Planet Webmaker

November 24, 2014

Hive NYC

Vision, Leadership and Hive NYC

The seeds for this post were planted back in 2011, when I first traveled to London as a Hive NYC member-participant in MozFest, Mozilla’s annual gathering where creatives, techies and geeks develop solutions to the web’s most pressing problems. That year marked my introduction to Mozilla—not as the producer of the Firefox browser—but as a company that combines traditional management structures with open, collaborative participation. As the Program Manager for Informal Learning at the Institute of Play at the time, where I was immersed in the worlds of systems-thinking and game-based learning—I was amazed by MozFest’s rules of play, and its ability to inspire people to battle jet lag and other realities to work together toward shared goals.

Come with an Idea, Leave with a Community

With one out of every three participants facilitating sessions around nine different topical themes, MozFest 2014 continued to flip the sage-on-stage conference dynamic to encourage a focus on interaction, making and doing. MozFest 2014 also welcomed participants with the new tagline—Come with an idea, Leave with a Community—to accompany its focus on the potential of the mobile web and the importance of advocating for and teaching about the web. This year in particular, I was struck by the varied and distributed displays of leadership that I saw percolating among the creative chaos. Whether it was teaching mobile app development, advising on starting a Hive or facilitating an activity at the MozFest Maker Party, all across MozFest Hive educators stepped up to shepherd ideas and help others. Whether they hailed from Pittsburgh or Pune, I saw practitioners exploring, participating and collaborating in a demonstration of an organic and community-minded leadership. See what was created at MozFest 2014. Read first-time MozFest observations from Kevin Miklasz and Armando Somoza.

Welcome Back, Mr. Kotter

Hive educators participate in the Hive Labs Action Incubator

Hive educators at MozFest 2014

It wasn’t until I was back in New York reflecting on Hive NYC’s role during MozFest, that I began to think more specifically about the ways that community and participation can fuel innovation and nurture non-traditional notions of leadership. In his seminal 1990 Harvard Business Review article, What Leaders Really Do,” John P. Kotter discusses management and leadership as two “complementary systems of action,” building a strong case for his idea that, within large organizational contexts, the simple act of envisioning something different and/or pressing for change can be seen as a leadership characteristic. Using organizational case studies to demonstrate his findings, Kotter notes that successful organizations don’t “wait for leaders to come along but instead build structures to nurture them.” In this way, Kotter’s definition of leadership is exceptional in that it makes room for a multiple, shared vision. Leadership isn’t the function of one individual but something to be co-constructed and shared.

Kotter notes that what’s “crucial about a vision is not its originality but how well it serves the interests of important constituencies”; he adds that “dozens of people can play important leadership roles within the context of one organization.” For me, acknowledging this varied, multi-player notion of leadership is key to understanding the value proposition of MozFest and other open, collaborative structures. Not only does this definition encourage people to try out the exploratory and iterative practices that innovation demands but it also makes these practices visible and accessible so more people can experience and learn from them. MozFest and it’s many hubs and nodes of interest-based and values-driven production operates as a laboratory and practice space for others to try on the roles and responsibilities of a non-traditional notion of leadership. MozFest operates like more sustained initiatives like Hive Learning Networks or Maker Party, in that it provides opportunities for participants to try new things and envision larger societal change with like-minded peers. See the Maker Party 2014 Recap and 2014 Infographic for more about this distributed community-driven initiative. See Hive Community Member badge for more details about what Hive members do.

Identifying Hive NYC Leaders

From my vantage point as Hive NYC Director, I know that leadership and effectiveness look and feel different in the context of Hive. Increasingly, Hive’s practitioners and educators are not simply applying for grants and implementing projects but enacting varied forms of collective learning and collective action—exchanging expertise, brokering relationships, and putting in long hours on top of the basic responsibilities of their job in order to build something with other community members. Hive’s community of contributors are the ideators who stand at the forefront of Hive’s goals to mobilize more individuals and organizations, create and distribute new tools and resources, and inspire cities to commit to deeper action. The individuals and organizations that who assume the mantle of responsibility to address these larger, collective visions distinguish themselves as Hive NYC’s co-conspirators, partners and leaders.  And to continue to nurture and grow them, we’ll have to do a better job of identifying and celebrating their roles and responsibilities, so more people can join them. See Rafi Santo’s working model of social ties in Hive NYC, which highlights the importance of brokering, advice, and spread-oriented ties across the network.

A great illustration of how some individuals and organizations are transitioning from members to partners and leaders is Hive NYC’s ongoing work with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Readiness. Through the Digital Ready program, Hive NYC organizations provide expanded learning opportunities to a group of 20 NYC public schools. While the partnership was brokered by Hive NYC HQ and NYC Department of Education leadership, the hard work of co-designing with schools and building trusted environments for youth to make, learn and play is being implemented and led by Hive individuals and organizations themselves. For a specific example, see the Expanded Learning Case Study featuring Beam Center and Brooklyn International High School. For more local examples of Hive’s distributed and member-led initiatives in action, read about Hive Movable Game Jam, Emoti-Con, the Youth Trajectories Affinity Group or Hive Youth Meet-up.

Hive Contributor Pathways

Detail from Hive NYC’s new Community Page

 

Drivers Wanted

This week, Hive NYC HQ launches a new Community page on its website. This is a conscious effort to address the changing nature of Hive membership and specifically identify the role of individual leadership and contribution within Hive NYC’s organizational structure. As I wrote in my earlier post, Rethinking Contribution and Membership, the updated Community page extends a wider invitation to NYC educators and organizations to get involved with Hive NYC—to explore, participate, and partner in Hive’s work. This new approach best reflects what we have seen over the years, that experiencing Hive and getting involved in the community first, is the most successful way to engage with Hive NYC’s infrastructure of programs and supports.

In moving from a focus on Hive membership to community participation and leadership, Hive NYC HQ chose to call attention to three specific people: Jocelyn Leavitt, Gina Tesorio and Juan Rubio. While these are only a few of many active contributors, their portraits represent a larger effort to better identify and illustrate how Hive NYC works and what Hive NYC members do. As we move from a start-up to a more growth-oriented model, it’s important to call attention to one of Hive’s most unique and striking innovations, its ability to develop and grow diverse leaders within a networked community of practice. While the human energy that powers an annual event like MozFest is striking, so too is the day-to-day commitment that motivates Hive’s members and leaders—whatever their contribution may be. While the work of Hive members and leaders can be hard to see, their dedication is of utmost importance. Going forward, Hive NYC HQ will make a concerted effort to identify and celebrate these voices and their accompanying visions. I encourage you to check out the new Community page, revisit Hive NYC’s growing online project portfolio or peruse our new community directory, to get to know some of the co-conspirators and partners who are helping to drive Hive NYC’s goals, vision and work.

The post Vision, Leadership and Hive NYC appeared first on Hive NYC.

November 24, 2014 01:31 PM

November 21, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [67]

Hey there folks,

We were thrilled to issue Badge Alliance badges this week - if you think you’re eligible but haven’t gotten yours yet, let us know.

Lots of community members have been out and about this week at various conferences, including Open Ed, Global Education Conference, and the Pittsburgh Learning Pathways Summit - the #openbadges hashtag on Twitter is a good way to find conversations from other events.

What else happened this week?

That’s it from us, folks! Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll catch up with everyone for a couple of days next week before we break for Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2014 08:32 PM

Badge Alliance Badges are here!

The Badge Alliance is pleased to announce the first set of open badges designed to recognize the diligent work and meaningful contributions that Working Group members have made to the global open badges movement throughout Cycle 1. We’re excited to say that all of the email notifications for these badges have been sent and that these badges are beginning to be claimed by their earners.

If, after reading the badge descriptions and criteria below, you believe that you are eligible for one or more of these badges and you haven’t heard from us, email badges@badgealliance.org to let us know which badge(s) you have earned. Please include the criteria you’ve met, as well as any evidence supporting your application. Thank you!

******************************************************************************

Badge Alliance Community Member

image

This badge acknowledges general membership in the Open Badges community and participation ranging from activity in the Google group to joining weekly community calls.

Criteria:

The Community Member illustrates conceptual fortitude by signing up for at least one of the mailing lists to interact with the Open Badges community.

Potential Evidence:

******************************************************************************

Badge Alliance Working Group Contributor

image

This badge acknowledges Open Badges community members who have actively attended conferences, or participated in mailing lists, working groups, or community calls.

Criteria:

The Contributor helps to build the open badges ecosystem through active participation in the Working Group or community calls and mailing lists.

Potential Evidence:

******************************************************************************

Badge Alliance Working Group Fellow

image

This badge acknowledges those who go above and beyond in their contributions to the Open Badges community.

Criteria:

The Fellow displays community-building characteristics, reinforces new ideas about assessment, learning and credentialing, and champions open badges in their respective areas of expertise.

Potential Evidence:

******************************************************************************

Open Badges Advocate

image

This badge acknowledges individuals who regularly champion Open Badges through active blogging, writing, research, or speaking at conferences.

Criteria:

The Advocate exhibits depth and breadth of knowledge about Open Badges in their writing, research, or presentations.

Potential Evidence:

******************************************************************************

Badge Alliance Visionary

image

This badge acknowledges individuals who have altered the landscape of Open Badges through innovative work in research, coding, or badge system design and implementation.

Criteria:

The Visionary makes it possible for others to see the tremendous potential in the open badges movement.

Potential Evidence:

******************************************************************************

Badge Alliance Founding Member

image

This badge acknowledges individuals who played an important role in helping to found the Badge Alliance.

Criteria:

The Founding Members helped to establish the Badge Alliance as a nexus of badge innovation and thereby increased the reach of the open badges ecosystem through their support.

******************************************************************************

Claim Your Badges

We’ve made every effort to appropriately issue these badges.

If you think you might be eligible for one or more of these badges, and you haven’t heard from us, email badges@badgealliance.org to let us know which badge(s) you have earned. Please include the criteria you’ve met, as well as any evidence supporting your application.

If you’ve been awarded badges to the wrong email address, please email badges@badgealliance.org to let us know which badge(s) you have earned and your preferred email address (the one your Backpack is associated with).

Thank you!

November 21, 2014 03:38 PM

November 20, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 19, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 19, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda:

This week Sheryl Grant joined the community call to discuss findings from initial research into the 30 winners of the 2011 Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition administered by HASTAC in partnership with Mozilla (funded by MacArthur Foundation).

These 30 project teams won funding for one year, to develop their proposed badging projects, many of which were built starting in fall 2012. Sheryl and her team asked each project group a series of questions at various stages in the projects’ development to find common lessons learned and stumbling blocks to badge system development in the early days of the open badging ecosystem. She was particularly interested to see whether the projects that were designed to be more ‘functional’ (meaning they were sustainable in the long term) had particular lessons to share, compared to projects designed to be pilots.

Here were some core lessons learned:

For more detail, check out the full report here: http://dmlhub.net/publications/what-counts-learning

November 20, 2014 06:45 PM

Michigan State University Extension | Digital Badging Series

Jacob Dedecker, an academic specialist at MSU, began a series on digital badges in August 2014. Five parts of the series have been published so far - take a look at the topics covered in the excerpts below:

==================================

Part 1: A bright new way for students to showcase their skills and knowledge

An introduction to digital badges, including an ongoing project with youth participating in a 4-H Renewable Energy Camp:

Youth participating in 4-H Renewable Energy Camp this past June were given the opportunity to earn digital badges in solar energy, wind energy and bioenergy. Youth researched a problem, designed a solution and presented their findings to the entire camp. Learning hot to problem solve, work as a team and communicate are important life skills. In addition, youth engaged in these activities meet certain core science competencies that schools try to teach in the classroom. If youth learn and demonstrate these key competencies during out-of-school time activities like in summer science camps, could they receive credit for that learning? That is one of the key questions this group is asking and digital badging may be a way to do just that.

Read the article in full…

Part 2: What do high school students think of digital badges?

Part 2 looked at how the youth participating in the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp responded to the badges they were earning:

Read the article in full…

Part 3: Could earning digital badges help young people get a job?

This article explored the potential of badges to help youth find employment opportunities:

As companies look to find the best talent to help their companies thrive, digital badges offer a different view into the experiences, knowledge and skills of candidates they are looking to hire. While grade point averages and ACT scores offer perspective on formal academic achievements, a digital badge can speak to learning experiences and knowledge gained around standards in specific content areas such as solar energy or water quality.

Read the article in full…

Part 4: Could earning digital badges help your child get into college?

This article explored the potential of badges to help youth access academic opportunities:

Are digital badges something post-secondary institutions are looking at to help them determine the best students to admit to their colleges? Digital badges certainly provide another means for students to showcase what they know, the skills they have developed and the experiences they have that would help them be successful in college. Ultimately that is what college admissions are trying to do – identify students that can be successful in their college and departments. However this can be challenging when only looking at a few data points such as GPA and ACT scores, which now carry so much weight in those decisions. Offering another way to feature a student’s academic success and abilities would help students better highlight what they are capable of doing, allowing colleges to make more informed decisions.

Read the article in full…

Part 5: Could digital badges be designed to represent different levels of learning?

This latest article looks badge types and levels, as well as standards that can help badge consumers differentiate between different badges and the learning experiences they represent:

Because digital badges can represent a wide scope of activities, it could be helpful to create a standard that depicts specific types of learning. Even better would be a particular look for badges that connect to a type of learning that can be easily seen by teachers and future employees. The badge style, in essence, would say, “this badge means I learned something significant.”

Read the article in full…

==================================

These articles were published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu.

November 20, 2014 03:19 PM

November 14, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [66]

Hello there, badgers,

Welcome to the Badger Beats! Here’s a quick run-down of what’s been going on this week:

Have a great weekend, everyone. We’ll catch up with you on Monday!

November 14, 2014 05:23 PM

November 13, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 12, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 12, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda:

Carey works in the office of Distance Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where they have developed a badge system for their online faculty training program. He is also conducting his doctoral research on digital badges at Louisiana State University, looking at the group of online instructors to see what their perceptions of badges are, and whether they’re at a stage of adoption that would indicate readiness for larger certification programs to make use of badges.

Carey has been encouraged by his graduate committee to look at badging from the viewpoint of the organizations that recruit and hire the instructors that go through the online training. Their reasoning is: regardless of how enthusiastic instructors are about badging, if there aren’t long-term benefits to their careers and job opportunities, a badging system won’t be utilized as much. Conversely, if hiring agents start using - and expecting - badges to play a role in their decisions, then instructors will be increasingly drawn to badged programs. Carey has found little research or commentary on these hypotheses, though he thinks they are correct. He presented his research to the community with a set of questions he was looking to address:

1. What organizations are using badges as part of their hiring process? Are there some case studies already?

The Badge Alliance Workforce Working Group curated a list of examples of open badges and digital badges in the workforce, including early adopters such as Stack Overflow / Careers 2.0, the Manufacturing Institute, and Michigan Mblem badges. If you know of more, add them to the list!

2. What are inhibitors that prevent the adoption (lack of knowledge, lack of trust, “info overload” - etc.)

A lack of awareness and/or knowledge of badges is often the first barrier to adoption within the workforce, as well as concerns about verification and security of badge metadata, and reticence towards trusting a credential within an open ecosystem. Employers often ask specifically about what we call ‘badge overload,’ worrying about how to differentiate between different badges for the same skills and competencies and the time and resources needed to verify multiple badges per job candidate.

Other inhibitors preventing widespread adoption of badges within the workforce include a lack of common skills frameworks across industries, and a lack of technical support (particularly within smaller organizations).

3. How would hiring agents learn about badges and how to interpret and evaluate them? Is there some training available for this new evaluation tool? If not, should there be?

The Workforce Working Group also developed an Employer FAQ and an Employer Tutorial for badges during Cycle 1, both of which was designed to familiarize employers with badges and the processes needed to assess and evaluate them.

The community raised an important question during the call: is an applicant who has earned badges a useful introduction to badges employers? Ideally, employers and hiring managers would have at least a basic understanding of badges before encountering a badge collection from a job applicant. As Carla Casilli pointed out during our discussion, much of our work has been focused on pushing badges from education out into the workforce. Now we need to focus more of our efforts on pushing badges from the workforce back into education, where employers recognize their need for a better way to evaluate applicants, adopt badges, and institutions of higher education start scaffolding programs around badges based on workforce requirements.

4. How could badges fit in with more traditional credentials and resume applications? As a supplement, or eventually replace other methods?

This question has been addressed more from an education perspective than from the workforce. For example, UC Davis and other institutions of higher education are using badges as a supplement to traditionally graded programs. Others are pushing the envelope, 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. As more educational bodies and institutions start to explore and adopt badges, we will see whether the trend is towards using badges as a supplement to or a substitute for traditional assessment and credentialing methods.

Contribute to this work!

If you have research or use cases relevant to the above questions, check out the call notes and email Carey with information you think might be useful to his ongoing work.

You can also join the conversation in the Open Badges Community Google Group or on Twitter by using the hashtag #openbadges.

November 13, 2014 09:40 PM

Sunny Lee | The Open Badges Directory → Laying the foundation for cool open badges applications

Read the original post here.

**********************************************************************************

As open badges continues to gain a foothold in the world of digital credentialing and skills recognition, more and more folks have expressed interest in accessing a list of all the earnable open badges out in the wild. Earners, issuers and employers alike want to see the various badges available to earn based on certain search parameters, find out how to earn them and be directed to the appropriate places to dive deeper and start learning and earning.

One thing that the ecosystem was clearly in need of was a directory service that cataloged and listed all the open badges in the ecosystem with APIs that would enable other organizations to build cool applications on top, such as a badge-based pathway generator, an employer tool that facilitates connections with earners of certain badges, a badge or pathway discovery engine, etc.

In response, the Open Badges Directory Working Group was formed to precisely dedicate itself to prototyping this much-needed directory offering.

*** n.b. The documentation for the Open Badges directory can be found here: http://directory.openbadges.org and examples of it in use can be seen here: http://directory.openbadges.org/examples/browser/#/recent and here: http://achievery.com/discover.

image

In Cycle 1 of the Working Group, we had to figure out the scope of the project we wanted to tackle. The following were some of the questions we needed to answer to determine the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) feature set.

I’ll share the line of reasoning we went through and where we netted out with each of these questions below.

What are we listing?

This seems like a simple question but actually is a bit more layered. This has to do with the way in which Open Badges technology is set up. The fundamental building block in the badging ecosystem is the assertion. The assertion describes 3 things;

The assertion essentially ties all these 3 different pieces together in a unique badge instance that is tied to a specific badge earner.

*** n.b. More information can be found in this wiki guide written by Sue Smith.

In that case, what do we list?

While there’s a case to be made for all three options, we decided that the MVP of the badge directory will simply list the Badge Class to start, with Badge Instance and potentially Issuer Organization as subsequent additions. This was because, while listing Badge Classes, depending on method of implementation, has a dependency on the Issuing organization, listing Badge Instances has a dependency on the Earner to make the badges they earn, public. We thought the latter was a bigger initial barrier that the directory would have to overcome as opposed to working with the issuers.

What is the barrier to entry for badge issuers? What does the badge issuing organization need to do in order to be a part of the directory?

This question presented us with a few options as well:

  1. Crawl the open web and look for the open badges assertion file type, automating the listing process for the issuer: While this option eliminates the barrier to entry for issuers, it is a resource intensive and expensive undertaking as the crawler would have to scour millions of IP addresses looking for certain file types. This didn’t seem like the right approach for the initial MVP.

  2. Issuers register their badge classes with the directory and provide the paths to where their badges are stored: This is the least developmentally intensive process but at the same time we are dependent on issuers to come to us and register their badges. The barrier to entry for issuers is put in place and we must provide them with a value proposition to register themselves and their badges.

  3. Issuers only register themselves and a simple crawler would know what domains and IPs to crawl: This is a bit of a hybrid solution of the above 2, utilizing crawling with minimal issuer cooperation. Even so, without a robust value proposition presented to issuers, we still have to reckon with the initial barrier of registration that they must overcome.

We opted for Option 2 in this initial iteration because it provided us with an opportunity to work collaboratively with the issuers in the ecosystem to highlight their badges and proof of concept the directory to a broader audience. Not only that, it saved us from overexpending our technical and development resources which would have been the case if we opted for Option 1.

However, we have seen rather slow responses from issuing organizations who want to register. We are in the process of evaluating the barrier(s) to entry, as well as the value proposition for issuers, in order to figure out next steps.

Where does the directory end and other potential third party services begin?

It’s easy to get excited about a directory offering because of its potential. Say I’m a learner and I want to find out what badges are out there that I can earn that will make me more competitive in the job market. I hear user experience design is a growing field, so I go to the directory, input a few keywords like ‘UX’, ‘user experience’, and ‘UI’ to see the list of badges in the ecosystem related to my search. What next? Does the directory offer me a cool UI with a list of various badge pathways around user experience design I can tackle? Can I save or favorite the badges presented so I can come back to them later?

What level of end-user experience will the directory enable? Are the cool, personalized experiences mentioned above, something an application on top of the directory creates while the directory is simply providing the service of listing open badges with some search and filtering?

Is there an end-user interfacing component to the directory at all or should it simply be a list of APIs for developers?

We all agree the API component of the directory will be critical for encouraging application development, but at the same time, we felt we needed some level of a UI to help folks understand and grasp the fundamental concept behind the directory. As such, what we ended up creating is a simple user interface that lists all badges with basic search and filter capability but nothing beyond that for now.

*** n.b. The API Explorer illustrates how the API works.

==========================

Having released this initial MVP that provides the broader ecosystem with a production beta version, we’re eager to continue development of the directory. Focus areas include the listing of badge instances in addition to badge classes, additional API endpoints, and exploring ways in which we can lower the barrier of entry while clearly articulating the value proposition for badge issuers.

There is still a lot more work left to do to have a full functioning directory product. But the prototype is a strong proof of concept and has taught us a ton. Needless to say, none of this could’ve been possible without the leadership, dedication and hard work of Kerri Lemoie from Achievery.

While Cycle 1 has ended, we still have an active mailing list, so please join the conversation!

November 13, 2014 06:44 PM

Sunny Lee

The Open Badges Directory → Laying the foundation for cool open badges applications

As open badges continues to gain a foothold in the world of digital credentialing and skills recognition, more and more folks have expressed interest in accessing a list of all the earnable open badges out in the wild. Earners, issuers and employers alike want to see the various badges available to earn based on certain search parameters, find out how to earn them and be directed to the appropriate places to dive deeper and start learning and earning.

One thing that the ecosystem was clearly in need of was a directory service that catalogued and listed all the open badges in the ecosystem with APIs that would enable other organizations to build cool applications on top, such as a badge-based pathway generator, an employer tool that facilitates connections with earners of certain badges, a badge or pathway discovery engine, etc.

In response, the Open Badges Directory Working Group was formed to precisely dedicate itself to prototyping this much-needed directory offering.

*** n.b. The documentation for the Open Badges directory can be found here: http://directory.openbadges.org and examples of it in use can be seen here: http://directory.openbadges.org/examples/browser/#/recent and here: http://achievery.com/discover.

In Cycle 1 of the Working Group, we had to figure out the scope of the project we wanted to tackle. The following were some of the questions we needed to answer to determine the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) feature set.

I’ll share the line of reasoning we went through and where we netted out with each of these questions below.

What are we listing?

This seems like a simple question but actually is a bit more layered. This has to do with the way in which Open Badges technology is set up. The fundamental building block in the badging ecosystem is the assertion. The assertion describes 3 things;

The assertion essentially ties all these 3 different pieces together in a unique badge instance that is tied to a specific badge earner.

*** n.b. More information can be found in this wiki guide written by Sue Smith: https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges/wiki/Assertion-Information-for-the-Uninitiated

In that case, what do we list?

While there’s a case to be made for all three options, we decided that the MVP of the badge directory will simply list the Badge Class to start, with Badge Instance and potentially Issuer Organization as subsequent additions. This was because, while listing Badge Classes, depending on method of implementation, has a dependency on the Issuing organization, listing Badge Instances has a dependency on the Earner to make the badges they earn, public. We thought the latter was a bigger initial barrier that the directory would have to overcome as opposed to working with the issuers.

What is the barrier to entry for badge issuers? What does the badge issuing organization need to do in order to be a part of the directory?

This question presented us with a few options as well:

  1. Crawl the open web and look for the open badges assertion file type, automating the listing process for the issuer: While this option eliminates the barrier to entry for issuers, it is a resource intensive and expensive undertaking as the crawler would have to scour millions of IP addresses looking for certain file types. This didn’t seem like the right approach for the initial MVP.

  2. Issuers register their badge classes with the directory and provide the paths to where their badges are stored: This is the least developmentally intensive process but at the same time we are dependent on issuers to come to us and register their badges. The barrier to entry for issuers is put in place and we must provide them with a value proposition to register themselves and their badges.

  3. Issuers only register themselves and a simple crawler would know what domains and IPs to crawl: This is a bit of a hybrid solution of the above 2, utilizing crawling with minimal issuer cooperation. Even so, without a robust value proposition presented to issuers, we still have to reckon with the initial barrier of registration that they must overcome.

We opted for Option 2 in this initial iteration because it provided us with an opportunity to work collaboratively with the issuers in the ecosystem to highlight their badges and proof of concept the directory to a broader audience. Not only that, it saved us from overexpending our technical and development resources which would have been the case if we opted for Option 1.

However, we have seen rather slow responses from issuing organizations who want to register. We are in the process of evaluating the barrier(s) to entry, as well as the value proposition for issuers, in order to figure out next steps.

Where does the directory end and other potential third party services begin?

It’s easy to get excited about a directory offering because of its potential. Say I’m a learner and I want to find out what badges are out there that I can earn that will make me more competitive in the job market. I hear user experience design is a growing field, so I go to the directory, input a few keywords like ‘UX’, ‘user experience’, and ‘UI’ to see the list of badges in the ecosystem related to my search. What next? Does the directory offer me a cool UI with a list of various badge pathways around user experience design I can tackle? Can I save or favorite the badges presented so I can come back to them later?

What level of end-user experience will the directory enable? Are the cool, personalized experiences mentioned above, something an application on top of the directory creates while the directory is simply providing the service of listing open badges with some search and filtering?

Is there an end-user interfacing component to the directory at all or should it simply be a list of APIs for developers?

We all agree the API component of the directory will be critical for encouraging application development, but at the same time, we felt we needed some level of a UI to help folks understand and grasp the fundamental concept behind the directory. As such, what we ended up creating is a simple user interface that lists all badges with basic search and filter capability but nothing beyond that for now.

*** n.b. The API Explorer illustrates how the API works.

==========================

Having released this initial MVP that provides the broader ecosystem with a production beta version, we’re eager to continue development of the directory. Focus areas include the listing of badge instances in addition to badge classes, additional API endpoints, and exploring ways in which we can lower the barrier of entry while clearly articulating the value proposition for badge issuers.

There is still a lot more work left to do to have a full functioning directory product. But the prototype is a strong proof of concept and has taught us a ton. Needless to say, none of this could’ve been possible without the leadership, dedication and hard work of Kerri Lemoie from Achievery.

While Cycle 1 has ended, we still have an active mailing list, so please join the conversation!

 

November 13, 2014 06:30 PM

Open Badges blog

#openbadgesMOOC Session 13: Policy Matters That Affect Open Badges

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 13: Policy Matters

Session Recording: coming soon!

This week, Anne Derryberry put forth the community-developed framework for developing institutional open badges policies which she participated in authoring as part of the Badge Alliance’s Policy Working Group. In addition, Mary Alice McCarthy, Senior Policy Analyst in the Education Policy Program at New America, presented a number of policy discussions occurring at the federal level within the U.S.

Why We Need An Institutional Policy Framework

Educational institutions around the world are exploring Open Badges for teaching and learning. The purpose of the Campus Policy Framework document is to inform the development of badge policies in higher education and to highlight important issues and areas for consideration, such as assessment, transcripting and publishing, intellectual property, privacy, and ethical / legal issues.

Policy is a broad area that can significantly impact badge uptake and effectiveness within postsecondary education. It includes institutional legal obligations, rights, ownership, federal and state government requirements, and local government regulations.

Peruse the document here: http://bit.ly/CampusPolicyBadges

Federal Policy Issues

Badges are part of a larger conversation around the need for more competency-based assessment and credentials at the federal level. That conversation is driven by three guiding principles, according to Mary Alice McCarthy: driving quality; ensuring equity; and protecting consumers and taxpayers.

image

A number of groups and organizations are conducting research into postsecondary education, assessment and credentials which could play a role in building support for open badges:

The Higher Education Academy also offers opportunities for investigating the potential benefits of open badges in higher education, as their focus is on securing support for competency-based education approaches and addressing quality assurance issues with non-traditional credentials.

McCarthy closed her presentation by reminding attendees that federal support of open badges will hinge upon the risks of creating a federal badging policy, and whether can the badging community can help policymakers see the relationship between technology and better credentials. The continuing work of the open badges community in key areas such as policy, higher education and workforce will be increasingly important as major players in the federal and regional policy landscape start to investigate the potential uses for open badges in postsecondary education.

What do you think? Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #openbadgesMOOC

*********************************************

We look forward to continuing this course with you! See below for details of the next session.

Go to http://badges.coursesites.com/ to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.

*********************************************

Future sessions:

Monday, Dec. 8, 2-3pm ET:
Open Badges Review - Sunny Lee and Jade Forester

November 13, 2014 04:38 PM

November 10, 2014

Mark Surman

We are all citizens of the web

Ten years ago today, we declared independence. We declared that we have the independence: to choose the tools we use to browse and build the web; to create, talk, play, trade in the way we want and where we want; and to invent new tools, new ways to create and share, new ways of living online, even in the face of monopolies and governments who insist the internet should work their way, not ours. When we launched Firefox on on November 9, 2004, we declared independence as citizens of the web.

Firefox NYT Ad

The launch of Firefox was not just the release of a browser: it was the beginning of a global campaign for choice and independence on the web. Over 10 million people had already joined this campaign by the time of the launch — and 10s of millions more would join in coming months. They would join by installing Firefox on their own computers. And then move on to help their friends, their families and their coworkers do the same. People joined us because Firefox was a better browser, without question. But many also wanted to make a statement with their actions: a single company should not control the web.

By taking this action, we — the millions of us who spread the software and ideas behind Firefox — helped change the world. Remember back to 2004: Microsoft had become an empire and a monopoly that controlled everything from the operating system to the web browser; the technology behind the web was getting stale; we were assaulted by pop up ads and virus threats constantly. The web was in bad shape. And, people had no choices. No way to make things better. Together, we fixed that. We used independence and choice to bring the web back to life.

And alive the web is. For all 2.8 billion of us on the web today, it has become an integral part of the way we live, learn and love. And, for those who think about the technology, we’ve seen the web remain open and distributed — a place where anyone can play — while at the same time becoming a first class platform for almost any kind of application. Millions of businesses and trillions of dollars in new wealth have grown on the web as a result. If we hadn’t stood up for independence and choice back in 2004, one wonders how much of the web we love today we would have?

And, while the web has made our lives better for the most part, it both faces and offers new threats. We now see the growth of new empires — a handful of companies who control how we search, how we message each other, where we store our data. We see a tiny oligopoly in smartphones and app stores that put a choke hold on who can distribute apps and content — a far cry from the open distribution model of the web. We see increased surveillance of our lives both by advertisers and governments. And, even as billions more people come online, we see a shift back towards products that treat people as consumers of the digital world rather than as makers and as citizens. We are at risk of losing our hard won independence.

This is why — on the 10th birthday of Firefox — I feel confident in saying that Mozilla is needed more than ever. We need great products that give people choices. We need places for those of us who care about independence to gather. And we need to guard the open nature of the web for the long haul. This is why Mozilla exists.

Who owns the internet?

Just as we did 10 years ago, we can start to shift the tide of the web by each and every one of us taking concrete actions — big or small. Download the Firefox 10th Anniversary release — and then tell a friend why Mozilla and Firefox still matter. Grab a colleague or a parent or a kid and teach them something about how the web gives them independence and choice. Or, just watch and share the Firefox 10 video with friends (it’s really good, honest :)). These are a few small but meaningful things you can do today to celebrate Firefox turning 10.

Putting the web back on course as a force for openness and freedom will require much more than just small actions, of course. But it’s important to remember that the global community of people who installed Firefox for others — and then talked about why — made a huge difference when Mozilla first stood up for the web. We moved mountains over the past 10 years through  millions of people taking small actions that eventually added up to a groundswell. As we look today for new ways to shore up our independence on the web, we will need to do this again.

Th 10th Anniversary of Firefox is a day to celebrate, no doubt. But today is also a day to deepen our commitment to choice and independence — to stand together and start sharing that commitment with everyone around us.It is a day to show that we are citizens of the web. I hope you will join me.


Filed under: drumbeat, mozilla, open, openweb, poetry, webmakers

November 10, 2014 05:43 PM

Laura Hilliger

Thinking Big and Learning Big

Last week, we gathered ThinkBig program heads, educators, partners and technologists in London to run a workshop on Webmaker and open collaboration. We had a lot of goals for this workshop, but my main objective was this one:
Accept one another as a valuable ally and feel confident in reaching out to ask for or provide feedback.
I wanted to make sure all the people who came to this workshop knew that they could rely on me, personally, the TeachTheWeb team generally and Mozillians writ large. I also wanted to make sure that they saw each other as allies inside Telefonica. At Mozilla events, we encourage participatory interaction, which underpins communication on the web (because you have to both push and pull in order to be a digital citizen), and we deliver digital skills as a byproduct of the cognitive and social skills that are arguably more important in the digital environment and in life. Hanging out with the 40 or so adults from the UK, Germany, Spain and Costa Rica (plus my fantastic co-facilitators Melissa and Bobby) it solidified for me that I don’t actually teach digital skills all that much. I could, but I rarely do. At the beginning of our two-day workshop, we created mindmaps to define the problems Telefonica is dealing with. What I saw reflected in that thinking was fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking bad at work. Fear of looking stupid in front of youth. Fear of the unknown. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Group photo from Helen Parker[/caption] I teach confidence. I teach agency. I teach people about the true nature of fear, I teach participation and I teach openness. I knew this, but the confidence, agency and fear bit has never been so prevalent in my own head. I’m starting to think about how working openly can contribute to your confidence and the idea that openness can negate isolation, not only from the work perspective but from that deep dark place that people have inside. You know the imposture syndrome? Can it be that openness is the antidote? How does ego and entitlement play in here? I believe that webmaking can be a conduit for self development, so how can we design materials that help educators see that more clearly? I’m interested to keep these queries in mind when I plan another event like the Telefonica + Mozilla training. This particular workshop felt really good. We collaborated to create a good arc, I felt confident about it, it seemed like people were happy, like they learned. They made amazing, interesting things. I worry that we could have done more to help people level up their digital skills, but I let myself off the hook on that one because two days is such a short amount of time. I think about creating programming like this that isn’t a one-off (e.g. I want to run multiple workshops for passionate people like these folks.) Perhaps we should think about a reunion which unpacks how the lessons of the first workshop influenced a year of work, and dive down into specific digital skills that the participants still feel are lacking. The folks who showed up to the Telefonica Training in London showed up strong. They dove in, they made things, they took notes, they collaborated and were honest and were present. We only started the work we have to do together, which is why I’ve started a new Discourse Category called “New to Open”. I hope Discourse continues to be a place to find collaborators, share things, and explore what it means to work openly (among other relevant discussions). The open community should continue to be curious and start reaching outside of our comfort zones to work together with people in other industries. If we start utilizing one another’s skills and expertise in a more conscious way, perhaps we can start making more impact in the public sphere.

November 10, 2014 12:25 PM

November 07, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [65]

Happy Friday!

There’s been a lot going on this week - our team and community have been presenting at the AECT 2014 Annual Convention, Open Ed Conference and iNACOL Symposium, while others have been wrapping up their MozFest activities and more are preparing to present at Deakin University’s National Forum.

Here’s a summary of some of the other great stuff that happened this week:

March of the Robots delivered activities and workshops for thousands of people in Leeds in the UK, as well as hanging out at MozFest with us. Read more on the Digital Me blog!

Here are some great shots of the CubeBot in action with the kids on the badges floor:

image

image

November 07, 2014 02:47 PM

November 06, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, Nov. 5, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, Nov. 5, 2014:

Speakers:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CC-Nov5

This week we heard from community members in three different countries - it’s great to see these community calls going truly global. Dr. Devedzic and his colleague Dr. Jelena Jovanovic presented on the October 15th community call on their GRASS (grading soft skills) project based in Estonia. He joined us again this week to share his experiences from the Belgrade Job Fair, where he and another colleague gave an Open Badges presentation to a group of employers and students (primarily from technical fields).

Introducing European students and employers to badges

Badges are still relatively new in Serbia, as in much of Europe. Dr. Devedzic reported that students’ reactions were mostly positive, whereas employers were generally more cautious. Employers had to be approached “with more care” and Dr. Devedzic believes that ongoing efforts to raise awareness and introduce employers to examples of badges being used in the workplace will encourage acceptance and adoption.

Students were interested to learn more about badge validity, trusted issuers, issuing criteria, validity of evidence, and the number of badges earned - questions many of us are familiar with when introducing badges to new audiences. Employers also asked about the potential to forge badges, as well as the sustainability of the concept in the long term, and some expressed reluctance to the idea overall. There were also concerns about candidates coming to them with hundreds of badges, before badge collections and sharing options were explained.

In a region where personal connections often open more doors than skills sharing, Dr. Devedzic argues “a greater campaign is necessary in order to make employers here aware of the benefits of badges.” Ongoing contact with employers will be important as awareness and adoption of badges spreads throughout Europe. There is another big promotional event in Belgrade scheduled for the spring of 2015, where Dr. Devedzic has been invited to talk about Open Badges - we look forward to hearing more updates after that.

To learn more about the GRASS Project that Dr. Devedzic and Dr. Jovanovic are leading, go to https://sites.google.com/site/llpgrassproject/

Badging conversations with Dr. Dan Hickey & Dr. James Willis

In the hour before Wednesday’s community call, Dan and James led a discussion on how major learning management systems are incorporating digital badges, the entrepreneurial and university-based support system emerging around this new feature, and examples of badge-induced transformation and disruption. Learn more here.

Dan Hickey’s team developed a modest initial badging integration for Open edX, and are planning to figure out how to build the functionality into downloadable instances for future uses, working towards making it possible for anyone using it to issue badges using the platform.

Here is a blog post on Dan Hickey’s musings about scaling up badge systems from a non-technologists perspective : http://remediatingassessment.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-design-knowledge-evaporation.html

Next week, Dan will be presenting in Australia at the Curate, Credential and Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence National Forum being held at Deakin University and then the Open edX Conference in Boston, Mass.

Learn more about Indiana University’s COIL (Center for Online Learning and Innovation) here: http://coil.psu.edu

Badges for Digital Leaders in the UK

Educators in the UK have been working to recognize youth digital leaders using badges, based on an open framework for skills and knowledge for digital leadership.

Chris Sharples worked with Digital Me’s Tim Riches and Lucy Neale, as well as the team at Makewaves, to develop levels of Digital Leader Badges. Chris has awarded badges to 25 digital leaders in his North Yorkshire school, and has found that the primary challenge facing schools working to award badges to students is that IT staff are often very busy and don’t have the resources to maintain and monitor the badging process.

Chris has kept an ongoing record of the work being done on his blog: http://www.gr8ict.com/digitalleaders/

There is also a weekly #dlchat Twitter conversation held every Thursday at 4pm EST / 9pm GMT. In October, our Marketing + Community Manager Jade Forester led a badges-themed chat, and we’d love to get more members of the badging community involved in a future Twitter chat. Contact Jade if you’d like to join!

November 06, 2014 04:58 PM

November 05, 2014

Open Badges blog

Upcoming Badges Webinars from Pearson

Pearson have announced some interesting Open Badges webinars for college administrators and faculty, as well as non-profits and corporations.

See below for details and registration links, and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #pearsonlearn

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Exploring Open Badges

Open badges allow academic institutions, corporations, and associations to recognize the resume–worthy achievements of students and employees in a way that can be easily verified and shared online. This month we take a look at open badges and the impact they can have on the pathway from college to career.

From Colleges to Careers: Sharing Competencies through Open Badges

Fast Track to Valuable Badges: Connecting Learning to Jobs

Exploring Badges: A New Method to Recognize Professional Credentials

November 05, 2014 07:00 PM

November 03, 2014

Hive NYC

MozFest Reflections: Armando Somoza of Urban Arts Partnership

This is a guest post by Armando Somoza, Program Director for The Academy & Adobe Youth Voices at Urban Arts Partnership.

My first experience at #MozFest was a fascinating first encounter with an “Open Conference” model.  Unknowingly, I have been groomed to believe the “conference” experience should be one with sessions with defined beginning and end times, structured discourse around predetermined topics, and clear workshop agendas.  My entire world turned inside out!  #MozFest defined a new paradigm of gathering people to have powerful discourse about important topics that are sourced from those participating in the community.  At first take, I felt excluded and lost.  I had no idea what “Tracks” or “Space Wranglers” were and I felt like I was missing valuable opportunities to learn and contribute to great conversations.  I wondered around to various spaces eavesdropping and glancing over shoulders.  I joked with a few other first time MozFest participants that it felt like I was invited to a house party where other participants were actively dancing to music they all knew and were sharing in festive exchanges, but that I was standing in the kitchen sipping on a beer trying to find my “in.”  I had difficulty finding my entry point and then it all changed.

10731921_352158634955534_975964007_n

The catalyst for the shift was ignited on Saturday when we hosted our office hour session called “Hacking the NYC Dept of Ed with the Arts.”  We wrote out our title on a large post-it and waited to welcome conversation.  At first we couldn’t find a place to meet and nobody was stopping by to engage in conversation. Then Rafi Santo stopped by and…. ka’boom!  The two hour conversation that followed, through the span of four floors in Ravenbourne, took us through topics including Hive’s vision on creating a collective impact space to maximize efforts between organizations to bring about real change, celebrating shared experiences and building trust between organizations, Marx, negotiating the real challenges of the “Digital Divide” and strategies on serving students from under-represented communities and much more. I was starting to hear my “music” play at the party!

10735162_312899542252118_1844667900_n

Sunday was the most powerful experience, though.  We gathered in groups to discuss Hive’s five-year plan and vision statement: “We imagine a time when connected learning is ubiquitous in Hive cities across the globe, empowering educators and unlocking opportunities for all youth.”  Hive’s four goal realms are: Mobilize, Create, Catalyze, and Grow.  I met with an awesome group at the Catalyze table.  We began with general conversation around partnerships and then we went for a ride.  Through collective visioning, the sharing of core values, and an enthusiastic investment in the community we share, we began to envision an introduction of critical discourse around race, gender, class, sexuality, etc to supplement the amazing work already happening at MozFest.  We titled our concept #codeswitchdigital and the idea of proposing a new track in MozFest took life.  More importantly, I created great friendships with colleagues from various backgrounds and roles in the MozFest community.  It felt like the DJ at the house party finally introduced a playlist full of all my jams and it allowed more people to come out of the woodwork!

The epiphany hit in the moment of wrapping our conversation that MozFest not only embraces its core values, but intentionally models them for all of those who participate.  I was inspired to see the philosophy of “working open” held with integrity, honored as foundational pedagogy, and valued as an authentic approach to gathering talented and passionate people.  I learned that MozFest creates open space where passionate minds gather to engage in powerful discourse, hack technical solutions, and define the future of the field.  #Awesome.

Photos from Armando’s Instagram.

The post MozFest Reflections: Armando Somoza of Urban Arts Partnership appeared first on Hive NYC.

November 03, 2014 07:27 PM

November 02, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [64]

Welcome to the Badger Beats!

Here’s what we got up to this week:

We’ll leave you with this vine that Steve Lonn put together at MozFest:

See you next week, everyone!

November 02, 2014 05:15 PM

November 01, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, October 29 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, October 29 2014:

Catch up on last Wednesday’s community project call where a few of us reported out from the Mozilla Festival.

November 01, 2014 11:27 AM

October 31, 2014

Open Badges blog

EDUZILLA: Covering Education & Badges at MozFest

EDUZILLA: Covering Education & Badges at MozFest:

I think Open Badges and other digital qualifications…are a fantastic idea, especially in developing areas where formal education can be hard to access.

“Badges are a great idea but they need to explode

Check out Eduzilla for MozFest coverage, including a post on Open Badges and Think Big.

October 31, 2014 05:23 PM

Here’s a great little vine that Steve Lonn made of the Open Badges Lab den at MozFest last...

Here’s a great little vine that Steve Lonn made of the Open Badges Lab den at MozFest last weekend:

We’ve got some pictures on Twitter too, check them out below:

To learn more about the amazing den building work Chris Harman does, check out denbuilding.co.uk

October 31, 2014 05:18 PM

October 25, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [63]

We hope everyone’s having a great weekend - whether you’re at home or enjoying the revelry of MozFest!

Here’s a quick run-down of the week:

"Data is confirming what we already know: recruiting is an imprecise activity, and degrees don’t communicate much about a candidate’s potential and fit. Employers need to know what a student knows and can do.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! See you all on Monday….

October 25, 2014 02:09 PM

Open Badges at the Mozilla Festival

Open Badges at the Mozilla Festival:

Sunny, Carla and Jade are hanging out in London this weekend with the wonderful folks from Digital Me, as well as representatives from Think Big, iDEA Award, Makewaves, Badge Europe and more!

Follow @mozillafestival and #MozFest on Twitter to see what’s been going on. If you aren’t in London and want to participate remotely, check out 2014.mozillafestival.org/remote/

October 25, 2014 01:47 PM

October 24, 2014

Jess Klein

Hive Labs at the Mozilla Festival: Building an Ecosystem for Innovation



 


This weekend marks the fifth year anniversary of the Mozilla Festival - and Hive Labs has a ton of fun design - oriented, hands-on activities to get messy with in person or remotely. We are using the event to explore design questions that are relevant to local communities and Hives and to dabble in building out a community-driven ecosystem for innovation. Here's a few highlights:

Challenges to Enacting and Scaling Connected Learning

This year, the Hive track at MozFest (http://2014.mozillafestival.org/tracks/) is bringing together Hive and "Hive curious" travelers from around the world to incubate solutions to shared challenges in enacting and scaling connected learning. We're working together over the course of the MozFest weekend to collaboratively answer questions that come up again and again in our networks across the globe. One question that Hive Labs is focusing on is: How do we build a community that supports innovation in the education space? 



Action Incubator

We will be hosting a series of activities embedded within the Hive track to think through problems in your Hives and local communities and brainstorming solutions collectively. We will be leveraging three teaching kit's that were made specifically to facilitate this kind of design thinking activity:

Art of the Web 

This entire track is dedicated to showcasing and making art using the Web as your medium. Follow the #artoftheweb hashtag on twitter. 


in response to the #mozfest remotee challenge

MozFest Remotee Challenge

Want to join in on all of the Mozilla Festival action even though you aren't physically at the event? This challenge is for you! We have compiled a handful of activities focused on Web Literacy, supporting community - based learning and making so that you can take part in the conversation and brainstorming at the Mozilla Festival. Go here to start the challenge.

You can follow along all weekend using the #mozfest or #hivebuzz hashtags on Twitter.

October 24, 2014 01:39 PM

October 22, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Announcing our 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows!

We’ve been looking for Knight-Mozilla Fellows for four years now, and so you begin to notice patterns during the process. There’s that moment when you worry that there won’t be enough applicants, and then that other when you worry there will be too many. There’s that melancholy time when you realize that you won’t have a fellowship cohort quite like the current one and then the exhilaration when you realize that’s exactly right.

But the most important moment is the one when all the pieces begin to come together and you begin to see not an applicant but instead a fellow. That moment is magic: the sheer volume of applications (417 this year—our largest pool ever) disappears and where there was once a mass of qualifications and ideas, you begin to see truly extraordinary individuals.

It’s a great pleasure today to introduce those individuals—our 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows—to you. These folks will spend 10 months in 2015 experimenting in some of the best newsrooms in the world (they’ll be joined by one more Fellow, at Vox Media, who will be announced later this year), on a mission to try new things, to document them in the open, and to connect with the broader community of people writing code in journalism.

The work that the Knight-Mozilla Fellows do during their fellowship year doesn’t fit easily into a single sentence. Over the year a fellow will play the role of coder, teacher, mentor (and mentee), adventurer, colleague, and friend. They’ll push themselves, and journalism, in new directions. They’ll do work that has real impact—on themselves and on the web.

It’s a tall order, but a thrilling one, and the people we have lined up to do the work of a Knight-Mozilla Fellow in 2015 are among our very best yet. I can’t wait for you to meet them:

Tara Adiseshan | NYT/Washington Post

Tara Adiseshan is a designer and data visualization engineer who is excited about civic media, learning tools, and community platforms. From designing search futures at Autodesk to conducting user research around rainwater harvesting in rural India, Tara has had the opportunity to apply design methodologies and build solutions in a variety of disciplinary spaces. Tara believes that access to and understanding of information and data can be a key leverage point through which social systems change. Tara will be a Fellow at the Coral Project, a collaboration between the New York Times, the Washington Post, and OpenNews.

Follow Tara on Twitter at @taraandtheworld

Juan Elosua | La Nacion

Juan Elosua is a Spanish telecommunications engineer with broad experience in tech consultancy and financial services IT. In 2011, he discovered data journalism and became a data addict and freelance developer, and can now be found turning data upside down to extract knowledge from it. He strongly believes open data will play a key role in shaping the future of modern societies, and has trained journalists to help them find stories and work efficiently on data-related projects.

Follow Juan on Twitter at @jjelosua

Livia Labate | NPR

Livia Labate is a user experience designer and manager with a passion for in-house practice development. Livia is interested in how open source tools empower news creation and dissemination, and shape access to information and social participation. With over 15 years of industry experience, she has worked with large organizations such as Comcast and the BBC as well as heavily contributing to the development of the Information Architecture community of practice through the IA Institute. More recently, Livia has led Marriott’s Digital Standards and Practices group, focusing on stewardship and governance of digital experiences.

Follow Livia on Twitter at @livlab

Linda Sandvik | the Guardian

Linda Sandvik is a creative technologist and proto-MacGyver who likes to make things that inform, educate, and empower people and communities. She previously worked in local government and at Last.fm, and is a co-founder of Code Club, and her particular interests lie in using play and technology to help people discover their natural affinity for teaching themselves new things. She has a passion for open data, open knowledge, and serious games.

Follow Linda on Twitter at @hyper_linda

Julia Smith | CIR

Julia Smith is a design professional from Omaha, NE. She’s held a variety of roles in journalism and IT, having worked as a designer and developer on news sites, mobile applications, enterprise software, and corporate websites. She is fascinated with civic media and loves exploring the connections between storytelling, design, and technology to create experiences that empower community change.

Follow Julia on Twitter at @julia67

Francis Tseng | NYT/Washington Post

Francis Tseng is a programmer and interaction designer interested in natural language processing, internet socializing, demystifying technology, and systems modeling. After two years at IDEO, he became a Knight Foundation prototype grant recipient in 2014. He is currently teaching the News Automata course at the New School’s Design + Journalism program and designing and building _critical_ software with friends at Public Science. Francis will be a Fellow at the Coral Project, a collaboration between the New York Times, the Washington Post, and OpenNews.

Follow Francis on Twitter at @frnsys

October 22, 2014 06:07 PM

Open Badges blog

#openbadgesMOOC Session 12 - Design Principles Documentation Project / Open edX and Beyond Project

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 12: Design Principles Documentation Project / Open edX and Beyond Project
Session Recording: http://bit.ly/OBmooc12

James E. Willis, III, Ph.D. is a research associate in the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University’s School of Education working with Dan Hickey and his research team on their digital badges projects, the Design Principles Documentation Project and the recently launched Open edX and Beyond project.

Open Badges Design Principles Documentation

In the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition, 30 organizations were funded to develop ecosystems for open digital badges. Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology has studied the development, implementation, and practice of badging within the scope of recognizing, assessing, motivating, and studying learning.

image

The research team analyzed project proposals and then conducted interviews as projects got underway and after the development period was over. This resulted in a forthcoming report and open database detailing intended practices (ideas outlined in general proposals), enacted practices (intentions unfolding in the world), and formal practices (what continues after funding ends) for using digital badges, with particular attention on the factors that supported the formalization of some practices while hindering others.

5 Buckets for Badge System Design

Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking at DML/HASTAC, defined five classes or ‘buckets’ for badge system design based on the same 30 badge projects from the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition - read more on the HASTAC blog.

image

Here are Sheryl’s five badge system classes:

Sheryl identified a badge system as being comprised of three components: technology, learning content, and the badges themselves. Each of the five badge system classes starts with and requires a combination of these components, as shown in the table above.

The DPD Project team looked at the 30 badging projects, first identifying which bucket each system fell into, then looking at various levels of progress or status (including implementation, ecosystem and badges) and found the layered and responsive badge systems were more successful than the other three:

image

The team also looked more deeply at the various badge system proposals within each of the 30 projects, looking at the various practices that were formalized, proposed but not enacted, and unproposed but introduced. James Willis provided an overview of these for a handful of projects, including YALSA, UC Davis, Who Built America, and Badges for Vets:

image

The team’s general findings included:

Over the years we’ve heard a number of presentations on this work from Dan Hickey and Nate Otto on the Open Badges Community Calls, so it was great to see their findings presented by James on Monday. For anyone looking into building a badge system, this research will prove invaluable!

For more details on the other projects the team looked at, check out James’ slide deck.

For more information on the DPD Project, visit http://dpdproject.info/

*********************

Open edX and Beyond

To support widespread innovation around open digital badges in higher education, the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University is working with IBL Studios, Inc. and Achievery to offer open badges in Open edX. The project is currently building badges into Lorena Barba’s Open edX MOOC, Practical Numerical Methods with Python.

When Professor Barba realized that Open edX requires authentication, she proposed the badges link directly to Github, where students will be working. This may be the first time badges have used direct links to Github as evidence, so we’re excited to see how this works as the course progresses. A series of badges should be available by mid-November, with seamless badge integration by spring 2015.image

Building badges into Open edX has presented a number of technical and pedagogical challenges and opportunities for the team:

Ongoing goals for the team at Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology include facilitating further widespread use of digital badges in higher education - to more hybrid and standalone courses, across multiple platforms, and for faculty and staff learning. They also plan to publish their findings from this and ongoing projects, sharing their notes, challenges and results for future opportunities.

Learn more about the Open edX and Beyond project on Dan Hickey’s blog.

*********************************************

We look forward to continuing this course with you! See below for details of the next session.

Go to http://badges.coursesites.com/ to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.

*********************************************

Future sessions:

Monday, Nov. 10, 2-3pm ET:
Open Badges Policy - Anne Derryberry
Monday, Dec. 8, 2-3pm ET:
Open Badges Review - Sunny Lee and Jade Forester

October 22, 2014 02:53 PM

Doug Belshaw

What I’m doing at #MozFest 2014

It’s the Mozilla Festival this weekend. If you’re going and it’s your first time, then you might find my 10 survival tips for MozFest useful.

I’m co-leading three sessions this year. I’ll update this post when I know when and where they all are! (Done!) Here’s an overview of what to expect in each session.

Prototypes and Pathways for Web Literacy

Saturday, 2-3pm, Track: Build and Teach the Web

Learning pathways are either prescriptive or descriptive sequences of learning experiences. These often have a particular goal in mind.

This session will involve the creation of a privacy badge pathway. We will draw on the Web Literacy Map, Open Badges, Webmaker personas, and a document created by a Badge Alliance working group. By the end of the session we should have completed pathways to share, built to work in a particular context.

Co-facilitator:

What we’ll be doing:

I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with in this session. Preparing for it has involved much cutting out of colourful hexagons… ;-)


Learning Analytics for good in the age of Big Data

Saturday, 3-4pm, Track: Science and the Web

According to the current Wikipedia definition, “Learning analytics is the measurement, collection and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs.” In other words, using data to improve learning outcomes. At the moment, this is often done without the consent of users, so we want to build a better, more open, way to do it.

Co-facilitators:

What we’ll be doing:

It’s early days for this, but there’s potential to form a working group as an output of this session.


Toward v2 of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map

Sunday, 12.30-1.30pm, Track: Build and Teach the Web

At the end of August we started the ball rolling for v2.0 of the Web Literacy Map. It’s not that there’s lots wrong with v1.1, it’s just that there’s ways we could improve it. Plus, we’ve committed to update it as the web evolves.

We began by interviewing stakeholders. This informed a community survey (still active – and now available in more languages). We’ve also just begun a series of community calls that will end in December. This session will give us extra data to help inform development the Web Literacy Map.

Co-facilitators:

What we’ll be doing:

This will be an interesting session to lead, so I’m glad I’ve got such experienced co-facilitators. There’s likely to be both people well-versed in the Web Literacy Map as well as those coming to it for the first time.


Are you coming to MozFest? Please do come and say hello – or even better, come to one of the above sessions!

October 22, 2014 12:47 PM

October 17, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [62]

This week we’ve been celebrating our successes from Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Working Groups, taking a look at all the great things we’ve accomplished together over the past six months.

Check out this blog post on the BA blog for an in-depth look at the community’s achievements. You can also see an infographic overview of Cycle 1.

Here’s what else happened this week:

Thank you to everyone in our community who has helped us move the badging work forward this year with the Badge Alliance Working Groups - we are so proud to be working within such a dedicated network.

Give yourselves a big high-five for everything you’ve accomplished!

October 17, 2014 07:39 PM

Celebrating our Successes: Cycle 1 Infographic

As you may have seen yesterday, we shared an in-depth look at the many accomplishments from Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Working Groups over on the BA blog (here).

We wanted to take a moment to share this fun infographic with you as well, which provides a great visual overview of the contributions you made to the global badging ecosystem over the past six months (click for larger version):

image

If you’re as psyched about this as we are, why not share the excitement by spreading the word through your social and professional networks? We’ll certainly be doing so! To get you started, we’ve put together some sample posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other sites:

If you’d like your Tweets to link to the full blog post, replace the link to the infographic with the following: bit.ly/BA-Cycle1

October 17, 2014 04:38 PM

Laura Hilliger

Order the Chaos

Yesterday I wrote this post, but I forgot to post it… Yesterday, Doug said that I tend to bombard people with ideas, which overwhelms them. He told me that I need to start resurfacing my ideas, and making connections for people, so they can see the big picture. He told me to stop moving onto the next thing before people have grokked the work I’ve already done and how their work links to it. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="216"] Control the Kaos! (Ahem, I'm not old, just retro.)[/caption] That’s not how Doug’s feedback hit me at the time, I processed it. It was good feedback. When I got quiet, Doug said “I wasn’t trying to piss you off,” but I was just processing, reflecting, trying to stand in his shoes. Yesterday, I was presenting a sort of napkin sketch I had put together. In my mind the sketch was pretty worked out. I had documented the way that I would do a particular thing, the plan that I would put in place, and to me it was clear enough that someone else could take it and build it. As the meeting continued, I realized that my colleagues couldn’t see the picture I saw in my brain. My napkin sketch didn't demystify the system. I didn’t order the chaos in my head well enough for them to connect the dots. When I got quiet, someone said “Laura, you look very concerned,” but I was just processing, reflecting, trying to stand in their shoes. Apparently I make faces when I’m trying to understand other people’s minds. Yesterday, I posted something in the connected courses forum for Unit 3: The World Wide Web - From Concept to Platform to Cultures, and Jeffrey Keefer said
That is one of the things I am struggling with in #ccourses anyway; what central hub to go to when I get behind and somewhat disoriented. Good thing for me to consider, now that I am considering it, as I hope this exercise helps to sensitize me more to my students who may also feel disoriented at times.
When I got quiet, I processed that statement and equated the disorientation with fear of the chaos, the need for order, and I started to reflect on how my understanding of order may be different from other people’s understanding. I think this fear rears it's ugly head when you're learning about technology, and we tend to look at people who "can computer" as being gifted in some way. We think "I could never do that." I’m failing because I am not ordering much of my work in a way that other people can understand. I can’t see where the disconnect is so I’m not sure how to fix it. I think not being able to see is something we struggle with when we're learning about technology, and just like in any other situation it cripples us with frustration. We think "I'm never going to learn this!" I'm failing because I’m not doing well at helping people order their things so that we can link our work together. I think we don't help each other enough. In anything. But that might be another story altogether. I'm failing and it hurts, but at least I’m learning. Now I can push myself to figure out how I have to present things so that people can see the connection, so that they can understand the system. I am not a finisher, but I have to learn how to pull my ideas further. When we're learning, we have to be brave. Learning is chaos, and chaos can be scary, yes, but I think any system can be tamed, ordered, reigned in. I have to learn to order the chaos in my brain better, and be brave enough to keep failing.

October 17, 2014 08:14 AM

October 15, 2014

Open Badges blog

October 20: The Open Badges MOOC live sessions continue

Join us for the next live session of the Open Badges MOOC, Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials!

Date: Monday, Oct. 20, 2014
Time: 11am PT / 2pm ET / 7pm BST
Topic: Open Digital Badges: Design Principles Documentation and Future Implementations
Presenter: James E. Willis, III, Ph.D.

More about this topic:

In the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition, 30 organizations were funded to develop ecosystems for open digital badges. Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology has studied the development, implementation, and practice of badging within the scope of recognizing, assessing, motivating, and studying learning. The research team analyzed project proposals and then conducted interviews as projects got underway and after the development period was over. This resulted in a forthcoming report and open database detailing intended practices (ideas outlined in general proposals), enacted practices (intentions unfolding in the world), and formal practices (what continues after funding ends) for using digital badges, with particular attention on the factors that supported the formalization of some practices while hindering others. See more at http://dpdproject.info/

To support widespread innovation around open digital badges in higher education, the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University is working with IBL Studios, Inc. and Achievery to offer open badges in Open edX. The project is currently building badges into Lorena Barba’s Open edX MOOC, Practical Numerical Methods with Python.

More about the presenter:

James E. Willis, III, Ph.D. is a research associate in the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University’s School of Education. Previously an educational assessment specialist of academic technology at Purdue University, James holds a Ph.D. from King’s College London. He actively publishes on learning analytics and ethics, educational technology, and digital badges.

Join the MOOC:

To join the live sessions, please use the Blackboard Collaborate Web Conference link: http://tinyurl.com/OpenBadgesCollaborate

We’re looking forward to your ongoing participation in the Open Badges MOOC! You are welcome to continue to use the MOOC resources (badges.coursesites.com) and submit challenge assignments for review by our experts. You’ll also find an extremely useful set of resources on the Reconnect Learning site.

Find summaries of the previous MOOC sessions on this blog, with the tag #openbadgesMOOC.

October 15, 2014 08:56 AM

October 11, 2014

Brett Gaylor

From Mozilla to new making

Yesterday was my last day as an employee of the Mozilla Foundation. I’m leaving my position as VP, Webmaker to create an interactive web series about privacy and the economy of the web.

I’ve had the privilege of being a “crazy Mofo” for nearly five years. Starting in early 2010, I worked with David Humphrey and researchers at the Center for Development of Open Technology to create Popcorn.js. Having just completed “Rip!”, I was really interested in mashups - and Popcorn was a mashup of open web technology questions (how can we make video as elemental an element of the web as images or links?) and formal questions about documentary (what would a “web native” documentary look like? what can video do on the web that it can’t do on TV?). That mashup is one of the most exciting creative projects I’ve ever been involved with, and lead to a wonderful amount of unexpected innovation and opportunity. An award winning 3D documentary by a pioneer of web documentaries, the technological basis of a cohort of innovative(and fun) startups, and a kick ass video creation tool that was part of the DNA of Webmaker.org - which this year reached 200,000 users and facilitated the learning experience of over 127,200 learners face to face at our annual Maker Party.

Thinking about video and the web, and making things that aim to get the best of both mediums, is what brought me to Mozilla - and it’s what’s taking me to my next adventure.

I’m joining my friends at Upian in Paris (remotely, natch) to direct a multi-part web series around privacy, surveillance and the economy of the web. The project is called Do Not Track and it’s supported by the National Film Board of Canada, Arte, Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), the Tribeca Film Institute and the Centre National du Cinéma. I’m thrilled by the creative challenge and humbled by the company I’ll be keeping - I’ve wanted to work with Upian since their seminal web documentary Gaza/Sderot and have been thrilled to watch from the sidelines as they’ve made Prison Valley, Alma, MIT’s Moments of Innovation project, and the impressive amount of work they do for clients in France and around the world. These are some crazy mofos, and they know how to ship.

Fake it Till You Make it

Mozilla gave me a wonderful gift: to innovate on the web, to dream big, without asking permission to do so. To in fact internalize innovation as a personal responsibility. To hammer into me every day the belief that for the web to remain a public resource, the creativity of everyone needs to be brought to the effort. That those of us in positions of privilege have a responsibility to wake up every day trying to improve the network. It’s a calling that tends to attract really bright people, and it can elicit strong feelings of impostor syndrome for a clueless filmmaker. The gift Mozilla gave me is to witness first hand that even the most brilliant people, or especially the most brilliant people, are making it up every single day. That’s why the web remains as much an inspiration to me today as when I first touched it as a teenager. Even though smart people criticize sillicon valley’s hypercapitalism, or while governments are breeding cynics and mistrust by using the network for surveillance, I still believe the web remains the best place to invent your future.

I’m very excited, and naturally a bit scared, to be making something new again. Prepare yourself - I’m going to make shit up. I’ll need your help.

Working With

source

“Where some people choose software projects in order to solve problems, I have taken to choosing projects that allow me to work with various people. I have given up the comfort of being an expert , and replaced it with a desire to be alongside my friends, or those with whom I would like to be friends, no matter where I find them. My history among this crowd begins with friendships, many of which continue to this day.

This way of working, where collegiality subsumes technology or tools, is central to my personal and professional work. Even looking back over the past two years, most of the work I’ve done is influenced by a deep desire to work with rather than on. ” - On Working With Instead of On

David Humphrey, who wrote that, is who I want to be when I grow up. I will miss daily interactions with him, and many others who know who they are, very much. "In the context of working with, technology once again becomes the craft I both teach and am taught, it is what we share with one another, the occasion for our time together, the introduction, but not the reason, for our friendship.”

Thank you, Mozilla, for a wonderful introduction. Till the next thing we make!

October 11, 2014 05:00 PM

October 10, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [61]

Hey there, badgers!

Here’s a quick overview of what went on in the badgeosphere this week:

Thank you all for another wonderful week - enjoy your (long) weekend, and we’ll see you all next week, when we’ll be celebrating all the hard work from Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Working Groups!

October 10, 2014 06:08 PM

Open Badges Community Project Call, October 8, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, October 8, 2014:

Speakers:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCOct8

Will Open Badges help to map human knowledge? Flavio and Jordi are part of a Spanish research group trying to design a simple badging ecosystem model value, plot and connect badges as coordinates along learning pathways and as part of more general skills and competencies management.

Fragmentation is one of the most common problems in credentialing systems, [including] Open Badge usage,” argues Flavio on Gecon.es. “Taking this into account our research group is trying to conceptualize and develop at least a simple model of an ecosystem of Open Badges which could both score weights and plot coordinates for every agent involved in skills & competences management (badges, professionals, organizations, students, etc.). For us it means one step forward to model a dynamical map of human knowledge.”

Back in February, Flavio and Jordi joined an Open Badges Research & Badge System Design Call to kick off a discussion around Badge Rank and Badge Score as part of the BadgeCulture project.

In exploring badges’ value, Flavio wrote an article exploring the ways in which badge rank and score will become an increasingly important consideration within badge system design. You can read the (translated) article in the Open Badges Google group: http://bit.ly/OBGrank

Flavio and Jordi identified two problems facing their communities int he course of their work and research:

The first of these, Flavio and Jordi saw as related to coordinates + pathways, and the second related to status.

Their proposed solution aims to address both problems:

  • Badge Rank indicates the intrinsic value of badges;
  • Badge Score indicates the adaptive value of badges related to the user and provides one of many ways to link badges throughout an ecosystem using the metadata contained within them

image

Other ways to connect badges, and learners, through badge criteria include users’ interests, learning pathways, career goals and progress, and badge searches or queries.

Flavio and his colleagues hope that badges could be used as a standard to visualize competencies and categorize knowledge acquisition across different areas, as shown in the graphic below:

Their vision is a badge universe where earners can progress along clear learning pathways, scaffolded by Badge Rank and Score, earning badges and accessing opportunities as a result.

Further Reading and Resources:

If you are interested in learning more about their research, check out their slides here: Mapping Human Knowledge with Open Badges.

To contribute to efforts to advance Open Badges as a standard for digital credentialing, take a look at (and join!) this W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Credentialing Community Group.

October 10, 2014 01:43 PM

Penn State to build digital education credentials for NASA

Penn State to build digital education credentials for NASA:

Penn State will be receiving a $500,000 subcontract from Texas State University, the recipient of a larger grant from NASA to provide professional development for teachers using NASA-related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) content. Based on its success leading the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project, Penn State will contribute by building and developing a digital badge system.

“We’re very excited to help Texas State University provide personalized professional development for educators in this country,” said Kyle Peck, professor of education and co-director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL). “Penn State has been working with digital badges for about a year and a half now, so we knew we could provide value to this project.”

Peck will work alongside Teaching and Learning with Technology  (TLT) to develop the digital badging system, which will enable teachers to pick and choose from many topics and themes to customize their professional development — a relevant form of professional development a la carte.

“By putting modern technology to work for teachers,” said Peck, “the badging system will be an effective and efficient way to reach more teachers in need of quality professional development with more relevant activities at a lower cost.”

Read the article in full by clicking the link above.

October 10, 2014 12:14 PM

Doug Belshaw

Towards an architecture of participation for episodic volunteering

Recently I heard a talk by someone looking for more volunteers for a thing. The context isn’t particularly important – I don’t want to get hung up on that. The point is that the talk had the desired effect: I wanted to volunteer. I wanted to help both in terms of giving money and lending time.

A couple of weeks later, I’ve done neither. Why? I’d suggest it’s because the group involved has a weak ‘architecture of participation’.

This week there’s been a discussion on the Mozilla Community Building Team list about ‘episodic volunteering’. It quoted this document (PDF) from the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre in Singapore:

Another recent trend has been a shift away from regular, long-term volunteering to more episodic or one-time service. While this has created significant challenges for many organizations that depend on consistently available volunteers (think mentoring, health services, etc.), the reality is that more and more volunteers are looking for ways to get engaged in a short-term capacity. This is especially true given that episodic volunteering may not always be about time availability but rather time of year – for example, lots of people seek to volunteer during the holiday season of November and December.

This got me thinking about Tim O’Reilly’s post The Architecture of Participation from 10 years ago:

I’ve come to use the term “the architecture of participation” to describe the nature of systems that are designed for user contribution. Larry Lessig’s book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, which he characterizes as an extended meditation on Mitch Kapor’s maxim, “architecture is politics”, made the case that we need to pay attention to the architecture of systems if we want to understand their effects.

Any time you’re asking someone else to chip in who doesn’t have an obligation to help you, then you need an architecture of participation. You need easy onboarding, a way from them going from donating zero percent of their time to many hours a week. You also need a way for them to drop their number of hours – potentially back down to zero – if their life circumstances dictate. The closest analogy I can think of are easy in / easy out terms advertised for office space.

You also need to create a modular system to have an architecture of participation. There needs to be ways for people to work on one part of the whole project and not on others. As Tim puts it in the context of building software, “Anyone can create a participating, first-class component.”

This requires leadership. I’ve never seen a strong architecture of participation without strong leadership. Sometimes this can look like a benign dictatorship, especially when the number of people involved is small. But to get to any kind of scale, this leadership needs to be distributed.

Creating distributed leadership requires a clear mission. The mission – which should be written down as early as possible in the form of a manifesto or terms of reference is the reason the group of people is collaborating. This prevents scope-creep and helps realign the group should a subset try and hijack it for a tangential purpose.

The easiest way to create a strong architecture of participation is to work openly. This may be constrained by considerations around safeguarding, but information should not be hard to come by for those already part of the group. At the very least, calendars and contact details should be shared. There should be a default, canonical place to go/ask to find out an authoritative answer.

You’ll need to meet regularly in ways that don’t always involving working on the thing you’re all meeting to make better in the world. Sometimes that’s called a social. But it might just mean that one of the weekly meetings you have every month is devoted to ‘lighter’ or other issues. Mix things up a bit so it doesn’t become ‘samey’.

Finally, it’s entirely reasonable that there should be a shift towards episodic volunteering. If we create architectures of participation that allow ‘newbies’ to slot in quickly to existing projects, then they may stick around long-term. Some would call that a ‘contribution funnel’. It’s unreasonable for us to expect them to make that commitment immediately. In fact, we should thank them regularly for their contribution. We’re often good at being excited about new contributors when we should be equally thankful for the ‘old-timers’.

What have I missed? Add a comment below!

October 10, 2014 09:35 AM

October 08, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Elections Code Convening. Open your code with us!

This year has been a year of trying new things at OpenNews. One of the big things we’ve been doing is experimenting with ways of bringing newsroom developers together to open up projects together. We call them Code Convenings, and we’re opening up applications for our third Convening today.

The idea behind Code Convenings is pretty simple: we’ve found that often the thing holds code back from being open-sourced is just finding the time to do that last-mile abstraction work and creating first-class documentation. Code Convenings bring devs together for a couple days to do exactly that. We feed you, put you up in a hotel, and give you the time and space to do the work that’s necessary to get some great code out.

Our first code convening was in Portland Oregon this spring, and resulted in four great projects being opened up—since then, they’ve been used and reused numerous times. Our second code convening brought together folks to collaborate on a single code base, resulting in the creation of the California Civic Data Coalition. We considered both these convenings prototypes: opportunities to try things out with a reduced number of variables. As a result, we invited folks to take part, but kept the lead-up quiet—no need to promote while we were still figuring things out. Well, we think we’ve got this relatively figured now, so we’re going public for the last Code Convening of the year.

We’re hosting an OpenNews Code Convening in New York City November 13 & 14, and we want your news developers to take part. This will be coming soon after the midterm elections in the United States, and so we’ve chosen “Elections” as the organizing theme of this convening. If your newsroom has been working on some interesting code this election cycle, that you’d like an opportunity to open up to the larger journalism code community, you should apply.

We’re moving pretty quickly here: The application opens today and closes on October 17. We’ll be selecting a maximum of five projects, and will notify folks if theirs have been chosen by October 21. You’ll need to commit two people or, if you can only send one, work with us to find a good partner) to the two days of the convening, and we’ll cover food and travel. It will be so awesome.

This is a great opportunity to get code out into the world: take it!

October 08, 2014 09:10 PM

October 03, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [60]

Happy Friday!

Welcome to the Badger Beats, the weekly collection of updates and announcements from the badging community.

Here’s what happened this week:

A quick reminder - you have until October 7th to add your comments to the Badge Endorsement Framework Working Paper, which will serve as an introduction to purposes and processes for badge endorsement. Read more.

If you’re in higher education, or know someone who works in higher ed (faculty, staff, administration, admissions, etc.) please share this survey with them: Digital Badges in Higher Education (to be completed before Oct. 24).

Don’t forget, if you’ve got badging news to share, tweet it out using the hashtag #openbadges.

See you next week, badgers!

October 03, 2014 08:36 PM

Community Project Call, October 1, 2014

Community Project Call, October 1, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CC-Oct1

This week, Kathy Booth, Senior Research Associate at WestEd, joined us for an exciting presentation of research into learning pathways within community college.

Kathy’s research digs into important questions about how we define “success” and “failure” with regards to course completion, and looks at how badges might help capture success in a way that changes attitudes towards community college programs and non-completion statistics.

Evolving landscapes

The national push for completion of degrees, certificates, and transfer to four-year institutions has helped to focus community colleges on measurable goals. However, this emphasis on completion does not fully capture community college outcomes, particularly in job training.

The traditional degree-to-lifelong-career narrative is no longer an accurate reflection of most people’s pathways, as new technology and jobs are creating opportunities that didn’t exist while these people were still in education.

We know that education and the workforce are changing: many traditional college degrees provide inadequate preparation for the jobs graduates are pursuing, and workers are finding they have to go through continual training and skills development throughout their careers, either in a workplace setting or by obtaining additional degrees, certifications, or online credentials. Employers are looking for a way to identify workers with the right skills for the job, and workers are trying to showcase their skills in a way that ‘counts.’ Badging comes in, according to Kathy, when employers need to know more about a candidate’s skills and knowledge than can be gleaned from a degree or transcript.

Despite all the changes to education and the workforce, and a number of individual colleges working to adapt their approach to the new world of work, there is still a deeply ingrained image of “success” when it comes to education - the cap and gown, a neatly rolled diploma with a red ribbon, the fresh-faced graduate walking into interviews and coming out with multiple job offers to choose from, each with opportunities for development and advancement.

Non-completion can equal success

Kathy’s research was inspired by the realization that there needs to be a new way to talk about learning pathways and success in community college programs. Three different studies were conducted, looking at workforce training outcomes within community colleges.

The findings were very interesting:

These results regarding non-completers are interesting because they call into question that traditional image of success. Those who do not complete a full course of study are, by most institutions, classed as “failures,” a term that is carried with that person beyond the classroom and affects not only their own sense of accomplishment, but also the way they are perceived by others. These findings also question our idea of the necessity of a long-term degree: a more granular, modularized approach to workforce-related fields of study would allow those who only require certain modules to pursue what they need, without the added cost of having to complete related (but not relevant) modules in a more comprehensive or bundled program of study.

The quality of a community college credential

The researchers found that non-completers were earning more than completers in certain areas, likely because non-completers were older, and had increased experience and skills in the field as well as the academic credentials, which meant they are entering the workforce at a higher wage.

The average age of the students in these studies was 37 or 38 and most had previously obtained a four-year degree; many were using community college credentials to supplement or develop workforce skills, returning to school for low-unit retraining programs.

For many fields, the economic value of the training received came from the content of the courses, not from the credential itself. Years of work experience plus updated training and skills development were more valuable than a long-term degree - with the exception of healthcare, where the credentials and expertise were both very important in determining the value of the degree.

How badges can help

There is a distorted image of community colleges, that because they generate a larger number of non-completions, they are “failing” in educating learners, and therefore a waste of tax dollars.

The implications of this research challenge this image in the following ways:

  • The economic value of community college education is in workforce retraining (especially short-term options);
  • completion is not critical for many workforce training pathways - particularly for older, skills-building students coming back to education from the workforce
  • success metrics need to be nuanced to better reflect the ways that community college education caters to workforce training in ways that four-year degrees cannot
If badges could be used to identify discrete sub-skills needed for workforce development and retraining, Kathy argues, then it would be easier for community colleges to quantify the value of short-term course-taking.

We have often touted badges as a way to capture more granular units of learning and skills-building. By using badges in this way, community colleges can push back against misconceptions about who is succeeding or failing in these programs, the data can better reflect the learning and career outcomes of a community college student, and workers will be empowered to continue developing their knowledge and skills.

To access Kathy’s slides from this presentation, click here.

To learn more about this research project, click here.

************************************************

Pearson Acclaim offering fast-track implementation options for community colleges

Are you a community college looking for ways to add open badges to your programs? Contact Peter Janzow from Pearson’s Acclaim team to learn about their fast-track offer for community colleges:

October 03, 2014 04:52 PM

October 01, 2014

Open Badges blog

Call for comments on the Endorsement Framework paper (by Oct 7th)

The Badge Alliance Endorsement Working Group has been working on a Badge Endorsement Framework Working Paper, to serve as an introduction to purposes and processes for badge endorsement.

As one of the most frequently discussed questions around open badges, endorsement will be a crucial part of expanding the ecosystem, connecting key stakeholders to badges, and adding to the value of badges. This Working Group has been doing some great work defining ways to build functionality and practice around third party endorsement of badges.

The working paper is now open to public comment - click here to add your thoughts

The group looking for feedback on what’s there and what might be missing—as well as the pacing and sequencing of the document. We encourage you to share your thoughts quickly, though, as the group will publicly release the final version of this document within the next two weeks. 

Please review and comment by Tuesday, Oct 7th at 3pm PDT / 6pm EDT / 11pm BST

We also encourage you to join the Endorsement Working Group call next Wednesday (Oct 8, 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST), to discuss the proposed comments and suggestions.

Many thanks for your close review and thoughtful comments on this document - feel free to share this with your networks over the next week!

October 01, 2014 06:26 PM

September 28, 2014

Chris McAvoy

Me and Open Badges – Different, but the same

Hi there, if you read this blog it’s probably for one of three things,

1) my investigation of the life of Isham Randolph, the chief engineer of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship canal.
2) you know me and you want to see what I’m doing but you haven’t discovered Twitter or Facebook yet.
3) Open Badges.

This is a quick update for everyone in that third group, the Open Badges crew. I have some news.

When I joined the Open Badges project nearly three years ago, I knew this was something that once I joined, I wouldn’t leave. The idea of Open Badges hits me exactly where I live, at the corner of ‘life long learning’ and ‘appreciating people for who they are’. I’ve been fortunate that my love of life long learning and self-teaching led me down a path where I get to do what I love as my career. Not everyone is that fortunate. I see Open Badges as a way to make my very lucky career path the norm instead of the exception. I believe in the project, I believe in the goals and I’m never going to not work toward bringing that kind of opportunity to everyone regardless of the university they attended or the degree hanging on their wall.

This summer has been very exciting for me. I joined the Badge Alliance, chaired the BA standard working group and helped organize the first BA Technology Council. At the same time, I was a mentor for Chicago’s Tech Stars program and served as an advisor to a few startups in different stages of growth. The Badge Alliance work has been tremendously satisfying, the standard working group is about to release the first cycle report, and it’s been great to see our accomplishments all written in one place. We’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. That said, my role at the Alliance has been focused on standards growth, some evangelism and guiding a small prototyping project. As much as I loved my summer, the projects and work don’t fit the path I was on. I’ve managed engineering teams for a while now, building products and big technology architectures. The process of guiding a standard is something I’m very interested in, but it doesn’t feel like a full-time job now. I like getting my hands dirty (in Emacs), I want to write code and direct some serious engineer workflow.

Let’s cut to the chase – after a bunch of discussions with Sunny Lee and Erin Knight, two of my favorite people in the whole world, I’ve decided to join Earshot, a Chicago big data / realtime geotargeted social media company, as their CTO. I’m not leaving the Badge Alliance. I’ll continue to serve as the BA director of technology, but as a volunteer. Earshot is a fantastic company with a great team. They understand the Open Badges project and want me to continue to support the Badge Alliance. The Badge Alliance is a great team, they understand that I want to build as much as I want to guide. I’m so grateful to everyone involved for being supportive of me here, I can think of dozens of ways this wouldn’t have worked out. Just a bit of life lesson – as much as you can, work with people who really care about you, it leads to situations like this, where everyone gets what they really need.

The demands of a company moving as fast as Earshot will mean that I’ll be less available, but no less involved in the growth of the Badge Alliance and the Open Badges project. From a tactical perspective, Sunny Lee will be taking over as chair of the standard working group. I’ll still be an active member. I’ll also continue to represent the BA (along with Sunny) in the W3C credentials community group.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’ll still have my chris@badgealliance.org email address…use it!

September 28, 2014 08:06 PM

September 26, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [59]

Hello, badgers!

We hope you’ve had a badgeriffic week - here’s what we’ve been up to:

Our community project call was non-verbal this week - if you have any updates to share with your fellow badgers, add them to the etherpad here: http://bit.ly/CCSept24

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Here’s a nifty map from Vala Afshar’s slide deck overview of the Extreme Networks badging survey:

September 26, 2014 09:41 PM

LA’s first ‘Summer of Learning’ a success!

image

The first Los Angeles Summer of Learning (LASOL) is being hailed as a success by officials involved with the program, which engaged around 50,000 students this summer, as well as 52 community organizations that offered 130+ digital badges for learning and skills.

Though smaller than last year’s pilot program in Chicago, LASOL was in many ways “more sophisticated and coherent,” according to Charles Kerchener, a research professor in the School Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University.

"Los Angeles’ program was much more integrated with the school system than was its counterpart in Chicago," Kerchener wrote for a piece on edweek.org. “LAUSD was the primary organizer of the project. In Chicago, the city and the non-profits drove the program.”

Organizers from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell program also took on the difficult task of connecting students’ summer learning achievements with their school records. Their staff and administrators worked with badge-issuing community organizations to ensure the criteria and evidence for the badge activities were good measures of the skills and knowledge acquired. The staff also offered badging training to these organizations, teaching them how to design and create robust badges, as well as how to assess student output and navigate the LASOL web site.

image

As well as the 130+ badges offered by Los Angeles organizations, the site also gave youth access to a number of online badge activities designed by the team at Digital Youth Network, based out of DePaul University.

Though the badges certainly offer an exciting way for youth to get involved with summer activities and show off their learning at school, most participants signed up because of existing connections with one of the community organizations, according to Craig Clough, who wrote about the LASOL on laschoolreport..com. Jennifer Abssy from Inner City Arts said badges made it possible for “kids [to] be validated for the time they spent with our organization.”

September 26, 2014 10:55 AM

September 25, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badges: A Solution to the Massively Disengaged Workforce?

Vala Afshar, of the Huffington Post, put together a slide deck and written overview of a recent survey conducted by Extreme Networks looking at digital badges in education and the workforce. Below the deck is an excerpt from this overview, including statistics pulled from the survey about global attitudes towards the benefits and potential of badges.

To understand more about the adoption of digital badges both in academia and industry, Extreme Networks conducted a worldwide survey and received over 1900 responses. According to the survey:

Digital badges give employers easy access to specific and current information pertaining to a candidate’s experience and potential. For now, the most popular use of digital badges is to recognize professional development and internal training (70%).

What’s holding badges back?

According to the survey, the biggest drawback to digital badges is the lack of wide-spread awareness. Badges are only beginning to get beyond their association with games and marketing. 46% of respondents believe that digital badges are not yet widely recognized and 38% say badges are not yet taken seriously. A sizable portion of badge users (43%) have invested their own resources to implement their badge programs, rather than use a commercially available platform. The top three ways that the concept of digital badges can be improved are: better industry and market recognition and acceptance of specific badges (67%), standardized requirements of criteria for similar achievements (55%), and lower cost systems to implement badges (37%).

Read the overview in full on Huffington Post.

September 25, 2014 01:43 PM

September 23, 2014

Open Badges blog

TODAY: Join the US Dept. of Labor's National Dialogue on Career Pathways [LIVE STREAM]

National Dialogue Logo

On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services will host a National Dialogue on Career Pathways.

Federal agency leaders from each Department will provide opening remarks on the impact of building effective career pathways can have on our nation’s workforce system. In addition, the Dialogue will highlight strategies and lessons learned from business leaders, state and local practitioners and national policy leaders.

National stakeholders representing business, organized labor, education, workforce and health and human services agencies are encouraged to host events in conjunction with the broadcast. Leading career pathways states and local areas, such as Colorado, Kansas, and Charlotte, NC will be highlighted as well as innovative career pathways practices from organizations like Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, IL and Wider Opportunities for Women.

The National Dialogue will be broadcast via live stream from 9am - 4pm EDT.

Program Agenda

  • 9:00 am — 9:30 am: OPENING SESSION
  • 9:30 am — 9:45 am: KEYNOTE Presentation: “Business-Driven Career Pathways That Work!”
  • 9:45 am — 10:45 am: Practitioners Panel: “Advancing Career Pathways Systems”
  • 10:45am — 11:10am: BREAK
  • 11:10 am — Noon: Innovators Panel: “Career Pathways: Partnerships, Promising Practices, and People”
  • Noon — 1:00 pm: LUNCH
  • 1:00 pm — 1:15 pm: KEYNOTE Presentation: “Career Pathways — Creating Pathways to the Middle Class”
  • 1:15 pm — 2:00 pm: Thought Leaders Panel — “Career Pathways and WIOA”
  • 2:00 pm — 2:10 pm: BREAK — TRANSITION TO BREAKOUT ROOMS
  • 2:10 pm — 3:20 pm: Afternoon WIOA Listening Session Breakout
  • 3:20 pm — 3:30 pm: BREAK
  • 3:30 pm — 4:00 pm: CLOSING SESSION

Join the conversation on Twitter

Before and during the event, you are encouraged to post questions on Twitter using the hashtag #careerpathways. The federal team will monitor your questions on Twitter and respond to them from the Labor Department Twitter account (@USDOL) during the event.

Go to dol.gov/nationalDialogue to watch the live stream.

September 23, 2014 01:42 PM

Curate, Credential and Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence

Our friends in Australia are hosting an exciting event that is open, free, and Internet friendly! See below for information on how to register:

Curate, Credential and Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence: National Forum, November 13, 2014

The Open Badges project has opened up a new way of recognizing skills and learning through an open, stackable framework and provided an opportunity to recognize more detailed aspects of learning. For example, whereas achievement of learning may be somewhat invisible in collated marks and grades, open badges enable the warranting of capabilities including those that are difficult to measure (such as team work and intercultural competence). Badging skills, experiences and knowledge can supplement or even replace traditional assessment signals such as marks and grades. Open badges can also enable a more social approach to assessment: badges can be issued or endorsed by designated stakeholders - peers, mentors, industry, associations – both within and outside of an institution and build the learner’s ability to judge their own and others’ performance.

This national forum will showcase examples from the thought leaders in the field in prior learning, credentialing, open badges practice and research, and offer an employer’s perspective.

International Thought Leaders Speaking at the Event:

Associate Professor Dan Hickey, Indiana University; Director of the Open Badges Design Principles Documentation Project

Dr Nan Travers, SUNY, Director of the Office of Collegewide Academic Review

National Thought Leaders Speaking at the Event:

Associate Professor David Gibson, Curtin University

Allyn Radford, CEO, DeakinDigital

InPractice

Dr Michael Evans, Neukom Fellow, Dartmouth College

Joanna Normoyle, Experiential and Digital Media Learning Coordinator; UC Davis

Professional Perspectives

Janet Strivens, Educational Developer, Centre for Lifelong Learning Educational Development Division; Senior Associate Director, The CRA (The University of Liverpool)

Susie Steigler-Peters, Education Industry Executive, Telstra

Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/digitalcredentialing

September 23, 2014 08:59 AM

September 21, 2014

Chris McAvoy

Hand Crafted Open Badges Display

Earning an Open Badge is easy, there’s plenty of places that offer them, with more issuers signing up every day. Once you’ve earned an open badge, you can push it to your backpack, but what if you want to include the badge on your blog, or your artisanal hand crafted web page?

You could download the baked open badge and host it on your site. You could tell people it’s a baked badge, but using that information isn’t super easy. Last year, Mike Larsson had a great idea to build a JS library that would discover open badges on a page, and make them dynamic so that a visitor to the page would know what they were, not just a simple graphic, but a full-blown recognition for a skill or achievement.

Since his original prototype, the process of baking a badge has changed, plus Atul Varma built a library to allow baking and unbaking in the browser. This summer, Joe Curlee and I took all these pieces, prototypes and ideas and pulled them together into a single JS library you can include in a page to make the open badges on that page more dynamic.

There’s a demo of the library in action on Curlee’s Github. It shows a baked badge on the page, when you click the unbake button, it takes the baked information from the image and makes the badge dynamic and clickable. We added the button to make it clear what was happening on the page, but in a normal scenario, you’d just let the library do it’s thing and transform the badges on the page automatically. You can grab the source for the library on Github, or download the compiled / minified library directly.

There’s lot’s more we can do with the library, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

September 21, 2014 08:35 PM

September 19, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [58]

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly roundup of badging news, updates and chatter.

Here’s what went on this week:

A thought-provoking list to start your weekend! We hope everyone enjoys the crisper weather (if, like some of us, the seasons are well and truly changing) and we’ll see you all next week!

September 19, 2014 05:26 PM

September 18, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, September 17, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, September 17, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCSept10

This week we heard from Charla Long, Dean of the College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University, about how Lipscomb has been using badges to reimagine credentialing and prior learning assessment for their liberal arts college.

Lipscomb University began looking at competency-based learning in response to an industry need for a new skills currency that could convey graduates’ competencies to potential employers. Traditional transcripts just “don’t cut it,” according to Charla Long, at least not from a higher education perspective. A badge backpack or digital competency report, on the other hand, better communicates to external consumers exactly what students know and can do.

Lipscomb’s Badge Journey

Employers needed new ways to evaluate graduates that highlight important skills and competencies relevant to the workplace: in a 2011 study, it was found that 84% of employers felt graduates were “underprepared” for the workplace. If a traditional degree or transcript can’t provide enough specific information, both graduates and employers miss out on chances to connect talent with opportunities for success.

Students are also highly impacted by gaming and motivated to “level up;” the team at Lipscomb sought to capitalize on the influence of games within education. Badges can help show learners how to progress towards a degree as well as tracking the journey and providing detailed information about the process.

By looking deeply at competency as a basis for credentialing, Lipscomb University began to see every workplace role as being, at its simplest level, a unique combination and levels of the following competencies: Knowledge, Skills, Ability, Attitude. Lipscomb’s role is to identify what learners need to be successful in the roles they are hoping to fulfill.

Lipscomb’s Polaris Competency Model, outlined below, breaks down 41 key competencies across 7 categories:

This breakdown allows for flexibility and customization for particular programs of study and for individual learners’ needs. This allows learners to pursue exactly what they need for a particular career, and employers can clearly see what candidates have achieved, their level of mastery for particular skills, and what soft skills they have been recognized for, including leadership, communication, and management skills.

Charla also talked about the power of badges to empower learners: many of their learners are not degree-seekers, but are working through individual modules according to their needs and capacity. They can then pursue a broader learning experience and credential if they so choose.

Lipscomb currently offers 164 badges in their ‘base inventory,’ and provides students with a competency report that can embed into social media and electronic job-seeking platforms, acting as a transcript of a learner’s badge achievements that allow employers to see what candidates know and can do.

Employer Focus Groups

In a set of employer focus groups, Charla worked with a number of managers and senior managers, engaging them in a number of collaborative and competitive activities over the course of an 8-hour day, assessing various competencies and behaviors to get a sense of their overall performance throughout the day.

The participating employers were given an evaluation and feedback, where they were shown how the work they had done during the exercises could count for academic credit at an undergraduate level through competency badges. There are many employers and manager in the workforce that may not have finished their degree but have years of relevant experience - for them, Charla said it was a revelation to know that what they’d done and learned could count as credit. These focus groups made an explicit connection between skills, badges, and credit, highlighting badge value in both an educational and workplace setting.

These kinds of connections are vital to increasing badge system growth and adoption - and Lipscomb has already seen results. In her June presentation to participants in the Open Badges MOOC, Charla told the group that Lipscomb was talking to an employer considering sending 9,700 people through Lipscomb’s badged modules!

To learn more about Lipscomb’s core competency model, click here. You can contact Charla Long directly via email with questions and comments.

September 18, 2014 08:38 PM

Jay Young | Improving Competency-Based and Online Education

Jay Young | Improving Competency-Based and Online Education:

"Improving Competency-Based and Online Education" is an essay by Jay Young, written about potential “pathway to accreditation for competency-based and online education advocates,” inspired in part by an approach modeled at Concordia University Wisconsin.

Below is an excerpt where Young talks about the role badges play in this pathway:

Competency is a big need in most jobs and one way competency is being determined at the professional level is through badges.  Badges in education and business are very similar to the badges system used within the Boy Scouts of America.  However, instead of the badge being sewn onto a sash or worn on a shirt, it is digital and an “online representation of a skill [an individual has] earned” (Mozilla Open Badges, 2014).  What makes these badges different is that they “[allow the individual] to verify [their] skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations” (2014).  One way this works is if Google needs to have employees with certain skills, they could create a badge and allow individuals both inside and outside of the organization to progress towards achieving it.  Once the qualifications have been met, Google would grant the badge and the individual would have proof of a skill they have acquired.  With this method, badges could allow crowd-sourcing to verify the competence of an individual and determine at what level their competence really resides.  What this means is that in order for a badge to be earned, certain competency thresholds must be not only be met but be “visible and validate[d] … in both formal and informal settings” (MacArthur Foundation, 2014).   What makes this viable is that “the system is based on an open standard, [so an individual] can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of [their] achievement … and display [them] wherever [the individual] wants them on the web, and share them for employment, education, or lifelong learning” (Mozilla Open Badges, 2014).  Think of the power that a partnership between universities and businesses in creating and overseeing badges would bring to the academic and professional arenas.

To read the essay in full, click here.

Follow Jay Young on Twitter: @SpritedLearner

September 18, 2014 07:18 PM

September 12, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badge Alliance Exec. Director Erin Knight speaking at a Hot Lunch Talk in Denver, CO

Today, Erin will be presenting to the Donnell-Kay & Piton Foundations for their September 12th Hot Lunch:

"Not Just for the Scouts: The Potential of Digital Badges in Documenting Learning"

Description: Digital Badges are beginning to gain traction in the documentation of learning skills and accomplishments in an expanding learning environment. Come join us as we explore what digital badges are, how they are presently being used across many learning environments, and how they might serve learners in the future.

"Hot Lunch" is a lunchtime discussion series, co-sponsored by DK and the Piton Foundation. These discussions are designed to engage Colorado education, policy and business leaders in conversation about the current national challenges and promising practices in education today.

Go Badges! Go Erin!

September 12, 2014 05:49 PM

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [57]

How’s it going, badgers?

We hope everyone has had a great week - but before we let you go for the weekend, here’s the Badger Beats!

The Open Badges Directory is here! On Wednesday’s community call, the Directory Working Group chair, Kerri Lemoie, made the announcement and walked us through the live prototype - you can start searching for badges at app.achievery.com/discover

More information can be found at directory.openbadges.org

Here’s the audio and summary of that call, and here’s a blog post on Achievery’s role in the project.

How exciting! What else happened this week?

That’s all from us - if you’ve got something badgeriffic to share, be sure to Tweet it out using the hashtag #openbadges!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

September 12, 2014 04:07 PM

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [57]

How’s it going, badgers?

We hope everyone has had a great week - but before we let you go for the weekend, here’s the Badger Beats!

The Open Badges Directory is here! On Wednesday’s community call, the Directory Working Group chair, Kerri Lemoie, made the announcement and walked us through the live prototype - you can start searching for badges at app.achievery.com/discover

More information can be found at directory.openbadges.org

Here’s the audio and summary of that call, and here’s a blog post on Achievery’s role in the project.

How exciting! What else happened this week?

September 12, 2014 03:47 PM

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 10, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 10, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCSept10

This week we were joined by Achievery CTO Kerri Lemoie, who has also been leading the efforts of the Badge Alliance Directory Working Group to build a global directory of open badges.

From Discovery to Directory

We’ve seen and heard a lot of great things from the Mozilla Discovery team this year. In June 2014, Chloe Varelidi joined the community call to announce the launch of a prototype of Mozilla Discover, a pathway tool that connects open badges to young people’s education, skills and experiences, character traits and interests.

The Open Badges Directory “is a prototype of an un-opinionated storage and retrieval system (API) for Open Badges and an open source community project,” created during the Discovery Project as a collaboration between Mozilla and Achievery, seated in the Badge Alliance Working Group:

The Badge Alliance’s Open Badges Directory is openly available code that enables any platform to begin to do the same.

This week, Achievery launched it’s beta version of a  search and index of learning through Open Badges.  As of today, Achievery provides a simple index and search engine for learning opportunities that are compatible with the open standards.

Take a look here: http://achievery.com/discover

image

Currently, the Directory only indexes badge classes. It is possible to search for badge classes, tags (such as ‘coding’ below), issuers, and badge name within the Directory right now. Future plans include being able to search for badge instances, endorsements, and pathways, to get a broader view of someone’s learning beyond individual badges.

image

"Badge class" refers to information about types of badges, as opposed to a "badge instance" which refers to an individual earner’s awarded badge that is in their Backpack. See below for more detail on what Badge Class means according to the Open Badge Standard:

image

We’ve seen increasing numbers of badge earners and issuers over the past couple of years, but for those wishing to search for badges, we’ve had little to offer - until now. The Directory group has now built “the early technical infrastructure to make a Directory of Open Badges a reality" and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities for this prototype!

Badge issuers can go ahead and register their badges with the Directory to allow them to better connect learners with opportunities for earning badges.

Badge Issuers: Find out how to register your badges here

Other ways to get involved include spreading the word via social media, using the Directory API on your web sites, and getting involved with the Directory Working Group within the Badge Alliance.

Comments or questions? Get in touch with the Directory team at team@achievery.com or directory-support@badgealliance.org

For more information, check out Kerri’s slides from the community call presentation, or this blog post over on Achievery.com

September 12, 2014 01:09 PM

September 11, 2014

Laura Hilliger

Love the Lurkers

A couple days ago I had a BIG conversation with Bill Mills, the Community Manager for Mozilla Science Lab, about open learning, designing for participation, online engagement, collaboration, inspiration and a bunch of other metaphysical ideas that I often create practical implementations for. During our conversation, Bill asked if I had any advice for designing learning experiences that can engage and activate the far ends of the introvert / extrovert spectrum, and I said something along the lines of “The extroverts are easy, and the introverts just need time.”

Later, I was mulling this over and thinking about how hard it is for an outgoing person such as myself to understand people who are shy or don’t participate the way I do. I was thinking about why in our online spaces we have so many people lurking and so few participating. Why don’t more people contribute?

Then I got an email from a blog I follow, and I realized I’m a lurker too. For almost two years, I’ve been lurking around a community that I quite admire. I’ve never said hello, never reached out, never participated in the challenges, or submitted a comment. I’ve not gone to any of their events. But I read what they’re talking about, and I try out their ideas. My life has, without a doubt, changed for the better since I started lurking in this particular community. And no one on Earth knows it, except for me (and you, kind of, though you don’t know what community I’m talking about or the topics they care about).

That website, and the people who participate there, have done a fine job of designing for participation. They have made me feel welcome, I feel like I know people there, I trust those people to a certain extent. I wonder what they’re up to when I haven’t been around in a while. So why don’t I say hello? Why don’t I say “Hey guys, you’re a cool community, thanks for the things you’ve put out in the world. It’s helped me,”?

Simple: I don’t feel like I need to.

I have a global community I like, the Open Community is where I choose to spend my time interacting online. I have the issues that I want to discuss in the open, and the themes of this other place I lurk around aren’t things I feel like I need to discuss. But I’m growing, I’m a better person, I support what they’re doing over there.

We can’t force people to participate, and if we really care about educating people, we shouldn’t try. We should build and design for the people who are participating, and we should be careful to ensure that the lurkers feel welcome. We should create safe spaces of learning and mentorship where even those who don’t complete the call to action still start to develop trust in us, in our products. The fact is you are always a lurker before you participate, so we should be careful not to push people away by implying that they don’t count if they aren’t like us. If we work to love our lurkers, maybe some of them will find their reason to participate.

September 11, 2014 11:36 AM

September 09, 2014

Hive NYC

The Global Search for Education: Learn by Action

This article was originally written by C.M. Rubin and published on the “Global Search for Education” column on Huffington Post.

“No matter the platform, people will always need to know how to understand, analyze and reflect upon larger contexts and systems. That pro-active creation and larger understanding are the ways to reach the end goals of digital and web literacy.” – Leah Gilliam

The goal is to create meaningful and relevant learning experiences outside of the classroom where youth can learn by action. Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network was launched in 2007 and has since spread globally to reach millions of learners around the world. Hives are comprised of organizations such as libraries, museums, after school programs, code clubs and non-profit start-ups. Together, they engage and enable young people to explore their passions, and to develop and diversify their key 21st century skills.

In a technology driven world, what should the goals be when you set out to teach for the new media? What are the challenges and what are some of the strategies that have proved successful? I invited Leah Gilliam, the Director of Mozilla’s Hive NYC Learning Network, to share her perspectives.

2014-09-08-cmrubinworldpicture3500.jpg
“Our work is driven by the research and design principles of connected learning and a specific desire to make how and what people learn relevant.” – Leah Gilliam
 

Leah, what do you believe is the biggest impact that technology has had on education in the last decade?

The advent of mobile and social networks has had a groundbreaking impact on how we teach, interact and learn with technology. I love that people are carrying powerful computers in their pockets and are able to explore, share and connect–on their own time at their own pace. My real concern is that mobile technology should also be a tool for people to create and construct meaningful content as well–that’s a harder proposition but one we’re working on with Mozilla’s Webmaker platform and tools like AppMaker, a free way to build personal mobile apps.

What are your goals when you set out to teach for the new media?

My goal is always to have people think critically and respond creatively to the world and the conditions around them. No matter the platform, people will always need to know how to understand, analyze and reflect upon larger contexts and systems. That pro-active creation and larger understanding are the ways to reach the end goals of digital and web literacy. Empowering others to create and control their digital lives through and with a technology’s building blocks is of utmost importance. It’s also crucial in our work with youth and educators to empower others to share what they know and teach it to others.

2014-09-08-cmrubinworldpicture4500.jpg
“One of the big challenges we face is helping people build their ideas and learn new things in a networked way.” – Leah Gilliam
 

What do you believe are the important building blocks for teaching youth how to use media in both a creative and a meaningful way?

Every user should know how to read and write with the technology around them. Not just how to use it or play it but also how to change it and make it work on a user’s own terms. At Mozilla and through Hive Learning Networks, we believe strongly that making can fuel learning. Our goal is to seed the conditions that foster the transformative moments of awareness that breed those larger “hacker” and web literacies. Our work is driven by the research and design principles of connected learning and a specific desire to make how and what people learn relevant. To that end, we design and support social, participatory and interest-driven opportunities that really stick with learners.

Mozilla’s Maker Party initiative is a great example. It is a global effort (happening right now) that brings people together to make, learn and explore in a social atmosphere. It has a specific focus on using digital media and the web as platforms for creativity. This summer alone, we’ve seen more than 455 people step up to help Mozilla teach the web by throwing more than 1220 events in over 260 cities around the world from July to September.

What are the challenges you face in training today’s educators? Are these challenges different from preparing today’s youth? Can you share one or two of the best strategies you have used to overcome the key issues?

Hive creates opportunities that enable learning through hands-on making and exploration with peers and mentors. One of the big challenges we face is helping people build their ideas and learn new things in a networked way. Computer and neural networks are often streamlined and highly efficient. In contrast, learning networks are made up of people sharing information and knowledge and then building upon what they’ve exchanged–they work very differently. Another challenge in this work is creating the opportunities for busy people to develop the ties and broker the relationships that support the exploration, problem identification and discovery that fuel invention. It takes time, space and reflection to engage in the cross-organizational and interdisciplinary partnerships that Hive Learning Networks foster. Although our work with youth takes different forms, the core principles and practices are the same: we strive for interactions that are creative, collaborative, participatory, relevant and openly networked.

We describe Hive NYC as a learning laboratory because of the work we do to create a space for people to explore, create and share together in new ways. One successful strategy we use in this laboratory approach is planning and play-testing new tools and practices that help community members sharpen their ability to identify problems and challenges.

How we work and learn as a team is inspired by open-source technology. It’s predicated on the idea that creating solutions that are interoperable and accessible to others makes them stronger and more robust. Across Mozilla/Hive, we use open collaborative documents and try to formulate questions and prompts that get people working and thinking together in a deeper way.

2014-09-08-cmrubinworldpicture1500.jpg
“Another challenge in this work is creating the opportunities for busy people to develop the ties and broker the relationships that support the exploration, problem identification and discovery that fuel invention.” – Leah Gilliam
 

Can you share some examples of great ideas that have come out of connecting educators and innovators in the learning space? Have you been able to get widespread distribution for any of these ideas? If yes, please explain.

Hive Pop-Ups – creating a fun, party-like atmosphere for learning and sharing digital and analog skills — was a local innovation and the original idea that seeded the Maker Party campaign. It is a practice that has been adopted by larger audiences as a way to successfully expose others to a make-to-learn approach.

The million dollar (rhetorical) question is how do you create engaging, meaningful and relevant learning experiences with quality, fidelity and scale. It’s the focus of Hive NYC’s work going forward–taking the practices and ideas we’ve helped to pilot successfully in a few environments and expanding their dissemination and reach.

(Photos are courtesy of Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network)

The post The Global Search for Education: Learn by Action appeared first on Hive NYC.

September 09, 2014 08:11 PM

September 08, 2014

Open Badges blog

Breaking News in the Badgeosphere: You Can Now Earn a Master’s Degree in EdTech Through Competency-Based Digital Badges

We are thrilled to share this news from one of our favorite badgers, Dr. Bernard Bull, who has been hinting at this badged master’s program all year. The following excerpt is from his blog, Etale.

Read the post in full here.

**********************************************************************************

As of August 2014, Concordia University Wisconsin is offering the first (to the best of my knowledge) online master’s degree in educational technology that is built around competency-based digital badges. That means that you earn your master’s degree along with a series of digital badges, each of which represent new knowledge and skill that you are developing as you work through the courses and program. This also means that you are gaining new micro-credentials (digital badges) even before you finish a full course. These are credentials that you can display online as evidence of your growing competence and perhaps your qualification for a new position for your current employer, or evidence of your skill for that future dream job.

Throughout your study, it is possible to earn 50+ digital badges that represent your competence in diverse areas. Each badge comes with an attractive visual design and important data attached to it denoting who issued it, what competency you met, and exactly what you needed to do to earn the badge. These are quality badges because each one represent solid evidence of knowledge and skill in a designated area. Here is a sample of badges that you can earn during this program.

These badges are embedded into 3-credit online courses that last for eight weeks. During each course, you have the challenge and opportunity to earn 4-6 competency-based badges. You earn these badges by completing one or more applied and practical projects that show your competence. Depending upon the time that you can devote to the program, it is possible to earn the degree in 1 to 2 years.

Sample Competency-based Badges from the CUW Online EDT Program

**********************************************************************************

Kudos to Dr. Bull and the team at Concordia for putting together such a rigorous badged program. We’re super excited to see how this work will pave the way for more badged programs in higher ed and beyond.

For more details on the course, click here.

September 08, 2014 01:26 PM

Doug Belshaw

Web Literacy: More than just coding; an enabling education for our times [EdTech Digest]

Web Literacy | edtechdigest.com 2014-09-08 14-03-43

Last week, my colleague Lainie Decoursy got in touch wondering if I could write a piece about web literacy. It was a pretty tight turnaround, but given pretty much all I think about during my working hours is web literacy, it wasn’t too much of a big ask!

The result is a piece in EdTech Digest entitled Web Literacy: More than just coding; an enabling education for our times. It’s an overview of Mozilla’s work around Webmaker and, although most of the words are mine, I have to credit my colleagues for some useful edits.

Click here to read the post

I’ve closed comments here to encourage you to add your thoughts on the original post.

September 08, 2014 01:06 PM

September 05, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [56]

Hey there, badgers!

Here’s your weekly roundup of badging news, updates and more:

That’s it from us this week - see you after the weekend!

September 05, 2014 03:19 PM

September 04, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 3, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 3, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCSept3

This week we heard from Emily Armstrong, Libraries and eLearning Manager at Hull College in the UK, where they have been exploring the benefits of digitizing their professional passport for employability as an open badge. The HCUK Employability Seal Open Badges Project is part of a larger Jisc project focused on Open Badges. The project began in April 2014 and the team is now at the evaluation stage, where they will gather feedback over the next six months.

The Progression Passport enables “students to keep a record of the skills they have developed and the industry-relevant training received at Hull College. This will allow [the] students to show employers that they are ready to work and will help employers to recruit the right staff with the right skills and attitude.”

The ‘Employability Skills Seal’ is our endorsement that a student has passed all levels required, including challenging high levels of attendance and punctuality. It demonstrates to employers that they stand out from the crowd by having the skills and qualities they are looking for.

Open Badges are issued to students upon completion of the HCUK Progression Passport and act as an online representation of the skills they have developed and their level of work readiness. By making this employability seal digital, they hope to improve student motivation and encourage employers to recognize the badges, which were broken down into three levels (Gold / Silver / Bronze).

The criteria for earning the badge included attendance, punctuality, and other desirable employability traits. Students’ progress was tracked using a diary-style notebook as well as a digital learning plan system, both of which captured students’ ability to set and work towards self-assigned goals and objectives as well as their attendance and punctuality. The goals were set according to SMART targets and monitored by the students’ tutors (advisers).

The Hull College team also provided students with a help sheet that showed them how to display their earned badges through social networking and web sites, as well as platforms such as LinkedIn and online portfolios. They also told local employers to look out for the badges, helping to bridge a gap that many education-based badge systems face, which is employer awareness and acceptance of the badges earned.

The team worked closely with a recruitment agency, and received a positive response to the badge from them – Emily reported that recruiters were excited about the ability to click through a badge and gain more detail about potential candidates. They are about to enter the next phase of the project, which will include surveying employers and students to gather feedback that will inform future iterations of the badge(s). They want to determine what employers think of the badges beyond the recruiters they’ve already worked with, as well as finding out whether students have found the badges useful since completing the course.

To stay up to date with this project and see the feedback being gathered by the surveys the team is putting together, check out the project blog at http://hcukseal.wordpress.com.

Emily’s Prezi outlining the project is available here - http://prezi.com/sepdbxzexsk6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

September 04, 2014 12:06 PM

Chris McAvoy | Open Badges and JSON-LD

Chris McAvoy | Open Badges and JSON-LD:

The BA standard working group has had adding extensions to the OB assertion specification high on its roadmap this summer. We agreed that before we could add an extension to an assertion or Badge Class, we needed to add machine readable schema definitions for the 1.0 standard.

Check out this new blog post from Badge Alliance Director of Technology Chris McAvoy, which outlines the progress of the Open Badge Standard Working Group with the Open Badges assertion specification.

The group has gone from exploring to experimenting with JSON-LD, which “builds linked data semantics on the JSON specification., and adds several key features to JSON.”

Click the link above to read the full blog post.

September 04, 2014 11:54 AM

September 03, 2014

Chris McAvoy

The Open Badges Infrastructure

First things first, what do we mean when we say “Open Badges Infrastructure?” Infrastructure is a bit of a loaded term, you can interpret it as servers, you could interpret it as software, or both hardware, software, internet…all the things. We’ll make this easy and say that the Open Badges technical Infrastructure is all the things that make it possible to earn or issue an Open Badge.

“All the things” is an easy answer to the question, “what is the open badges infrastructure?” but it doesn’t help much when we’re trying to push the infrastructure forward, when we’re trying to grow the ecosystem. Given a technical infrastructure need, how does the Badge Alliance, and the Open Badges community, figure out the best way to address the need? If the OBI is “all the things,” who could support it without turning the OBI into a silo’d badge system?

When we asked what role the Badge Alliance would play in the OBI, we knew that the OBI needed a shepherd organization that could help the members of the OB community coordinate their efforts maintaining the long-term health of the OBI. So how do we decide what actions fit into that model? What parts of the OBI are fair game for the BA to directly touch, which parts can we influence, which parts should we stay away from entirely?

We built a three-tier model that represents all the pieces of the OBI,

OB Infrastructure 3 Tiers

The first layer of the tier is the Open Badges standard. If you’re issuing an Open Badge, you’re relying on the standard to make the badge interoperable, transportable and verifiable. It’s the layer that all the other layers of the OBI rely on.

The second layer is libraries and tools that interact with the standard. Badge issuing libraries, validation libraries, badge bakers, tools that you download and install on your machine, or use as a dependency to build a bigger tool, fit in this layer.

Lastly, the top layer is userland. The marketplace. All the hosted services that interact with badge earners, with badge issuers and with badge consumers. It relies on the layers below it, and covers them up. A student earning a badge never knows that layers one and two exist, they just know that they received a badge and are storing it in their backpack.

Given the three layer model of the OBI, the Badge Alliance realized that it’s absolutely vital that we take a very active role in the maintenance of the first layer – the OB Standard, a less active role in the library layer, and a purely advisory role in the top userland layer.

Like all frameworks, it’s possible to find edge cases that break the model, but for most cases, it’s a solid way to judge what actions the BA should take in the maintenance of the OBI. Sunny and I will write more over the next couple of weeks about exactly how the BA will play in the three tiers.

September 03, 2014 07:26 PM

September 01, 2014

Laura Hilliger

New Modules at Webmaker Training

In the two weeks that lead up to the September 15th launch of Connected Courses (#ccourses), a connectivst experience to help you build your own connectivist experiences (META), Howard Rheingold, Alan Levine, Jim Groom and the organizers of #ccourses will be helping you get set up with your own space in the web, so that you can start blogging, building your network and otherwise practicing openness.

In a happy coincidence, Webmaker Training is posting two under-development modules that can help you understand the ins and outs of building your online presence and beginning to tinker around with the web.  The “Building an Online Presence” and “HTML Basic” modules are renewed and remixed, maker centric intros to becoming a master of the technology behind open learning. Using peer to peer methodologies (hey, this content was built together with P2PU!) and clear production oriented tasks Webmaker Training can help you learn everything you need to know to have your own space of the web.

The entire Webmaker Community is eager to #TeachTheWeb, and we’re looking forward to helping people who are starting to dabble. Have a look at the modules, and pop into our discussion forum or a community call and ask questions, share ideas and get advice.

Looking forward to making and learning with you.

September 01, 2014 01:20 PM

August 30, 2014

Chris McAvoy

Open Badges and JSON-LD

The BA standard working group has had adding extensions to the OB assertion specification high on its roadmap this summer. We agreed that before we could add an extension to an assertion or Badge Class, we needed to add machine readable schema definitions for the 1.0 standard.

We experimented with JSON-Schema, then JSON-LD. JSON-LD isn’t a schema validator, it’s much more. It builds linked data semantics on the JSON specification. JSON-LD adds several key features to JSON, most of which you can play around with in the JSON-LD node module.

  1. Add semantic data to a JSON structure, link the serialized object to an object type definition.
  2. Extend the object by linking to multiple object type definitions.
  3. A standard way to flatten and compress the data.
  4. Express the object in RDF.
  5. Treat the objects like a weighted graph.

All of which are features that support the concept behind the Open Badges standard very well. At its core, the OB standard is a way for one party (the issuer) to assert facts about another party (the earner). The assertion (the badge) becomes portable and displayable at the discretion of the owner of the badge.

JSON-LD is also quickly becoming the standard method of including semantic markup on html pages for large indexers like Google. Schema.org now lists JSON-LD examples alongside RDFa and Microdata. Google recommends using JSON-LD for inclusion in their rich snippet listings.

We’ve been talking about JSON-LD on the OB standard working group calls for a while now. It’s starting to feel like consensus is forming around inclusion of JSON-LD markup in the standard. This Tuesday, September 2nd 2014, we’ll meet again to collectively build a list of arguments for and against the move. We’ll also discuss a conditional rollout plan (conditional in that it will only be executed if we get the thumbs up from the community) and identify any gaps we need to cover with commitments from the community.

It’s going to be a great meeting, if you’re at all interested in JSON-LD and Open Badges, please join us!

August 30, 2014 11:34 AM

August 29, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [55]

Happy Friday, badgers! Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly list of blog posts, events and announcements from the open badges community.

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

Don’t forget to vote for the open badges panel submissions for SXSWedu - read about our panels here - and check out the Connected Learning Alliance’s list of SXSWedu submissions here.

Have a great long weekend, folks! See you all on Tuesday…!

August 29, 2014 10:13 PM

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug27

BK joined this week’s community call to share what the Free Library of Philadelphia has been doing this summer with their teen participatory design badging program. 

The Free Library team developed 4 different badges around the college readiness process through the lens of creative maker projects in association with the Maker Jawn initiative, a team of artists, engineers, designers, and thinkers who work in libraries in Philadelphia.

Documenting summer learning and career readiness

Working with libraries in low-income neighborhoods as part of the North Philadelphia Library Cluster, the team led afterschool and summer activities in partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN).

The program served approximately 70 teens at 9 library locations working with 20 or so maker mentors and college prep specialists helping the students with SAT prep and scholarship applications.

The four badges created by the team were:

The badge program was aimed at middle school students, although the team found that the high school students PYN hired to help with the program were designing badges for themselves, looking to college and career readiness, rather than skill-building badges for the younger students - perhaps offering an interesting insight into what the teens thought badges were most valuable for.

The teens created a number of physical badges and presented their badge projects to the larger group. Some of the teens also used online badge builders to create digital versions of the badges. The team took their badge projects and funneled them into actionable items that could guide those pursuing badges.

Participatory Design

The teens worked in groups, using prompts to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and community impact. From these, they created badge designs, projects and evidence to present to a larger group. A badging template was used to help guide the teens, and they were able to provide feedback on each others badge project presentations

Passport for Documentation

The team came up with the idea of creating a book for each student, to act as a passport for documenting the activities they participated in over the summer. This involved both the physical creation and customization of a journal, as well as filling it with documentation of interviews, artistic creations, online tests, critiques of others’ work, time management skill development, and other markers of progress from the summer’s activities.

The Free Library team’s goal with developing a prototype set of badges was to give the youth a means of documentation for their activities that they could take with them - not just physically, but digitally - beyond the program and onwards to high school, college, and careers. The portable and transferable method of recognizing skills offered by badges meant they were a natural fit for this program, and it will be interesting to see how it develops as the team rolls out the badges.

You can view the prototype of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s 21st Century Skills Youth Badging Program here: http://collegeprep.wpengine.com/

August 29, 2014 08:18 AM

August 26, 2014

Open Badges blog

What a good iDEA!

Earlier this year, The Duke of York and Nominet Trust announced the launch of a new initiative to encourage young people to start their own business ventures.

This week, KPMG, one of the leading providers of professional accounting services in the UK, announced they will be backing the initiative, which is aiming to help more than one million UK youth develop digital skills and business ideas over the next five years:

KPMG plus Barclays, MicrosoftTelefónica (O2), Mozilla, Salesforce.com, Silicon Valley Bank and University of Huddersfield have given their support to iDEA – the inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, which has been devised by The Duke of York and Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder.

iDEA has been created to help 14-25-year-olds develop their digital, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills, boost the confidence of young people and increase their employability status.

Young people taking part in the iDEA award scheme will have their skills and achievements recognised through open badges - a new global standard to recognise skills and achievements across the web. In addition to the three core iDEA badges, many of the new partners will sponsor their own open badge and offer participants in the programme the chance to carry out online tasks in order to earn one.

A full launch of the initiative will happen in October 2014.

For more information, visit onemillionyoungideas.org.uk

August 26, 2014 08:22 PM

August 23, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [54]

Happy weekend, badgers! We didn’t manage to get the Beats out yesterday while the Badge Alliance team were traveling back from a week-long sprint in Maine - more on what came out of the week soon.

Here’s what happened while we were in Vacationland…

  • Former badger Doug Belshaw wrote about Open Badges on his blog, raising the question of whether badges are like “3D printing for credentials.” Read more here;
  • EdWeek took a look at the Pearson white paper, Open Badges Are Unlocking the Emerging Jobs Economy - more info here;
  • Credly and Pathbrite announced a partnership that will bring verified digital badges and credentials to academic and professional portfolios;

Mozilla also announced that the deadline for submitting proposals for MozFest has been extended to August 29th! If you’re interested in being a part of the Open Badges floor this year, get those submissions in by next Friday.

Now, quick - go enjoy the rest of the weekend!

image

August 23, 2014 04:53 PM

August 22, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 20, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 20, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug20

Tom Welch, a former Kentucky high school teacher and principal, describes himself as “an education futurist committed to the transition from the Age of Schooling to the Age of Learning.” He co-directed a program this summer where his students used open badges to earn performance-based high school credits.

The Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) is one of 3 “Governor’s Schools” operating in Kentucky. It is an intense summer learning experience, which this year had 59 high school students. These students - referred to as ‘Entrepreneurs’ or simply ‘Es’ but never ‘students’ while in the program - spent three weeks in residence on the campus of a Kentucky college. Using the “Business Model Canvas" as a template, the Entrepreneurs worked in 12 teams to launch a startup. At the end of the three weeks, they pitched to a panel of outside judges and were awarded a total of $1000. The top five teams were invited to present their business idea to The Lexington Venture Club, and now negotiations for funding are now underway for some of those teams.

Tom has co-directed the program for the past 2 years, led by an interest in performance-based credentialing, and in “bridging the gap between independent learning and high school credentials”

The goals of the GSE are:

Tom wanted to give learners the option to credential their learning with badges, recognizing the connection between competency-based / performance-based learning and badges.

Staff at the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) designed four open badges that align with the Open Badge Standard:

Es who earned all four of these badges were awarded the GSE Master Badge. Tom and his team worked with staff from the Kentucky Department of Education and individual schools to negotiate credit opportunities for those who had earned the GSE Master Badge. While the actual awarding of credits is up to the individual schools, Kentucky is one of the many US states which has provisions for “Performance-based Credits.” Tom has found that many educators are unaware of regulations that allow for performance-based credentialing during his time working with the GSE.

The GSE uses a formative assessment approach, believing it reflects ongoing learning much better than summative assessment. By assessing Es along the way – looking at participation, conversation, engagement, ability to relate course content to outside experiences etc. as well as written documentation of their experiences in ‘component sheets’ – they are able to identify areas needing more focused learning and concentrate the young entrepreneurs’ efforts to those things they are less competent with. For those schools who had questions about what the badges represent and wanted to see more than the assessment and evidence within the badges, these component sheets can be used as ‘backup evidence.’

Both learners and the schools seem to be responding well to badging – of the 60 or so students, 42 earned enough badges throughout the program to seek academic credit. The program directors have been working with KY Department of Education and their Department of Innovation from the beginning, increasing awareness of the program and its badges as well as educating others on the benefits of badges. A former teacher working at one of the schools even contacted all other schools that had students who wanted credit for their badges, to inform and guide those schools in the process.

This is the first time in Kentucky that Open Badges have been tied to the assessments within Governor’s Schools, and the first time that academic credit has been possible for a group of students from different districts who learned independently together during the summer. It’s great to see badges being used to successfully bridge the gap between in- and out-of-school learning using performance-based, formative assessment methods.

To learn more about the Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, click here.

August 22, 2014 05:58 PM

August 18, 2014

Matt Thompson

Webmaker: what is the latest data telling us?

What are we learning? This post highlights new metrics and some early analysis from Adam, Amira, Geoff, Hannah and many others. The goal: turn our various sources of raw data into some high-level narrative headlines we can learn from.

Getting to 10K

Current contributor count: 5,529 (Aug 15)

Webmaker users

Highlights:

Owned media

“The further away we get from the Mozilla brand, the more work there is to get someone on board.” — Adam

Maker Party

“There’s the ‘summer wave’ and ‘back to school’ waves. We need to have strategies and actions towards both.” –Hannah

Next steps

Short-term focus:

Longer-term questions

August 18, 2014 03:00 PM

Jess Klein

Remix + Hack the Firefox Home page. No really, we want you to!

If you are a Firefox desktop user, you may have seen the Firefox default home page. This page contains a default engine web search and quick links to downloads, bookmarks, history, add-ons, sync and settings. Additionally, if you happen to have had tabs open the last time you used the browser,  you can restore them from the home page.  We often share important news and updates underneath the search bar.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.18.04 AM.png

This is what I currently see at the Firefox default home page. Animated gifs FTW.


THE OPPORTUNITY
A few months back, Hive Labs, (a new project within the Hive Learning Networks designed to explore the question “how do we use design to transform edupunk ethics into great products?”), was approached by the Mozilla Foundation Engagement team to brainstorm how the space could be used in an innovative way to educate Firefox users about the Maker Party. Maker Party is Mozilla's global campaign to teach the web, uniting educators, organizations and enthusiastic web users with hands-on learning and making. While I have to admit, I have never really created something in the realm of owned media, I saw this as an interesting opportunity for Mozilla to show (vs. tell) what Maker Party is all about.  


THE CHALLENGE


The team (which included creative individuals from many different projects across the Mozilla Foundation and the Corporation) immediately identified the opportunity space and came up with a few project requirements:


THE SOLUTION


While we tossed around a few different ideas, the solution that we came up with was to create a Webmaker Goggles - like experience that lets the visitor see under the hood of the webpage.


Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.35.04 AM.png


After doing some initial sketches, we realized that we needed to define our learning objectives for the project.  While normally this is fairly easy to do - you say that the learner will come away with the ability to remix a paragraph written in HTML and understand what p tags are, or something very basic. Here, the challenge was two-fold: 1. the webpage visitor did not identify as a learner and 2. as I mentioned before, they might have no knowledge of the fact that the code is written in order to create a webpage. So, after several false starts, we came up with the the goal of having the website visitor walk away understanding that if you look under the hood of a webpage, you will see it is made from code.


Initial sketches for the snippet included replacing the Firefox logo with an image


After the learning objective was defined, we had to interpret what that meant in terms of interaction design. I believe that the most effective way to empower a user is to put the tools in their hands to allow them to directly address and grapple with the thing that they might learn by tinkering with it themselves. We tried out a few different iterations on this. Above is a sketch where the visitor might get instructed to remix the page from a video. The idea was to have a person in the video describe what to do, and then the learner would use the goggles to swap out the video for an image or video of their choosing. This idea was fun, and had a lot of potential community localization opportunities. However, there was a risk that the user would just not click on the video, and miss out on all the fun.


Ultimately, we ended up utilising what Atul Varma calls “cruise control” —that’s where we model the behavior in order to encourage the site visitor to try it out themselves. It looks like someone is typing out all of the words on the screen.  We decided to focus on revealing a little CSS, because you can use real words to represent colors and seeing those colors immediately can have a visceral impact on the site visitor. Here is a screencast of the interaction:



** Update: You can see the actual interactive experience by going to the Firefox homepage or if you can't get to that, check it out here.  **

The crazy and kickass cast of characters who pulled this interactive off are:  Chris Lawrence, Atul Varma, Brian Brennan , Adam Lofting, Hannah Kane, Jean Collings, Mike Kelly, Chris More, Matt Thompson, Aki Rose Braun,  David Ascher, Geoffrey MacDougall, Brett Gaylor, John Slater, Eric Petitt, Mary Ellen Muckerman, Pete Scanlon and Andrea Wood.

We’re really excited about this project, as it represents one of the first interactive uses (if not THE first) of the space of the Firefox home page. We hope that as site visitors dip their toes into understanding the craft of the Web, they’ll be inspired to learn more through Webmaker and Maker Party.  Our ultimate goal is for people to feel empowered to become creators, not just consumers, of the Web.

August 18, 2014 01:26 PM

August 16, 2014

Open Badges blog

Pearson to Issue Badges for Adobe Certified Associate Certification Program

Pearson to Issue Badges for Adobe Certified Associate Certification Program:

You may have seen this exciting announcement from Pearson earlier in the week, but just in case you missed it - we’re happy to share the news with you!

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is issuing badges for the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification program via its badge platform, Acclaim. Badges will now be available to candidates who earn ACA certification for the Adobe Creative Cloud or Creative Suite 6. 

"ACA candidates excel in the digital media world and appreciate having proof of their skills in a format that can be managed and shared online," said Melissa Jones, world wide education program manager for Adobe. “By representing the ACA certification as a badge through Acclaim, we empower our students to take credit for and manage their achievements digitally.”

Jarin Schmidt, product lead for Acclaim added, “Acclaim badges help lower the cost of credential verification and enable ACA candidates to share their accomplishments in a verified fashion across the online destinations most relevant to them.”
We’re proud to see such industry leadership from Pearson and Adobe, and hope others follow suit in these badgeriffic endeavors!

To read more, click here.

August 16, 2014 05:01 PM

August 15, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [53]

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly roundup of updates, announcements, and writings on badges from our team and community.

Here’s what’s been going on this week:

That’s it for us this week - what badgeriffic stuff have you been up to? Share with us here or on Twitter / Facebook using the hashtag #openbadges

See you all next week, folks. We hope you have a killer weekend!

…..get it? ;-)

Journal for the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

August 15, 2014 07:43 PM

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Breaking and Fixing (and one day left to apply)

They say that news “breaks.” And when they do, it conjures images of daybreak, shedding new light on the world. But news also breaks things apart: our understanding, our assumptions, how we thought the world was. This week feels a lot like that.

When we talk about the Knight-Mozilla Fellowships—applications for which close tomorrow night—we talk often about the experience of being in the room when news breaks.

But working in journalism isn’t just about being around when things break, it’s about staying in that room as the real work begins. Because news isn’t simply about breaking things: At its best, it is about fixing, about healing, about reaching understanding.

Looking at news break this week it’s clear that understanding is no longer achieved through the printed page or the broadcast booth—things move too quickly for that now. From parsing the Snowden documents to covering the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, real understanding now comes in new ways.

Those new ways mean bringing new skills into newsrooms and with those skills new ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds. It means experimenting with new forms of storytelling and new tools on the backend. It means collaboration, sharing, and working in the open.

This is what Knight-Mozilla Fellows do every day. And it’s why you should apply to join their ranks in 2015. If you love to build things on the web, if you’re a creative thinker who solves problems in code, if you’re a civic hacker, a data scientist, a web designer, or just a self-taught coder, join us.

As a Fellow, you will do many things: work in some of the best newsrooms in the world, have colleagues that will challenge and champion you in equal measures, write open-source code that gets used by thousands. But most important is helping bring understanding to a world that desperately needs it.

But it’s almost too late to apply. Deadline is tomorrow, Saturday, August 16, at midnight Eastern. Don’t hesitate. Change the world. Apply.

August 15, 2014 03:36 PM

August 14, 2014

Matt Thompson

What would a web literate school look like?

As we think about what’s next for Webmaker, we’re conducting interviews to better understand our audience and develop user personas. What challenges do teachers in the classroom face, for example? How can we help them spread web literacy? Here’s what Phil Macoun, an educator from Nanaimo, B.C., had to tell us.

Phil: a tech-savvy educator trying to help his school

Notes from Phil’s blog

What would K to 12 digital literacy look like?

Phil’s been thinking a lot about what “digital literacy” might look like from kindergarten all the way to grade 12. As his school’s Technology Coordinator, he has the opportunity to implement a school-wide curriculum, influencing an entire staff of teachers and several hundred students.

He’s been surveying the landscape. Phil has researched various digital literacy offerings and approaches, including:

He’s familiar with Webmaker tools like Thimble, and has been following Webmaker’s Web Literacy Map.

The whole maker movement thing is a big part of what I’m thinking about right now. [Mozilla’s] web literacy map outlines things kids need to do, but there also need to be attitudes and approaches tied up into the learning. How to design and be creative.”

The hard part is implementation

The biggest challenge for Phil is: how to help busy, time-strapped teachers get started teaching this stuff in their own classrooms. “In terms of implementation, this is where I get stuck,” Phil says. “[Webmaker] has got good ideas — but I don’t know how to scale them up for my school.

“I can’t possibly do all this myself — I need other teachers to be responsible for implementing it. I need a framework.”

His best solution so far?

What has worked to help him solve this problem so far? The Common Sense Media “Digital Citizenship” curriculum. By sending his fellow teachers that one link, along with a bit of context and guidance, he was able to offer time-strapped colleagues something close to a turn-key solution. They loved it.

It lowers the barrier to entry. They can quickly see the grade level, learning outcomes, download a lesson plan, get worksheets. There’s everything they need to get started.”

Phil likes that Common Sense Media also just published an e-book manual for teachers, and says that many other independent schools in BC are now adopting the Common Sense curriculum.

Parents want these skills for their kids

I mostly get parents coming and saying: thank you for teaching my kids this stuff!” Phil says. “They like that I’m telling their kids how to search the Internet properly. They know that their kids are immersed in this online world, and they’re looking for help to manage it properly.”

How Phil explains digital literacy to parents

From exploring and building to connecting

Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map is based around exploring, building and connecting. Phil says that parents and colleagues intuitively grasp the value of  “Exploring” and “Building” — but less so with “Connecting,” the piece he actually thinks is the most valuable.

Trying to get people to understand that piece is much harder,” he says. “‘Exploring’ is easy — people want kids to be able to search the internet better. The ‘building’ piece is easy as well — kids programming video games, printing stuff on a 3D printer. Parents love that stuff. Its harder to explain the connecting piece.”

“You want to get from ‘Help me to manage my kids online life’ to ‘help me teach my kids to leverage this tool to its full potential.”

How could Webmaker’s curriculum offering improve?

We recently shipped a new series of pages that we think of as a “textbook for web literacy.” I invited Phil to tale a look at the “Privacy” page, from a teacher’s perspective.

As a busy teacher what I’m looking for is: what’s the stuff that’s relevant to me.
If I was a teacher who didn’t know a lot about this topic, I’m looking for: ‘What am I teaching? What are my learning outcomes? How am I going to do it?'”

I look at this page and go: I don’t have time to figure this out right now. I had to scroll right down to the very bottom of the page to know that there was stuff here for teachers.”

“If I had a teacher portal, like the Common Sense Media stuff, it could show me what the different elements of the Web Literacy thing might look like in primary school, vs middle school, vs high school, etc. When it’s all kinda jumbled up, I don’t have time to pick out the good stuff.”

Badges as a more fluid way to recognize learning

I’d love to use badges as a formative assessment tool in my classroom. A more fluid way students could celebrate their learning.  Maybe I could find a way to loop badges into what my kids are already doing with Google Docs, or Scratch, or TinkerPad. That would be really cool.”

Cloud-based collaboration

Google Apps recently became Aspengrove school’s go-to digital platform. They moved the whole school over to it. Every student from grade 8 and up now has a Google Apps email address.

“All our students are doing their writing in Google Docs now.”

In a way, Phil’s school is using Google Docs the same way Mozilla uses etherpads — for  immediate web-based collaboration.

The first thing teachers and students do is open up a Google Doc and start putting all their ideas in one document. In many cases, teachers have been writing alongside the kids, so that students can get comments from the teacher as they go. And teachers are doing most of their classroom presentations in Google Docs as well.”

Some early conclusions and analysis

I found this interview hugely insightful. I’m going to think some more about analysis, early conclusions and next steps. But in the mean time: what do you think? Please share your thoughts as comments on this post.

August 14, 2014 04:42 PM

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 13, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 13, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug13

This week we were joined by Tom Wood, Director at RWA Group, one of the UK’s leading business and training consultancy firms, to talk about their e-learning platform, OBELISK, which awards badges and certificates to insurance brokers meeting regulatory standards for competency within their fields by completing training materials designed to fill gaps in knowledge or experience.

Gap analysis for competency assessment

The OBELISK e-learning platform used by RWA uses a formative learning approach for assessment of competence in order for brokers to meet regulatory standards. By conducting an assessment at the beginning of the learning period, users of the platform can see a gap analysis that shows them what they don’t already know. This allows them to monitor their progress from the start, and to focus on filling gaps in their knowledge, rather than sitting through modules of material they already know before being assessed.

The RWA Group defines competence as knowledge, understanding, application, and the OBELISK platform allows learners to revisit the gap analysis at the end of a learning period to ensure those gaps have been filled, in whichever area(s) of competencies they needed to work on.

OBELISK provides learners with an evidence-based record of progress, making badges a natural complement to the platform. As Tom pointed out in his presentation, a physical learning file is much more cumbersome and difficult to navigate than a set of badges, which allow employers to easily see where brokers are improving their skills and expanding their knowledge.

The RWA Group started using badges 12 months ago, and have awarded over 800 badges to their 5,000+ users. They currently offer 100 competency badges, as well as a set of second-tier badges for non-competency based tasks to highlight learners who are pursuing training in the evenings or with increased frequency. The majority of the OBELISK badges have expiration dates to encourage users to revisit gap analyses and ensure they’re still meeting competency standards.

Challenges and lessons learned

The OBELISK platform is based on a Moodle integration with badges, so the technical implementation of the RWA badges was smooth, according to Tom. The real challenges were centered around user engagement:

If you build it, they will come

Most people want to learn, Tom argued, saying that if you give people the tools to improve their training and better themselves, they will. From the conversations he’d had with a few of the OBELISK badge earners (including their user of the month Julie, highlighted in the images), there were a range of motivators encouraging people to pursue the badges, including nostalgia (recalling the days of scout badges), the appeal of challenges to be overcome, and an overall desire to improve training and competence. Many of the younger users were intrigued by the social potential of sharing badges, whereas the older users were less enthused about the badges in particular but were drawn to the assessment challenges.

When asked by a member of the community whether the term “badge” had been met with any resistance, Tom replied that the terminology had not been a major issue for them in terms of user engagement, though some regulatory bodies didn’t see them as being professional. When approaching the concept from the need for more effective CPD resources, badges were a natural extension of the assessment-focused model used with OBELISK. As Tom found, the way badges are promoted needs to be adapted for different professional audiences (which is something the Badge Alliance Working Group on Badges Messaging is working on.)

For more information on the OBELISK platform, to go http://rwagroup.co.uk/rwa-launches-open-badges/

To see Tom’s slides from his presentation, click here.

August 14, 2014 01:56 PM