What are Open Badges?

Open Badges are seen as a potential new approach to granting learning credentials, organized from the perspective of documenting personal skills and achievement in the same way a Boy or Girl Scout might earn a merit badge. This approach is being used in settings like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has launched its own badge system, enabling users to easily display their achievements on the web. Open badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While open badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be more authentic signs of knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition than standard tests, grades, or course credits.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Education quality varies greatly. Badges, coupled with a flattening of the standardized testing market, have the capability of permitting the motivated learner with the opportunity to move at his or her own pace and then demonstrate their competence. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
  • And once this system is 'flattening the test market and motivating the learner', students begin to create their own badge learning systems...moving the teacher off the grid a bit. Thus, this begins an open system of learning led by students. Thanks, Jack. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 2, 2012
  • Agreed - students become more in control of their learning- holly.jobe holly.jobe Mar 3, 2012 Many people in Brazil are excited about this prospect! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The possible challenge that this may pose to the existing monolith that has become the standardized testing industry. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
  • There are huge questions around how to create badges that are, ironically, accredited or have a "seal of approval" in terms of who and how awarded. - will.richardson will.richardson Feb 25, 2012
  • This sounds exciting. I can see two areas that can be important to sort out. First is to establish some sort of 'exchange rate' for these badges, ie. if I do an Algebra module on one platform and earn a badge, what would it be equivalent to in a different platform? Once established, such badges could potentially be used towards accreditation for certificate courses such as degrees. Second, such badges can potentially be used to 'certify' for process skills rather than the more traditional academic skills whose acquisitions are reflected by test scores. For instance, a well designed tasks that allow for assessment of collaboration skills would be most useful. It will, however, be tough to establish 'exchange rates' for such badges. - horncheah horncheah Feb 29, 2012
  • It would be great if these badges could be recognized by prestigious institutions to make them a well accepted way of earning certification.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • more empowered learners. more options to select from for measuring student progress. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
  • Students will have an easier time putting together their "schooling" from a menu of options, many of which do not start at the local school house. - jean.tower jean.tower Feb 23, 2012
  • Many of us today thrive on instant gratification--mileage points, credit card points, hits on our website--perhaps, badges or some type of point value system will be used to give students immediate feedback/value earnings. Too often the 'grade' is given too late and has little value to the student. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 2, 2012
  • Provides incentives for students to manage their learning- holly.jobe holly.jobe

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • I spoke with Snehal Patel of Sokikom (adaptive math software) they are working in their industry to standardize badges. Also, though I have not used this tool, http://www.softwaresecure.com/Main.aspx , it is the type of altrenative testing environment to which I referred above. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
  • The MacArthur Foundation is working with Mozilla on an Open Badges for learning initiative. Winners of the grant will be announced in early March at the DML Conference in San Francisco. - will.richardson will.richardson Feb 25, 2012
  • We are building badges and once a student writes a successful blog (there is criteria), he/she receives the online badge. Kids love it. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 2, 2012
  • http://www.gild.com. This is a site where professionals come to Prove What They Know. There are skill tests in programming, product development, online marketing and business. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 2, 2012
  • Kyle Peck at Penn State University is developing a STEM badge system- holly.jobe holly.jobe Mar 3, 2012

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