the source for the library on Github, or download the compiled / minified library directly.

There’s lot’s more we can do with the library, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [58]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 19 2014 17:26:02 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly roundup of badging news, updates and chatter.

Here’s what went on this week:

  • On the community project call, Lipscomb University’s Charla Long shared the work Lipscomb has been doing with badges for prior learning and workplace readiness - check out the summary and audio to learn more;
  • Jay Young published an essay about potential “pathways to accreditation for competency-based and online education advocates,” inspired in part by an approach modeled at Concordia University Wisconsin. Read more here;

  • Michael Roth at the Atlantic wrote a critical piece on the weaknesses of nano-degrees that capture only a particular skill set, particularly in liberal arts colleges that seek to create well-rounded learners. Read more and add your thoughts in the comments section here;
  • Over on EdSurge, Steve Palley wrote an opinion piece on the broken college admissions system, with a number of suggestions for fixing it, including alternatives and supplements to higher education such as online learning and badges;

  • A piece on University World News looks at the value of the diploma to employers - something we often talk about in the badging community. Interestingly, Sean Gallagher argues that, “beyond a measure of technical skills and general knowledge alone, degrees are often favourable indicators of softer yet critical attributes such as perseverance, meeting deadlines, acculturation and leadership ability,” contradicting many of the employers and recruiters our community has spoken to. An interesting read!
  • Meris Stansbury, Managing Editor at eCampus News, listed 9 critical issues to consider for those interested in digital badges - check them out here. Do you agree? Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #openbadges

  • One of our biggest European badge-vocates, Flavio Escribano, wrote a piece on how Open Badges can help map human knowledge. Read the English version here, or the original in Spanish here.

A thought-provoking list to start your weekend! We hope everyone enjoys the crisper weather (if, like some of us, the seasons are well and truly changing) and we’ll see you all next week!

Open Badges Community Project Call, September 17, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 18 2014 20:38:04 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, September 17, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCSept10

This week we heard from Charla Long, Dean of the College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University, about how Lipscomb has been using badges to reimagine credentialing and prior learning assessment for their liberal arts college.

Lipscomb University began looking at competency-based learning in response to an industry need for a new skills currency that could convey graduates’ competencies to potential employers. Traditional transcripts just “don’t cut it,” according to Charla Long, at least not from a higher education perspective. A badge backpack or digital competency report, on the other hand, better communicates to external consumers exactly what students know and can do.

Lipscomb’s Badge Journey

Employers needed new ways to evaluate graduates that highlight important skills and competencies relevant to the workplace: in a 2011 study, it was found that 84% of employers felt graduates were “underprepared” for the workplace. If a traditional degree or transcript can’t provide enough specific information, both graduates and employers miss out on chances to connect talent with opportunities for success.

Students are also highly impacted by gaming and motivated to “level up;” the team at Lipscomb sought to capitalize on the influence of games within education. Badges can help show learners how to progress towards a degree as well as tracking the journey and providing detailed information about the process.

By looking deeply at competency as a basis for credentialing, Lipscomb University began to see every workplace role as being, at its simplest level, a unique combination and levels of the following competencies: Knowledge, Skills, Ability, Attitude. Lipscomb’s role is to identify what learners need to be successful in the roles they are hoping to fulfill.

Lipscomb’s Polaris Competency Model, outlined below, breaks down 41 key competencies across 7 categories:

This breakdown allows for flexibility and customization for particular programs of study and for individual learners’ needs. This allows learners to pursue exactly what they need for a particular career, and employers can clearly see what candidates have achieved, their level of mastery for particular skills, and what soft skills they have been recognized for, including leadership, communication, and management skills.

Charla also talked about the power of badges to empower learners: many of their learners are not degree-seekers, but are working through individual modules according to their needs and capacity. They can then pursue a broader learning experience and credential if they so choose.

Lipscomb currently offers 164 badges in their ‘base inventory,’ and provides students with a competency report that can embed into social media and electronic job-seeking platforms, acting as a transcript of a learner’s badge achievements that allow employers to see what candidates know and can do.

Employer Focus Groups

In a set of employer focus groups, Charla worked with a number of managers and senior managers, engaging them in a number of collaborative and competitive activities over the course of an 8-hour day, assessing various competencies and behaviors to get a sense of their overall performance throughout the day.

The participating employers were given an evaluation and feedback, where they were shown how the work they had done during the exercises could count for academic credit at an undergraduate level through competency badges. There are many employers and manager in the workforce that may not have finished their degree but have years of relevant experience - for them, Charla said it was a revelation to know that what they’d done and learned could count as credit. These focus groups made an explicit connection between skills, badges, and credit, highlighting badge value in both an educational and workplace setting.

These kinds of connections are vital to increasing badge system growth and adoption - and Lipscomb has already seen results. In her June presentation to participants in the Open Badges MOOC, Charla told the group that Lipscomb was talking to an employer considering sending 9,700 people through Lipscomb’s badged modules!

To learn more about Lipscomb’s core competency model, click here. You can contact Charla Long directly via email with questions and comments.

Jay Young | Improving Competency-Based and Online Education

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 18 2014 19:18:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Jay Young | Improving Competency-Based and Online Education:

"Improving Competency-Based and Online Education" is an essay by Jay Young, written about potential “pathway to accreditation for competency-based and online education advocates,” inspired in part by an approach modeled at Concordia University Wisconsin.

Below is an excerpt where Young talks about the role badges play in this pathway:

Competency is a big need in most jobs and one way competency is being determined at the professional level is through badges.  Badges in education and business are very similar to the badges system used within the Boy Scouts of America.  However, instead of the badge being sewn onto a sash or worn on a shirt, it is digital and an “online representation of a skill [an individual has] earned” (Mozilla Open Badges, 2014).  What makes these badges different is that they “[allow the individual] to verify [their] skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations” (2014).  One way this works is if Google needs to have employees with certain skills, they could create a badge and allow individuals both inside and outside of the organization to progress towards achieving it.  Once the qualifications have been met, Google would grant the badge and the individual would have proof of a skill they have acquired.  With this method, badges could allow crowd-sourcing to verify the competence of an individual and determine at what level their competence really resides.  What this means is that in order for a badge to be earned, certain competency thresholds must be not only be met but be “visible and validate[d] … in both formal and informal settings” (MacArthur Foundation, 2014).   What makes this viable is that “the system is based on an open standard, [so an individual] can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of [their] achievement … and display [them] wherever [the individual] wants them on the web, and share them for employment, education, or lifelong learning” (Mozilla Open Badges, 2014).  Think of the power that a partnership between universities and businesses in creating and overseeing badges would bring to the academic and professional arenas.

To read the essay in full, click here.

Follow Jay Young on Twitter: @SpritedLearner

Badge Alliance Exec. Director Erin Knight speaking at a Hot Lunch Talk in Denver, CO

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 12 2014 17:49:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Today, Erin will be presenting to the Donnell-Kay & Piton Foundations for their September 12th Hot Lunch:

"Not Just for the Scouts: The Potential of Digital Badges in Documenting Learning"

Description: Digital Badges are beginning to gain traction in the documentation of learning skills and accomplishments in an expanding learning environment. Come join us as we explore what digital badges are, how they are presently being used across many learning environments, and how they might serve learners in the future.

"Hot Lunch" is a lunchtime discussion series, co-sponsored by DK and the Piton Foundation. These discussions are designed to engage Colorado education, policy and business leaders in conversation about the current national challenges and promising practices in education today.

Go Badges! Go Erin!

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [57]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 12 2014 16:07:07 GMT+0000 (UTC)

How’s it going, badgers?

We hope everyone has had a great week - but before we let you go for the weekend, here’s the Badger Beats!

The Open Badges Directory is here! On Wednesday’s community call, the Directory Working Group chair, Kerri Lemoie, made the announcement and walked us through the live prototype - you can start searching for badges at app.achievery.com/discover

More information can be found at directory.openbadges.org

Here’s the audio and summary of that call, and here’s a blog post on Achievery’s role in the project.

How exciting! What else happened this week?

  • Dr. Bernard Bull announced that, as of August 2014, Concordia University Wisconsin is offering the first online master’s degree in Ed Tech that is built around competency-based digital badges - read more here;

  • In higher ed, the folks from the UK’s Centre for Recording Achievement made a presentation to the Australian National Project: Curate, credential and carry forward digital learning evidence, led by Kathryn Coleman at Deakin - watch that presentation here;

  • This blog post from a “student skeptic” looks at badges in higher education and has been generating lots of Twitter chatter - What Open Badges Say About Universities: A Student Perspective;

  • Mark Anderson wrote a blog post on digital badges as “an emerging ecosystem of evidence” - read more here;

  • Badge issuers will now be able to integrate Credly with MailChimp, allowing badge issuers to award badges through email lists, track badge campaigns, and schedule badging communications using MailChimp;
  • If you haven’t seen it yet, go check out What Counts as Learning, a new research report from Sheryl Grant responding to early badge system design in the ecosystem.

That’s all from us - if you’ve got something badgeriffic to share, be sure to Tweet it out using the hashtag #openbadges!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 10, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 12 2014 13:09:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 10, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCSept10

This week we were joined by Achievery CTO Kerri Lemoie, who has also been leading the efforts of the Badge Alliance Directory Working Group to build a global directory of open badges.

From Discovery to Directory

We’ve seen and heard a lot of great things from the Mozilla Discovery team this year. In June 2014, Chloe Varelidi joined the community call to announce the launch of a prototype of Mozilla Discover, a pathway tool that connects open badges to young people’s education, skills and experiences, character traits and interests.

The Open Badges Directory “is a prototype of an un-opinionated storage and retrieval system (API) for Open Badges and an open source community project,” created during the Discovery Project as a collaboration between Mozilla and Achievery, seated in the Badge Alliance Working Group:

The Badge Alliance’s Open Badges Directory is openly available code that enables any platform to begin to do the same.

This week, Achievery launched it’s beta version of a  search and index of learning through Open Badges.  As of today, Achievery provides a simple index and search engine for learning opportunities that are compatible with the open standards.

Take a look here: http://achievery.com/discover

image

Currently, the Directory only indexes badge classes. It is possible to search for badge classes, tags (such as ‘coding’ below), issuers, and badge name within the Directory right now. Future plans include being able to search for badge instances, endorsements, and pathways, to get a broader view of someone’s learning beyond individual badges.

image

"Badge class" refers to information about types of badges, as opposed to a "badge instance" which refers to an individual earner’s awarded badge that is in their Backpack. See below for more detail on what Badge Class means according to the Open Badge Standard:

image

We’ve seen increasing numbers of badge earners and issuers over the past couple of years, but for those wishing to search for badges, we’ve had little to offer - until now. The Directory group has now built “the early technical infrastructure to make a Directory of Open Badges a reality" and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities for this prototype!

Badge issuers can go ahead and register their badges with the Directory to allow them to better connect learners with opportunities for earning badges.

Badge Issuers: Find out how to register your badges here

Other ways to get involved include spreading the word via social media, using the Directory API on your web sites, and getting involved with the Directory Working Group within the Badge Alliance.

Comments or questions? Get in touch with the Directory team at team@achievery.com or directory-support@badgealliance.org

For more information, check out Kerri’s slides from the community call presentation, or this blog post over on Achievery.com

Collaboration with Lorena Barba's Python MOOC and Open edX

Re-mediating Assessment

Tue Sep 09 2014 01:50:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

By James Willis and Daniel Hickey

In this post, we discuss a new collaboration between Dr. Lorena Barba and her team at George Washington University, Open edX, IU's Center for Research on Learning and Technology, and IBL Studios. This collaboration will implement digital badges in Dr. Barba's new MOOC, "Practical Numerical Methods with Python."



As part of our new MacArthur-funded project, we are happy to announce a new collaboration between Lorena Barba and her team, Ned Batchelder and others at Open edX, IU's Center for Research on Learning and Technology, and IBL Studios. This effort includes building in badging capability with Dr. Barba's recently-launched massive open online course (MOOC), "Practical Numerical Methods with Python," on the Open edX platform. The press release from George Washington University details the structure of the course and the shared teaching responsibilities from universities in Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Chile. Dr. Barba is an Associate Professor of Engineering at GW, and effort has been multiple departments. Starting this August, over 2,800 students enrolled in the course.

Lorena Barba

The collaborative effort to build-in and issue digital badges is based upon the findings of the Design Principles Documentation project and is a project undertaken in the Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond initiative. The CRLT will provide a twofold mode of support for digital badges to Dr. Barba's MOOC: technology (facilitating coding in Open edX) and pedagogy (purposeful implementation, evidence, and assessment). Initial challenges to issuing badges include assessing student progress in specific, cumulative skills learned, assuring individual identity verification and management, and keeping open materials within the evidence of outcomes.

Exploiting one of the most important features of open badges, this collaboration aims to advance the inclusion of actual course artifacts in the badges that students earn for completing modules and the course.  The GW team were intrigued by links to completed "wikifolios" in the badges issued in Indiana's Big Open Online Course within the Google Course Builder platform.  But, Dr. Barba quickly recognized the impossibility of viewing public pages in Open edX (because a log-in authentication is needed); however, she quickly suggested a work-around by linking work to student course work in GitHub because the pages are publicly viewable. As far as we know, this is the first time anyone has considered using links to student work in GitHub as evidence in digital badges. This is a promising start because it might link the open coding context of GitHub with open badges.




The collaborative team has set the goal of issuing digital badges by mid-November to students who complete built-in assessments with proficiency. In the long-term, our collaboration will build toward gradual, but wide-ranging, stand-alone implementation across the Open edX platform and beyond. With a firm commitment to open education, our collaboration ambitiously hopes to integrate digital badging across multiple platforms from a future case library of lessons learned. We will write about the successes and challenges so our efforts may be patterned by others in the near future.


Breaking News in the Badgeosphere: You Can Now Earn a Master’s Degree in EdTech Through Competency-Based Digital Badges

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Mon Sep 08 2014 13:26:31 GMT+0000 (UTC)

We are thrilled to share this news from one of our favorite badgers, Dr. Bernard Bull, who has been hinting at this badged master’s program all year. The following excerpt is from his blog, Etale.

Read the post in full here.

**********************************************************************************

As of August 2014, Concordia University Wisconsin is offering the first (to the best of my knowledge) online master’s degree in educational technology that is built around competency-based digital badges. That means that you earn your master’s degree along with a series of digital badges, each of which represent new knowledge and skill that you are developing as you work through the courses and program. This also means that you are gaining new micro-credentials (digital badges) even before you finish a full course. These are credentials that you can display online as evidence of your growing competence and perhaps your qualification for a new position for your current employer, or evidence of your skill for that future dream job.

Throughout your study, it is possible to earn 50+ digital badges that represent your competence in diverse areas. Each badge comes with an attractive visual design and important data attached to it denoting who issued it, what competency you met, and exactly what you needed to do to earn the badge. These are quality badges because each one represent solid evidence of knowledge and skill in a designated area. Here is a sample of badges that you can earn during this program.

  • Project-based Learning
  • Game-based Learning
  • Evaluating Tools and Technologies
  • Service Learning with Technology
  • Digital Literacy
  • Careers in Educational Design and Technology
  • Building a Personal Learning Network
  • Mind-Brain Education
  • Technology, Culture and The Human Experience
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Integrating Technology Models
  • Learning Experience Design Foundations
  • Social Media for Teaching and Learning
  • Internet Safety and Online Identity Management
  • Foundations of Educational Design and Technology Ethics
  • Data Versus Trend-based Decisions in Education

These badges are embedded into 3-credit online courses that last for eight weeks. During each course, you have the challenge and opportunity to earn 4-6 competency-based badges. You earn these badges by completing one or more applied and practical projects that show your competence. Depending upon the time that you can devote to the program, it is possible to earn the degree in 1 to 2 years.

Sample Competency-based Badges from the CUW Online EDT Program

**********************************************************************************

Kudos to Dr. Bull and the team at Concordia for putting together such a rigorous badged program. We’re super excited to see how this work will pave the way for more badged programs in higher ed and beyond.

For more details on the course, click here.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [56]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 05 2014 15:19:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hey there, badgers!

Here’s your weekly roundup of badging news, updates and more:

  • On this week’s community project call, Emily Armstrong shared the work at Hull College in the UK to digitize their employability skills seal as an open badge - here’s the summary;

  • Also in the UK, the University of Brighton is starting to explore badges - read more here;
  • Your company loves it when you learn a new skill, and will give you a badge to prove it:" The Association for Talent Development (ASTD) published a piece on how badges are being used to motivate learning at the Deloitte Leadership Academy, an online learning environment for the company’s leaders - read more here;

  • Lastly, check out these awesome youth sports reporters earning badges through Digital Me in the UK:

That’s it from us this week - see you after the weekend!

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 3, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 04 2014 12:06:03 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 3, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCSept3

This week we heard from Emily Armstrong, Libraries and eLearning Manager at Hull College in the UK, where they have been exploring the benefits of digitizing their professional passport for employability as an open badge. The HCUK Employability Seal Open Badges Project is part of a larger Jisc project focused on Open Badges. The project began in April 2014 and the team is now at the evaluation stage, where they will gather feedback over the next six months.

The Progression Passport enables “students to keep a record of the skills they have developed and the industry-relevant training received at Hull College. This will allow [the] students to show employers that they are ready to work and will help employers to recruit the right staff with the right skills and attitude.”

The ‘Employability Skills Seal’ is our endorsement that a student has passed all levels required, including challenging high levels of attendance and punctuality. It demonstrates to employers that they stand out from the crowd by having the skills and qualities they are looking for.

Open Badges are issued to students upon completion of the HCUK Progression Passport and act as an online representation of the skills they have developed and their level of work readiness. By making this employability seal digital, they hope to improve student motivation and encourage employers to recognize the badges, which were broken down into three levels (Gold / Silver / Bronze).

The criteria for earning the badge included attendance, punctuality, and other desirable employability traits. Students’ progress was tracked using a diary-style notebook as well as a digital learning plan system, both of which captured students’ ability to set and work towards self-assigned goals and objectives as well as their attendance and punctuality. The goals were set according to SMART targets and monitored by the students’ tutors (advisers).

The Hull College team also provided students with a help sheet that showed them how to display their earned badges through social networking and web sites, as well as platforms such as LinkedIn and online portfolios. They also told local employers to look out for the badges, helping to bridge a gap that many education-based badge systems face, which is employer awareness and acceptance of the badges earned.

The team worked closely with a recruitment agency, and received a positive response to the badge from them – Emily reported that recruiters were excited about the ability to click through a badge and gain more detail about potential candidates. They are about to enter the next phase of the project, which will include surveying employers and students to gather feedback that will inform future iterations of the badge(s). They want to determine what employers think of the badges beyond the recruiters they’ve already worked with, as well as finding out whether students have found the badges useful since completing the course.

To stay up to date with this project and see the feedback being gathered by the surveys the team is putting together, check out the project blog at http://hcukseal.wordpress.com.

Emily’s Prezi outlining the project is available here - http://prezi.com/sepdbxzexsk6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Chris McAvoy | Open Badges and JSON-LD

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 04 2014 11:54:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Chris McAvoy | Open Badges and JSON-LD:

The BA standard working group has had adding extensions to the OB assertion specification high on its roadmap this summer. We agreed that before we could add an extension to an assertion or Badge Class, we needed to add machine readable schema definitions for the 1.0 standard.

Check out this new blog post from Badge Alliance Director of Technology Chris McAvoy, which outlines the progress of the Open Badge Standard Working Group with the Open Badges assertion specification.

The group has gone from exploring to experimenting with JSON-LD, which “builds linked data semantics on the JSON specification., and adds several key features to JSON.”

Click the link above to read the full blog post.

The Open Badges Infrastructure

Chris McAvoy

Wed Sep 03 2014 19:26:56 GMT+0000 (UTC)

First things first, what do we mean when we say “Open Badges Infrastructure?” Infrastructure is a bit of a loaded term, you can interpret it as servers, you could interpret it as software, or both hardware, software, internet…all the things. We’ll make this easy and say that the Open Badges technical Infrastructure is all the things that make it possible to earn or issue an Open Badge.

“All the things” is an easy answer to the question, “what is the open badges infrastructure?” but it doesn’t help much when we’re trying to push the infrastructure forward, when we’re trying to grow the ecosystem. Given a technical infrastructure need, how does the Badge Alliance, and the Open Badges community, figure out the best way to address the need? If the OBI is “all the things,” who could support it without turning the OBI into a silo’d badge system?

When we asked what role the Badge Alliance would play in the OBI, we knew that the OBI needed a shepherd organization that could help the members of the OB community coordinate their efforts maintaining the long-term health of the OBI. So how do we decide what actions fit into that model? What parts of the OBI are fair game for the BA to directly touch, which parts can we influence, which parts should we stay away from entirely?

We built a three-tier model that represents all the pieces of the OBI,

OB Infrastructure 3 Tiers

The first layer of the tier is the Open Badges standard. If you’re issuing an Open Badge, you’re relying on the standard to make the badge interoperable, transportable and verifiable. It’s the layer that all the other layers of the OBI rely on.

The second layer is libraries and tools that interact with the standard. Badge issuing libraries, validation libraries, badge bakers, tools that you download and install on your machine, or use as a dependency to build a bigger tool, fit in this layer.

Lastly, the top layer is userland. The marketplace. All the hosted services that interact with badge earners, with badge issuers and with badge consumers. It relies on the layers below it, and covers them up. A student earning a badge never knows that layers one and two exist, they just know that they received a badge and are storing it in their backpack.

Given the three layer model of the OBI, the Badge Alliance realized that it’s absolutely vital that we take a very active role in the maintenance of the first layer – the OB Standard, a less active role in the library layer, and a purely advisory role in the top userland layer.

Like all frameworks, it’s possible to find edge cases that break the model, but for most cases, it’s a solid way to judge what actions the BA should take in the maintenance of the OBI. Sunny and I will write more over the next couple of weeks about exactly how the BA will play in the three tiers.

New Project: Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond

Re-mediating Assessment

Sat Aug 30 2014 20:43:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

by Daniel Hickey
This post introduces our newest project with open digital badges.  The project got quietly underway in July 2014 with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning initiative. We are actively seeking collaborators and are in a position to help innovators in higher ed who want to implement open digital badges and other related digital innovations.


If you are reading this blog then you likely know about open digital badges.  These are the web-enabled micro-credentials that are changing the way that learning is recognized in both formal schools and informal settings. Digital badges have proven particularly popular in higher education.  Hundreds of colleges and universities are using them to recognize a wide range of learning. They have obvious appeal for recognizing learning in MOOCs. For example, Deakin University used Credly to issue badges in one of their MOOCs. Some universities like Purdue are awarding badges for formal course completion. Others like Indiana are using badges (and Purdue's Passport system) to recognize faculty professional development.  Still, others like Michigan are using badges to recognize "co-curricular" learning outcomes. I got really ambitions with badges in my Big Open Online Course that Google supported.


Beyond Badgekit 
My new research project at the IU Center for Research on Learning & Technology aims to support widespread and effective uses of digital badges systems and related digital innovations in higher education. The project is called Badgekit and Beyond in Open edX and Beyond.  This is because we are starting with the Open edX platform and with the Badgekit badge issuing API developed by Chris MacEvoy at Mozilla. Nate Otto, Thomas Smith, and I started working in Summer 2014 with Chris and with Ned Batchelder at Open edX and we now have some basic functionality in place.

Karthik Bangera has since taken over programming from Thomas; Dr. James Willis just joined the CRLT as a Research Associate and is taking over project coordination from Nate. This new team is currently working with several instructors who are offering MOOCs in edX and have asked us to help them issue badges for module and course completion. We are currently trying to line up additional instructors and institutions using Open edX to collaborate with.  As long as they will let us share their ideas and practices with others in our open case library, we can probably help them out.

Beyond edX
Once we get the Open edX badging system
in place and are working with projects on that platform, we aim to turn our attention to other platforms, starting with Google's Course Builder and Instructure's Canvas.  There was a lot of interest in badges in the GCB workshop in Zurich this summer and we are working with Google to make some of the innovations we developed in our Big Open Online Course (starting with wikifolios) as primary features in that platform.  Additionally, we are already working with Canvas at IU and hope to use our current collaboration with Indiana University High School to pilot badges there before installing them in Indiana's version of Canvas. Afterwards, hopefully badges will be used in multiple universities participating in the Unizin Consortium.

We are pretty excited about all of the interest in badges in higher ed.  I am going to Australia to present at a national meeting in November at Deakin University and am also planning to meet with innovators at the University of Sydney and Australia National University in Canberra.  Higher educators around the world are recognizing that badges are much more than certificates or grades.  Specifically, they are seeing that digital badges can contain specific claims and detailed evidence supporting those claims.  They are also seeing that open digital badges allow this information to circulate in digital social networks. Many are also discovering that this makes open digital badges potentially transformative and routinely disruptive.

Open Badges and JSON-LD

Chris McAvoy

Sat Aug 30 2014 11:34:48 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The BA standard working group has had adding extensions to the OB assertion specification high on its roadmap this summer. We agreed that before we could add an extension to an assertion or Badge Class, we needed to add machine readable schema definitions for the 1.0 standard.

We experimented with JSON-Schema, then JSON-LD. JSON-LD isn’t a schema validator, it’s much more. It builds linked data semantics on the JSON specification. JSON-LD adds several key features to JSON, most of which you can play around with in the JSON-LD node module.

  1. Add semantic data to a JSON structure, link the serialized object to an object type definition.
  2. Extend the object by linking to multiple object type definitions.
  3. A standard way to flatten and compress the data.
  4. Express the object in RDF.
  5. Treat the objects like a weighted graph.

All of which are features that support the concept behind the Open Badges standard very well. At its core, the OB standard is a way for one party (the issuer) to assert facts about another party (the earner). The assertion (the badge) becomes portable and displayable at the discretion of the owner of the badge.

JSON-LD is also quickly becoming the standard method of including semantic markup on html pages for large indexers like Google. Schema.org now lists JSON-LD examples alongside RDFa and Microdata. Google recommends using JSON-LD for inclusion in their rich snippet listings.

We’ve been talking about JSON-LD on the OB standard working group calls for a while now. It’s starting to feel like consensus is forming around inclusion of JSON-LD markup in the standard. This Tuesday, September 2nd 2014, we’ll meet again to collectively build a list of arguments for and against the move. We’ll also discuss a conditional rollout plan (conditional in that it will only be executed if we get the thumbs up from the community) and identify any gaps we need to cover with commitments from the community.

It’s going to be a great meeting, if you’re at all interested in JSON-LD and Open Badges, please join us!

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [55]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 29 2014 22:13:17 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Happy Friday, badgers! Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly list of blog posts, events and announcements from the open badges community.

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

  • On this week’s community call, Brandon “BK” Klevence joined us to share the work the Free Library of Philadelphia has been doing this summer to develop badges with the teens they serve - check out a summary here;

  • This week, KPMG, one of the leading providers of professional accounting services in the UK, announced they will be backing the  iDEA Award that encourages youth to develop their own business ventures - read more here;

  • University World News published a piece on a global quality platform to review non-traditional higher education providers, which, if successful, could have an interesting effect on the badging ecosystem;

  • A new piece from Edudemic discusses the ways badges could “really work in education” - read more here;

Don’t forget to vote for the open badges panel submissions for SXSWedu - read about our panels here - and check out the Connected Learning Alliance’s list of SXSWedu submissions here.

Have a great long weekend, folks! See you all on Tuesday…!

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 29 2014 08:18:35 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug27

BK joined this week’s community call to share what the Free Library of Philadelphia has been doing this summer with their teen participatory design badging program. 

The Free Library team developed 4 different badges around the college readiness process through the lens of creative maker projects in association with the Maker Jawn initiative, a team of artists, engineers, designers, and thinkers who work in libraries in Philadelphia.

Documenting summer learning and career readiness

Working with libraries in low-income neighborhoods as part of the North Philadelphia Library Cluster, the team led afterschool and summer activities in partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN).

The program served approximately 70 teens at 9 library locations working with 20 or so maker mentors and college prep specialists helping the students with SAT prep and scholarship applications.

The four badges created by the team were:

  • Community / team building
  • Creator / inventing
  • Presence / presenting
  • Life / being

The badge program was aimed at middle school students, although the team found that the high school students PYN hired to help with the program were designing badges for themselves, looking to college and career readiness, rather than skill-building badges for the younger students - perhaps offering an interesting insight into what the teens thought badges were most valuable for.

The teens created a number of physical badges and presented their badge projects to the larger group. Some of the teens also used online badge builders to create digital versions of the badges. The team took their badge projects and funneled them into actionable items that could guide those pursuing badges.

Participatory Design

The teens worked in groups, using prompts to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and community impact. From these, they created badge designs, projects and evidence to present to a larger group. A badging template was used to help guide the teens, and they were able to provide feedback on each others badge project presentations

Passport for Documentation

The team came up with the idea of creating a book for each student, to act as a passport for documenting the activities they participated in over the summer. This involved both the physical creation and customization of a journal, as well as filling it with documentation of interviews, artistic creations, online tests, critiques of others’ work, time management skill development, and other markers of progress from the summer’s activities.

The Free Library team’s goal with developing a prototype set of badges was to give the youth a means of documentation for their activities that they could take with them - not just physically, but digitally - beyond the program and onwards to high school, college, and careers. The portable and transferable method of recognizing skills offered by badges meant they were a natural fit for this program, and it will be interesting to see how it develops as the team rolls out the badges.

You can view the prototype of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s 21st Century Skills Youth Badging Program here: http://collegeprep.wpengine.com/

What a good iDEA!

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Aug 26 2014 20:22:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Earlier this year, The Duke of York and Nominet Trust announced the launch of a new initiative to encourage young people to start their own business ventures.

This week, KPMG, one of the leading providers of professional accounting services in the UK, announced they will be backing the initiative, which is aiming to help more than one million UK youth develop digital skills and business ideas over the next five years:

KPMG plus Barclays, MicrosoftTelefónica (O2), Mozilla, Salesforce.com, Silicon Valley Bank and University of Huddersfield have given their support to iDEA – the inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, which has been devised by The Duke of York and Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder.

iDEA has been created to help 14-25-year-olds develop their digital, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills, boost the confidence of young people and increase their employability status.

Young people taking part in the iDEA award scheme will have their skills and achievements recognised through open badges - a new global standard to recognise skills and achievements across the web. In addition to the three core iDEA badges, many of the new partners will sponsor their own open badge and offer participants in the programme the chance to carry out online tasks in order to earn one.

A full launch of the initiative will happen in October 2014.

For more information, visit onemillionyoungideas.org.uk

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [54]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Aug 23 2014 16:53:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Happy weekend, badgers! We didn’t manage to get the Beats out yesterday while the Badge Alliance team were traveling back from a week-long sprint in Maine - more on what came out of the week soon.

Here’s what happened while we were in Vacationland…

  • Former badger Doug Belshaw wrote about Open Badges on his blog, raising the question of whether badges are like “3D printing for credentials.” Read more here;
  • EdWeek took a look at the Pearson white paper, Open Badges Are Unlocking the Emerging Jobs Economy - more info here;
  • Credly and Pathbrite announced a partnership that will bring verified digital badges and credentials to academic and professional portfolios;

Mozilla also announced that the deadline for submitting proposals for MozFest has been extended to August 29th! If you’re interested in being a part of the Open Badges floor this year, get those submissions in by next Friday.

Now, quick - go enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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Open Badges Community Project Call, August 20, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 22 2014 17:58:23 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 20, 2014:

Speaker:

  • Tom Welch, Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug20

Tom Welch, a former Kentucky high school teacher and principal, describes himself as “an education futurist committed to the transition from the Age of Schooling to the Age of Learning.” He co-directed a program this summer where his students used open badges to earn performance-based high school credits.

The Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) is one of 3 “Governor’s Schools” operating in Kentucky. It is an intense summer learning experience, which this year had 59 high school students. These students - referred to as ‘Entrepreneurs’ or simply ‘Es’ but never ‘students’ while in the program - spent three weeks in residence on the campus of a Kentucky college. Using the “Business Model Canvas" as a template, the Entrepreneurs worked in 12 teams to launch a startup. At the end of the three weeks, they pitched to a panel of outside judges and were awarded a total of $1000. The top five teams were invited to present their business idea to The Lexington Venture Club, and now negotiations for funding are now underway for some of those teams.

Tom has co-directed the program for the past 2 years, led by an interest in performance-based credentialing, and in “bridging the gap between independent learning and high school credentials”

The goals of the GSE are:

  • to recognize summer learning
  • to create an environment focused on developing independent, autonomous learners
  • to reinforce idea that there was no upper limit to learning, and that their success as an entrepreneur was linked to their knowledge base

Tom wanted to give learners the option to credential their learning with badges, recognizing the connection between competency-based / performance-based learning and badges.

Staff at the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) designed four open badges that align with the Open Badge Standard:

  • Design Thinking/Prototype Development
  • Value Proposition/Customer Engagement
  • Revenue Model/Financial Planning and Sustainability
  • Channels/Key Partners and Resources

Es who earned all four of these badges were awarded the GSE Master Badge. Tom and his team worked with staff from the Kentucky Department of Education and individual schools to negotiate credit opportunities for those who had earned the GSE Master Badge. While the actual awarding of credits is up to the individual schools, Kentucky is one of the many US states which has provisions for “Performance-based Credits.” Tom has found that many educators are unaware of regulations that allow for performance-based credentialing during his time working with the GSE.

The GSE uses a formative assessment approach, believing it reflects ongoing learning much better than summative assessment. By assessing Es along the way – looking at participation, conversation, engagement, ability to relate course content to outside experiences etc. as well as written documentation of their experiences in ‘component sheets’ – they are able to identify areas needing more focused learning and concentrate the young entrepreneurs’ efforts to those things they are less competent with. For those schools who had questions about what the badges represent and wanted to see more than the assessment and evidence within the badges, these component sheets can be used as ‘backup evidence.’

Both learners and the schools seem to be responding well to badging – of the 60 or so students, 42 earned enough badges throughout the program to seek academic credit. The program directors have been working with KY Department of Education and their Department of Innovation from the beginning, increasing awareness of the program and its badges as well as educating others on the benefits of badges. A former teacher working at one of the schools even contacted all other schools that had students who wanted credit for their badges, to inform and guide those schools in the process.

This is the first time in Kentucky that Open Badges have been tied to the assessments within Governor’s Schools, and the first time that academic credit has been possible for a group of students from different districts who learned independently together during the summer. It’s great to see badges being used to successfully bridge the gap between in- and out-of-school learning using performance-based, formative assessment methods.

To learn more about the Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, click here.

Open Badges: 3D printing for credentials?

Doug Belshaw

Tue Aug 19 2014 20:10:48 GMT+0000 (UTC)

I haven’t written about Open Badges for a while, but something struck me on my daily walk this morning.

A lot of what’s holding people and organizations back when it comes to new forms of credentialing is outdated mental models and assumptions. No metaphor will be perfect, but they do allow us to look at things in new ways.

Take 3D printing as a metaphor for Open Badges, for example.

3D printing allows anyone to create things that would previously have been niche, hard to get, or just plain impossible to obtain. It allows for:

  • Reduction in costs (you only print what you need)
  • Bespoke solutions (you can tailor the 3D printed shape to solve a problem)
  • Creativity (you’re not limited to what other people have created)

I think the same is true of Open Badges. You’re not forced to purchase an off-the-shelf credentialing system. You can create something that is tailored to your learners and your context. And you can try things that are truly different when it comes to credentialing.

What do you think? Does 3D printing work as a metaphor for Open Badges and alternative credentialing? I’d be interested in your thoughts!

Image CC BY-NC-SA Craig Kaplan

Pearson to Issue Badges for Adobe Certified Associate Certification Program

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Aug 16 2014 17:01:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Pearson to Issue Badges for Adobe Certified Associate Certification Program:

You may have seen this exciting announcement from Pearson earlier in the week, but just in case you missed it - we’re happy to share the news with you!

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is issuing badges for the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification program via its badge platform, Acclaim. Badges will now be available to candidates who earn ACA certification for the Adobe Creative Cloud or Creative Suite 6. 

"ACA candidates excel in the digital media world and appreciate having proof of their skills in a format that can be managed and shared online," said Melissa Jones, world wide education program manager for Adobe. “By representing the ACA certification as a badge through Acclaim, we empower our students to take credit for and manage their achievements digitally.”

Jarin Schmidt, product lead for Acclaim added, “Acclaim badges help lower the cost of credential verification and enable ACA candidates to share their accomplishments in a verified fashion across the online destinations most relevant to them.”
We’re proud to see such industry leadership from Pearson and Adobe, and hope others follow suit in these badgeriffic endeavors!

To read more, click here.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [53]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 15 2014 19:43:58 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly roundup of updates, announcements, and writings on badges from our team and community.

Here’s what’s been going on this week:

  • Panel Picker is now open for SXSWedu 2015! Read about the panels we’ve submitted and cast your votes;

  • We’ve also compiled some sample tweets to share with your followers;

That’s it for us this week - what badgeriffic stuff have you been up to? Share with us here or on Twitter / Facebook using the hashtag #openbadges

See you all next week, folks. We hope you have a killer weekend!

…..get it? ;-)

Journal for the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 13, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Aug 14 2014 13:56:44 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 13, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug13

This week we were joined by Tom Wood, Director at RWA Group, one of the UK’s leading business and training consultancy firms, to talk about their e-learning platform, OBELISK, which awards badges and certificates to insurance brokers meeting regulatory standards for competency within their fields by completing training materials designed to fill gaps in knowledge or experience.

Gap analysis for competency assessment

The OBELISK e-learning platform used by RWA uses a formative learning approach for assessment of competence in order for brokers to meet regulatory standards. By conducting an assessment at the beginning of the learning period, users of the platform can see a gap analysis that shows them what they don’t already know. This allows them to monitor their progress from the start, and to focus on filling gaps in their knowledge, rather than sitting through modules of material they already know before being assessed.

The RWA Group defines competence as knowledge, understanding, application, and the OBELISK platform allows learners to revisit the gap analysis at the end of a learning period to ensure those gaps have been filled, in whichever area(s) of competencies they needed to work on.

OBELISK provides learners with an evidence-based record of progress, making badges a natural complement to the platform. As Tom pointed out in his presentation, a physical learning file is much more cumbersome and difficult to navigate than a set of badges, which allow employers to easily see where brokers are improving their skills and expanding their knowledge.

The RWA Group started using badges 12 months ago, and have awarded over 800 badges to their 5,000+ users. They currently offer 100 competency badges, as well as a set of second-tier badges for non-competency based tasks to highlight learners who are pursuing training in the evenings or with increased frequency. The majority of the OBELISK badges have expiration dates to encourage users to revisit gap analyses and ensure they’re still meeting competency standards.

Challenges and lessons learned

The OBELISK platform is based on a Moodle integration with badges, so the technical implementation of the RWA badges was smooth, according to Tom. The real challenges were centered around user engagement:

  • traditional e-learning is ‘stale,’ and the assessment-based learning approach in OBELISK presents a challenge for some so aren’t familiar with it
  • there is an overall increase in usage of the platform but engagement with the badges specifically has proven difficult among certain demographics; Tom speculates that the older users are familiar with badges’ physical counterparts, and younger generations are familiar with social or gaming badges, but there is a middle group that are unfamiliar with both of these and need more instruction on what the badges are and how they can be of use
  • the badges currently aren’t representative of formal CPD (continued professional development) and some (consumers/employers) feel they are less meaningful than traditional certificates; however, Tom thinks that with increasing momentum within the platform and broader understanding of badges across industries will see a shift in this attitude
  • another challenge was connecting badges to résumés / CVs; Tom speculated that templates showing learners how to imcorporate their badges into their CVs would encourage more creative résumé design

If you build it, they will come

Most people want to learn, Tom argued, saying that if you give people the tools to improve their training and better themselves, they will. From the conversations he’d had with a few of the OBELISK badge earners (including their user of the month Julie, highlighted in the images), there were a range of motivators encouraging people to pursue the badges, including nostalgia (recalling the days of scout badges), the appeal of challenges to be overcome, and an overall desire to improve training and competence. Many of the younger users were intrigued by the social potential of sharing badges, whereas the older users were less enthused about the badges in particular but were drawn to the assessment challenges.

When asked by a member of the community whether the term “badge” had been met with any resistance, Tom replied that the terminology had not been a major issue for them in terms of user engagement, though some regulatory bodies didn’t see them as being professional. When approaching the concept from the need for more effective CPD resources, badges were a natural extension of the assessment-focused model used with OBELISK. As Tom found, the way badges are promoted needs to be adapted for different professional audiences (which is something the Badge Alliance Working Group on Badges Messaging is working on.)

For more information on the OBELISK platform, to go http://rwagroup.co.uk/rwa-launches-open-badges/

To see Tom’s slides from his presentation, click here.

Open Badges at SXSWedu 2015 || Sample tweets to share with your followers

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Aug 12 2014 14:22:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The public voting period for PanelPicker is now open!

We recently shared details of six panel submissions we’ve put together with various members of the global open badges community and the Badge Alliance team - read more on this blog post.

As you know, community support is very important for the South by Southwest Education Conference + Festival, so we kindly ask you to take a moment to share your favorite prospective talks with your followers. This is your opportunity to help get the open badges community to SXSWedu 2015.

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Sample tweets you can share with your networks and communities: 
  • Help get @OpenBadges to #SXSWedu2015! Visit http://bit.ly/OB-SXSWedu to read about our panels & start voting! #openbadges #badgealliance
  • Vote for #openbadges to speak at #SXSWedu2015 || Badging & the great form vs function debate, feat. @soletelee || http://bit.ly/OBskills
  • Vote to get #openbadges to #SXSWedu2015 || New Open Badges Strategies in Higher + Alt Ed, feat. @carlacasilli || http://bit.ly/OBhighered
  • Vote for #openbadges to speak at #SXSWedu2015 || Badge The World: Global Lessons in Open Badging || http://bit.ly/OBglobal #BadgeTheWorld
  • Vote to bring #ConnectedLearning to #SXSWedu2015 || The Best Learning Doesn’t Only Happen in School || http://bit.ly/OBconnected

  • Vote to get #openbadges to #SXSWedu2015 || Creating Citywide Connected Learning Ecosystems, feat. @megcolek || http://bit.ly/OBcities
  • Vote to get #openbadges to #SXSWedu2015 || After the Unbundling, Learner-Driven Pathways Rule, feat. @damianewens || http://bit.ly/OBunbundle

Thank you everyone!

Wish us luck in getting these submissions to SXSWedu - and hopefully we’ll see you there!

Vote now to get Open Badges to SXSWedu 2015!

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Aug 12 2014 13:56:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

PanelPicker public voting: August 11 - September 5

The public voting period for PanelPicker is now open! PanelPicker is the crowd-sourced platform that empowers the community to voice their opinions about what programming they want to see and which people they want to hear from at SXSWedu 2015. More than just a submission and voting tool, it allows users to review each other’s work and provide feedback on proposed sessions.

You have the chance to show your support for the Badge Alliance and open badges partner organizations as we have six proposals featuring open badges that are up for consideration for SXSWedu 2015. Cast your ballots now through Friday, September 5, to see badges take the stage next year!

Below you will find a short description of each session that will feature an Open Badges team member. Along with partner organizations, we have proposed sessions that address key areas related the work of the Badge Alliance and partner organizations: recognizing 21st century skills; badges for higher and alternative education; global case studies in badging; badges and connected learning; creating citywide badge systems for connected learning; and learner-driven pathways.

Community-driven support is vital to earning a place at SXSW so we kindly ask you to vote for each session by clicking the links below.

Community member votes count for 30% of a submission’s total score, so your votes matter greatly in getting these important discussions onto the conference schedule.

Thanks for helping us spread the word about badges to groups of educators from the around the world.

Sample tweets to share with your networks can be found on our blog.

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SXSWedu proposals to vote for:

Badging is becoming the new currency in credentialing. It strikes a balance between the function of demonstrating or assessing skills and the form of communicating them to the market - both through transparency and granularity. This is especially important for hard to define categories like “21st century skills.”

Speakers: Jarin Schmidt, Pearson; Sunny Lee, Mozilla / Badge Alliance; Mike Geyer, Autodesk

Click the button below to vote for Badging & the great form versus function debate"

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Open Badges provide new ways of acknowledging learning and experiences; in this session we’ll push the edge of the educational innovation envelope by demonstrating how badges can both comfortably operate within traditional Higher Ed and disrupt it at the same time. Additionally we’ll discuss badge research and address how badges are changing alternative education. Three dynamic speakers will demonstrate the methods they’re using to assess and acknowledge learning in a badge-friendly world.

Speakers: Carla Casilli, Badge Alliance; Dan Hickey, Indiana University; Dr Bernard Bull, Concordia University Wisconsin; Ned Batchelder, Open edX

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Around the world, innovators in education & workforce are using data-rich open badges to identify talent, mark learning pathways, & open doors to opportunities worldwide. Millions of badges have been pledged to the Badge The World site, where educators, employers, and awarding bodies can collaborate & contribute to the expanding open badging ecosystem. We’ll share case studies in badging from the US, Europe and Australia, exploring 5 key lessons learned in badge system design and implementation.

Speakers: Tim Riches, DigitalMe; Mark Riches, Makewaves; Kathryn Coleman, Deakin University; Serge Ravet, ADPIOS

Click the button below to vote for Badge The World: Global Lessons in Open Badging

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Connected Learning is a new approach that harnesses technology to make learning more powerful and more relevant to the world youth live in now and will work in tomorrow. Interest driven, academically oriented, social, and connected to real life and real work, Connected Learning is designed to address the opportunity gap and equip all students with the 21st century skills they will need to thrive in a complex world where the only constant is change.

Speakers: Jennifer Humke, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Craig Watkins, University of Austin-Texas; Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, National Writing Project; Natalie Warne, Connected Learning Alliance

Click the button below to vote for The Best Learning Doesn’t Only Happen in School

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Cities of Learning create cross-sector partnerships to ensure all youth have access to learning opportunities in libraries, museums, and other local institutions, as well as online. Started in Chicago in 2013, the movement has spread to Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., with more cities poised to join in 2015. Cities help put Connected Learning into action by using open badges to showcase knowledge youth acquire and create pathways between learning experiences.

Speakers: Megan Cole, The Badge Alliance; Ed Meier, Big Thought; Cathy Lewis Long, The Sprout Fund; Nichole Pinkard, Digital Youth Network

Click the button below to vote for Creating Citywide Connected Learning Ecosystems

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As new learning models emerge and old ones fall, highly personalized “anytime, anywhere, any pace” learning pathways are taking hold that put the students in the driver’s seat. In this panel, take a glimpse into the pedagogy of two innovative learning models that are recognizing hard and soft skills and making connections well beyond the school walls. We’ll demonstrate how a global directory of learning opportunities is facilitating these critical connections and will empower your learners.

Speakers: Chris McAvoy, Badge Alliance; Damian Ewens, Achievery; Marc Lesser, Mouse; Dana Borrelli-Murray, Highlander Institute

Click the button below to vote for After the Unbundling, Learner-Driven Pathways Rule

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Because word of mouth is so important around this gathering, taking a moment to share your favorite prospective talks with your followers is much appreciated. According to the organizers, "This is your opportunity to help determine what sessions, themes, and speakers are best fit for the SXSWedu Conference & Festival."

More about SXSWedu:

Education’s most energetic and innovative leaders from all  backgrounds of the learning landscape including teachers, administrators, university professors, business and policy leaders  converge each March at the SXSWedu Conference & Festival. The four-day event is a platform for the growing SXSWedu community to  connect, collaborate, create and change how we teach and learn. Read more here.