Planet Badges

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.

 

Design Principles for Digital Badge Systems: A Comparative Method

Nate Otto

Sun Aug 10 2014 01:16:25 GMT+0000 (UTC)

I’m traveling to Tallinn, Estonia next week for a workshop on Open Badges in education. I was accepted to present a paper on how we studied the 30 badge programs from the 2012 DML Competition for the DPD Project. I think our method could be used again to study a different set of badge programs, distilling a different set of design principles and uncovering new lessons about challenges and opportunities working with Open Badges.

Download our self-archived pre-print: Nate Otto and Daniel T. Hickey: Design Principles for Digital Badge Systems: A Comparative Method for Uncovering Lessons in Ecosystem Design (PDF)

The final publication is available at Springer via [not yet published].

DPD OBiE Paper

See the slides from my presentation in Tallinn here.

 

 

Cross posted: MIT Questions Course Metaphor

Nate Otto

Sat Aug 09 2014 19:10:21 GMT+0000 (UTC)

I recently made a guest post to Daniel Hickey’s Re-mediating Assessment blog:

MIT Report Questions the Fitness of the Course as the Organizational Metaphor for Higher Learning

by Nate Otto, Project Coordinator for the Badges Design Principles Documentation Project
Today saw the release of a 213 page report (PDF) from a cross-disciplinary MIT task force investigating the future of MIT Education, which makes 16 recommendations, including to further a commitment to innovation in pedagogy. The Chronicle of Higher Education today picked up on a key component of that innovation, a recommendation to explore “modularity” in the delivery of online learning environments, which could extend to experimentation in the classroom as well: Are Courses Outdated? MIT Considers Offering ‘Modules’ Instead.

The question underlying the MIT task force’s recommendation is whether a “course” as an organizing metaphor for learning continues to be appropriate in a landscape that sees as low as 5% MOOC completion rates.

Click on over to Re-mediating Assessment for the rest.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [52]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 08 2014 19:29:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

It’s the Badger Beats’ first birthday today! It’s been so exciting sharing our weekly activities and accomplishments with you all - here’s to another year of badgeriffic growth!

Here’s what went on this week:

Thank you for giving us so much to share, this week and all year!

Time to go eat some cake in celebration….

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Open Badges Community Project Call, August 6, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 08 2014 12:34:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 6, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug6

This week our former research call co-wrangler Emily joined us to share the current work in progress on Mozilla Badges and gather feedback from the community - you can contribute too! Keep reading to find out more about the proposed new site, set to soft launch on August 22, 2014.

The Challenge

Mozillians - those folks who work for Mozilla or are contributors to the project - currently lack a central hub for badge creation and exploration. Existing badging sites such as badges.mozilla.org is confusing in its current iteration, and as teams such as Webmaker and Hive develop their own badges, the need for a central badge site is becoming greater.

In response, Emily and a team at Mozilla have been looking into ways to support badging for products and teams within the Foundation.

The Proposal

The idea is for badges.mozilla.org to be revamped, and there was an audit of the existing site to uncover problematic areas and brainstorm solutions. After collecting issuer and prospective earner feedback, and collaborating with a visual designer, engineers, and metrics lead, wireframes for the proposed new site have been developed and are on Redpen, a collaborative tool that allows for clickable feedback.

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Badge issuing vs. earning

In determining the new site’s purpose, current site analytics indicated that only small percentage of users were coming to issue badges, with most seeking ways to earn badges. This led to a redirected focus on badge discovery and exploration, with issuing as a secondary feature.

Provide feedback

Below is a list of the wireframes for the new site - take a look around and leave your comments and questions by clicking on the pages.

Bear in mind there is still placeholder text on these pages, and colors, etc. are not finalized yet - these are to give a sense of what the site will be for, so feedback on any of the following wireframes is much appreciated.

Reach out directly to Emily via email or Twitter with questions.

Wireframes for review:

Splash page: https://redpen.io/rb16731597d03db169

Tour page: https://redpen.io/wr53db77dc6c0e38d4

Home pages (note - between the different Home screens, only the header varies):

Badges pages:

Profiles: Mozillian account: https://redpen.io/ug9a0dfda795e9d2c0

Persona account: https://redpen.io/nef13f1dc7e4300005

Tags and Teams:

Thank you for your help!

Nate Otto | MIT Report Questions the Fitness of the Course as the Organizational Metaphor for Higher Learning

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 08 2014 11:53:03 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Nate Otto, Project Coordinator for the Badges Design Principles Documentation Project and active badges community member / superstar, responds to this week’s release of a 213 page report from a cross-disciplinary MIT task force investigating the future of education at MIT. The report makes 16 recommendations, including to commit to further innovation in pedagogy.

The Chronicle of Higher Education today picked up on a key component of that innovation, a recommendation to explore “modularity” in the delivery of online learning environments, which could extend to experimentation in the classroom as well: Are Courses Outdated? MIT Considers Offering ‘Modules’ Instead

Nate’s guest post on his colleague Dan Hickey's blog makes the connection between modularization and self-directed, flexible learning pathways, and also observes that supporting faculty (and learners) in the modularization of their course content can be further facilitated or scaffolded with badges:

Badges allow learners to tell a story about their experience, customized to be appropriate to the audience. If each student going into a module brings a collection of previously earned badges with her when she applies, the module can read that badge collection and collect aggregate information about what prior experiences students thought were relevant in preparing them to take on that particular module. If a system presented this information at the points where students make their decisions about where to focus their efforts, it would feed organization back into a landscape no longer mapped out in courses. When prospective students are entering a field, each module can tell them what other modules are recommended as related or prerequisite.

Read and comment on the original post here.

Erin Knight | A Badge By Any Other Name

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 08 2014 11:43:34 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Read and comment on the original post here.

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

The recent announcement by Udacity to offer nano-degrees really got me thinking. It’s, of course, a new word - a hip and buzzworthy word especially with the geeky crowd (nano!). So now we’ll add that to the list beside credential, badge, microcredential, certification, certificate, pathway, industry-recognized credential, points, and probably more that I’m missing.

Let’s face it, the alternative credentialing space, as its called (words that don’t have consistent meaning themselves), is hot right now. Policy changes and exemplars like SNHU have opened the gates for more types of learning and more recognition that matters to employers and other stakeholders beyond the degree. It makes sense that there are a lot of players jumping at the opportunity to leverage the potential openings, make an impact, get a piece of the pie.

But I think we are really at risk of failing ourselves, and more importantly, the learners, if we segment too early.

Names are just words, but words really matter. If we start calling each project something different, not only are we confusing people and holding ourselves back from showing the true size and power of this work, but we are designing from the beginning, even if unintentionally, for NON-interoperability. Or should I say outeroperability or extraoperability (see, I can make up words too!)

What we’ve learned over and over, is that to really influence systematic change in learning, you need an ecosystem. To do this at the scale we all talk about, we need interoperability and connectedness across lots of organizations and stakeholders. We need need providers and contributors, with their own personal agendas, to be able to do their work, but in a way that feeds into a broader context. Otherwise, we’re designing more prescribed pathways that only touch a certain set of learners. Silos might impact a small segment, but will not lead to systematic change. In so doing, we’re limiting learners’ agency and limiting our own success.

Words really matter to people. In many occasions, I’ve gotten some scowls and exasperated comments when I assert that a badge is a credential. To many, a credential is a very specific thing and the implication is that we’re hurting ourselves and the effort by using that word. A quick look on dictionary.com returned the following:

image

#2 is the ticket here. Anything that can tell us something about someone with confidence. That’s definitely what we mean by ‘badge” and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Udacity means by ‘nanodegree’ and MIT means by ‘degree’. Again, I’m not trying to be naive or ignore the obvious nuances and need for validity and assurance here, but just trying to point out that the words are really not as different as we think they are. Or if they are supposed to be, then we’re doing a really bad job explaining why they are different and need to be different.

I’m not necessarily saying that ‘badge’ should be the word for everything. Or maybe I am. I personally think it could be, b/c a badge is simply an evidence-based digital record of something. That something could be a single skill, or a higher order collection of skills that represents something more like what we now call certification. I think badges can represent low stakes, informal learning experiences, as well as high stakes, stacked skills/competencies (nanodegrees are just sets of badges, no?). It’s simply more information that we need to put into each badge to distinguish. There may be should be different types of badges like skill badges or certification badges to help distinguish and evaluate. But whether you agree with that or not, most importantly, I’m saying, let’s all agree we’re working with the same low level thing so that we can design for interoperability from the beginning at the bottom…still leaving lots of room for innovation and customization at the top, with the market, but making sure all of this great work is connected for the learners, for the ecosystem, for us.

Many of you might be thinking, ‘Wait, didn’t you make up a new word too? Why ‘badge’? Why not just call it a credential?" You don’t miss a thing, do you? :) Back a few years ago, the term ‘badge’ was something that was building on all of the interest and usage of digital badges in the social and game space at that time. We started this work at a time when the concept of alternative credentialing was only a few whispers in hallways, and the audacious statement made then was what if we used these digital badges, these digital records, as learning credentials. Again, words matter. I think it was important then to have a different word to start that conversation, which it certainly did, but now that there is momentum, adoption and interest, we’re at a time when its important to use the same words, or at least again, agree on which words we’re using for what. 

I think the first step is being intentional and consistent with how we define a badge, and how these other terms are defined and used as well so that we can make a conscious decision together about what words to use and be clear about how it all fits together. Luckily the Messaging WG is tackling this head on and in addition to building talking points for key audiences, also developing a glossary of terms in the alternative credentialing space.

If you’d like to contribute to that effort, please sign up for the working group at badgealliance.org. You’ll be added to the mailing list, where you can post opinions and thoughts on this important matter and we can work it out together. Also, don’t hesitate to shoot me a note or post a comment here. 

I guarantee that we’ll never settle on a word or words that everyone agrees with. But I am sure that we are all after the same thing and that we have enough of the right minds and perspectives at the table to make some conscious decisions on how to leverage each other and make the most impact. We have to design interoperability in from the beginning and that starts with the words we choose.

What do you think?

-E

A Badge By Any Other Name...

Erin Knight

Thu Aug 07 2014 16:44:05 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The recent announcement by Udacity to offer nano-degrees really got me thinking. It’s, of course, a new word - a hip and buzzworthy word especially with the geeky crowd (nano!). So now we’ll add that to the list beside credential, badge, microcredential, certification, certificate, pathway, industry-recognized credential, points, and probably more that I’m missing.

Let’s face it, the alternative credentialing space, as its called (words that don’t have consistent meaning themselves), is hot right now. Policy changes and exemplars like SNHU have opened the gates for more types of learning and more recognition that matters to employers and other stakeholders beyond the degree. It makes sense that there are a lot of players jumping at the opportunity to leverage the potential openings, make an impact, get a piece of the pie.

But I think we are really at risk of failing ourselves, and more importantly, the learners, if we segment too early.

Names are just words, but words really matter. If we start calling each project something different, not only are we confusing people and holding ourselves back from showing the true size and power of this work, but we are designing from the beginning, even if unintentionally, for NON-interoperability. Or should I say outeroperability or extraoperability (see, I can make up words too!)

What we’ve learned over and over, is that to really influence systematic change in learning, you need an ecosystem. To do this at the scale we all talk about, we need interoperability and connectedness across lots of organizations and stakeholders. We need need providers and contributors, with their own personal agendas, to be able to do their work, but in a way that feeds into a broader context. Otherwise, we’re designing more prescribed pathways that only touch a certain set of learners. Silos might impact a small segment, but will not lead to systematic change. In so doing, we’re limiting learners’ agency and limiting our own success.

Words really matter to people. In many occasions, I’ve gotten some scowls and exasperated comments when I assert that a badge is a credential. To many, a credential is a very specific thing and the implication is that we’re hurting ourselves and the effort by using that word. A quick look on dictionary.com returned the following:

image

#2 is the ticket here. Anything that can tell us something about someone with confidence. That’s definitely what we mean by ‘badge” and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Udacity means by ‘nanodegree’ and MIT means by ‘degree’. Again, I’m not trying to be naive or ignore the obvious nuances and need for validity and assurance here, but just trying to point out that the words are really not as different as we think they are. Or if they are supposed to be, then we’re doing a really bad job explaining why they are different and need to be different.

I’m not necessarily saying that ‘badge’ should be the word for everything. Or maybe I am. I personally think it could be, b/c a badge is simply an evidence-based digital record of something. That something could be a single skill, or a higher order collection of skills that represents something more like what we now call certification. I think badges can represent low stakes, informal learning experiences, as well as high stakes, stacked skills/competencies (nanodegrees are just sets of badges, no?). It’s simply more information that we need to put into each badge to distinguish. There may be should be different types of badges like skill badges or certification badges to help distinguish and evaluate. But whether you agree with that or not, most importantly, I’m saying, let’s all agree we’re working with the same low level thing so that we can design for interoperability from the beginning at the bottom…still leaving lots of room for innovation and customization at the top, with the market, but making sure all of this great work is connected for the learners, for the ecosystem, for us.

Many of you might be thinking, ‘Wait, didn’t you make up a new word too? Why ‘badge’? Why not just call it a credential?" You don’t miss a thing, do you? :) Back a few years ago, the term ‘badge’ was something that was building on all of the interest and usage of digital badges in the social and game space at that time. We started this work at a time when the concept of alternative credentialing was only a few whispers in hallways, and the audacious statement made then was what if we used these digital badges, these digital records, as learning credentials. Again, words matter. I think it was important then to have a different word to start that conversation, which it certainly did, but now that there is momentum, adoption and interest, we’re at a time when its important to use the same words, or at least again, agree on which words we’re using for what. 

I think the first step is being intentional and consistent with how we define a badge, and how these other terms are defined and used as well so that we can make a conscious decision together about what words to use and be clear about how it all fits together. Luckily the Messaging WG is tackling this head on and in addition to building talking points for key audiences, also developing a glossary of terms in the alternative credentialing space.

If you’d like to contribute to that effort, please sign up for the working group at badgealliance.org. You’ll be added to the mailing list, where you can post opinions and thoughts on this important matter and we can work it out together. Also, don’t hesitate to shoot me a note or post a comment here. 

I guarantee that we’ll never settle on a word or words that everyone agrees with. But I am sure that we are all after the same thing and that we have enough of the right minds and perspectives at the table to make some conscious decisions on how to leverage each other and make the most impact. We have to design interoperability in from the beginning and that starts with the words we choose.

What do you think?

-E

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [51]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 01 2014 17:30:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Happy Friday!

Here’s a quick round-up of the week’s badging news and updates:

And finally - a HUGE congratulations to our Marketing Rockstar, Megan Cole, who is getting married this weekend!

See you all next week! In the meantime…..

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 30, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 01 2014 15:03:58 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 30, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJuly30

This week we were joined by Robert Friedman, Portfolio Strategist for Mozilla / Hive Chicago, who shared the work behind the recently announced Hive Community Member badge. Slides from his presentation can be found here.

Hive Learning Networks are a growing constellation of communities that are championing digital skills and web literacy through connected learning around the world. The folks at Hive are starting to recognize the individuals who contribute to Hive’s growth and success with the Hive Community Member badge on webmaker.org - around 400 Hive contributors have already been awarded the badge!

Badges as tools of Connected Learning

“Hive badges will serve as an essential tool to drive the adoption of connected learning practices by Hive educators.”

The Hive team started working towards developing community badges at the Summit to Reconnect Learning (SRL) in February, where the Badge Alliance launched and Hive Global made a commitment to launch a series of educator badges.

Hive leaders knew their badges would be about connected learning in educational spaces, but the didn’t want to pursue badging and assessing student work, nor did they want to badge service providers for their work either - in many cases, Hive can’t claim to provide the specific, focused professional development support that would support badges.

Hive communities create environments where connected learning and professional development can happen in a peer-to-peer fashion. This important part of the Hive’s work is where the team focused their attention, and the badges became more about the way Hive communities function, rather than the work done by its members.

As many badge designers have discovered, the Hive leaders and community addressed the question of badge value, asking “How are badges an important tool for connected learning?”

Something the team explored was the fact that youth are motivated by different things than adults, which means that adult badge designers sometimes create badges ‘for youth’ that in fact impose adult motivators on youth. For example, adults don’t usually respond to the concept of “unlocking” rewards or additional opportunities, as youth do, but are more interested in defining what membership in the Hive meant, and gaining recognition for participation.

This desire for recognition of participation and membership is where the badge comes in, as an important tool for community- and identity-building within the Hive’s connected learning and professional development communities.

Connected learning for professionals

At the Summit, the Hive leaders unpacked the meaning of connected learning for professionals, and found the principle of Hive being “openly networked” resonated with many team members. By digging into this principle more deeply, Hive leaders identified three key elements that became the main criteria for the badge:

  • Peer observation: inviting peers to observe programs and practices;
  • Resource sharing: clearly articulating resources that can be shared;
  • Process documentation: documenting and sharing for others to remix

learning and development community

process of creating the first badge has better informed Hive team for creating a better (more valuable) badge system

Next steps

Hive leaders worked closely with the Webmaker team to develop badges for Webmaker as well as this first Hive badge; as a result, Hive became a major driver of the Webmaker community and helped shape how badges are claimed, issued and displayed.

Moving forward, the team will be tracking badges issued and claimed, to help inform and scope out a trajectory for a more robust badge ecosystem. They’ll also revisit the Community Member badge, breaking it down and digging deeper to recognize more of their community’s contributions, including giving people the option to issue badges for peer recognition.

Long term plans include leveraging the wider connected learning community to see where Hive can impact educator badges on a broader scale - including participating in the Badge Alliance Working Group on Badges for Educators and Professional Development.

To learn more about the Hive, check out hivelearningnetworks.org

You can apply for the Hive Community Member badge by clicking the link.

#openbadgesMOOC Session 11 - Cities of Learning

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Jul 31 2014 18:13:58 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 7: Badges & Competency-Based Learning
Session Recording: http://bit.ly/OBmoocCOL

The Cities of Learning (CoL) is a nationwide movement to leverage community and government resources, turning a whole city into a campus for year-round learning, offering free or low-cost opportunities for youth to learn online or participate in programming at parks, libraries, museums and other institutions. Whether through robotics, fashion design, coding competitions or workplace internships, Cities of Learning provide an array of engaging opportunities for young people to explore new interests, develop their talents, and create unique pathways toward college or a career.

Megan Cole, Director of Marketing + Operations at the Badge Alliance, has been coordinating efforts across the six 2014 Cities of Learning, and brought representatives from Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas to this week’s MOOC session to share their thoughts. Carla Casilli, Director of Design + Practice, led Monday’s session of the #openbadgesMOOC, New Currency for Professional Credentials.

A nationwide movement for connected learning

Chicago launched the Cities of Learning movement in 2013 with the successful summer pilot program, Chicago Summer of Learning. Over 100 organizations offered activities to Chicago’s youth on and offline, issuing over 100,000 badges through the course of the summer. This year, Chicago has expanded its summer learning into a year-round initiative, the chicago City of Learning (CCOL), and five other cities will be implementing citywide badged learning programs - Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. Still more are making plans to join in 2015 (read more).

The Cities of Learning are designed around the principles of Connected Learning, an approach that builds on the basics, leveraging technology to make learning relevant to the demands and opportunities of the digital age. Connected Learning increases engagement by linking in-school academics to a learner’s out-of-school interests, by fostering supportive networks of peers and mentors, and by creating opportunities for youth to make and produce things in the real world.

Local funding and logistical support for each City of Learning are provided by broad and often unprecedented coalitions, bringing together cross-sector partners such as the mayor’s office, the school district, nonprofits, institutional funders and out-of-school educational providers. The national efforts are supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Badge Alliance, and DePaul University.

Learn more: citiesoflearning.org

Chicago

Nichole Pinkard and Sybil Madison-Boyd of the Digital Youth Network (DYN) shared some of the lessons learned in Chicago from last year’s pilot.

The Chicago Mayor’s office first started exploring a summer learning initiative to avoid the learning loss described as ‘brain drain’ or ‘summer slump’ that many schools see in September after students have spent the summer months out of school. In Chicago, the Mayor’s office drove the program, bringing together over 100 community organizations and institutions to engage youth in fun activities that kept them actively involved in learning environments that exist outside their classrooms.

Chicago is now on its second year of citywide learning and its reach has expanded to 200,000+ youth. More than 1,000 youth programs in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) are being offered by the 120+ organizations participating in CCOL, including on-the-job learning opportunities.

Digital badges earned by youth in Chicago become “tools for connected learning,” according to Sybil. The badges allow youth and their mentors / teachers to track progress and illustrate a learning pathway, as well as play a role in identity-building and skills-sharing, empowering youth to pursue further education and career opportunities within their city - and beyond.

Learn more: explorechi.org

Dallas

Erin Offord, Director of Community Relations at Big Thought, joined us to talk about the work coming out of the Dallas City of Learning.

The Dallas offerings, which aim to reach 10,000 youth this year, include a number of online and in-person activities in earth science, design, sport, coding, and more from over 50 partner organizations.

The team behind the Dallas initiative is focusing their programming on equal access, ensuring their big city can act as a navigable campus for youth to engage in learning activities wherever they are.

They’ve been receiving positive feedback for the digital learning components of the program, and offered training for their partner organizations to introduce them to digital badges and make sure they were ready to develop and issue badges for the activities they’re offering. The conversations that began in those training sessions have shaped some of the national conversation as well, pushing for a youth-centric approach that is innovative and engaging for the kids participating in these programs.

Erin sees great potential for expansion in the Dallas partner organizations when it comes to the digital elements - even those unfamiliar with badges left the training ready to badge the city’s activities.

Learn more: dallascityoflearning.org

Los Angeles

Luis Mora, an administrator at Beyond the Bell, joined us to share some of the work going into the LA Summer of Learning.

The LA programming aims to offer 50,000 youth opportunities and access to activities in robotics, fashion, astronomy, and more.

Like the other Cities of Learning, Luis and the folks at Beyond the Bell are looking at Los Angeles as a campus for learning - but unlike other cities, LA is placing special emphasis on workforce readiness. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy are challenging youth between the ages of 16 and 24 the opportunity to become workforce ready this summer, and the LA Summer of Learning is helping youth access opportunities that develop workforce skills and prepare them for life beyond graduation.

By earning five workforce readiness badges - in Basic Job Skills, Résumé Building, Financial Literacy, Interview Skills, and Job Application - youth can unlock the Workforce Ready Challenge Badge, as well as entry to the LA Chamber of Commerce’s “Work Ready Certification Badge” and the opportunity to unlock jobs.

Learn more: summeroflearning.la

Have you heard about the new Hive Community Member badge?

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Wed Jul 30 2014 09:28:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hive Learning Networks are a growing constellation of communities that are championing digital skills and web literacy through connected learning around the world. We’re excited to share the news that the folks at Hive are going to be recognizing the individuals who contribute to Hive’s growth and success with the Hive Community Member badge on webmaker.org.

image

It’s the first in a coming series of Hive badges, and you can learn more over on the Webmaker blog or by joining the Open Badges Community Project Call at 12pm EDT today (7/30) to hear from Robert Friedman, the one who has been leading these badging efforts from Mozilla / Hive Chicago.

Agenda for today’s call: http://bit.ly/CCJuly30

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [50]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Jul 26 2014 01:22:40 GMT+0000 (UTC)

It’s Friday - time for the Badger Beats!

We’ve had a busy week, prepping for SXSWedu 2015 (did you hear? The deadline was extended!) and next week’s live session of the Open Badges MOOC - Meg, the Badge Alliance Director of Marketing and Operations, will be leading a discussion on the Cities of Learning initiative with cities representatives. Read more details at badges.coursesites.com

What else went on this week?

  • On this week's community project call, Frank Catalano shared some top-line industry recommendations detailed in a recent paper he was commissioned to write for education companies - read an overview here;
  • Carla Casilli, the Badge Alliance’s director of design and practice, is leading efforts for our wider community to collaborate on developing a campus / school policy for badges - read more in the community call summary or listen to the audio recording;

  • Our technical writer Sue Smith is a superstar - check out some of the updated documentation she’s worked on in recent weeks here;

  • Dr. Bernard Bull made 5 predictions about the educational credentialing landscape in 2024 in a recent blog post;

  • Merilyn Childs wrote a blog post on the importance and revolutionary qualities of badges - Badges for the 3Rs: Rebel, Resist, Rethink;
  • In a piece for the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss argues that the US “appears to be standing alone in its obsessive use of standardized tests as important measures of accountability in education”;

  • The Achievery blog looked at how badges could be used to identify talent and predict job performance - read more;
  • As part of a continuing series on STEM and STEAM, Microsoft Chicago featured a guest blog from Beth Swanson, of the Chicago Mayor’s office: Connecting Learning through Chicago City of Learning;

  • A piece on Edudemic generated a lot of buzz in the Twittersphere this week: tweet us your thoughts on Why The Future Of Education Involves Badges (or not!)

Have a great weekend everyone - and don’t forget, if you’re working on a session proposal for SXSWedu, get them in by noon CST on Sunday!

Bring on the voting in Panel Picker!

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 23, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Jul 25 2014 22:24:23 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 23, 2014:

Speakers:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJuly23

This week we were joined by Frank Catalano, who was recently commissioned by MDR's EdNET Insight service to write an extensive analysis of badges for education companies, as well as the Badge Alliance's Director of Design & Practice, Carla, who is kicking off a community-wide project to develop a campus policy for open badges (more details on how to get involved below.)

Although his paper is not intended for a general audience, Frank’s experience helped highlight some of the challenges still to be overcome as we work towards integrating badges into more education environments. A (free) overview of his paper can be found on EdNET Insight here with Frank’s top-line industry recommendations.

Challenges still facing the ecosystem

Frank shared his analysis of some of the biggest challenges facing those education companies wishing to bring badges into learning environments, starting with terminology, which is still a major tripping point for many being introduced to badges, who find terms such as ‘badge’ and ‘backpack’ juvenile or trivializing compared to the value that can be found in badges once the concept is fully understood.

As Carla pointed out during the call, language is complex and doesn’t always translate across boundaries, whether industrial or geographic. To that end, the Badge Alliance will be initiating collaborative work on a document that helps us translate badging concepts and terminology to other geographic regions and industries.

The question of an open ecosystem vs. keeping badges in silos also arose - some companies prefer to keep their badges in a closed system, for a variety of reasons, and until the need for an open, interoperable ecosystem reached a critical tipping point, it is likely that we will continue to see growth on both sides of this.

For many, Frank saw as he was conducting his research, badges are a nice addition to existing services, rather than a ‘must-have’ feature - and for others, there is still a lack of a basic understanding of open badges, which is a knowledge gap his paper aims to help close for the education companies his analysis was commissioned for. This paper puts badging in terminology that education companies understand, which will both inform those companies and provide a reference point for our ongoing work to ‘translate’ badging across sectors and continents.

Badges for campus initiatives

Another education landscape that will need concentrated efforts across the board is campus-wide badge policies others can model and build from. Carla Casilli, the director of design and practice at the Badge Alliance, is leading efforts for our wider community to collaborate on developing a campus / school policy for badges - contact her directly if you’d like to get involved via email: carla@badgealliance.org

If there are other areas you think would benefit from policy work, why not join the Badge Alliance Working Group on Policy? Go to http://bit.ly/BA-Policy-WG to apply.

If you have a badges project to share with the community - big or small - let us know! Email badges@badgealliance.org to get on the schedule.

Manifesto in the Making

Erin Knight

Thu Jul 24 2014 19:30:18 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Holy time warp, batman. It’s been awhile since I’ve written here. Don’t take that as a sign that there isn’t anything to write about, more as the by product of trying to do this: 

As this first cycle of working groups and first phases of the Badge Aliiance enters the homestretch, you can expect more from me here on the things we’ve learned so far, goals we have moving forward and general thoughts and reflections on the badging work at this point in time. 

One of the core things we’ve been working on is a manifesto for the Badge Alliance, the network and the work overall. We’ll share a version of that in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some of the raw data that is going into that work and also ask for your input.

We led some exercises with our Steering Committee a few months ago to get a sense of what values and descriptors they felt had the most relevancy and weight. This fun little wordle (remember wordle?! remember Java?!) captures the outcome of that work:

image

Obviously, Interoperability was a big theme, as well as the expected ones like Open, Network, Stewards, Connectors, Visionaries. But others emerged that were not necessarily the first thing we’ve included in the past but feel right as well: Prosocial, Dependable, Credible, Inclusive. Also included in here were other important values like Equity, Commitment-to-action and Volunteers that all will be important pieces of a success story. 

One point of possible tension is honoring things like inclusiveness with things like open or interoperable. I think we will need to draw a few lines in the sand to say these are the values that everyone in the network needs to abide by, even if its only that the badges must align with the standard and not be silo’d from the broader ecosystem. But even those two statements alone, while ensuring interoperability and healthy growth of the ecosystem, will start to make this a bit less inclusive. So we’ll need to consider those values carefully as we zero in on this manifesto. 

That’s the royal we, because we need your help.

The exercise we did with our Steering Committee was hugely helpful in both affirming our own assumptions, but also bringing new ideas to the table, so its important to me that we do that with the broader network (you) as well before finalizing something that we all can get behind. 

So, we’d love it if you could take a few minutes to fill out this short form on what the BA means to you, which values or descriptors ring true for you, etc. Your input is critical and appreciated. 

Here’s that link again: http://bit.ly/manifesto-survey

Onwards!

-E