Planet Webmaker

March 27, 2015

Geoffrey MacDougall


I’ve let my long-time friend and Executive Director, Mark Surman, know that April 10th will be my last day as an employee of Mozilla.

The last 5 years have been an amazing ride. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.

There are learning, fundraising, and advocacy programs where there weren’t before. We’re empowering hundreds of thousands of people to teach each other the web. We’ve built a $15M/y fundraising program from scratch. And we’ve helped Mozilla find its voice again, playing a lead role in the most significant grassroots policy victory in a generation and the largest ever in telecommunications: the battle for net neutrality.

I’m grateful to Mark and Mitchell Baker for the opportunity and trust to help build something great, to my colleagues for their focus and dedication, and to all of Mozilla for fighting the good fight.

While the 10th will be my last day as an employee, I’ll be around until the end of June as a consultant, helping with the transition of my portfolio to new leadership. I’ll announce my new home closer to that time.

For now, as always, once a Mozillian always a Mozillian.

Thanks again to all of you. I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish next.

Filed under: Mozilla

March 27, 2015 03:37 PM

Doug Belshaw

Today is my last day at Mozilla

TL;DR: I’m leaving Mozilla as a paid contributor because, as of next week, I’ll be a full-time consultant! I’ll write about that in a separate blog post.

Around four years ago, I stumbled across a project that the Mozilla Foundation was running with P2PU. It was called ‘Open Badges’ and it really piqued my interest. I was working in Higher Education at the time and finishing off my doctoral thesis. The prospect of being able to change education by offering a different approach to credentialing really intrigued me.

I started investigating further, blogging about it, and started getting more people interested in the Open Badges project. A few months later, the people behind MacArthur’s Digital Media and Learning (DML) programme asked me to be a judge for the badges-focused DML Competition. While I was in San Francisco for the judging process I met Erin Knight, then Director of Learning at Mozilla, in person. She asked if I was interested in working on her team. I jumped at the chance!

During my time at Mozilla I’ve worked on Open Badges, speaking and running keynotes at almost as many events as there are weeks in the year. I’ve helped bring a Web Literacy Map (originally ‘Standard’) into existence, and I’ve worked on various projects and with people who have changed my outlook on life. I’ve never come across a community with such a can-do attitude.

This June would have marked three years as a paid contributor to the Mozilla project. It was time to move on so as not to let the grass grow under my feet. Happily, because Mozilla is a global non-profit with a strong community that works openly, I’ll still be a volunteer contributor. And because of the wonders of the internet, I’ll still have a strong connection to the network I built up over the last few years.

I plan to write more about the things I learned and the things I did at Mozilla over the coming weeks. For now, I just want to thank all of the people I worked with over the past few years, and wish them all the best for the future. As of next week I’ll be a full-time consultant. More about that in an upcoming post!

March 27, 2015 06:50 AM

March 26, 2015

Matt Thompson

Mozilla Foundation March 2015 Board Meeting

What’s happening at the Mozilla Foundation? This post contains the presentation slides from our recent Board Meeting, plus an audio interview with Executive Director Mark Surman. It provides highlights from 2014, a brief summary of Mozilla’s 2015 plan, and a progress report on what we’ve achieved over the past three months.

What we did in 2014

March 2015 Board Deck - Share.004

March 2015 Board Deck - Share.005 March 2015 Board Deck - Share.007

Mozilla’s 2015 Plan

Mozilla-wide goals: grow long-term relationships that 
help people and promote the open web. By building product and empowering people.

Webmaker+ goal: Expand participation in Webmaker through new software and on the ground clubs.

Building Mozilla Learning

By 2017, we’ve built Mozilla Learning: a global classroom and lab for the citizens of the web. Part community, part academy, people come to Mozilla Learning to unlock the power of the web for themselves, their organizations and the world.

2015 Mozilla Foundation goals

Q1 Mozilla Foundation highlights

March 2015 Board Deck - Share.019

March 2015 Board Deck - Share.020

March 2015 Board Deck - Share.021

March 26, 2015 04:06 PM

Laura Hilliger

“Teach Like Mozilla” Development


Creating a catalog of curriculum & educational programming for a project as diverse as Mozilla isn’t exactly easy. We use a variety of pedagogies, we have different target audiences, we are starting from different places. There are semantics, politics, and relationships we have to consider when organizing learning materials and programming. And, a little secret, everyone organizes information a little differently, which can make it hard to see the relationships, understand the politics or even just agree on semantics. But we have to organize information in a variety of ways because we have a variety of learners. The best way to serve our learners is to utilize each other’s work, and the best way to do that is by making mash-ups and remixes from one another’s work. I’m quite pleased to see the vision of modular curriculum taking hold, and quite proud that we are creating an ecosystem of building blocks that will allow us to remix. I’m remixing my heart out, so here’s what I’ve been working on and notes on stuff I’m planning to steal:

Teach Like Mozilla

We’ve built loads of curriculum to help other people #TeachTheWeb as has our community. Using the Web Literacy Map as the raw material that focuses this work, our team has coordinated and produced hundreds of pieces and parts. We’re working on a new site that will include best of materials, which we’re remixing and collecting here. On top of curating and iterating on curriculum we built last year, we’ve now created, tested and iterated the first module for Clubs, which will launch with the new site. I’ve been working on remixing our Training program, as well as stuff from the other projects listed below, to create curriculum for Teach Like Mozilla – a series of pathways to cultivate leadership within the project. I have plenty to pull from including online learning modules for a bunch of the cognitive stuff behind our work (like group dynamics, facilitation and open participation), as well as practical things like “how to build an online presence”. Hive Learning Networks also have a wide range of professional development content to pull from. Check out this issue and included links.

Stuff I want to use:

Policy and Advocacy

Melissa Romaine is thinking about teaching and learning modules that people especially interested in specific policy or advocacy topics can utilize to spread the word about important web issues and how to address them. She’s looking to build teaching kits and engagement activities to help people teach and train others in topics like Security, Privacy, Surveillance, Covalense and Suvaillence. Andre Garzia is beginning to think about Advocacy as well, and is looking to continue testing curriculum in LAN Houses – a huge value add to what we’re doing with Club Curriculum because we can see what works and iterate on the fly.

Mozilla Science

The open science team was awarded a grant to level up their own professional development programming, and begin creating curriculum for the open science community. Bill Mills, Abby Cabunoc and Arliss Collins are also building out a fellowships program, complete with professional development and curriculum for train the trainers. They are focusing on technical skills for science, but also open source attitude and participation. I’m already pulling some of Mozilla Science’s stuff into Teach Like Mozilla, but plan on stealing more (often :)

Community Education

image credit williamtheaker Emma Irwin wrote a great post about building curriculum & training opportunities as a way to better empower contributor success on project goals. The potential for volunteers is the opportunity for professional development and a new realization of contribution as a singular learning opportunity. The opportunity for functional areas (and all of Mozilla) is to reach goals with higher quality contributions, and greater impact. Things like conflict resolution and facilitation modules to help events and communities be more empathetic, supportive and participatory by nature are core to this team’s learning objectives. We’re talking regularly, and using and remixing things Emma has been working on is going to make the Teach Like Mozilla content top notch. We're also trying to set ourselves up so that in the future we can easily pull all this great content together under a Mozilla Learning banner.


Lukas Blakk has an entire program, complete with 6 weeks of curriculum, that aims to help marginalized communities learn to contribute to open source. This curriculum pulls personal development into professional development and has weeks and weeks of agendas – I want to make sure Teach Like Mozilla does personal development and reflection too.


Chris Mills also has an entire program, complete with curriculum, that teaches the basic technologies of the web, and that is the fodder for MDN’s new “Content Kits”. Also at the MDN, Jeremie Patonnier, Justin Crawford and Diane Tate are a: friendly and 2: figuring out how the MDN can better support their communities with the Learning Zone, experiments and a fellowship program for developers in which fellows will develop teaching kits while contributing to Mozilla projects. I'm keeping my eye on the MDN work :)

Next Steps

For me, the next step is to develop a solid organizing structure for Teach Like Mozilla content. I’ve had conversations about the overarching structure and it’s time to get into the dirty details – which, as you might have guessed, I have several ideas for. The meta bit is 3-fold: The devil is in the details – the organizing structure will help me figure out how to take all of this amazing work and crochet it into a usable set of modules that is cohesive in style and voice. I love your feedback and comments, and I'm always happy for help. Please do reach out!

March 26, 2015 02:47 PM

March 25, 2015

Open Badges blog

Will #OpenBadges Remain Open? That is up to us.

Will #OpenBadges Remain Open? That is up to us.:

Will Open Badges remain open? That is up to us.

Dr. Bernard Bull shared his thoughts on a recent critique presented by Dr. Michael Olneck at the pre-conference event on Open Badges at the Learning Analytics 2015 Conference:

There is democratizing technology and authoritarian technology. I’ve written about that in the past. However, there is more than one way to approach this. You can look at the technology itself, its inherent features and how they are likely to lead one toward more authoritarian or democratizing structures. That, for example, is present in debates about gun control. Some argue that guns, by their nature, are designed to shoot things, including people. As such, people might push for more regulation and control around them, resulting in a more authoritarian ecosystem within which guns reside. Others look at the social landscape and argue that there are plenty of examples where guns are present, but violence with guns is low or absent. They are not necessarily looking at the affordances and limitations of the technology directly, but they are instead examining how it developed in a give context. As a result of their approach, they may argue for maintaining a larger democratizing ecosystem for the technology of guns. In reality, both of these factors are constantly at work with the assimilation of a technology in a new context. There are inherent affordances and limitations to the technology that make some things possible and other things more likely. At the same time, there are complex individual and societal forces that impact how it develops, especially the power structures that develop alongside a given technology.

Read the piece in full by clicking the link above.

March 25, 2015 07:58 AM

March 20, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, March 18, 2015



This week the panelists from last week’s SXSWedu session on global lessons in open badges shared their experiences with the community:

Follow the rest of the conversation by clicking the links above for the discussion notes and audio recording.

March 20, 2015 07:07 PM

Carla Casilli | Open Badge Opticks : The prismatic value of badges

Our Director of Policy + Practice, Carla Casilli, wrote a thought-provoking piece inspired by a recent Twitter conversation about the future of education and the role of badges:

During a recent Twitter foray, I jumped into an ongoing conversation about where education is headed and the role that badges might play in where education is headed. The discussion stemmed from Kevin Carey‘s insightful and provocative NYTimes article, “Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen As Official” (based on an excerpt from The End of College.) During that Twitter exchange, Anya Kamenetz (who has recently written The Test) was commenting on Carey’s book and mentioned that she felt that badges have been operating in—and will continue to operate in—perpetual beta. When I asked her why she felt this to be true, she tweeted, “I don’t see the value.” I tweeted back saying that badge value was prismatic. This post is an exploration of that position.

Read the full post here.

March 20, 2015 06:52 PM

March 16, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [80]

Apologies for the delay on last week’s Badger Beats, everyone! 

Here’s a brief summary of what we read, did, and talked about last week:

Thanks for yet another great week - let’s see what you’ve got this week!

March 16, 2015 08:10 AM

March 13, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, March 11, 2015


This week the team and community looked at the recent report from the Carnegie Foundation on the Credit Hour (download the report here).

The report, as reviewed by Inside Higher Ed, argues that “the credit hour is an inadequate unit for measuring student learning. Yet no better replacement for higher education’s gold standard has emerged, and getting rid of it right now would be risky.” We asked our community to weigh in on our discussion board, and you can follow that thread here:

We continued this conversation on this week’s community call, where a number of attendees echoed some of the IHE commentary, that “the credit hour is a measure of instruction, not a measure of learning,” but, as Carla Casilli eloquently put, it “is *the* archetypal measurement tool for education today” and simply removing it would indeed be risky, creating a vacuum that currently can’t be adequately filled by alternative credentials or assessment methods.

Others, including Nate Otto, talked about the role badges could play in this future space. The fact that “transcripts are hard to translate” is known by many employers who have echoed these sentiments about GPAs, letter grades and transcripts. Those working on open badges software are hoping to find ways to translate value using badges, creating networks of trust across education and the workforce.

Follow the discussion notes from the call here:

Thank you to those who participated on this week’s call. Join us next Wednesday at 12pm ET to learn more about our community’s badging projects and share updates from your own.

March 13, 2015 10:00 PM

Michelle Thorne

Clubs: What’s next?

Wow, we did it! It was a successful and thoughtful first round of testing.

Here’s what we anticipate happening next:

Would you like to join us? Let us know in our discussion forum. We’d love to collaborate with you.

March 13, 2015 04:40 PM

Clubs: Learning about testing

For testing clubs this first quarter, we followed this process:

  1. Invite testers. We talked to allies about the opportunity and invited them to join the testing process. Each tester was given the dedicated support of a staff member to ensure they had direct and regular contact with the project.
  2. Kickoff call with testers. We initiated testing with a community call, which we continued to host fortnightly as an important check-in and reflection point. We used Vidyo and etherpad for the calls.
  3. 1:1 Interviews. To better understand our allies needs, we conducted 40+ interviews with them. We collated and analysized the data, which greatly informed our efforts.
  4. Affiliate comparison. In parallel, we also reviewed 10+ other organizations who have a club model or other form of local group organizing. This review gave us best practices to learn from.
  5. Curriculum curation. The testing process was two-part: curriculum curating and curriculum testing. To curate, we developed a curriculum arc (Reading the Web, Writing the Web, and Participating on the Web) and then sought existing activities to fill that out. Where there were gaps, we created or remixed new activities. This work was done on Github to great effect.
  6. Curriculum testing. Every two weeks, our testers were invited to try out the latest curriculum section. We shared reflections and questions in Discourse and used our fortnightly check-in call to discuss our experience and feedback on the sections.
  7. Assessment is hard. We know how important it is for benchmarks. We want to know how effective the curriculum is. We created brief questionnaires in Google Docs and made them part of the testing process. But the responses were low. This continues to be a challenge. How can we do friction-free assessment?
  8. Partner cultivation. As the testing was going on, we also drafted a partner engagement plan. What organizations would be ideal partners for clubs? What are we offering them and how to we want to engage them? Next quarter we will put this plan into action with a number of wonderful organizations.
  9. Website development. Furthermore, we discussed with testers their needs for an online platform to showcase and connect this initiative. The first version of this new website will go live in April.
  10. Reflect early, reflect often. Throughout this quarter, we had conversations with testers, colleagues and other partners about this process. We constantly adjusted and improved. This is an essential practice. Going forward, I anticipate continual reflection and iteration as we develop clubs collaboratively and in the open. It was very beneficial meeting the team in person for several days of planning. I hope we can do that again, expanding to regional coordinators and testers, next quarter.
  11. Get out of the way. Once the framework is set up and a team is in place to support testing, it’s important to get out of the way! Smart people will innovate and remix the experience. Make sure there are ways to encourage and capture that. But allow beautiful and unexpected things to emerge, like Project Mile.

If you participated in this round of testing, or have related experiences, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the process!

March 13, 2015 04:30 PM

Clubs: Towards an organizing model

During the testing of clubs, we identified the need for a community organizing model to recruit and support club leaders regionally.

We realized that this model must provide value to i) established mentors as well as help ii) aspiring educators find their audience and their pedagogical stance.

Understanding our allies

In other words, these are our two personas for clubs:





Volunteer Leadership

To support these two personas, we established that intermediary volunteer leadership roles are needed. Inspired by Obama’s community organizing model, nicknamed “the snowflake”, we would like to pilot the following structure:

  1. Club Leader. Runs a local club.
  2. Regional Coordinators. Supports several local clubs.
  3. Staff Organizer. Supports several regional coordinators.


Starting in April, we’d like to work with a handful of beta-tester regional coordinators to test and grow this organizing model.

The Facilitative Teacher

Furthermore, we realized that community leaders would benefit from professional development and training. In parallel to the curriculum stream we have around web literacy, we will also develop modules around facilitative leadership and teaching.

This includes hands-on activities to teach how to use open practices, connectivism, digital making and general facilitation skills to empower your learners and grow your local community.

I’m quite excited about this area of development and plan to collaborate closely with Aspiration Tech and Mozilla Reps to build this out next quarter.

March 13, 2015 04:00 PM

Clubs: Web Literacy Basics curriculum

For clubs, we needed well curated and field-tested curriculum informed by our pedagogy:

Our pedagogy

  • Why we teach: This is our mission. We are dedicated to empowering others with web literacy so that they have agency on the web as creators, citizens and future leaders.
  • How we teach: This is our pedagogy. Teaching and learning is how we achieve our mission. They are political as well as self-actualizing acts. We teach and learn by making projects together and openly reflecting on the process in an inclusive and locally relevant environment. Learning is social, production-centered, and open-ended. It is done best when facilitated in small groups meeting in-person.
  • Who we teach: This is our audience. We teach our peers, so that we can reflect and improve together. We teach our local community, so we can give back and make a different locally.
  • What we teach: This is our subject. We teach web literacy, which encompasses the mechanics, culture and citizenship of the web. Our learners are more self-actualized as creators when they can use the web as a platform for creativity. They are better citizens when they can make more informed choices on the web. And they are economically more empowered with skills and practical knowledge of this public resources.
  • Where we teach: This is our classroom. We teach locally, wherever we have our learners, be that in formal classrooms, to libraries and coffee shops and kitchen tables. We learn globally, as we connect with peers who inspire and mentor us to make local change that has a global impact.

Curriculum Partners

For the last few years, web literacy pioneers have been developing open educational resources to teach the web.

Over the last two months, we curated some of the brightest examples of that work and sequenced it into a six-part introductory module.

I’d like to acknowledge these organizations for their leadership here and for building in the open: MOUSE, Creative Commons, P2PU School of Open, WYNC Radio Rookies, and Mozilla Indonesia.

They inspired and shared the foundational materials for the first module. Here’s what the result looks like!

Web Literacy Basics

Learners get familiar with reading, writing and participating on the web in this six-part module. Discover the foundations of the web through production and collaboration. The learning objectives underpinning each activity are informed by Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map.

Complete the activities in sequence, or mix & match for your learners.

1. Reading the Web

A. Kraken the Code. Understanding credibility.

B. Ping Kong. Understanding web mechanics.

2. Writing the Web

A. Hack the News. Understanding remixing.

B. HTML Puzzle Boxes. Understanding composing for the web.

3. Participating on the Web

A. Web Chef. Understanding open practices.

FINAL PROJECT: B. Story of Us. Understanding community participation.

March 13, 2015 03:05 PM

Clubs: First round of testing complete!

It’s been a fantastic two months of producing and testing clubs.

Here’s a recap of what we accomplished:

In follow-up posts, I’d like to share more about the accomplishments above, what we learned and where we struggled, as well as share ideas for where the club project can go next. If you’re interested in getting involved, drop a line in our discussion forum.

But for now, I’d like to give a huge thanks and gif high-five to the first club testers. We couldn’t have had a more knowledgeable and joyful group!

Thank you!

March 13, 2015 11:12 AM

March 10, 2015

Open Badges blog

New scouts badge helps young digital makers to 'be prepared'... digitally | Nesta

New scouts badge helps young digital makers to 'be prepared'... digitally | Nesta:

Last Wednesday, March 4, Nesta and the Scout Association launch the new Digital Maker badge - bringing digital making skills to their network of 400,000 young people across the UK with a focus on creativity through computational thinking.

The new badge

Nesta believes that digital creativity, along with other digital making skills, are not only important skills for future jobs and personal agency in an increasingly digital world, but also fun to learn outside of the classroom.

After consultation and testing with The Scout Association, volunteers, youth members and technology experts, Nesta has developed resource packs to help Scouts achieve the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge, at stages 1 and 2. Packs are accessible from the Nesta partnership page of the Scouts website as PDFs and are designed to be a fun introduction to how technologies work, including technologies that can be tried at home. A great example is ‘Sandwich Bot’ - how to program your scout leader to make a jam sandwich.

Read the full story by clicking the link above.

March 10, 2015 10:05 PM

Michelle Thorne

Empowering women through equitable access and web literacy

Recently I had the honor of speaking at Mobile Learning Week in Paris, co-hosted by UNESCO and UN Women. The two agencies interwove their agendas to focus on empowering women through mobile learning. It’s a strategic and necessary combo.

I shared a panel with Shelly Esque (Intel), Adele Vrana (Wikimedia), Ingrid Brudvig (World Wide Web Foundation), and Doreen Bogdan (ITU), which was impeccably moderated by Valerie Hannon (Innovation Unit UK).

Here’s a summary of my remarks as well as thoughts from the discussion.

mlw2015 1

The reason I’m here today is thanks to my mother—and Wikipedia. After some convincing, my mother agreed to join me on the train to the first Wikimania, held in Frankfurt, Germany.

I’d been enraptured by the Wikipedia project. And when I learned that Wikipedians were meeting each other for the first time just an hour away from our home, I had to go.

We spent the day talking with wonderful people. We listened to educational activists from Sub-Saharan Africa and had lunch with Serbian mathematicians. These volunteer Wikipedians were translating untold numbers of articles about math into Serbian. How incredible!

What struck me about the Wikipedians was that each worked in a small part on the project. In their language, in their subject. But together, they were creating something great.

They had a North Star to guide them. The Wikipedians knew there was a greater goal and that gave their individual contributions a direction.

Today, we are at a crossroads.

Billions of people are coming online for the first time. Thanks to low-cost phones, many are gaining access to technology that they never had before.

We know that technology is power. And knowledge is power.

With this new wave of technology, we can repeat the power structures of the past. Or we can change them.

Let’s ask ourselves: what is our North Star?

We represent many countries, many interests. But we’re here today galvanized around shared issues.

I’d like to propose that our North Star is not just equitable access, but access to knowledge. And that knowledge is understood as a literacy — web literacy.

Let’s create a web literate planet.

Literacy has been proven to combat all sorts of inequality: social, economic, political.

To overcome gender inequality, women must fully participate online–in their own language, in their own time, and in their own voice.

This requires knowing how to read, write and participate on the web.

Millions of people think that Facebook is the internet. It is not. We must show the possibilities of an open internet, and impart the skills that lead to empowerment online, beyond the walls of any particular corporation. We have to teach the web.

Importantly, it is not just about what we teach, but how.

The classroom is a microcosm of a society’s power structures. Traditionally, teachers see their students as containers, receptacles of knowledge that the teachers, as experts, must fill.

Instead, teachers should be facilitators. They should help their learners find agency and be empowered. Teachers are there to help their learners take ownership of their own learning.

In this way, we can challenge traditional power structures. Learners must have agency and ownership of their learning. This goes for women as much as for men.

At Mozilla, through our low-cost and open source phones, we’re reducing the barrier to access. Through our teaching and learning campaigns, we mobilize communities in 86 countries to teach web literacy to 130,000 learners. And now we are working to sustain those efforts through local groups meeting and teaching regularly.

But these are small, humble contributions.

We, like all of you here, dream big. We see all of our efforts amplifying each other, guided by a North Star.

Together, we can do it. We can create a web literate planet.

mlw2015 2

mlw2015 3

Huge thanks to Jennifer Breslin and Mark West for inviting us and to Anar Simpson helping make the connection!

Images: “Inside the LAN House” by Laura de Reynal available under a Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0 license.. “Now at #mlw2015″ by Ben Moskowitz used with permission. Mobile Learning Week Infographic by UNESCO The Equitable Access Panel by Anar Simpson.

March 10, 2015 11:44 AM

March 08, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [79]

Hey there, badgers! Here’s your weekly run-down of projects, updates and articles for the open badges community:

Going to SXSWedu?

If you’re heading to Austin for SXSWedu, don’t forget to check out Badge the World: Global Lessons in Open Badging with Kate Coleman, Serge Ravet, Tim Riches and Mark Riches. It’s going to be great!

March 08, 2015 02:07 PM

March 06, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, March 4, 2015



This week we were joined by Matt Rogers from Digital Me, who shared some of the recent work they’ve been doing in the UK, including professional development badges for computing curricula in partnership with NAACE (National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education). 

Safe-Bots for Internet Safety

Digital Me and telecommunications company O2 recently led a campaign around Safer Internet Day on February 10th, encouraging youth to take leadership within their families and communities. Youth participants made Safe-Bots displaying e-safety messages at 87 core locations around the UK, including O2 stores. The SID activities were mapped at to educate youth about geolocation data and tracking.


Participants earned badges for a range of activities using the Makewaves platform; those younger than 13 could create a ‘family backpack’ using parents’ emails, and convert them to open badges once they reach 13 and send them to a Mozilla Backpack.

Lucy Neale from Digital Me added that the Internet safety badges “are also designed as a way to engage parents with e-safety as this is something schools and corporates like O2 are struggling with.” E-safety is still seen as a taboo subject for many parents, who perhaps lack an understanding of the issues or feel it is irrelevant. “This project is designed to test whether the badges and digital making activities can offer a non-threatening opportunity for parents to engage with the topic, led by their children, in neutral spaces, including at home and in O2 shops and other public spaces.”

Click here for initial statistics and here for SID participation information. Teachers can download a free SID resource pack, available at, from the resource tab on the left hand side. You can read more about the SID Safe-Bot activities on the O2 blog.

Check out the SID promotional film here:


Thanks to Matt for telling us more about Digital Me’s leadership in SID activities for UK youth; we look forward to hearing more about other projects on upcoming calls.

Join us next Wednesday for more community updates and announcements - click here for weekly call information.

Request for comment on Standards doc

The Standards Working Group shared their collaborative document on open credentials use cases, which is now open for community feedback:

March 06, 2015 03:35 PM

March 03, 2015

Open Badges blog

Can technology help combat CV fraud?

Can technology help combat CV fraud?:

Pearson’s Acclaim platform gets a spotlight in this BBC article on CV / résumé fraud:

"Up to now most achievement certificates or college degrees are on paper," says Clarke Porter, head of the Acclaim scheme. "They are not very computer friendly and you cannot share your paper certificate you have hanging on your wall because it is not digitised.
"We want to bring about a transformation where proper credentials are digitised and can be shared on the internet," he says.

Can badges help eliminate misinformation on digital profiles and résumés?

We say: YES - and so much more!

Add your thoughts below if you like.

March 03, 2015 03:11 PM

Geoffrey MacDougall

Infographic: Contribution & Fundraising in 2014

2013 was an amazing year. Which is why I’m especially proud of what we accomplished in 2014.

We doubled our small dollar performance. We tripled our donor base. We met our target of 10,000 volunteer contributors. And we matched our exceptional grant performance.

We also launched our first, large-scale advocacy campaign, playing a key role in the Net Neutrality victory.

But best of all is that close to 100 Mozillians share the credit for pulling this off.

Here’s to 2015 and to Mozilla continuing to find its voice and identity as a dynamic non-profit.

A big thank you to everyone who volunteered, gave, and made it happen.



Filed under: Mozilla

March 03, 2015 12:33 AM

February 28, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [78]

Welcome to the Badger Beats! Here’s a quick rundown of what the open badges community did this week:

Thank you to everyone who joined us for calls and discussions this week - we look forward to another badgeriffic week with you starting on Monday.

Have a great weekend!


February 28, 2015 09:44 AM

February 27, 2015

Open Badges blog

BadgeLAB Leeds is testing whether Open Badges can deepen or...

BadgeLAB Leeds is testing whether Open Badges can deepen or diversify young people’s engagement with the arts.

BadgeLAB Leeds is a new initiative led by ArtForms LeedsSheffield Hallam University and DigitalMe with the support of the Digital R&D Fund - Nesta, Arts and Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Young people’s learning via arts activities is often informal, taking place through one-off classroom sessions or specially organized local events. Some arts learning provision is designed to function as a complement to traditional classroom teaching, taking place outside formal education entirely.

BadgeLAB Leeds is exploring how Open Badges can act as an incentive to take part in arts based learning experiences, which are not normally recognized with traditional qualifications. To this end, [they] have helped develop badged activities at events such as Light Night Leeds, the March of the Robots Parade and Party as well as MozFest 2014.

One-off classroom sessions have also been supported with Open Badges for activities such as robot making, den building, contributing to a giant, flashing Robo-quilt and making clay pots in the style of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

All of the badges claimed as well as the personal experiences of practitioners are being carefully documented and studied by staff at Sheffield Hallam University as well. [They] hope the research results will reveal how effective an incentive Open Badges can be for young people participating in arts-based activities.

See more at:

February 27, 2015 03:00 PM

Open Badges Community Call, Feb. 25, 2015



This week we were joined by Andrew Downes, who has been working on a prototype for an integration of Tin Can API (xAPI) and the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) alongside Ryan Smith from HT2, and the Open Badges xAPI Community of Practice

Tin Can was developed at similar time to Open Badges addressing similar areas (recording learner experiences and achievements). While there was some initial concerns about conflict or overlap, it turned out there were actually quite a few differences which made them quite complementary. Open Badges tended to be used more in academics to recognize bigger steps in the learning process, whereas Tin Can statements have been used in workforce to describe more granular steps before and after a badge is earned.

Andrew and the Open Badges xAPI Community of Practice have been working on ways these two technologies can work together, including:

Most of their work thus far has focused on using badges and Tin Can with professional bodies, but they are now moving on to organizations and accreditation bodies (see the diagram below). We look forward to hearing more from them in a few months - if you’d like to get involved in github, join xAPI Community of Practice around Open Badges:


Other updates

We were also joined on the community call this week by Dan Hickey, who is using BadgeList to issue badges in his Learning and Cognition Course, as well as working with Indiana University to install Badgesafe. His team is also collaborating with edX as part of his new project, Open Badges in edX and Beyond. 

In Louisiana, Carey Hamburg is putting together a focus group study on the use of badges in recruiting and hiring in the local oil + gas industries as part of his doctoral study. At Concentric Sky & the Oregon Center for Digital Learning, Nate Otto and the team are working on software for one user to be able to manage their own earned badges, define and issue badges to others, and understand badges that people show to them, and are making progress toward an initial release.

The Standards Working Group is continuing to make progress with the W3C credentials community group: members are putting together open badges use cases, and drafting a vocabulary that is generalizable across various high and low stakes credentials. This vocabulary will be shared with the general community soon for feedback and comment.

Opportunities to get involved

The Standards Working Group is putting together development resources to update the Mozilla validator to 1.1 and they’re looking for contributors. The group is willing to work with interns or new JS programmers as a mentorship opportunity, so if you’re interested in a little bit of Node.js contribution, get in touch with Nate Otto

Dan Hickey and his team are looking for additional collaborators on the Open Badges in Higher Ed project. Read more here and get in touch if your organization or institution is working with badges in interesting ways.

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week. Join us next Wednesday for more community project updates and announcements.

February 27, 2015 08:31 AM

February 25, 2015

Open Badges blog

How valuable is the Credit Hour?

A recent report from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching concluded that the credit hour, though flawed in many ways as a measurement of learning, is the best option we have in education.

Two years ago, in response to increasing concern over the adequacy of the credit hour, the Carnegie Foundation brought together a committee of 27 experts to look at the history of the credit hour and evaluate whether a competency-based model of learning measurement could replace it. The overarching theme in the report is that it would be risky - and difficult - to try and replace the current system:

"Achieving this goal would require the development of rigorous standards, assessments, and accountability systems—difficult work, especially in the field of higher education, where educational aims are highly varied and faculty autonomy is deeply engrained." (Source)

Inside Higher Ed provided a commentary when the report was released, citing several experts who have both praise and criticism for the report:

"Several experts praised the study for its broad look at the credit hour’s role and history. But some said they wished the foundation had pushed harder to find a way to move beyond the standard. After all, the foundation created the unit, and at times has been a driving force for change in higher education."

Download “The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape” here 

What do you guys think about the report? 

Let us know by replying to this post or commenting in the Open Badges Community Group:!topic/openbadges/99S_9fdJ5D0

February 25, 2015 04:33 PM

February 21, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [77]

Hey there! Here’s what we got up to this week:

Finally, check out this TEDxProvidence talk on credentials for the 21st century, featuring Achievery’s own Damian Ewens:

February 21, 2015 11:41 AM

February 20, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, Feb. 18, 2015



There were more community members than usual on this week’s community call, which made for some great lively discussions - thank you to all those who joined us.

We met Paul Smith-Keitley this week, who is looking to develop badges for 21st century workplace skills - learn more in this video. He’s been meeting with local politicians and raising awareness around his initiative, so we’re looking forward to hearing how that progresses.

Other updates included Don Presant’s preparations for ePIC 2015, to be held in Barcelona in June, where Serge Ravet and other European badgers will discuss badges, e-portfolios and digital identity. James Willis is writing a “philosophy of open badges” with collaborators Kim Flintoff, Erin Fields, Ted Curran, and Bridget McGraw; to be published in Foundations of Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials

Dan Hickey is working on a general narrated slide deck called Open Digitial Badges: What, Why, When, and Where? to market open badges in the edX community and beyond, as well as working to get the Open Badges Design Principles and Documentation Project report out soon and moving forward with other projects. Steve Lonn is preparing for two badging events coming up: an open conversation about the intersection of badges and ePortfolios on Feb. 26 and a local workshop on digital badges for co-curricular learning on March 4.

We heard from Megan Cole that there is movement building around the Cities of Learning for 2015. The team is gearing up for a May / June launch again with three exemplar cities from previous years, Chicago, LA and Pittsburgh, with potentially a few others getting on board as well. Digital Youth Network is leading the technology platform for the individual cities this year. Also in Chicago, MOUSE is working with Hive Chicago to do a youth gamejam in May, aiming to get the participants to tap into MOUSE’s serious game design badge and curriculum after the jam. They’re looking for partner organizations in Chicago to do activities at the event, so if you’re interested, reach out to Meredith via Twitter.

Badges at ELI 2015

Indiana University’s Dan Hickey and University of Michigan’s Steve Lonn were joined by Penn State’s Chris Gamrat at the Educause Learning Initiative meeting last week in California to lead a panel on digital badges in higher education. Their slides are available here, and the video will be available after 90 days if you didn’t register for the virtual event beforehand. 

Steve told the group on the call that more than half the room had at least a basic or fair amount of knowledge about badges, which was great to hear; the group still did a brief introduction to address specific terminology (micro-credentials, badges, etc.) as well as the continuing discussion of digital vs open badges, aided by the Badge Alliance’s Why Badges? page. Using Twitter, Steve also shared this quotable quote from Dan Hickey during their presentation:

.@dthickey: if your badges don’t have evidence, don’t bother #eli2015

It’s always interesting for us as a community to track our progress at these kinds of events, seeing which issues attendees get stuck on, what questions are most often asked, what the ‘aha!’ moments are. If you’re attending or giving badges presentations at conferences, let us know what your experiences are.

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week. You can review the full discussion in the notes and audio linked above. Join us next Wednesday for more community project updates and announcements!

February 20, 2015 09:26 AM

February 19, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badges come to OpenLearnWe’re really excited to share this...

Badges come to OpenLearn

We’re really excited to share this piece of news from across the pond: the Open University is introducing Badged Open Courses! 

Check it out:

The Open University is building on years of knowledge, experience and research into Open Educational Resources (OER) with its release of innovative new badged open courses (BOCs). These have been developed in response to the needs of informal learners who are seeking access to study skills and to have their learning recognised.
'We have listened to the changing needs and requirements of our informal learners using our open platforms' says The OU’s Open Media Unit Director, Andrew Law. 'Badged open courses will complement The OU’s extensive and growing portfolio of OER on OpenLearn and provide learners recognition for their achievements through assessment – for free.' The team at The OU who produced the courses were finalists in The Learning Awards 2015 for ‘Innovation in Learning’.

Read this article in full here.

February 19, 2015 08:47 PM

February 14, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [76]

Hello there Badgers! Here’s your chance to catch up on the week’s events, articles and project updates:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to calls, chats and articles this week - we’ll see you all on Monday. Have a great weekend!

February 14, 2015 12:26 PM

February 12, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, February 11, 2015


This week the team and community looked at the recent progress of the Standards Working Group, which has been focused on a variety of important issues, including an endorsement extensions proposal. The open badges community discussion on endorsement sparked a discussion around what kinds of issuing organizations, individuals and technical platforms will make use of endorsement. A number of community members indicated that their organizations will be interested in endorsement as a way to add value to badges in the ecosystem, including Nate Otto of the Oregon Badge Alliance

The endorsement issue also raises concerns within our existing community that giving organizations the ability to endorse badges will open the door for those already in power within education and workforce standards bodies to take control within the badging ecosystem. Both Serge Ravet and Carla Casilli commented on the difficulty of creating new environments for existing power structures and the importance of ensuring the ethos of the badging work is maintained moving forward.

To take a look at the endorsement extensions proposal, click the agenda link above or join the conversation in the Working Group at

Thank you to those who participated on this week’s call. Join us next Wednesday at 12pm ET to learn more about our community’s badging projects and share updates from your own.

February 12, 2015 04:48 PM

February 09, 2015

Doug Belshaw

A visual history of the first two years of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)

Jamie Allen reminded me that February 7th marked the two year anniversary of the Web Literacy community at Mozilla. We’ve achieved a fair bit in that time. Here’s a visual history of how we’ve got (nearly) to version 1.5  inspired, in part by contributor Greg McVerry. There’s a list of all of the contributors so far at the end of this post and here.


Mozilla’s web literacy work was actually kicked off by Michelle Levesque before I joined Mozilla. I helped with some suggestions and iterations as you can see from her blog. To begin with, it was just a list of skills that I suggested she might want to put into graphical form. So she did: v0.1 (alpha) - Michelle Levesque There was a few months of overlap between me joining Mozilla as ‘Badges & Skills Lead’ and Michelle leaving. I took over development of the web literacy work and wrote a whitepaper.


Erin Knight, Director of Learning at Mozilla at the time, suggested we might work towards a ‘Web Literacy Standard’. We hosted a kick-off call in February 2013 which was well-attended. This is when the community work started, iterating towards a v1.0. The first draft (April 2013) looked like this: First draft of Web Literacy Standard The ‘release candidate’ in July actually had some design love (from Chris Appleton) rather than me messing about in Keynote. This was the ‘Request For Comments’ version from July 2013: v1.0 RFC (July 2013) We’d decided to lock things down for September so that we could launch a version 1.0 at the Mozilla Festival the following month. We were still hoping for it to be a formal ‘standard’ so we called it a specification: v1.0 (specification) As you can see, it’s very similar to v1.1 and the upcoming v1.5 – as you’d expect.


I’d moved teams in late 2013 to become ‘Web Literacy Lead’ at Mozilla. This meant that the Web Literacy Map was one of my main responsibilities. As a community we decided to transition away from ‘Standard’ as the term carries so much negative baggage in North America. After some discussion and debate, we settled on ‘Map’  and took the opportunity to update it to v1.1. Cassie McDaniel provided the visual refresh: WebLiteracy Map v1.1 In April 2014 this was then used to underpin the Webmaker Resources section: Webmaker Resources section Clicking on one of the competencies takes you to a page listing the skills underpinning that particular competency. It was contains resources for teaching that particular area of the Web Literacy Map. This was curated by Kat Braybrooke. Webmaker Resources - Remix In addition, nine of the ten points of the Mozilla manifesto link through to appropriate parts of the Web Literacy Map when you click on them for more information. For example under the ‘learn more’ section of Principle 2 it says Explore how to help keep the Web open. This links through to the Open Practices section of Webmaker resources. Mozilla manifesto - 2


Towards the end of 2014 we began work as a community on scoping out what we originally called ‘version 2.0‘. There was a series of interviews, a community survey, and a small number of community calls in the run-up to Christmas deciding on what we should focus on in 2015. Ultimately, we decided to re-scope to version 1.5 with the potential to go for a v2.0 later in the year. In the community calls we’ve held this year, we’ve already decided to combine ‘Web Mechanics’ and ‘Infrastructure’ to create a new, re-scoped Web Mechanics competency. At the same time, we’re separating out the two parts of ‘Design & Accessibility’ to create Designing for the Web and Accessibility. Changes in competencies from v1.1 to v1.5 We should have v1.5 ready by the end of March 2015. :)


This is a visual history, but behind the simplicity we’ve aimed for is so much debate, discussion and complexity. I’ve been in awe at times at the nuanced thinking of contributors to this project. Some have showed up since the beginning of the project, others have given their precious time for just a couple of sessions. But either way, we couldn’t have come this far without them. If you want to get involved in this work, you’re very welcome! Here’s where to point your attention:


Here’s the community, in alphabetical order by first name. They’re all rockstars:

Have I missed your name? Apologies! Let me know. Finally, there’s a few people I want to single out for their extraordinary help. I can’t overstate how important Carla Casilli was as a thought leader to the community from 2012 to 2014. Ian O’Byrne has stepped up time and time again and has led when I’ve been away. Greg McVerry has been a tireless champion of the Web Literacy Map. Laura Hilliger has been inspirational, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Marc Lesser has been the voice of reason and wisdom. Gus Andrews has been thoughtful and questioning. Alvar Maciel has opened our eyes beyond the English-speaking world and been a indefatigable translator. It’s been such an enjoyable couple of years. I can’t wait to get v1.5 ready and then move on to version 2.0!

February 09, 2015 07:55 PM

Open Badges blog

Webinar: Digital Badges to curate, credential and carry forward...

Webinar: Digital Badges to curate, credential and carry forward digital learning evidence

In case you missed the February 4th webinar hosted by Transforming Assessment, here is the recording of David Gibson (Curtin University, Australia) and Kate Coleman (Deakin University, Australia) discussing badges for recognition and motivation within higher learning environments.

February 09, 2015 10:00 AM

February 06, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [75]

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly summary of the news, project updates and events happening in the open badges universe.

Here’s what we got up to this week:

What a jam-packed week!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the community call and online discussions - we look forward to another productive and badgeriffic week with you all. Have a great weekend!

Opportunity for UK-based badgers [DEADLINE TODAY, FRIDAY 6 FEB.]

Jorum are currently investigating the implementation of Open Badges with the depositing, repurposing and remixing of OERs and are forming a focus group of representatives from further education and skills sectors in the UK. 

Get in touch with the organizers here.

February 06, 2015 01:32 PM

Chris Berdik | What can we learn from the badging movement?

The following is an excerpt from a thoughtful column by Chris Berdik, recently published by the Hechinger Report (bold = our emphasis). 

Read the piece in full here.


While the badge universe has grown exponentially — about 300,000 badges have been issued using an open-sourced software developed by Mozilla, one of MacArthur’s partners in the “Badge Alliance” — those first 30 pilot projects [from the 2012 DML Competition] are the most thoroughly scrutinized badges around. Their fates will be instructive. As this ambitious, multi-million effort draws to a close, I spoke to researchers who have followed it from day one. Those conversations suggest that badges will need at least two essential ingredients if they are to be more than a gold star sticker for the digital age — rigor and relationships.

“Badges are like a new currency,” says Sheryl Grant, director of badge research for the academic consortium known as HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Technology and Science Alliance and Collaboratory), another Badge Alliance partner, and the one that administered the pilot competition. “Currencies depend on a collective belief that something has value.”

And that value cannot be from mere participation, says Daniel Hickey, an education professor at Indiana University who tracked the badge pilots. For badges to be meaningful, they need to make specific claims about the learning they represent and link to evidence that backs them up. Some pilot programs, he says, took a year or more just to figure out what they wanted their badges to say.

“They had never thought, specifically, about what learning they provided,” Hickey says. What’s more, Hickey adds, badges should go beyond what’s already covered by grades, tests, blue ribbons or other marks of distinction. For example, finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, a rigorous and prestigious high-school science competition, win thousands of dollars and a week in Washington, D.C., where they meet dignitaries and present their research to top scientists. In 2012, when the competition gave finalists digital badges as well, few bothered to claim them.

So the competition added badges for research papers judged to be college-level, and “initiative” badges, for students who had overcome hurdles such as a lack of advanced science courses or lab space in their schools. In 2014, 39 percent of the finalists claimed their badges, but the claim rates for research and initiative badges were 51 and 59 percent, respectively.

Ideally, of course, a badge won’t mean something just to the earner. It will also impress college admissions officials or potential employers. By that measure, badges have a long way to go. None of the college accreditation agencies yet recognize badges as course credit. While several universities award digital badges in select courses, most are still “considering” whether to work them into the admissions process. Most online human resources platforms can’t process them. People do post badges to their LinkedIn profiles, but it’s not common enough to track, says a spokesperson for the company — whose business depends on tracking everything subscribers do.

That brings us to the second key ingredient for badge value: relationships. Simply put, most badges will only be valued by organizations that already know and trust the issuer or that had a hand in developing them. The rigor behind a badge rarely speaks for itself.

Just ask Hillary Salmons, executive director of the Providence After-School Alliance (PASA), which offers workshops in subjects ranging from debate to dance to designing smartphone apps. When PASA started digital badges, students could find no use for them, so PASA dropped them after two years. Now PASA is planning to re-launch badges this spring.

This time, Salmons says, PASA is reaching out to local business and universities to find out how badges can be useful to them. “We’re asking them, do these skills we plan to measure seem right to you. Do you value them?”

February 06, 2015 01:04 PM

February 05, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, February 4, 2015


We were joined by two new community members this week: Russell Okamoto of, where they have been developing a mobile app for showcasing badges via GPS, built with OBI compatibility in mind:

"We have built a digital badge app that lets you "carry" and "beacon out" your badges to people around you. You can also slap your badges like stickers anywhere you go sort of like digital graffiti. We think this app would be great for edtech badges to let people showcase their credentials. if you want to try it please let me know. The app is called Wave. We think for professional development, Wave might be a good way to advertise what interests and skills people have as they move around at events or in daily life.”

We were also joined for the first time by Bohdan Andriyiv, founder of, where users can send thanks to others as recommendations and endorsements. Welcome, newcomers!

The Standards Working Group has been moving forward with numerous extension proposals - read more and contribute to the discussions on Endorsement and Identity in the mailing list. We’ll be hearing more from Working Group members next week, so join us next week if you’d like to hear more about what they’re working on.

This week we asked those who attended the Digital Promise Educator and Workforce Micro-credentials Summit on January 30 to join us and share their thoughts on the conversations and presentations they participated in during the Summit, which brought together around 100 teachers, administrators, entrepreneurs and non-profit representatives to discuss the value of micro-credentials for professional development. It was a small summit full of intense conversations, according to Carla Casilli, who said the term ”micro-credentials” was a “door-opener” that opened up conversations about badges to an audience of teachers discussing professional development credentials. Accreditrust’s Mary Bold said there were quite a few attendees starting from the beginning with badges and micro-credentials, using the phrase “eternal September” to describe the rolling on-boarding of those new to the badging conversation. Mary also noted the summit was largely California-centric, and spoke to the need for more global connections in the coming months, when asynchronous collaboration will become increasingly important. Nate Otto said there were lots of questions and conversations about how “recognizers of micro-credentials” (consumers of badges) can determine whether to trust or value certain badges and “convert them into opportunities for earners.”

A few people have written about the summit already:

If you attended the summit, share your thoughts on Twitter with the #openbadges and #MC4PD hashtags.

See you all next Wednesday for a deep dive on the Standards extensions work and more community updates!

February 05, 2015 02:07 PM

Open Badges in Higher Education project is seeking collaborators

Indiana University’s Dan Hickey is looking for new platforms and partners for his latest project, Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond:

"my team is funded for two years to support people who are getting innovative badge systems operational in higher education. We can offer quite a bit in terms of getting systems up and running, and documenting progress and projects in our open case library. The official name of this new project is Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond. Now that we have succeeding in getting open badges up and running in Open edX, we are looking for new collaborators and new platforms. We now know our way around Open edX, Canvas, and Google CourseBuilder, and are quickly expanding beyond that.

Get in touch with Dan or his research associate James Willis to discuss your projects - even if you don’t need help, your work may be included in the open case library the team is building.

Email Dan: 

Email James:

February 05, 2015 12:25 PM

February 03, 2015

Jess Klein

Strategies to get over yourself and start creating

When I start a new project, I often have a moment of anxiety - blank canvas syndrome.  I am really excited about all of the possibilities that are embedded within the task of initiating new work, however I am overwhelmed by the blank screen that is staring me in the face. I start to think: will I ever be creative again? Will I create something unique? How can I effect the most change? ... make impact? do something original.... not find the obvious solution... but the best one.

Despite the fact that I feel like an impostor or a fraud in these moments - this is actually pretty common. I've talked to a lot of designers, illustrators and creative people and everyone seems to have a strategy for conquering this feeling. Here are some of my strategies:

Sit with a marker in your hand

My good friend Chloe Varelidi suggested this to me once and it works for me 99% of the time. I find if I just sit somewhere - a coffee shop, a subway ride, a library etc - with a pen in my hand and a sketchbook in front of me and just start the action of drawing, something will spur on an idea. If I am in a total rut, I will start by drawing what I think is the boring or obvious solution to a design problem - kind of to just put it out there into the world. After that is done, it's out of my mind - time to come up with a handful of other ideas.

Look or listen to something that is unrelated but inspiring

I am the queen of podcasts - at any given time I can tell you about something that I found interesting in a recent episode of 99 Percent Invisible or The Moth. The topics of the show don't ever need to relate to something I am working on, but I find that hearing how other people process problems and ideas inspires me to create. Sometimes looking at art in a museum or gallery is helpful. I will say that not going online and hunting for ideas on Pinterest or Dribbble is the most constructive for me. If I go to those sites I tend to go into a downward spiral of self doubt - thinking - look at all these other designers rockin' it - will I ever get my idea? Instead I think more conceptually and proactively.

Move your body

You've heard of the expression - 'mind - body connection' right? Well there's a reason for that - it's true. Stretch, run, do yoga,  go for a swim or a walk around your office. My friend Atul Varma actually takes off his shoes and paces from room to room while he is brainstorming. It's the act of waking up your body and prepping it to be creative that really motivates you - and it could be completely subconscious.  I always hear about people coming up with great ideas in the morning while they are showering.  This is unscientific, but I am sure that it has something to do with the fact that you are moving your body - stretching, standing and letting your mind relax.
Context switch

Sometimes the reason that I can't get started on something new is that my head is stuck on something old.  For example, I recently went from designing a snippet for Firefox to making an onboarding experience to then making promotional content for Privacy day. There's a lot of context switching going on here. I am switching mediums, platforms and thematic concepts! I am still struggling with how to get over this, but one thing that I do is context switch my physical environment. If I have been sitting at a desk for a week straight working on a project, I go to sit at a coffee shop or on a couch to brainstorm. If I have to work at my desk, I find some way to change it : re - organize it,  put some fresh tea in front of myself, find a new pen to sketch with - sticky notes to cut up etc. Anything to alter the environment within my zone of comfort.

Talk it out 

When all else fails, I find a friend or colleague to talk to. This might be in the form of a tweet, a blogpost (ahem ahem), a journal entry, an instant message or a conversation in real life. I tend to talk to everyone - my husband, my community, my mom, my fellow designers, people who are struggling with the problem that I am trying to solve - people who know nothing about the work that I am dealing with, people who won't respond - but just listen to me ramble, people who will respond and give me thousands of ideas that make no sense, just anyone. It's like talk therapy for me. I just need to get out my concerns and energy in some way so that I can move forward with the creative business at hand. 

None of these solutions are fool proof, and it's not like you do one thing and it's a magic bullet or creativity, however, I find that these things are constructive ways to focus and release my anxiety or nervous energy when initiating new work. If you have other strategies, I would love to hear about them, please send me or copy me on a tweet.

February 03, 2015 02:04 PM

February 02, 2015

Matt Thompson

What we’re working on this sprint

Jan 30 demos video. Check out Andrew and Bobby’s presentation starting at 56:00. Great analysis and take-aways on recent efforts like on-boarding, login and more.

What we got done last sprint

 What we’re doing this sprint

Sorted by theme:


plus… wrapping up loose ends from the last Heartbeat.

Get involved

February 02, 2015 08:34 PM

January 30, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [74]

Happy Friday, badgers! Here’s the rundown of what happened this week:

The Digital Promise Micro-credential Summit is happening right now in Redwood City, CA, which we’ll hear more about on next week’s community call. Follow @DigitalPromise for ongoing updates, and take a look at this neat vine which captures some of the discussion topics below:

January 30, 2015 05:13 PM

Open Badges Community Call, Jan. 28, 2015



This week we met a new community member, Angela Fulcher, who is looking into options for developing a badge system for Harlem schools and is based at Columbia University. We also heard from longtime badgers Serge Ravet, who has made some updates to the Badge Europe site, and Nate Otto, who dialed in from the Digital Promise Micro-credential Summit (more on that next week). 

Our main presentation this week was from Ian O’Byrne, who spoke to the group about the work the Badge Alliance Working Group on Digital and Web Literacies did during Cycle 1 in 2014. This group used Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map as a starting point for drafting recommendations for creating a privacy badge pathway. The Web Literacy community has spent the last two years scripting out the Web Literacy pathways and really think about what it means to be a web-literate individual. The goal of Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Working Group was to aim for a descriptive approach, avoiding being prescriptive about what these literacies should be. They began developing pathways, trying to be transparent about the individual skills/competencies incorporated, and what they would look like with badges built around them. The result was this paper: “Considerations when creating a ‘Privacy’ badge pathway.”

The discussion that followed touched on endorsement, federated badge systems, and badge currency, which the open badges community has been grappling with on the mailing list. Carla Casilli suggested this work might be a good use case for endorsement, with the Web Literacy community endorsing badges that align with the mapped pathways developed in recent years. James Willis argued that a certain degree of generalization is important in work this like, to increase accessibility for those who are new to the concept. As organizations start to explore badges, they look for use cases to find out what worked and what didn’t. Being able to generalize these lessons learned makes them more easily applicable to new members of the badge issuing community.

Meredith Summs from MOUSE shared this fun ‘privacy’ activity for youth on Mozilla Webmaker, focusing on users choosing privacy levels based on which digital identities it relates to. Check it out here.

What a great call this week - thank you to those who participated. Join us next Wednesday at 12pm ET to learn more about our community’s badging projects and share updates from your own.

January 30, 2015 09:21 AM

January 29, 2015

Michelle Thorne

Clubs: First test kicks off!

webmaker clubs 15

A few weeks ago we posted an overview of a new initiative with Mozilla, “Webmaker Clubs.” While details (including the name!) are still pending, we’ve made great progress already on the program and are kicking off our first local tests this week.

Joined by over 40 organizations and individuals around the world, we’ll test the first section of our web literacy basics curriculum, based on our community-created Web Literacy Map.

We anticipate having a community-created and tested Web Literacy Basics curriculum ready by the end of March, consisting of three sections:

In addition, there will be extra guides and goodies packaged with the curriculum to help people start their own local clubs or to inject this kind of web literacy learning into their existing programs. These will be bolstered by an online “club house” and leadership development for club mentors.

If you’re interested in trying out the club curriculum or just learning more, drop us a line on this discussion thread.

webmaker clubs 11

Testing 1. Reading the Web.

The first section consists of two 45min. activities, designed by the ever-pioneering MOUSE, to introduce learners to “Reading the Web.”

We selected these activities because we’re looking for lessons that:

webmaker clubs 16

The testing process

Testers are looking at the effectiveness and compatibility of the activities. In particular, we’re interested in how people adapt the curriculum to their learners. One example could be swapping out the mythical creature, The Kraken, for your local variety, like Loch Ness, Knecht Ruprecht, etc.

We’d love to see greater remixes and alternatives to the activities themselves, hopefully uncovering more compelling and context-sensitive ways to teach credibility and web mechanics.

And most importantly, we’re looking at whether the activities meet our learning objectives. They should not only be fun and engaging, but instill real skill and a deeper understanding of the web.

The testing process invites our first cohort to:

  1. complete a pre-activity questionnaire
  2. do the activity first on their own
  3. do the activity with their learners
  4. complete a post-activity questionnaire
  5. share a reflection

where the questionnaires and reflection will unpack how the activities played out with learners and whether they taught what we think they do.

webmaker clubs 12

Co-creating 2. Writing the Web

In parallel to testing the first section, we’re co-developing the second section with our fellow club creators. Here we hope to up-level two existing activities from the community and to prepare them for testing in the next round, starting Feb. 10.

If you have ideas for how to teach “Writing on the Web”, particularly the competencies of remix and composing, chime in!

There are some great activities identified so far, including the Gendered Advertising Remixer, Life in the Slowww Lane.

webmaker clubs 13

Getting involved

There are also other groups emerging to hack on other aspects of clubs. These include:

If you’re interested in any of the above topics, or would like to test and co-create the curriculum, please get in touch! We’d love to have your help to #teachtheweb.

Photos by Mozilla Europe available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

January 29, 2015 07:12 PM

January 28, 2015

Jess Klein

Privacy Day Mobile and Desktop Wallpapers

When I was creating the patterns for the Webmaker privacy campaign, I posted my works-in-progress up on Instagram and a few people asked if I would make them into desktop wallpapers. So... in honor of Data Privacy Day you can download them in a variety of patterns and sizes here.

Doodle Pattern: 320x480 | 800x600 | 1024x768  | 1280x800  | 2560x1440

Hexagon Pattern: 320x480 | 800x600  | 1024x786  | 1280x800 | 2560x1440

Wink Pattern: 320x480 |  800x600  | 1024x768  | 1280x800  | 2560x1440

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

January 28, 2015 06:01 PM

January 27, 2015

Open Badges blog

Erin Knight | Emerging Themes & Approaches for 2015

Read the original post here.


Welcome to a new year of badging! In my last post, I detailed issues and topics that I think need to be a priority this year, and this one builds on that focusing more on new approaches for this year and beyond…

It’s hard to believe that January is almost over, but I’ve been impressed and excited by the energy and excitement that folks have had in just these first few weeks of the new year. Last week I attended an event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston exploring ‘soft skill’ badges for Workforce in the Boston area and beyond. And Digital Promise is hosting an event this week in Redwood City to also dig into badges for Workforce, as well as Educators. It’s so fantastic and inspiring to see the initiative from the network organizations and these types of meetings occurring. 

In general, I think there are some important themes around new approaches already emerging this year:

1) Empowered network and distributed leadership - We are seeing increased initiative and leadership from across the network, where organizations are driving key conversations, not waiting around for permission or for a centralized effort to kick it off, and organizing around specific goals. This is so exciting and will be critical to our success and scale as a network. Of course, it will be important to make sure that we’re ensuring findings and outcomes of these initiatives get fed back into the broader network as we go so that we’re minimizing duplication and learning from each other’s efforts. This is a clear area in which the BA can help.

2) Regional momentum Conversations, projects and leadership are starting to have a regional focus, which creates more awareness beyond the early-ish adopters and further builds the network, focuses and speeds up policy considerations and conversations, creates relevant and strong partnerships, and even opens up more opportunities for funding. We’ve already seen many examples of this emerging, including the Boston event I mentioned, work in Oregon, Pennsylvania and Maine, and much of the current interest globally. Perhaps the strongest role for a centralized BA is to create any necessary support structures for these regional ‘alliances’ and then work to connect key leaders or representatives across each to share experiences and leverage one another further. This won’t work for every issue and project out there, but I think is an obvious and needed piece of how we optimize our collaborative work and productivity and scale well.

3) Specific projects versus general conversation - As I’ve written before, last year was great for building foundations, but this year needs to be focused on delivering specific work and projects that provide models and examples to learn from and point to. The Boston event was positioned around not badges generally, but how we could use badges to support ‘soft’ skill development and communication for workforce. It was a specific set of problems, with the right partners at the table, and is exactly what we need to see more of this year.

4) Face-to-face events - We are a distributed network, and growing even more distributed as global interest takes off, and virtual meetings and methods will always be a critical part of how we interact. But we can’t also discount the value of being in the same room every now and then. I think face-to-face events will need to be an important part of our collective strategies. Ideally we have an opportunity to get together as a network at least once, with more regional or project-based meetings in the meantime. And again, a lot of those specific events are already underway in the first few weeks of 2015. More thoughts on this to come on this shortly, but expanding our toolkit for how we work together is definitely an important theme.

To get even more meta on you, the theme across these themes is one of decentralized work, initiative and progress, with a strong BA role in connecting those efforts and people. More to come in my next post.

Here’s to an exciting year. Looking forward to working with you (and maybe seeing you) soon!


January 27, 2015 04:29 PM

Jess Klein

Quality Assurance reviews for Design, Functionality and Communications

This week a few of the features that I have been writing about will be shipping on - the work for Privacy Day and the new on-boarding experience. You might be wondering what we've been up to during that period of time after the project gets coded until the time it goes live. Two magical words: quality assurance (QA). We are still refining the process, and I am very open to suggestions as to how to improve it and streamline it. For the time being, let me walk you through this round of QA on the Privacy Day content.

It all starts out with a github issue

... and a kickoff meeting

The same team who worked on the prototyping phase of the Privacy Day campaign work are responsible for the quality assurance. We met to kick off and map out our plan for going live. This project required three kinds of reviews - that more or less had to happen simultaneously. We broke down the responsibilities like this:

Aki - (lead engineer) - responsible for preparing the docs and leading a functionality review
Paul - (communication/marketing) - responsible for preparing the docs and leading a marketing review
Jess - (lead designer) - responsible for preparing docs and leading design review
Bobby - (product manager) - responsible for recruiting participants to do the reviews and to wrangle  bug triage.
Cassie - (quality) - responsible for final look and thumbs up to say if the feature is acceptable to ship

Each of us who were responsible for docs wrote up instructions for QA reviewers to follow:

We recruited staff and community to user test on a variety of different devices:

This was done in a few different ways. I did both one on one and asynchronous review sessions with my colleagues and the community. It helps to have both kinds of user tests so that you can get honest feedback. Allowing for asynchronous or independent testing is particularly beneficial because it signals to the reviewer that this is an ongoing process and that bugs can be filed at any point during the review period specified. 

The process is completely open to the community. At any given point the github issues are public, the calls for help are public and the iteration is done openly. 

and if there were any problems, they were logged in github as issues:

The most effective issues have a screenshot with the problem and a recommended solution. Additionally, it's important to note if this problem is blocking the feature from shipping or not.

We acknowledge when user testers found something useful:

and identified when a problem was out of scope to fix before shipping: 

We quickly iterated on fixing bugs and closing issues as a team:

and gave each other some indication when we thought that the problem was fixed sufficiently:

When we are all happy and got the final thumbsup regarding quality, we then....

Close the github issue and celebrate:

Then we start to make preparations to push the feature live (and snoopy dance a little):

January 27, 2015 03:19 PM

January 26, 2015

Open Badges blog

Taken Charge Honored as First Online Game to Earn ISTE Seal of Alignment

Taken Charge Honored as First Online Game to Earn ISTE Seal of Alignment:

This is a pretty big deal:

For the first time, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) has awarded a Seal of Alignment to an online educational game. Taken Charge, created by Galvanize Labs, focuses on helping students learn how to use technology and build foundational technology skills, and is recognized with a Seal of Alignment for “Readiness” for its contribution to building foundational technology skills needed to support the ISTE Standards for Students.

“To truly realize the power of technology to transform learning, it is crucial that students develop tech skills as well as the attributes of good digital citizens, outlined in the ISTE Standards. Taken Charge provides learners with an engaging and rewarding online environment that gets them ready to learn, create and thrive in a technology-infused world,” said Wendy Drexler, Ph.D., ISTE’s Chief Innovation Officer. “We are proud to award the first ISTE Seal of Alignment for an educational game to Taken Charge.”

We’re really excited to see educational games issuing digital badges for tech skills, and even more thrilled to see standards bodies recognizing those skills acquired through game-based learning.

Read the press release by clicking the link in the title, or find out more about the ISTE Seal of Alignment here:

January 26, 2015 10:59 AM

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [73]

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly summary of the badging projects, events and activities that happened over the past week:

  • On the Digital Me blog is a feature on BadgeLAB Leeds and one of the participating organizations, Buzz Creative Arts;
  • Over on the Yardstick blog, a piece on the benefits of digital badges looked at badge badge and impact as they launch their badges on their T2 LMS;

What a busy, productive week our community has had! We look forward to seeing what you all accomplish this year. See you on Monday, folks!

January 26, 2015 10:49 AM

January 23, 2015

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, January 21, 2015

Open Badges Community Call, January 21, 2015:


This year it’s all about making these calls more about you, our wonderful community. With our revived “open mic” approach, everyone who wants to give updates on their badging projects can have time to share and gather feedback from their fellow badgers.

This week we were introduced to newcomer Keesa Johnson, an instructional designer who is working on creating a framework for open badges at Michigan State University based on the badge system developed at Seton Hall University. Welcome, Keesa! We hope to see you sharing more on a future call.

A question from another newcomer, IBM’s Laurie Miller, sparked an interesting discussion about badge value. This is a conversation that’s been ongoing since badges first started gaining traction, but has gotten more attention recently, with more people writing, writing (and writing!) about the potential and challenges of creating value around digital and open badges. We’ll be using one of the upcoming calls to dive deeper, so get your thinking (and writing) caps on!

Sunny Lee brought up a recent discussion thread from the community mailing list on badges and image / content licensing, raising the question of whether folks would be interested in digging into the points raised on a community call. Catch up with the thread here and stay tuned for more movement on that conversation.

Andrew Downes is working on a prototype for issuing open badges through the Tin Can API; follow the Gitter chat here: Nate Otto posted “minor updates” to the Badgr mobile apps for iOS and Android - if you find any bugs, report them to Nate directly via email. These updates should make them compatible with more issuers of open badges (how exciting!)

Speaking of exciting projects, Don Present is working on building a badge-enabled personal learning environment (PLE) for international humanitarian workers, starting with Doctors Without Borders. We definitely look forward to hearing more about this as it progresses - and if you’re going to the 2015 ePIC Conference in Barcelona in June, look out for Don’s presentation on this project.

We were also joined by more of our European friends, Nerijus Kriauciunas and Robertas Visinkis, who have developed BadgeCraft, which offers tools for organizations to design, manage and issue open badges. Their project made it through to the finals of hte DML Competition, and although voting has now ended, you can read more about their proposal here:

Thank you to everyone who participated this week - join us next Wednesday at 12pm ET to share and give feedback on more community badging projects!

January 23, 2015 06:08 PM

Jess Klein

Dino Dribbble

The newly created Mozilla Foundation design team started out with a bang (or maybe I should say rawr) with our very first collaboration: a team debut on dribbble. Dribbble describes itself as a show and tell community for designers. I have not participated in this community yet but this seemed like a good moment to join in. For our debut shot, we decided to have some fun and plan out our design presence. We ultimately decided to go in a direction designed by Cassie McDaniel.

The concept was for us to break apart the famed Shepard Fairey Mozilla dinosaur into quilt-like

Each member of the design team was assigned a tile or two and given a shape. This is the one I was assigned:
I turned that file into this:

We all met together in a video chat to upload our images on to the site.

Anticipation was building as we uploaded each shot one by one:
But the final reveal made it worth all the effort! 

Check out our new team page on dribbble. rawr!

Cassie also wrote about the exercise on her blog and discussed the opinion position for a designer to join the team.

January 23, 2015 01:12 AM

January 22, 2015

Matt Thompson

Mozilla Learning in 2015: our vision and plan

This post is a shortened, web page version of the 2015 Mozilla Learning plan we shared back in December. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be blogging and encouraging team and community members to post their reflections and detail on specific pieces of work in 2015 and Q1. Please post your comments and questions here — or get more involved.

Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.002

Within ten years, there will be five billion citizens of the web.

Mozilla wants all of these people to know what the web can do. What’s possible. We want them to have the agency, skills and know-how they need to unlock the full power of the web. We want them to use the web to make their lives better. We want them to know they are citizens of the web.

Mozilla Learning is a portfolio of products and programs that helps people learn how to read, write and participate in the digital world.

Building on Webmaker, Hive and our fellowship programs, Mozilla Learning is a portfolio of products and programs that help these citizens of the web learn the most important skills of our age: the ability to read, write and participate in the digital world. These programs also help people become mentors and leaders: people committed to teaching others and to shaping the future of the web.

Mark Surman presents the Mozilla Learning vision and plan in Portland, Dec 2015

Three-year vision

By 2017, Mozilla will have established itself as the best place to learn the skills and know-how people need to use the web in their lives, careers and organizations. We will have:

At the end of these three years, we may have established something like a “Mozilla University” — a learning side of Mozilla that can sustain us for many decades. Or, we may simply have a number of successful learning programs. Either way, we’ll be having impact.

We may establish something like a “Mozilla University” — a learning side of Mozilla that can sustain us for many decades.

Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.008
2015 Focus

1) Learning Networks 2) Learning Products 3) Leadership Development

Our focus in 2015 will be to consolidate, improve and focus what we’ve been building for the last few years. In particular we will:

The short term goal is to make each of our products and programs succeed in their own right in 2015. However, we also plan to craft a bigger Mozilla Learning vision that these products and programs can feed into over time.

Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.003
A note on brand

Mozilla Learning is notional at this point. It’s a stake in the ground that says:

Mozilla is in the learning and empowerment business for the long haul.

In the short term, the plan is to use “Mozilla Learning” as an umbrella term for our community-driven learning and leadership development initiatives — especially those run by the Mozilla Foundation, like Webmaker and Hive. It may also grow over time to encompass other initiatives, like the Mozilla Developer Network and leadership development programs within the Mozilla Reps program. In the long term: we may want to a) build out a lasting Mozilla learning brand (“Mozilla University?”), or b) build making and learning into the Firefox brand (e.g., “Firefox for Making”). Developing a long-term Mozilla Learning plan is an explicit goal for 2015.

What we’re building

Practically, the first iteration of Mozilla Learning will be a portfolio of products and programs we’ve been working on for a number of years: Webmaker, Hive, Maker Party, Fellowship programs, community labs. Pulled together, these things make up a three-layered strategy we can build more learning offerings around over time.

  1. The Learning Networks layer is the most developed piece of this picture, with Hives and Maker Party hosts already in 100s of cities around the world.
  2. The Learning Products layer involves many elements of the work, but will be relaunched in 2015 to focus on a mass audience.
  3. The Leadership Development piece has strong foundations, but a formal training element still needs to be developed.
Scope and scale

One of our goals with Mozilla Learning is to grow the scope and scale of Mozilla’s education and empowerment efforts. The working theory is that we will create an interconnected set of offerings that range from basic learning for large numbers of people, to deep learning for key leaders who will help shape the future of the web (and the future of Mozilla).

We want to increasing the scope and diversity of how people learn with Mozilla.

We’ll do that by building opportunities for people to get together to learn, hack and invent in cities on every corner of the planet. And also: creating communities that help people working in fields like science, news and government figure out how to tap into the technology and culture of the web in their own lives, organizations and careers. The plan is to elaborate and test out this theory in 2015 as a part of the Mozilla Learning strategy process. (Additional context on this here: Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.016

Contributing to Mozilla’s overall 2015 KPIs

How will we contribute to Mozilla’s top-line goals? In 2015, We’ll measure success through two key performance indicators: relationships and reach.

Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.006

Learning Networks

In 2015, we will continue to grow and improve the impact of our local Learning Networks.

Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.011

Learning Products

Grow a base of engaged desktop and mobile users for Webmaker.

Surman Keynote for Day One - Edit.014

Leadership Development

Develop a leadership development program, building off our existing Fellows programs.

Get involved

January 22, 2015 06:47 PM

January 21, 2015

Open Badges blog

BadgeLAB Leeds: badges for arts-based learning in the...

BadgeLAB Leeds: badges for arts-based learning in the UK

BadgeLAB Leeds is a partnership amongst ArtForms Leeds, Sheffield Hallam University and DigitalMe. The project works with local arts organisations and arts practitioners to help them create badges that recognise arts-based learning. BadgeLAB Leeds offers learning events for schools, learning programmes and informal audiences.

Buzz, one of the participating arts programmes, is for young people aged 14 to 25 who have a learning disability. It’s offered by West Yorkshire Playhouse at First Floor, their designated creative space for young people.Bee, featured in the above video, is an artist and support worker for Buzz who attended a Badge Design Day back in September.

Head over to the blog (link below) to read an interview with Maria, Co-ordinator at Buzz, about BadgeLAB Leeds.

Read more over on the Digital Me blog

January 21, 2015 03:50 PM

January 20, 2015

Matt Thompson

What we’re working on this Heartbeat

Transparency. Agililty. Radical participation. That’s how we want to work on Webmaker this year. We’ve got a long way to go,  but we’re building concrete improvements and momentum — every two weeks.

We work mostly in two-week sprints or “Heartbeats.” Here’s the priorities we’ve set together for the current Heartbeat ending January 30.

Questions? Want to get involved? Ask questions in any of the tickets linked below, say hello in #webmaker IRC, or get in touch with @OpenMatt.

What we’re working on now

See it all (always up to date):

Or see the work broken down by:

Learning Networks

Learning Products

Desktop / Tablet:



 Planning & Process

January 20, 2015 04:11 PM

January 17, 2015

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [72]

Hey there, folks! Here’s your rundown of what went on in the world of badges this week:

That’s it for this week - if you’ve got something to share, tweet it out using the hashtag #openbadges so we can pass it on to the community.
And don’t forget, public voting for the DML Competition closes next week, so get your votes in by January 20!

January 17, 2015 08:05 AM

January 16, 2015

Jess Klein

EYE Witness News: Promotional Content on Webmaker

On January 28th Mozilla will be celebrating Data Privacy Day. This is an international effort centered on "Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust." There will be content on Mozilla, Webmaker and Mozilla Advocacy. The Webmaker team had previously developed privacy content with the Private Eye activity (featuring the Lightbeam add-on), so the primary challenge here was how to promote that content via the Webmaker splash page. This is actually a two - fold design opportunity:

1. micro: how might we promote the unique Privacy Day content on the splash page for the 28th?

2. macro: how might we incorporate promotional interest-based content into the real estate on the Webmaker splash page on an ongoing basis?

Constraints: needs to be conceived, designed and implemented within 2 weeks.

Start from the beginning 

I took a look at the current splash page. The content that we are promoting is directly connected to the Mozilla mission, so I identified a sliver of space directly above the section where we state the project's values. My thinking here is that we are creating a three tier hierarchy of values on the page: 1) we are webmaker - we are all about making - and this is what you can do right this second to get started, 2) we are deeply concerned about [privacy] - and this what you can do right now to dive into that topic and 3)we are more than just making + [privacy] - here are all the things that we value.

I SEE what you did there

That sliver was great, but it was below the non-existent but deeply considered fold of the page. If this was a painting I would create a repoussoir element to bring the users attention to the core content  by framing the edge. In the painting below you can see that tree branch that directs your attention directly into the heart of the composition.

Jacob Isaaksz. van Ruisdael, The Jewish Cemetery (1655-60)

Building off of my thinking from designing the Mozilla snippet and the onboarding ux,  I wanted to make this repoussoir element something that a user might find quirky, whimsical or relateable. All of the other elements on the page were expected and kind of standard elements for a webpage. I needed to create something that would be subtle yet attention grabbing.  Looking at subject of privacy, I immediately had associations with corporations and individuals big- brothering me as I visited web pages. I realized that the activity we were directing users to was called private eye - and this led me to create a small asset that features an eyeball that follows your cursor around as you explore the splash page. On hover it will flip and direct you to the activity.This worked for desktop, but for mobile we would have to simulate the action by having a simple CSS eyeball animation center aligned on the sliver. Major props here go out to Aki who had to invoke the pythagorean theorem to get the eye to follow the cursor without leaving the sclera.

  I did a study of eyeballs on redpen and immediately got a ton of community and staff feedback - which told me two things: 1. it was a conversation topic and 2. people liked the very first eyeball that I drew. 

Let me give you a walk through

    From Mozilla's perspective, we are testing:

    • whimsy vs. traditional promotional placement 
    • mission driven content 
    • how many people are we getting to engage with Webmaker and sign up for new accounts

    What's Next Up:

    • This will be deployed on staging on Monday and then our goal is to go live on January 28th, which is Privacy Day!
    • Now that we have a promotional framework, figuring out how to incorporate a richer learning experience around mission - based content.
    • Users can opt into enrolling in a sustained challenge - based Webmaker activity. Almost as if it's a virtual Webmaker club.

      Shout outs to the team that made this possible: Aki, Andrew, Erika, Paul, Dave

    January 16, 2015 02:01 PM

    January 15, 2015

    Open Badges blog

    Open Badges Community Call, Jan. 14, 2015



    This year, we’re encouraging the community to have much more of a voice on the community calls, with “open mic” style updates and presentations.

    This week, Sunny Lee shared her hopes for badges in 2015, including continuing work on endorsement, the Directory and display tools. A number of community members, including Serge Ravet, are working on projects such as the Open Badge Passport to make badge sharing and display easier for earners. Tim Cook from the Sprout Fund also hopes 2015 will bring more display options such as backpacks and passports, as well as progress on backpack federation. Many community members are also working on increased documentation for badging projects in 2015 - James Willis is putting the Design Principles Documentation Project’s final report together, with “research and hard data” to contribute to our research base. Exciting stuff!

    We also heard from Nate Otto and Beth Unverzagt, who are founding members of the Oregon Badge Alliance. This sparked a discussion of how a selection of organizations came together to form “a network of partners in Oregon who want to advance education with technology.” They are kicking off 12 pilot projects in 2015, including workforce readiness programs, after school groups, higher education and informal learning organizations. Wayne Skipper, another of the Oregon Badge Alliance’s founding members, said the key to forming this regional alliances finding a “core group serving different roles with complementary skills” across different sectors. We hope to follow up with the folks in Oregon and get some advice for others who might want to start their own local or regional collaborations.

    Finally, we heard from Mercè Muntada, Jordi Moretón and Eduardo Millán, who together developed BadgeCulture, a project to engage people in cultural tourism activities in Spain. They recently launched an open beta at and are looking for further tools and user testing before progressing further. Badges are still a new concept in Spain, so they’re also doing a lot of evangelism and education on the concept of badges before taking BadgeCulture to the next level and developing badges.

    If you’ve got a badging project you’re thinking about or working on, please join us next Wednesday at 12pm ET and share it with the community!

    January 15, 2015 05:27 PM

    January 14, 2015

    Michelle Thorne

    Diving into PADI’s learning model

    padi 1

    For the last few years, Joi Ito has been blogging about learning to dive with PADI. It wasn’t until I became certified as a diver myself that I really understood how much we can learn from PADI’s educational model.

    Here’s a summary of how PADI works, including ideas that we could apply to Webmaker.

    With Webmaker at the moment, we’re testing how to empower and train local learning centers to teach the web on an ongoing basis. This is why I’m quite interested in how other certification and learning & engagement models work.

    padi 2

    PADI’s purpose

    The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) has been around since the late 1960’s. It  trained over 130,000 diving instructors to issue millions of learning certifications to divers around the world. Many instructors run their own local businesses, who’s main service is to rent out gear and run tours for certified divers, or to certify people learning how to dive.

    Through its certification service, PADI became the diving community’s de facto standard-bearer and educational hub. Nearly all diving equipment, training and best practices align with PADI.

    No doubt, PADI is a moneymaking machine. Every rung of their engagement ladder comes with a hefty price tag. Diving is not an access-for-all sport. For example, part of the PADI training is about learning how to make informed consumer choices about the dive equipment, which they will later sell to you.

    Nevertheless, I do think there is lots of learn from their economic and engagement model.

    Blended learning with PADI

    PADI uses blended learning to certify its divers.

    They mix a multi-hour online theoretical part (regrettably, it’s just memorization) with several in-person skills trainings in the pool and open water. Divers pay a fee ($200-500) to access the learning materials and to work with an instructor. They also send you a physical kit with stickers, pamphlets and a logbook you can use on future dives.

    Dive instructors teach new divers in very small groups (mine was 1:1 to maximum of 1:3). It’s very hands-on and tailored to the learner’s pace. Nevertheless, it has a pretty tight script. The instructor has a checklist of things to teach in order to certify the learner, and you work through those quite methodically. The online theory complements the lessons in the water, although for my course they could’ve cut about 3 hours of video nerding out on dive equipment.

    There is room for instructor discretion and lots of local adaptation. For example, you are taught to understand local dive practices and conditions, like currents and visibility, which inform how you adapt the PADI international diving standard to your local dives. This gives the instructor some agency and adaptability.

    Having a point of view

    PADI makes its point of view very clear. Their best practices are so explicit, and oft-repeated, that as a learner you really internalize their perspective. In the water, you immediately flag any detraction from The PADI Way.

    Mainly, these mantras are for your own safety: breathe deeply and regularly, always dive with a buddy, etc. But by distilling their best practices so simply and embedding them deeply and regularly in the training, as a learner you become an advocate for these practices as well.

    Learning with a buddy

    The buddy system is particularly interesting. It automatically builds in peer learning and also responsibility for yourself and your buddy. You’re taught to rely on each other, not the dive instructor. You solve each others problems, and this helps you become empowered in the water.


    Furthermore, PADI makes its learning pathways very explicit and achievable. After doing one of the entry level certification, Open Water Diving, I feel intrigued to take on the next level and trying out some of the specializations, like cave diving and night diving.

    Throughout the course, you see glimpses of what is possible with further training. You can see more advanced skills and environments becoming unlocked as you gather more experience. The PADI system revolves around tiers of certifications unlocking gear and new kinds of dives, which they do a good job of making visible and appealing.

    You can teach, too.

    What’s even more impressive is that the combination of the buddy/peer learning model and the clear pathways makes becoming an instructor seem achievable and aspirational—even when you just started learning.

    As a beginner diver, I already felt excited by the possibility of teaching others to dive. Becoming a PADI instructor seems cool and rewarding. And it feels very accessible within the educational offering: you share skills with your buddy; with time and experience, you can teach more skills and people.

    Training the trainers

    padi engagement ladder

    Speaking of instructors, PADI trains them in an interesting way as well. Like new divers, instructors are on a gamification path: you earn points for every diver you certify and for doing various activities in the community. With enough points, you qualify for select in-person instructor trainings or various gear promotions.

    Instructors are trained in the same model that they teach: it’s blended, with emphasis on in-person training with a small group of people. You observe a skill, then do it yourself, and then teach it. PADI flies about 100 instructors-to-be to a good dive destination and teaches them in-person for a week or so. Instructors pay for the flights and the training.

    At some point, you can earn enough points and training as an instructor that you can certify other instructors. This is the pinnacle of the PADI engagement ladder. We’re doing something similar with Webmaker: the top of the engagement ladder is a Webmaker Super Mentor. That’s someone who trains other mentors. It’s meta, and only appeals to a small subset of people, but it’s a very impactful group.

    What’s the role of PADI staff? This is a question we often ask ourselves in the Webmaker context. Mainly, PADI staff are administrators. Some will visit local dive centers to conduct quality control or write up new training modules. They are generally responsible for coordinating instructors and modeling PADI practices.

    Local learning, global community

    The local diver centers and certified instructors are PADI’s distribution model.

    Divers go to a local shop to buy gear, take tours and trainings. The local shop is a source of economic revenue for the instructors and for PADI. As divers level up within the PADI system, they can access more gear and dive tours from these shops.


    Lastly, PADI imparts its learners with a sense of stewardship of the ocean. It empowers you in a new ecosystem and then teaches you to be an ambassador for it. You feel responsibility and care for the ocean, once you’ve experienced it in this new way.

    Importantly, this empowerment relies on experiential learning. You don’t feel it just by reading about the ocean. It’s qualitatively different to have seen the coral and sea turtles and schools of fish yourself.

    The theory and practice dives in the pool ready you for the stewardship. But you have to do a full dive, in the full glory of the open water, to really get it.

    I think this is hugely relevant for Webmaker as well: it’s all good to read about the value of the open web. But it’s not until you’re in the midst of exploring and making in the open web do you realize how important that ecosystem is. Real experience begets responsibility.

    Giving back

    PADI encourages several ways for you to give back and put your stewardship to use: pick up litter, do aquatic life surveys, teach others about the waters, etc.

    They show you that there is a community of divers that you are now a part of. It strikes a good balance between unlocking experiences for you personally and then showing you how you can act upon them to benefit a larger effort.

    Going clubbing

    As mentioned, there are many shortcomings to the PADI system. It’s always pay-to-play, it’s educational materials are closed and ridiculously not remixable, it’s not accessible in many parts of the world due to (understandable) environmental limitations. Advocacy for the ocean is a by-product of their offering, not its mission.

    Still, aspects of their economic and learning model are worth considering for other social enterprises. How can instructors make revenue so they can teach full-time and as a career? How can gear be taught and sold so that divers get quality equipment they know how to use? How can experiential learning be packaged so that you know the value of what you’re getting and skills along the way?

    I’m pretty inspired by having experienced the PADI Open Water Diving certification process. In the coming months, I’d like to test and apply some of these practices to our local learning center model, the Webmaker Clubs.

    If you have more insights on how to do this, or other models worth looking at, share them here!

    January 14, 2015 12:23 AM

    Forrest Oliphant

    Turtle power to the people

    The Grid meet up

    MozFest 2014 #ArtOfWeb

    After working for about three years with Forrest we finally meet him on a meet up of The Grid team.

    During the first days we were preparing a workshop for MozFest's #ArtOfWeb track. The idea was to present a quick introduction to Flowhub/NoFlo and how to use it to draw with Mirobot. Then we would let people create their own drawings.

    We created a NoFlo component to talk with Mirobot:

    Having the robot represented as a component made it easier to even explain to people how it was drawing: "the SendCommand component waits for commands --- like go forward or turn left --- so when it receives a new command, it sends it to the robot. When the robot finishes drawing, it signalizes banging the completed port, so we are good for the next command".

    For the workshop Gabi created a NoFlo graph that draws contours of a given image:

    Given an image as input (the heart), the graph extracts its edges and chooses random points from it. If we give those points to Mirobot draw randomly, it will end up with a random path that wouldn't remember the original shape of a heart. We have to order the points in a way the robot will travel along the shortest path. We have a Travelling Salesman Person solver that finds the shortest path. After converting cartesian coordinates to polar ones --- because Mirobot just understands translations and rotations, remember? forward X and turn left/right Y --- we send the commands to Mirobot and using noflo-canvas we draw a preview. Here's the result:

    MozFest 2014 #ArtOfWeb

    The other graph collects points someone draw on a canvas and after sending that, Mirobot draws them on paper:

    MozFest 2014 #ArtOfWeb

    The meetup with The Grid was incredible. We met Forrest, Jon Nordby and Henri Bergius. Lionel Landwerlin joined us some days later. Those guys never stopped coding and inspiring us.

    More robots on the way

    While preparing the workshop we built a hack to Mirobot, making it possible to draw on walls. That's a work-in-progress and we are planning to keep improving and documenting the process.

    MozFest 2014 #ArtOfWeb

    MozFest's ArtOfWeb

    MozFest was fantastic. We met Kat, Eric, Paula, Michelle, Allison, Ginger, Ricardo and all the other incredible "art phreaks" of the #ArtOfWeb track. Ben Pirt, the Mirobot's creator, joined us in the art gallery and brought us his bots and kindness.

    ArtOfWeb was a refuge during the chaotic creative tornado of MozFest. A place to chat, create and relax listening to good music and enjoying art installations.

    Our session did its job. We had people curious about the drawing robot, nice discussions about procedural vs flow-based programming and really nice collaborative drawings.



    Henri recorded the following time-lapse video. A really nice way to capture this kind of session.

    The festival ended up with a demo party where the most revealing feeling of collaboration and aesthetics experimentation took its place. Surrounded by curtains, music and projections, people and robots joined again to draw together.


    Mozfest 2014 | #ARTOFWEB

    MozFest 2014 #ArtOfWeb

    We hope the next workshops are like this last experience and we'll try to make it happen more in the future. As well pointed by Kat, "let's (re)make networked art".

    We really want to thank and give a huge hug on all people we met. To our dear colleagues of The Grid, that made it possible to happen, thank you for all. To Mozilla, thank you to bring this amazing people together for a better Web of openness and opportunity.

    Mozfest 2014 | #ARTOFWEB

    Looking forward to keep phreaking art and meet you all again this year!

    Photos by Kat Braybrooke, Mozilla in Europe and Vilson Vieira.

    January 14, 2015 12:00 AM

    January 13, 2015

    Open Badges blog

    Vote for open badges proposals in the #DMLtrust competition finals


    Over the past five years, the Digital Media and Learning Competition has awarded $10 million to more than 100 projects — including the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, which kicked off 30 badging projects, many of which are still going strong today. 

    This year’s competition is The Trust Challenge: an open, international invitation to museums, libraries, school districts, schools, community organizations, app developers, researchers, colleges and universities, and other institutional/organizational partners willing to create collaborations or alliances that address existing real-world challenges to trust in connected learning environments.

    Many of you, our innovative and motivated community, submitted badging proposals to the Trust Challenge. Among the finalists are the following projects that we encourage you to vote for before January 20, 2015:

    Reputation building tools for Open Badge issuers

    BadgeCraft offers tools for organisations to design, manage and issue Open Badges in their educational practices. Our proposal will focus on developing reputation building tools for badge issuers and Open Badges within the wider community of potential endorsers: schools, parents, employers. We will partner with Trustribe to develop reputation building solutions. Trustribe has developed technology which enables users building and transferring their reputation across different collaborative platforms. We want to adapt their technology and know-how to enhance badge issuing process with reputation tools.

    Vote for


    Oregon Center for Digital Learning Trust Ecosystem Project


    The Trust Ecosystem Project will work with 12 pilot badge programs, employers, and Oregon Badge Alliance partners in workforce development, government, K12 and higher education to build software and a framework for connecting learning experiences with Open Badges. The project aims to close the loop between badge issuers, earners and consumers by building software that represents the interests of each stakeholder group. Each application will be released open source as well as hosted for public use. Beyond software, the Trust Ecosystem Project will organize a youth advisory council and will bootstrap a trust network around badges with pilot programs and badge-consumer partners in Oregon, yielding a variety of case studies and potentially exportable implementation models.

    Vote for the Trust Ecosystem Project here:


    Open Badge Passport


    The project aims at establishing a native, distributed, open trust infrastructure based on a network of Open Badge Passports (OBPassport) that seamlessly issue, receive, share and display badges. Fully OBI compliant and open source, the OBPassport will provide users and organizations with their own backpacks and create the conditions for the emergence of new services through the provision of an open API. The OBPassport will provide social features, such as the creation of badge aggregations at group, network, organization or business levels, the display of badges earned by friends in one’s activity stream, or the search for people with a specific badge, sharing evidence across passports.

    Vote for the Open Badge Passport here:


    Global Gateway: Building Trust Through Peer Review


    VIF’s Global Gateway system provides online professional development (PD), digital badging and a social community to over 8,000 educators from around the world. To further our trusted environment, educators need opportunities to engage in focused peer and expert review of learning products. The proposed Global Gateway enhancement will allow teachers to choose between completing PD modules or progressing toward competency badges while fostering a trusted peer review community.

    Vote for the Global Gateway project here:


    Badging as Lifelong Learning


    ForAllRubrics is hoping to develop ForAllLearners, a tool to help learners navigate all their learning experiences throughout their lifetime. Badging as credentialing supports learning from the point of view of employers, schools and others that control opportunities. During this project we will focus on badging in the context of work readiness with the goal of creating practical working exemplars of how these three approaches to badging complement each other and make for a more effective learning ecosystem.

    Vote for Badging as Lifelong Learning here:


    About the DML Competition

    The Digital Media and Learning Competition is a program designed to find and to inspire the most novel uses of new media in support of connected learning. The Competition aims to explore how technologies are changing the way people learn and participate in daily life. It is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine, and is administered by HASTAC.

    January 13, 2015 07:07 PM

    Laura Hilliger

    “Prove that people want to remix curriculum.”

    A map of all the resources and their connections to an initial Teaching Kit

    Easier said than done. Back in the day, my amazing colleague Jess Klein made an epic PDF laying out a lesson plan for what was then known as Hackasaurus. People who teach started using it left and right, and when I saw it for the first time I thought “Holy moly that looks like a fun bit of curriculum.” But I didn’t need all of it. I only needed pieces and parts (many of which, BTW, are baked in, remixed and modified within Webmaker Teaching Kits), and so I started to think about the models we use when we make curriculum. The old smelly models that didn’t evolve as technology evolved. [caption id="attachment_2523" align="aligncenter" width="500"]A map of all the resources and their connections to an initial Teaching Kit A map of all the resources and their connections to an initial Teaching Kit[/caption] I’ve always thought the models and systems could be better, so several years ago I started working on an educational model that centered on the idea that educators ALWAYS remix. I thought that if the model was clear, we could tackle the problems of OERs while making new curriculum to #TeachTheWeb. Fast forward about five years and the OER (open educational resources) movement has become something that is well known within the open and the educational communities. But people are still publishing their resources in ways that make remix hard, and as a result we edunerds tend to remix on the fly. We implemented the model in HTML, creating overview pages that were separate from activities. The idea was to separate all the pieces and parts of curriculum – the learning objectives, the assessment criteria, the activities, the overviews – so that any one individual part could be remixed into a new bit of curriculum. We tried to lay this model out using the mechanics of the web to make the modularity and remixability clear, but we began to realize that
    “No one remixes the HTML. It’s too high bar.”
    So now, I’m trying to figure out how we can collect those on the fly remixes and get educators to understand how important their ideas and feedback is when it comes to learning materials. What works? What doesn’t work? How did someone remix context? I think that Webmaker could become the clearinghouse for Web Literacy OERs, and to do so, I think remixability is key. I still think the model is solid, but we haven’t gotten to a place where remixing curriculum is common place. This post begins to explore WHY.

    The Problems of OERs

    1. Open Licenses are Confusing and Attribution is Hard

    "confusion over copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons is one of things that makes many educators hesitant about adopting any new resources, licensing be damned.” - Audrey Watters
    "Often resources using more open licenses incorporate or refer to media that are made available using a more restrictive license.” (Tel Amiel 2013)
    In education there is “…still a limited understanding of how to move beyond some of the encumbrances— specifically with regard to reusing others’ content as well as more complex reuse behaviors that lead to new configurations of existing content” (Petrides et al., 2008, p. 352). (Tel Amiel 2013)
    Users need to be able to contextualize credit depending on how they’ve used a resource.

    2. Users don’t have time to make the required effort

    “Faculty consistently listed the time and effort to find and evaluate open educational resources as the most important barriers to adoption.” (Open the Curriculum 2014)
    “Existing educational sites and repositories contribute to this concern. Most are focused on the distribution and dissemination of resources and provided little guidance or tools for those who wish to make revisions or remix existing resources.” (Tel Amiel 2013)
    Staff (anywhere) rarely have the time to review all the resources submitted. We build software and communities though, so how can automation or, much more importantly, social evaluation make it easy for users to find quality curriculum?

    3. There are technical barriers to remix

    “When presenting OER development and use, many of the restrictions derived from our working scenario came to the forefront. In many cases, the source guides assumed a reader with substantial access to computer-based resources. “ (Tel Amiel 2013)
    "The process of remix is usually associated with four steps: finding, relating, creating, and sharing resources...Many of the online portals, which contain more openly licensed resources either do not have alternative language interfaces or metadata, which impacts both finding and sharing resources in these sites." (Tel Amiel 2013)
    We have to design mobile-first and keep our need for localization at the forefront. We know this, but we also need to find more ways for lo-fi, no-fi communities to share their offline remixes (e.g. a couple of community managers does not a stable system make).

    Towards Solutions

    [caption id="attachment_2524" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Creative Commons licensing table and an early Mozilla Drumbeat project that aimed to make attribution easy. Creative Commons licensing table and an early Mozilla Drumbeat project that aimed to make attribution easy.[/caption] Make licensing and attribution easy, embedded. I’ll leave it to the amazing devs and designers to figure out what exactly that means, but building this into our tools from the onset is a way to encourage remix at all levels (both in learner focused and mentor focused content).
    “Reuse is perhaps reminiscent of the rhetoric around learning objects as they were presented as blocks of media that could be reused and assembled for different contexts, a metaphor that did not hold in practice (Fulantelli et al., 2008; Gunn et al., 2005).”
    Make remixability & modularity obvious and lean into social evaluation. This is as much about presentation as it is about functionality. We are missing context around our educational model. We’re starting to do that with the Club curriculum, where we are building resources on how to remix as well as giving examples of why and when and how we’ve remixed. Build the thing that makes it easy for others to build their thing (no matter what device they have). As we build features for our communities, continuing to encourage open interaction is essential to changing the landscape of OERs (and open in general). What are the ways in which we can utilize existing systems to encourage remixable curriculum? We’ve thought on this before… Leave me comments and check out the Bibliography:

    January 13, 2015 02:50 PM

    January 12, 2015

    Doug Belshaw

    Join me this Thursday for a Connected Learning webinar: An Introduction to ‘Teaching the Web’ and ‘Web Literacy’

    This Thursday (15th January 2014) at 5pm UTC* I’m leading a webinar on behalf of Mozilla’s #TeachTheWeb team. The title is An Introduction to ‘Teaching the Web’ and ‘Web Literacy’.  Click through to sign up for event reminders.

    The webinar is the first in a series of three our team is running under the banner of Empowering Lifelong Learners by ‘Teaching the Web’.

    An Introduction to ‘Teaching the Web’ and ‘Web Literacy’

    What is “web literacy” and why should we teach it? How does creating/remixing the web help strengthen learning?

    How the Webmaker Community Is Helping Youth Be Creative and Curious

    What are “web literacy clubs,” and how are they helping youth develop lifelong learning mindsets?

     Ongoing Learning Opportunities with Mozilla Webmaker

    What are some of the easiest ways to get involved in the Webmaker community? Where do you start?

    During my webinar I’ll be going through introductory stuff around Webmaker, the Web Literacy Map, and the Webmaker whitepaper. I’m also interested in any questions you’ve got, so please do ask them as comments below! I’ll try and answer as many as possible during the webinar.

    * That’s 9am PT / 12pm ET / 5pm GMT / 6pm CET / 10.30 IST / 4am AET

    January 12, 2015 08:16 PM

    Daniel Sinker

    OpenNews: 2015 Fellowship Onboarding is GO

    I love Los Angeles. Peel back the Hollywood veneer and, at its core, it’s a city that belives in putting in the work.

    Which is why I’m excited to be in LA this week with our 2015 cohort of Knight-Mozilla Fellows to start the work of the fellowship year. With a distributed fellowship like ours, where fellows will spend far more time apart than together, it’s important to start the experience building the pathways of collaboration, community, and sharing that we want our fellows to continue to utilize throughout their fellowship year. It’s also an opportunity to meet somewhere warm and to celebrate the start of an amazing year.

    We’re not just celebrating the start of the fellowship year at this onboarding, we’re also welcoming our final fellow for 2015: Kavya Sukumar, who will be spending her fellowship year at Vox Media.

    Kavya is a developer-journalist who appreciates both elegant code and well-written prose. Everything about journalism fascinates her and she wants in on it all. She has reported and written stories, analyzed data and built a CMS. She has more than eight years of experience working at technology companies as well as in newsrooms. Kavya was a software engineer at Microsoft when the journalism bug bit her. She has a graduate degree from Medill School of Journalism where she was a Knight Scholar. She is currently a Data & Interactives Editor with the The Palm Beach Post’s investigative team.

    We’re thrilled to have Kavya join the already-amazing cohort of 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows, and excited to have all of them together with us in LA this week. There’s so much more to come in 2015 from OpenNews, and it feels great to kick off an incredible year with these incredible people.

    January 12, 2015 05:00 PM

    January 10, 2015

    Open Badges blog

    Badger Beats: The Week In Review [71]

    Welcome back, badgers! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, wherever you are.

    This week we invited you to help shape the future of the weekly community calls - see the discussion notes here and listen to the audio here:

    If you want to check out the Open Badges in 2014 Timeline, head over to to see all the amazing things you accomplished in the last year.


    Here’s a quick rundown of what else has happened since the year began:

    • In the UK, Barclay’s Bank kicked off an exciting new initiative issuing badges for digital skills - check it out here;

    If you’ve got more to share from the past few weeks, make sure to tweet it using the hashtag #openbadges…….it’s been awesome to see how much has come out over the holidays, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store!


    January 10, 2015 10:45 PM


    January 10, 2015 01:50 PM

    January 05, 2015

    Jess Klein

    Shall we dance? On-boarding Webmakers

    The first time that someone comes to your website is like a high school dance at the gym. You want that hottie who you have been thinking about all year to be attracted to you and join you on the dance floor . You want to show them what you are all about: how you aren't just about the MC Hammer pants and bikini top you are wearing (dating myself much?) - and you have the moves to prove it. This dance is just the beginning - you really want to go steady, but you have to start somewhere, right?

    About 40-60% of users who sign up for a free trial of your software will use it once and then never come back.

    When designing the on-boarding experience, we have a few goals: 
    • We should make a positive user experience where the visitor learns something within minutes of interacting
    • We should have the user take some action which results in signing up for a Webmaker account
    • We should give the user a clear and compelling reason to return.

    Deeply inspired by the theory of Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, I started to think about what a low bar way might be to get people to dance with me.  The idea is that there is a progression and/or just different ways that a site visitor might interact with the site. I wanted to create an experience for the user, that will allow them to walk away having seen a little bit of code, had the a ha! moment, the realization that there is so much to learn about the way that the web is crafted - and most importantly: that remixing the web is an approachable challenge.  According to this chart below, we could argue that most of our site visitors are at the beginning of the customer awareness journey.

    Start from the beginning --- err where is that exactly?

    I started by doing an exploratory sketch - asking where might users first see/ interact with the Goggles on Webmaker? I see 5 main areas of contact:
    1. Webmaker Landing Page with a very specific call to action
    2. Via the not-yet-existing "Join Webmaker" button user flow
    3. On the Tools page within Webmaker
    4. On the Goggles page within Webmaker
    5. Within the Goggles interface upon activating the bookmarklet
    For this heartbeat (and the build sprint after) we decided to focus on number 1 via 2 (Join Webmaker user flow via the landing page) as the goal for the first quarter is to improve our conversion of visitors to into makers.

    Think through the user flow

    With a clear scope, I took a stab at thinking through potential user flows (ahem,dance moves). What interactions might I be able to design that could help the user gain an understanding of the awesome potential of Webmaker and come away with learning a little bit about making things on the web within the first few minutes of their site visit? On a traditional site, this is where I would do a product tour - to tell the visitor about all the bells and whistles. But, let's remember, we are at a high school dance. We don't want to just tell that hottie about how great we are, we want them to hold our hand and dance with us. So what exactly is our dance? It's an introduction to the site through an interactive tinkering activity.

    I had some experience tackling this user experience challenge a few months back when I designed the Maker Party snippet for the Firefox about page. Here, we were trying to coax visitors to the About Page to sign up for Webmaker AND ... (the cooler part) expose them to a little bit of code through modeling a playful interaction that they in turn would emulate. We found this approach to be successful. I personally user tested the page with a variety of site visitors in the Hive Learning Network and found that the animated modeling of the CSS value being typed acted as I would as a teacher in a classroom, or a friend showing someone how to approach the problem, asking the friend to try it out themselves. This approach could easily translate to an activity on the landing page where we show a visitor how to edit some playfully placed text using the X-Ray Goggles.

    Approach 1: Modeling
    Modeling tries to emulate the way you might teach this in a classroom environment - you show the actions that you want the learner to emulate.  See complete mockup here.

    I also tackled this challenge of getting a user to dabble with new information and content in the weather activity experiment for the Hour of Code. Here, I thought about how I like to follow recipes and get feedback as I do each each step in a staged progression. (This would be like... someone teaching you how to do the macarena step by step at the dance)

    Approach 2: Stage Progression
    The staged progression allows the user to read, and then asks them to try it out, providing little tips along the way. See complete mockup here.

    After getting some feedback from my colleagues and a few user testers I am leaning towards a hybrid approach - where you might model for them at each "step."

    Next up: enticing your friend to get on the dance floor

    All of the user flows and interaction designs are a good exercise, but if the icebreaker prompt isn't enticing, then it's no good.  So - I did a few iterations:

    Name tag fill in the blank --- this could somehow tie in to the sign up flow.

    Venn Diagrams - probably too designerdy but I couldn't help myself.

    Fill in the blank - I <3 webmaking.="">

    Fill in the blank - attempt 2. I like this one the most at the moment because it has a focal point, and it feels a bit disruptive, like Webmaker itself.

    Next up: Finding those dancing shoes.
    To get to an interactive prototype, we need to:
    • Design the hybrid interaction design (modeling + staged progression)
    • Choose a direction and then work on the UI elements
    • Wordsmith the copy.
    • User test with real humans!

    Designing an on-boarding is like asking someone to the dance floor ----testing if your pits stink and all, so I would love to hear any thoughts if I've got any moves. 

    January 05, 2015 03:30 PM

    December 30, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Erin Knight | Happy Holidays and Forward Thinking

    Erin Knight | Happy Holidays and Forward Thinking:

    Badge Alliance Executive Director Erin Knight reflects on the year coming to a close and looks ahead to the exciting things 2015 holds in store for the badges community.

    Click the link above to read more.

    December 30, 2014 01:20 PM

    December 29, 2014

    Sunny Lee

    What I want to work on in 2015

    2014 has seen a lot of development in the open badges world. You can see all the cool things we did and worked on here




    Reflecting back on the past year allows us an opportunity to take pause and inventory the tremendous amount of work and activity around open badges that occurred and the advances we made to further our goal of reimagining credentialing for the 21st century so that it is interoperable, democratic, open and designed with the learner in mind. 
    But it also gets me excited about 2015 and thinking about what I want to work on in the next year; i.e. whats personally interesting to me, what I get most energized about and where I think well get the most bang for our buck in terms of broader adoption. 


    Here’s my list:


    * Adoption and ongoing experimentation of the open badges standard extension
    The standard the standard the STANDARD! Are you sick of hearing about the standard yet? I know I know but that’s how important it is! It’s the underpinning of all our work enabling credentials to be all the things we want it to be; interoperable, stackable, portable and easily shareable. We’ve made a lot of advances on the foundational standards framework during Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Standard Working Group adapting JSON-LD technology to enable extending open badge metadata such that it is machine readable and indexable. We have shared the 1.1 proposal of the extension framework with the broader community and have put it through the feedback and iteration cycle. Having done that, in 2015 I’m eager for the community to start plugging in. The extension specification is super exciting because it allows badge issuing organizations to append additional metadata fields to any of the badge objects (i.e. badge assertion, badge class, issuer). 


    * Image courtesy of Nate Otto


    Oft-talked about extension field possibilities include location data, endorsement, additional identities, etc. 
    What’s really neat about the extension field is that we can experiment in a coordinated way. Say, my organization thinks location data is really important within my community so I decide to define a location extension context and add it to the Badge Class object. After introducing the field, I notice that other organizations are starting to use the context file in which I define my location field with increasing frequency. As more and more organizations start utilizing the location field, I can potentially bring this up with the Standards community and build a case to add the location field to the standard proper. 


    * Making endorsement a reality by using the open badges standard extension field
    Once we get organizations playing with the extension field for endorsement, I think things will get interesting. There are still a lot of things around endorsement that needs discussion and unpacking such as the following:
    • What’s the user experience around an issuer organization endorsing another organization’s badge class?
    • What’s the user experience around an issuer organization endorsing an earner’s badge instance?
    • What’s the user experience of a badge consumer who wants to review the endorsements a badge class has received?
    • What’s the user experience of a badge earner who wants to review the endorsements her particular badge instance has received?
    • What’s the user experience around an issuer organization or badge earner rejecting an unwanted endorsement?
    • How are the various endorsements a badge class or badge instance has received displayed so that it is both human and machine readable?
    As folks start to pick up and run with the extension field, we can start to pin point with more accuracy the pain points people are experiencing in utilizing the endorsement field for their needs. We can use that data to triage and prioritize how to make the experience smoother for all participating parties to help support endorsement adoption. 


    * Continuing progress on the Directory
    Under the leadership of Kerri Lemoie from Achievery, the Directory Working Group has accomplished a lot during Cycle 1. But there’s so much more we can do to. 
    I concluded my last blog with some next step suggestions such as listing badge instances in addition to badge classes, additional API end points and exploring ways in which we can lower the barrier of entry for badge issuers and being more articulate about the value proposition of the directory offering. 
    Pending usage and uptick of the extension field in 2015, we could also list badges according to location data, or endorsement information, standards alignment, and more. 
    In 2015 I want the directory to be at a place where twitter was circa 2008; minimal UI with production ready back end and APIs developers could easily plug into. With badge instance, badge class, endorsement data and the like available with easy access points, I can see an employer-facing application develop on top of the directory that enables hiring managers to extract badge earner listings based on certain badges, endorsements, tags and location, deriving practical value for organizational needs. This paves the way for employer tool development making it easier for employers to plug in and start accepting badges, completing the badge narrative from issuance to consumption for hiring. 


    * Making a kick ass open badges display tool
    It’s hard to “get” or wrap your head around what you don’t see and I think herein lies the problem with bridging the gap between early to mainstream adoption of open badges. The pitch is there and more and more people are coming on board, acknowledging the value proposition of an interoperable digital credential but we still don’t have a simple example of a visualized open badge that we can point to that has been verified, earned and displayed with all the meaningful data easily extractable on somewhere as simple as a Facebook timeline or blog. We need a simple display tool that helps folks easily share and display their open badges wherever they want. I think this tool should satisfy several needs currently not met with satisfaction in the ecosystem:
    • Earner can easily share earned badge on various websites, via email or attachment
    • Badge reviewer can easily extract and view the badge metadata
    • Metadata is both human and machine readable
    • Badge reviewer can verify whether badge earner matches the person claiming the badge
    Current display capabilities do exist but they don’t do a good job at fully telling the potential and value of an open badge. A display tool that makes it simplistic and easy to share and review an open badge will go a long way in helping guide a broader audience to adoption. 


    This is already a pretty extensive list with each major bullet warranting multiple blog posts on their own. I know it’s highly ambitious aiming to tackle all of these but I think we have the right community, resources, thought leadership and organizational partners at the table to work on these collaboratively and in parallel with one another. I can’t help but think 2015 is the pivotal year that takes open badges several steps closer to mainstream adoption. I’m so excited for what’s in store and can’t wait to dive in. 

    December 29, 2014 04:28 PM

    December 21, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Badger Beats: The Week in Review [70]

    Welcome to the year’s final edition of the Badger Beats - and what a year it’s been!

    From February’s launch of the Badge Alliance and the collaborative efforts of the various Working Groups, resulting in an impressive set of deliverables from Cycle 1, to the summer’s exciting CGI Commitment for 10 Million Better Futures, this year we’ve seen just how much can be done when our community works together. The Cities of Learning and the emergence of new international badging communities pushed badges into new areas, while ongoing efforts in higher education, workforce, research and professional development strengthened the work the community had already done.

    For now, let’s look back at what happened this week:

    The Badge Alliance team is looking forward to seeing what exciting new projects await in 2015 - you guys really crushed it this year!

    Happy holidays, everyone! We’ll see you in January.

    December 21, 2014 01:23 PM

    Jarin Schmidt | Badging: The End of a Trend

    Jarin Schmidt has spent more than 14 years in the credentialing industry at Pearson, and was product lead for Pearson’s badging platform, Acclaim. Schmidt now supports the platform as a business development executive and recently wrote a piece for the Institute of Credentialing Excellence titled "Badging: The End of a Trend," in which he examines the momentum of the badging movement over recent years and offers his insights into the Acclaim team’s findings since launching their platform at the beginning of the year:

    Now Is the Time to Go Digital

    Dynamic digital badges can evolve in response to changing needs within the global economy. They are a viable resource for credential issuers and earners that:

    • Inform and enable credentialing organizations to evolve their programs based on direct feedback from the market in order to meet skill gaps;
    • Increase brand value through more transparent recognition of what it takes to earn a credential;
    • Engage credential earners with the issuers over the span of a career, instead of a moment in time;
    • Provide credential earners with the kind of verified recognition that is relevant in the digital world.

    Badges aren’t just a trend to watch; they are happening now. And now is the perfect time to start badging your credential.

    Read the piece in full here.

    December 21, 2014 01:10 PM

    December 19, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Open Badges Community Project Call, December 17, 2014

    Open Badges Community Project Call, December 17, 2014:



    We led the year’s final community call by providing an overview of the year’s major milestones, including:

    Check out the audio by clicking the link above, and follow along using these slides:

    The Year In Review [2014] from Open Badges

    December 19, 2014 07:24 PM

    Laura Hilliger

    Web Literacy Lensing: Identity


    Ever since version 1 of the Web Literacy Map came out, I’ve been waiting to see people take it and adjust it or interpret it for specific educational endeavors that are outside the wheelhouse of “teach the web”. As I’ve said before, I think the web can be embedded into anything, and I want to see the anything embedded into the web. I’ve been wanting to see how people put a lens on top of the web literacy map and combine teaching the web with educating a person around Cognitive Skill X. I’ve had ideas, but never put them out into the world. I was kind of waiting for someone to do it for me (ahem Web Literacy community :P Lately I’ve been realizing that I work to develop socio-emotional skills while I teach the web, and I wanted to see if I could look at the Web Literacy Map from a personal, but social (e.g. psychosocial) angle. What, exactly, does web literacy mean in the context of Identity?


    First things first - there’s a media education theory (in this book) suggesting that technology has complicated our “identity”. It’s worth mentioning because it’s interesting, and I think it’s worth noting that I didn’t consider all the nuances of these various identities in thinking about how the Web Literacy Map becomes the Web Literacy Map for Identity. We as human beings have multiple, distinct identities we have to deal with in life. We have to deal with who we are with family vs with friends vs alone vs professionally regardless of whether or not we are online, but with the development of the virtual space, the theory suggests that identity has become even more complicated. Additionally, we now have to deal with: So, back to the Web Literacy Map: Identity - As you can gather from a single theory about the human understanding of “self”, Identity is a complicated topic anyway. But I like thinking about complicated problems. So here’s my first thinking about how Identity can be seen as a lens on top of the Web Literacy Map. webliteracy-lens-identity

    Exploring Identity (and the web)

    Navigation – Identity is personal, so maybe part of web literacy is about personalizing your experience. Perhaps skills become more granular when we talk about putting a lens on the Map? Example granularity: common features of the browser skill might break down into “setting your own homepage” and “pinning apps and bookmarks”. Web Mechanics - I didn’t find a way to lens this competency. It’s the only one I couldn’t. Very frustrating to have ONE that doesn’t fit. What does that say about Web Mechanics or the Web Literacy Map writ large? Search – Identity is manifested, so your tone and mood might dictate what you search for and how you share it. Are you a satirist? Are you funny? Are you serious or terse? Search is a connective competency under this lens because it connects your mood/tone to your manifestation of identity. Example skill modification/addition: Locating or finding desired information within search results ——> using specialized search machines to find desired emotional expression. (e.g. GIPHY!) Credibility – Identity is formed through beliefs and faith, and I wouldn’t have a hard time arguing that those things influence your understanding of credible information. If you believe something and someone confirms your belief, you’ll likely find that person more credible than someone who rejects your belief. Example skill modification/addition: Comparing information from a number of sources to judge the trustworthiness of content ——> Comparing information from a number of sources to judge the trustworthiness of people Security - Identity is influenced heavily by relationships. Keeping other people’s data secure seems like part of the puzzle, and there’s something about the innate need to keep people who have influenced your identity positively secure. I don’t have an example for this one off the top of my head, but it’s percolating. [caption id="attachment_2514" align="aligncenter" width="500"]braindump braindump[/caption]

    Building Identity (and the web)

    Composing for the Web, Remixing, and Coding/Scripting allow us to be expressive about our identities. The expression is the WHY of any of this, so directly connected to your own identity. It connects into your personality, motivations, and a mess of thinking skills we need to function in our world. Skills underneath these competencies could be modified to incorporate those emotional and psychological traits of that expression. Design and AccessibilityValues are inseparable from our identities. I think design and accessibility is a competency that radiates a persons values. It’s ok to back burner this if you’re being expressive for the sake of being expressive, but if you have a message, if you are being expressive in an effort to connect with other people (which, let’s face it, is part of the human condition), design and accessibility is a value. Not sure how I would modify the skills… Infrastructure - I was thinking that this one pulled in remembrance as a part of identity. Exporting data, moving data, understanding the internet stack and how to adequately use it so that you can keep a record of your or someone else’s online identity has lots of implications for remembrance, which I think influences who we are as much as anything else. Example skill modification/addition: “Exporting and backing up your data from web services” might lead to “Analyzing historical data to determine identity shifts” That's all for now. I've thought a little about the final strand, but I'm going to save it for next year. I would like to hear what you all think. Is this a useful experiment for the Web Literacy Map? Does this kind of thinking help hone in on ways to structure learning activities that use the web? Can you help me figure out what my brain is doing? Happy holidays everyone ;)

    December 19, 2014 04:46 PM

    December 13, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Badger Beats: The Week In Review [69]

    Welcome to the Badger Beats! We’re excited to share this week’s round of news and updates with you:

    A couple of community reminders:

    1. We’re putting together a Tiki Toki timeline of Open Badges for 2014 (check out last year’s timeline!) If you or your organization have badging milestones you’d like us to include in this year’s timeline, let our Marketing + Community Manager know at

    2. If you participated in Hour of Code, Badge List is offering open badges (awesome!)

    See you next week, badgers!

    December 13, 2014 12:46 PM

    Open Badges Community Project Call, December 10, 2014

    Open Badges Community Project Call, December 10, 2014:



    This week, superbadgers Nate and Serge shared their recent collaboration on a presentation for the Open Education Conference held in Washington, D.C. in November. The session, titled “An API of one’s own: Individual Identities as First-Class Citizens in the Open Badges Infrastructure,” looked at issues of trust, identity and symmetry in the badging ecosystem. They reviewed their presentation and gave the community the opportunity to dive deeper into some questions raised during the presentation.

    Badges as currency

    Open Badges are “a common portable language about data,” providing information on a skill or knowledge as well as those earning and issuing it. Serge argues that Open Badges are “declarations of trust,” and that this shift in thinking affects both badge system design and how badges are used in particular environments.

    Currently, badges are part of what Serge describes as “trust silos,” where an issuer is at the center and trusts numerous earners (see above). This conflicts with the narrative of Open Badges, which states that the earner is at the center of the ecosystem. In that narrative, we have often talked about badges as a “new currency” for skills and knowledge in the 21st century. Serge made the point that it could be said that badges are a visible representation of the oldest currency: trust. By thinking of badges as tokens of trust, we can address those who have concerns about dilution if there are ‘too many badges’ in the ecosystem or in a particular earner’s backpack / portfolio.

    To dig deeper into the issues of trust within badging interactions, Nate and Serge examined the three roles performed and the necessary assets to perform those roles:




    These three roles are built on very different different technologies, making it difficult to move between roles. Earlier this year, Mark Surman compared the current state of badges with the early days of email: a small number of issuers with huge potential to grow into a global network. The key difference is that all email users use the same tool to send and receive emails, whereas badging still relies on piecing together many different tools with varying functionality.

    Nate and Serge posed the question of how to align badges with our philosophy of an earner-centered system, by building these values into the Open Badges Standard and software. Doing this would break down the silos of trust Serge described above and instead create visible chains of trust. There are two proposed models to help build this network: Nate and a team from Concentric Sky, Oregon Center for Digital Learning and the Oregon Badge Alliance are working on a trust ecosystem project, which includes a 3-faceted application for issuers, earners and consumers of open badges.

    The initial pilot will focus on 12 programs, including workforce development, conferences, K-12 and out-of-school learning environments. The project will see further development, testing and refining in 2015, but is aimed at enabling connectivity among enterprise issuing platforms and independent services, connecting to other badge-aware services on the web, with software and support for all 3 badging roles, making it easier for users to move between them.

    Serge, in a partnership between Discendum Oy, Badge Europe and Europortfolio, is working on an open badges passport that acts as a basic portfolio where anyone can earn and issue badges. This passport can then be built up with endorsements and other trust-building add-ons, as well as a ‘dashboard’ of stats on badges earned, issued, pledged, etc., contributing to the growth of a social network around badges. If everyone used a passport for receiving and issuing badges, Serge argues, it would build a trust network in which the barriers between roles of issuer, earner and consumer are significantly lower.

    To learn more about the projects described here, check out Nate and Serge’s slides from their Open Ed presentation here.

    You can also see the full discussion notes on the agenda, linked at the top of this post.

    December 13, 2014 12:17 PM

    December 12, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Open Badges MOOC: The Year In Review

    Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
    Session 13: The Year In Review


    This week the Badge Alliance team led the live MOOC session, going over highlights from the year. Check out the slide deck above, as well as this overview of Cycle 1 to see a neat infographic of the working groups’ deliverables and other major milestones the badges community hit this year.

    The MOOC recording will be available from soon.

    Cycle 1 Deliverables

    Here’s a quick overview of each Working Group’s successful deliverables from this cycle:

    Open Badges Standard:

    • Researched and experimented with technology options for implementing extensions to BadgeClass and BadgeAssertion
    • Proposed an extension solution that is open to the community to experiment with,  comment and iterate on.
    • Joined W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Credentialing Community Group

    Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI):

    • Formed a Tech Advisory Council to act in an advisory role to the Badge Alliance and guide the ongoing development of the open badges technical infrastructure
    • Drafted an Open Badges Infrastructure strategy


    • Drafted a working paper on conceptual approaches to badge endorsement
    • Released initial technical implementation proposal in collaboration with the Open Badge Standard Working Group


    • Launched a working beta of an Open Badges Directory that makes it possible for learners and other organizations to find and connect to various badge issuers, their badges and their programs
    • Released accompanying tutorials and documentation



    Digital & Web Literacies:

    • Launched Learning Pathways for Privacy
    • Began building badges for privacy pathway
    • Initiated Web Literacy Map 2.0


    Higher Education:


    Badges for Educators & Professional Development:

    Cities & Network-wide Badge Systems:

    • Launched Cities of Learning site
    • Implemented in four cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Pittsburgh

    Policy (launched in September 2014):

    December 12, 2014 02:12 PM

    December 06, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Badger Beats: The Week In Review [68]

    Hey there, badgers! We’ve got a few things to catch you up on this weekend:

    Don’t forget to let us know if you think you’re eligible for any of the Badge Alliance badges.

    We hope everyone has a lovely weekend - get ready for the holidays, wrap up warm, and beware those pre-Christmas sales (or at least the revolving department store doors!)

    December 06, 2014 04:42 PM

    In case you missed the Policy 101 webinar hosted by the Penn...

    In case you missed the Policy 101 webinar hosted by the Penn Hill Group team on Thurs, Dec. 4, here’s the recording on our YouTube channel.

    Slides can be found here:

    More information on the Badge Alliance Policy Working Group:

    December 06, 2014 12:57 PM

    December 05, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    Open Badges Community Call, December 3, 2014

    Open Badges Community Call, December 3, 2014:



    Before we kicked off this week’s presentation from Jeff Colombe, we heard from our Directory whizz, Kerri Lemoie, who gave the community some updates from the Directory project. The call attendees raised some great questions about next steps for the Open Badges Directory, including taxonomy, a take-down or ‘opt-out’ mechanism for the registry, and who can add badges. See the full discussion on lines 69-156 in the call notes:

    Badges for Talent Management

    Jeff Colombe works in the Emerging Technologies Department at the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit technology company operating several federally funded research and development centers. MITRE frequently works with various organizations to try to connect technology with whose who can use it best, including other not-for-profits as well as for-profit companies.

    Jeff, like many others, saw how badges were being used in education and was interested to see how badges could be used to aid the hiring process in the workplace. Jeff’s project is Skillset, a talent management project undertaken during the last two years at MITRE to match people to project work based on skills, expertise and interests.

    There is a “marketplace” for work at MITRE: project managers need to find people to do work, and employees need to find enough work so that they don’t have to bill their vacation hours. Skillset is essentially a MITRE-specific job skills inventory. Employees can fill out a profile of practical and soft skills, working styles, etc., all of which are graded by levels of both expertise and interest. These skills profiles can then be voluntarily verified (endorsed) by a manager, task leader or co-worker. When job roles are listed, they include a list of skills categorized by level and necessity, then employees’ profiles are cross-referenced to show their expertise in those particular skills, allowing for fast connections between those who have the skills and the roles they can fill.

    Several factors will affect the long-term success of Skillset, according to Jeff:

    • Adoption: currently there are only 2 user groups at MITRE that have completed their job profiles; more widespread adoption across the organization is needed to support the project;
    • Content quality: as the user community continues using the inventory and adding skills to the database, the most desirable and valuable skills will be revealed;
    • Incorporating Skillset into business practices: there are legal issues related to data privacy and the sharing of information that might present a hurdle to the widespread adoption of the Skillset program;
    • Merging with other services / platforms: Jeff is exploring the potential uses of Skillset as a plug-in for HR software and a web service to be used globally

    Learn more about Skillset in Jeff’s white paper:

    Jeff’s presentation slides can be found here.

    December 05, 2014 02:20 PM

    December 02, 2014

    Open Badges blog

    The Badge Alliance at MozFest

    By Jade Forester

    At this year’s MozFest, the Badge Alliance was represented by three team members—Carla Casilli led a research-focused session and held office hours throughout the festival weekend, and Sunny Lee and I sat down with a group of attendees to dig into this year’s accomplishments and start to look at areas in need of attention in the coming year.


    We used the Cycle 1 Working Groups as a starting point, focusing on each to identify gaps still to be filled in key areas of both the infrastructure that supports Open Badges and the growing ecosystem that expands adoption of badges. Upon our return from MozFest, we brought our notes from this group exercise to the Community Call, inviting attendees to add their thoughts. These conversations helped clarify the most critical issues facing the open badges community as we continue to push this work forward.

    Here’s what we found

    Employers will be the key to widespread adoption

    Workers need jobs. Employers need talent. Badges can help workers showcase their full skill sets and allow employers to identify candidates with the right qualifications and competencies. This has been part of the Open Badges narrative since day one, and as we see increased adoption of badges within education, the next step is to help more employers see the value proposition in using badges to differentiate between job applicants and identify those with the right skill set. Without employer buy-in, badges earned for academic or professional skills cannot have meaning outside of the issuing environment.

    During Cycle 1 the Workforce Working Group developed an Employer FAQ, identified a list of existing workforce badge use cases, and created an employer pipeline graphic for Open Badges. Expanded badging piloting and documentation particularly as part of the hiring and training processes, will lead to increased employer acceptance. It will also enhance the value of existing badges, especially the badges that align with industry standards in particular fields.

    Some members of the community indicated that veterans separating from the military will play an increasingly important role in workforce, therefore focusing badge activity and adoption in this area could potentially yield great success—not only for the veterans but also for employers. Continued efforts will be needed to support open badges initiatives aimed at connecting veterans with civilian employment opportunities.

    We need to keep pushing for badges in higher education

    Badges are steadily gaining a foothold in higher education as a way for instructors to recognize a wider range of skills and achievements than traditional credentials allows - institutions such as UC Davis are using badges as a supplement to traditionally graded programs. Others are pushing the envelope even further, such as Dr. Bernard Bull at Concordia University Wisconsin, who has developed a master’s program in education technology based entirely on competency-based digital badges. Many are still reluctant to integrate badges into their courses; the Campus Policy Framework Document developed by the Policy Working Group will help more institutions find a way to make badges work for them.

    Continued collaboration by the community will be increasingly important as more educational bodies and institutions start to explore and adopt badges. The Higher Education Working Group started curating a list of examples of badges in higher education - if you know of more, add them to the list!

    Continued research is vital

    Building on a quickly developing base of ongoing open badges investigation, the Open Badges Research strives to establish a research base that reports on a variety of open badges aspects. A nice progression from the Research & Badge System Design Calls, now with a stronger emphasis on traditional academic research, this group covers the entire realm of the open badges ecosystem, and actively works to provide the public with meaningful information about open badges.The group’s foundational landscape survey—developed with IRB review and exemption granted from the University of Michigan (thanks Steve Lonn!)—will help badge researchers find future areas of focus. By coalescing, investigating, and funneling research activity into accessible locations, the research community will continue to expand on this meaningful research base that benefits the entire ecosystem.

    Global Cities of Learning will bring badges to communities around the world

    2014 has truly been a year of global growth for Open Badges. Initiatives such as Badge The UK have continued to raise awareness of badges in the UK; European badging projects have seen increased activity in France, Finland, Serbia, Spain, and Germany; and Down Under, the OBANZ community has formed to support the research, development and adoption of Open Badges in Australia and New Zealand.

    The Cities of Learning initiative grew from one summer program in 2013 to six summer and year-round initiatives in 2014. Now that there is increased global badging activity, international cities are starting to investigate the value of using badges to recognize youth activity. Partnerships with local governments and community leaders will be the key to developing an international Cities of Learning movement—the driving force will come from the communities, not from outside influences.

    The Open Badges Standard is really important

    The Open Badges Standard and technical infrastructure (OBI) are the lynchpins that hold the ecosystem together: their importance can’t be understated, and the community recognizes this. There are several issues that the badges team and community have been working on that are in need of continuing efforts, including:

    Get involved: be the change you wish to see

    We’ve identified a number of important areas for community contribution over the coming months. None of them were particularly surprising; these are issues we’ve been talking about for a while now. We’ve already achieved so much—if you haven’t already checked out the overview of our successes from Cycle 1, do it now—but there is still much more work to be done.

    The exciting part is, the work has already begun. No-one has to start from scratch, and there is a thriving community ready to support and collaborate with you. We started this work the same way we’ll accomplish the things we outlined above: as a community.

    December 02, 2014 05:59 PM