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?
  • Museums can offer lots more opportunities for the public to be "rewarded" for small pieces of learning. These components can be connected to offer "bigger" badges that demonstrate a participants learning, without them taking a full blown certificate or degree program. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016
  • Sounds like a game strategy..."finish the quest about Charismatic Macrofauna and receive your badge, then proceed to the Aquarium for your next quest!" That sort of thing.- weberj weberj Feb 28, 2016
  • - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Mar 3, 2016Museums can demonstrate the value of the many cognitive, social and emotional skills that they can promote and badge earners can use this recognition of museum-competencies earned in other educational settings.


(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?
  • - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Mar 3, 2016perhaps a bit more on the growing expansion of different sorts of credentialing. Also Pittsburgh's Remake Learning initiative and its thoroughtly documented and inclusive badging initiative

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
  • Digital learning badges allow museums. To offer more small, discrete learning opportunities that reward participation. As our wider culture shifts toward more diverse skill sets with small pieces of knowledge in more areas, we have the opportunity to lead culture in providing this knowledge. Rather than competing against more traditional degree and certificate programs, museums can carve a niche for learning. Because this can be scaled, institutions of all sizes can participate. I feel that this concept is fairly new to the general public, and is not something that will be embraced in the next 1-2 years. There is opportunity for some museums to take advantage of this now, though, and become leaders. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016
  • - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Mar 3, 2016In addition to the thoughtful comments above, this is an opportunity for museums to demonstrate their value and role in the broader formal and informal learning ecosystem. This can add links and values to more traditional credentialing programs and also link to the workforce and skills needed there
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?
  • - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Mar 3, 2016City of Learning project (now called LRNG, I think), including PIttsburgh work, which is thoroughly documented and very interesting. This also, by the way, responds to the changes in the 'gig' economy and workforce
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