What are Digital Badges?

Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for formal and informal learning in the form of microcredits, which assess learned skills based on outcomes, rather than seat time. Often viewed as a component of gamification, digital badges are being implemented to help track, capture, and visualize learning in a way that incentivizes students. The concept behind badging embodies historical models of recognition for personal skills and achievement, such as when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. Currently, digital badging systems are gaining traction in many online learning environments including Khan Academy, with promising results. One key development that has helped the progress of digital badges was the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — an open specification for badging established by the Mozilla Foundation, which enables providers and users alike to display achievements on the web, on any platform. More institutions are looking to digital badges as an alternative method of validating formal and informal achievements, not just for students, but for teachers, too. While badges are not yet pervasive in education, they are being used by educators and organizations that are seeking comprehensive approaches to demonstrate a student’s learning path — methods that encompass far more than grades and traditional credits.

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

  • Not sure why this has not become a part of our educational landscape as are grades, formal assessments, rubrics, etc. Digital badges, I think, can offer a mix of in-class and hands-on experiences for students. It is available for online courses such as Skillshare, Coursera and other MOOCs. Digital badges can open up more courses for students that attend schools that offer limited courses. "Visual nature of badges also enhances the ability to see progress; they are motivational and engaging." - michael.lambert michael.lambert Apr 3, 2016
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • How do we find a common standard (an accreditation) so that everyone knows the badge holds value, such as the high school degree? - michael.lambert michael.lambert Apr 3, 2016
  • Do digital badges have a role to play in the professional development of teachers, not just students? We are exploring the possibility in an EU project (MENTEP: http://mentep.eun.org). But what is their credibility and value if not linked to some form of monitoring and accreditation, and reward (promotion, credits, pay rise)?- roger.blamire roger.blamire

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

  • Digital badges will open doors of learning for students...allowing for creativity and helping students find their passion. How do work through the "value problem"? - michael.lambert michael.lambert Apr 3, 2016
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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