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Badges for Lifelong Learning
Supported by the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative
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Website recognizes military skills with digital badges | Inside Higher Ed | Paul Fain

Website recognizes military skills with digital badges | Inside Higher Ed | Paul Fain | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

It can be difficult for veterans to explain the skills and training they received in the military to potential employers. A new website attempts to bridge that gap by giving veterans digital “badges” that recognize their skills.

 

When it goes live next month, BadgesforVets.org will be a résumé translation and job search service. The extensive project, which includes badges representing training in more than 1,000 military jobs, is also a particularly promising foray into digital badging -- a much-hyped, although still nascent, form of alternative credentialing that could conceivably undermine higher education's role as a primary way of signaling skills to employers.



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Badges: The Way the New Learner Learns | Digital Learning Environments

Badges: The Way the New Learner Learns | Digital Learning Environments | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

We all do it to some degree or another, that’s why you are reading this article. Some call it professional development, others call it work. I call it my passion. Whatever you call it, more than likely you are using a free social network to help hone your professional skills on a semi-regular basis. More frequently than ever, people are continuing their education outside of the traditional classroom. Whether too busy or too broke, or both, young professionals are skipping school to attend webinars, workshops, and other types of online learning groups to upgrade their skills for a specific job.


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This trend of self-directed, laissez faire learning is particularly popular in the technology industry, where skills can become outdated quickly and specialization is necessary. Now, employers are looking for new ways to recognize the valuable ad hoc skill set that a potential new hire may have in their repertoire. Enter Mozilla and the Badge Project. Adopted by Microsoft and now endorsed by the MacArthur Foundation, as their website explains, “Mozilla's Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web -- through a shared infrastructure that's free and open to all. The result: helping learners everywhere display 21st century skills, unlock career and educational opportunities, and level up in their life and work.”

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The Future is Now: Unpacking Digital Badging and Micro-credentialing for K-20 Educators | HASTAC

The Future is Now: Unpacking Digital Badging and Micro-credentialing for K-20 Educators | HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

The use of digital badges has myriad implications for faculty preparing future educators, specifically K-16 administrators; potentially, the repercussions of the movement could reverberate throughout K-20 education, as a “disruptive” technology, compelling the rethinking the existing structures and frameworks of education in formal environments. Are digital badges “insurgent credentials” as recently described by Dr. Mike Olneck? (2012). Or could they be a progressive and conciliatory bridge to acknowledge and validate learning in both formal and informal environments?

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Why Get a Pricey Diploma When Badges Tell Employers More? - Forbes

Why Get a Pricey Diploma When Badges Tell Employers More? - Forbes | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it
Against the backdrop of a student loan bubble, the high cost of four-year college, and an extremely difficult job market, alternate forms of skill certification are gaining steam. Chief among these is the digital badge.
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How Do We Measure What Really Counts In The Classroom?

How Do We Measure What Really Counts In The Classroom? | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

On September 20 and 21st, the 30 recipients of grants from our MacArthur Foundation-Gates Digital Media and Learning Competition will be meeting at Duke to show off how far they have gotten on the badging systems they are creating. One institutional representative and one software systems developer from each team will be there to demo, discuss, learn, and innovate in a group un-conference. The institutions include Intel, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Disney, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Girl Scouts, 4 H, Carnegie Mellon, the Urban Affairs Coalition, Microsoft, Boise State University, and several K-12 schools and teachers groups. All are working to find systems that--like eRubric--allow for real-time feedback, peer-contribution to an evaluation system, flexibility, and customizability—all of which inspire learning. They are also looking for ways that their systems can be automated and provide enough consistency that they are meaningful in comparing results within, between, and across institutions.

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Designing a Program-based Badging System at Global Kids | Online Leadership Program

Designing a Program-based Badging System at Global Kids | Online Leadership Program | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

When we began the badge development process at Global Kids, we focused heavily on "global"-badges, which is to say badges which could work across the institution. We looked at our organizational Outcomes & Indicators, and developed a process for analyzing nearly four dozenletters of recommendation. While that process continues, and is bearing fruit, a parallel process has moved faster and may be proving more productive: developing "local"-badges, or program-specific badges.

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Badge System Design: Validity, Credibility, and Reliability

Badge System Design: Validity, Credibility, and Reliability | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

The question of validity is posed fairly commonly.* It goes something like this, “How can we ensure that the badges have a sense of validity?” or “Who will vet them?” or “How will we know that they’re worthwhile badges issued from reputable sources?”

 

There is a good deal of subtext embedded in these seemingly simple questions. And bound into that subtext is an unwitting/unacknowledged acceptance of the sociocultural status quo. That tacit acceptance should be unpacked and considered. How does any organization achieve validity? How do standards become standards? When the landscape is unknown, how do you learn to trust anything?

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EDUCAUSE: 7 things you should know about badges

Badges in higher education have gained currency among early adopters. One such e ort is the award-winning badge system developed at the University of California, Davis. In the interdisciplinary major of sustainable agriculture and food systems, students can complement their coursework with badges for workshops, projects, and internships. Badges also play a part in edX, an online learning e ort sponsored jointly by MIT and Harvard University. Both institutions will o ffer online courses free via edX with “certificates” (badges) available for a modest fee to those who complete the coursework. This open-source platform will be made available to colleges and universities that want to host it.

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An alternative to the college degree?

An alternative to the college degree? | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

NPR's Marketplace Money interviews Cathy Davidson about badges on today's show: "An alternative to the college degree?"

 

"So let's say I don't have a college degree. Can I go out with my collection of digital badges and a critical thinking score and compete with college grads for jobs? Not yet. But Davidson says big tech companies like Google and Microsoft are already using badges in hiring, and as more employers start taking alternative credentials seriously, they could challenge the monopoly of the traditional college degree."

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Badges For Learning: An Abridged Recent History | Global Kids

Badges For Learning: An Abridged Recent History | Global Kids | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

We recently produced this one-page recent history of badges for learning, to support our efforts to develop a badging system for the Hive Learning Network. We thought it might be of interest to others as well.

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Badges for Learning: Threading the Needle Between Skepticism and Evangelism | DMLcentral

Badges for Learning: Threading the Needle Between Skepticism and Evangelism | DMLcentral | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

There has been much ado the past week or so about whether badges can offer a viable means for assessing learning. It has been boisterous on both sides. Badge evangelists such as the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure (with which those of us at the DML Competition in Badges for Lifelong Learning work closely) and Cathy Davidson (with whom I co-founded HASTAC) have laid out a vision for how badging might work to reveal, recognize, and reward learning and learning pathways. But there are also skeptics in the room. Mitch Resnick has laid down the challenge to badges for learning. It is good to have serious and thoughtful skeptics to keep the evangelistas honest. Similarly, Henry Jenkins has popped the balloon of a too quic

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Can Badging Be the Zipcar of Testing and Assessment? | Cathy N. Davidson | DMLcentral

Can Badging Be the Zipcar of Testing and Assessment? | Cathy N. Davidson | DMLcentral | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

I’m excited that next week the judges will be listening to the “pitches” and then determining the winners of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition. Immediately after, will be the opening of what promises to be the best Digital Media and Learning Conference yet, “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World” (to be held in San Francisco, March 1-3, 2012). I’m thrilled about both of these showcases for new learning innovation. But I have a confession to make: when I first began learning about badges, I was skeptical. I was afraid that, rather than taking us “beyond educational technology,” badges would throw our passionate digital learning community into yet another morass of over-priced tech.

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Merit Badges for the Job Market | The Wall Street Journal

Merit Badges for the Job Market | The Wall Street Journal | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

From a recruiter's comments to Jeff Young's article, "As a recruiter responsible for separating the lies on a resume from actual accomplishments, I'd welcome a chance to verify skills through badges."

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Recognizing, Supporting, and Attracting Adult Learners with Digital Badges | Dan Hickey

Recognizing, Supporting, and Attracting Adult Learners with Digital Badges | Dan Hickey | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Shifting demographics and workplaces create new needs for non-traditional adult learners. Two responses to these changes have been online learning and certificates. The use of digital badges is another response to these needs that is full of potential.

 

Digital badges offer new ways to recognize and support learning. This means that they also offer new ways of attracting students. When used appropriately, digital badges contain and present compelling evidence of learning and accomplishment. Students will naturally want to share their badges and the information they contain with their friends and colleagues via social networks, Twitter, or even email. This sharing should help programs and schools connect with previously untapped prospective students. In particular, the sharing of digital badges can help specialized programs gain recognition within whatever networks are associated with that specialization. When done right, this sharing should help busy adults who are not actively considering further education to see the value of a particular program.

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MOOC Badging and the Learning Arc - oldsmooc

MOOC Badging and the Learning Arc - oldsmooc | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

In a recent blog post Rebecca Galley introduced the OLDS-MOOC Badging Strategy and the nine badges that will be associated with the MOOC. The first part of the post expands on some of our thinking behind the strategy by using a pictorial representation to explain the place of the badges in the course. This is predicated on (a) the idea that a course, just like a novel, a movie or a video game, contains a broad central 'story arc' - a 'learning arc' or journey with a start (beginning of course) and an end, and (b) the idea that there are different types of badge that have different relationships with this learning arc. The second part reflects some of our initial critical consideration of what the roles and benefits of badges may be. As the post is intended as a discussion piece, we welcome your thoughts and responses.

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Badges, Portfolios, and Blending Formal and Informal Learning | FunnyMonkey

Badges, Portfolios, and Blending Formal and Informal Learning | FunnyMonkey | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

For learning to happen, all that's really needed is a learner to ask questions, engage in some hands-on activities, and have a space to document and reflect on the process. Everything else isn't really a learning issue; it's an assessment issue. For too long, we have allowed assessment to drive how we define learning, instead of the other way around. The thing that gets me excited about badges is that it has actually put focus on the value of informal learning because Badges have the potential to provide a uniform way for people to understand what occurred within the informal learning process. Badges provide a greater degree of context to the informal learning process, largely by including the organizational reputation of the issuer as part of the value/credibility of the badge.

 

The Badge Specification is relatively lightweight, and it should remain that way. Badges alongside a portfolio system, however, provide a context that raises the credibility of both the badge and the portfolio. The work highlighted within the portfolio provides additional information about how and why the learner earned the badge. A well designed portfolio system, working alongside a well designed badge system, would collect these pieces as learning occurred, so the accumulation of artifacts for the portfolio is indivisible from the learning itself.

 
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Badges: The Skeptical Evangelist | A Thaumaturgical Compendium | Alex Halavais

Badges: The Skeptical Evangelist | A Thaumaturgical Compendium | Alex Halavais | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Are there dangers inherent to the very idea of badges? I think there are. I’ve written a bit about them in a recent article on the genealogy of badges. But just as I can find Herb Schiller’s work on the role of computer technology in cultural hegemony compelling, but still entertain its emancipatory possibilities, I can acknowledge that badges have a long and unfortunate past, and still recognize in them a potential tool for disrupting the currently dominant patterns of assessment in institutionalized settings, and building bridges between informal and formal learning environments.

 
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Mozilla Open Badges: building trust networks, creating value

Mozilla Open Badges: building trust networks, creating value | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

In earlier posts about badge system design, we focused on the some of the better ways to begin thinking about how to create a badge system where little to nothing existed previously. Recognizing that a badge system is situated and will interact with a wide variety of other systems, each badge system is interwoven with, complements, and depends upon other systems to exist. Let’s consider a badge system that acknowledges prior learning. In order for it to function effectively, that system would need to take into account existing social, professional, and cultural memetics. It would benefit from being based on current understandings of educational value; existing professional environments that might find value in such badges; investigation into personally derived meaning and value. At the risk of stating the obvious, the key word in all of those phrases is value.

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Badge System Design: seven ways of looking at a badge system

Badge System Design: seven ways of looking at a badge system | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

The methods outlined below include philosophical, conceptual, pedagogical, visual (aesthetic), technical, categorical, and ownership. The last one, ownership, feels a bit odd because it’s not quite parallel to the rest of the bunch. I like a system that has a nice balance and this one has a slight imbalance. Happily, this slightly odd fit serves to emphasize the importance of allowing for an outlier. The outlier will cause you to reconsider your system every time—and that’s a good thing. The outlier is the thing that keeps your badge system honest, keeps it moving and evolving. Because if you’re designing a system so as to keep everyone within a certain range, you’re trying too hard. And you’re deep in the midst of a lush forest.

 

In any case, I’m curious to hear your reaction to these potential sorting efforts. No doubt these groupings can intermixed and most certainly they can be layered, possibly interleaved with one another.

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'Digital Badges' Would Represent Students' Skill Acquisition

'Digital Badges' Would Represent Students' Skill Acquisition | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

MOUSE, which operates in 400 sites across the nation, has been experimenting with awarding digital badges for the past two years, says Lesser. So far, the organization has awarded more than 19,000 digital badges for a range of activities, including interacting with other students in MOUSE on its social-networking website; taking care of schools' IT tickets, or requests for technical help; completing workshops; and mastering technical skills such as networking or programming languages like HTML.

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Alex Halavais, A Genealogy of Badges

The use of badges on the web, particularly on community sites, has become very popular, and these badges are becoming both more easily carried from one site to another and more valuable in the process. But badges are not new; the metaphor of the online badge draws on centuries of use in the offline world. And the use of badges online has the potential of bringing with it the echo of these earlier uses and the values that they were imbued with. This article explores online badges, drawing on their history and the ethical framework presented by Jane Jacobs in ‘Systems of Survival’ to suggest some ways of ensuring that badges are used effectively online.

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Beyond the College Degree, Online Educational Badges

Beyond the College Degree, Online Educational Badges | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Who needs a university anymore?” asked David Wiley, a Brigham Young University professor who is an expert on the new courses, known as MOOCs. “Employers look at degrees because it’s a quick way to evaluate all 300 people who apply for a job. But as soon as there’s some other mechanism that can play that role as well as a degree, the jig is up on the monopoly of degrees.”

 

By the end of this year, Mr. Wiley predicted, it will become familiar to hear of people who earned alternative credentials online and got high-paying jobs at Google or other high-visibility companies.

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How to Earn Your Skeptic "Badge" | Henry Jenkins

How to Earn Your Skeptic "Badge" | Henry Jenkins | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Experiment with badges but really experiment -- that is, try to figure out if these mechanisms really do what you hope they will do and be particularly attentive to the ways that they have unintentional consequences and damage the very activities you are seeking to recognize.

 

Also seed other kinds of research and experimentation which looks more closely at other mechanisms for promoting and appraising participation, including those which may already be in place within such communities of practice.

 

Be aware that the process of badging is going to make things more comfortable to those who are comfortable with getting recognition from adults and may make things less comfortable for those who have not yet fully bought into the values of the current educational system.

 

And above all, if you are embracing badges, make sure you are doing so because you agree with the core premises, because it's the right thing to do for your group, and not because someone is offering a bucket of money to those who are willing to "give it a try."

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Still a Badge Skeptic | Mitch Resnick via HASTAC.org

Still a Badge Skeptic | Mitch Resnick via HASTAC.org | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

In a recent blog post, Cathy Davidson described her evolution from a badge skeptic to badge evangelist. Indeed, it seems that almost everyone is now a badge evangelist. Go to any conference about learning and education, and you’ll be surrounded by discussions about the transformative potential of badges.

 

So why do I remain a badge skeptic? I have great respect for Cathy and many other badge enthusiasts. And I certainly appreciate the value of badges as credentials. It is often useful to have an external indicator of what you’ve achieved and accomplished, so that others can understand what you’re capable of.

 

The problem, for me, lies in the role of badges as motivators.

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Cathy N. Davidson | Washington Post | Badges: A solution to our teacher evaluation disaster?

We have a system of tests designed for citizens of the Industrial Age, based on the assembly line, that are extremely costly, don’t measure much of content, and don’t motivate learning. And millions of programmers have found a way that works so well they don’t even need formal credentials and accreditation systems. What they do works — and works based on peers evaluating contribution (they don’t even have a system of “failing:” they reward what works, what is good, setting the bar for reputation at its highest, not at its lowest denominator).

 

We not only can use far more interactive, complex, humane, interesting, challenging, and innovative forms of assessment for real learning, real teaching, real collaboration — the tech community is already doing that. Teachers, researchers, experimenters, and evaluators all need to think about these systems and learn from them.

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Martin (Marty) Smith's comment, February 7, 2012 9:53 PM
Starting to think badges and gamification could help solve a lot of issues in a lot of places. Thanks for a great share. Martin