Planet Webmaker

July 30, 2014

Open Badges blog

Have you heard about the new Hive Community Member badge?

Hive Learning Networks are a growing constellation of communities that are championing digital skills and web literacy through connected learning around the world. We’re excited to share the news that the folks at Hive are going to be recognizing the individuals who contribute to Hive’s growth and success with the Hive Community Member badge on


It’s the first in a coming series of Hive badges, and you can learn more over on the Webmaker blog or by joining the Open Badges Community Project Call at 12pm EDT today (7/30) to hear from Robert Friedman, the one who has been leading these badging efforts from Mozilla / Hive Chicago.

Agenda for today’s call:

July 30, 2014 09:28 AM

July 29, 2014

Laura Hilliger

Join Mozilla for global teach-ins on Net Neutrality

reposted from the Webmaker blog

At Mozilla, we exist to protect the free and open web. Today, that openness and freedom is under threat.

The open Internet’s founding principle is under attack. Policymakers in the U.S. are considering rules that would erase “Net Neutrality,” the principle that all data on the Internet should be treated equally. If these rule changes go through, many fear it will create a “two-tier” Internet, where monopolies are able to charge huge fees for special “fast lanes” while everyone else gets the slow lane. This would threaten the very openness, level playing field and innovation that make the web great — not only in the U.S., but around the world.

Using the open web to save the open web

This is a crucial moment that will affect the open web’s future. But not enough people know about it or understand what’s at stake. Net Neutrality’s opponents are banking on the fact that Net Neutrality is so “geeky,” complex, and hard to explain that people just won’t care. That’s why Mozilla is inviting you to join us and other Internet Freedom organizations to educate, empower, organize and win.

Local “teach-ins” around the world…

Join the global Mozilla community and our partners to host a series of Internet Freedom “teach-ins” around the world. Beginning Aug 4th, we’re offering free training to help empower local organizers, activists and people like you. Together we’ll share best practices for explaining what Net Neutrality is, why it matters to your local community, and how we can protect it together. Then we’ll help local organizers like you host local events and teach-ins around the world, sharing tools and increasing our impact together.

…plus global action

In addition to increasing awareness of the importance of Net Neutrality, the teach-ins will also allow participants to have an impact by taking immediate action. Imagine hundreds of videos in support of #TeamInternet and Net Neutrality, thousands of letters to the editor, and thousands of new signatures on Mozilla’s petition.

We’ll be joined by partners like Reddit, Free Press, Open Media, IMLS / ALA, Media Alliance Every Library and Engine Advocacy.

Get involved

1) Host an event. Ready to get started? Host a local meet-up or teach-in on Net Neutrality in your community. Our Maker Party event guides and platform make it easy. We even have a special guide for a 1 hour Net Neutrality Maker Party.

2) Get free training and help. Need a little help? We’ll tell you everything you need to know. From free resources and best practices for talking about Net Neutrality to nuts and bolts logistics and organizing. The free and open online training begins Monday, Aug 4th. All are welcome, no experience necessary.You’ll leave the training armed with everything you need to host your own local teach-in. Or just better explain the issue to friends and family.

3) Use our new Net Neutrality toolkit. Our new Net Neutrality teaching kit makes it easy for educators and activists to explain the issue and empower others. We’re gathering lots more resources here.

4) Spread the word. Here are some example tweets you can use:

July 29, 2014 08:46 AM

July 26, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [50]

It’s Friday - time for the Badger Beats!

We’ve had a busy week, prepping for SXSWedu 2015 (did you hear? The deadline was extended!) and next week’s live session of the Open Badges MOOC - Meg, the Badge Alliance Director of Marketing and Operations, will be leading a discussion on the Cities of Learning initiative with cities representatives. Read more details at

What else went on this week?

Have a great weekend everyone - and don’t forget, if you’re working on a session proposal for SXSWedu, get them in by noon CST on Sunday!

Bring on the voting in Panel Picker!

July 26, 2014 01:22 AM

July 25, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 23, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 23, 2014:



This week we were joined by Frank Catalano, who was recently commissioned by MDR's EdNET Insight service to write an extensive analysis of badges for education companies, as well as the Badge Alliance's Director of Design & Practice, Carla, who is kicking off a community-wide project to develop a campus policy for open badges (more details on how to get involved below.)

Although his paper is not intended for a general audience, Frank’s experience helped highlight some of the challenges still to be overcome as we work towards integrating badges into more education environments. A (free) overview of his paper can be found on EdNET Insight here with Frank’s top-line industry recommendations.

Challenges still facing the ecosystem

Frank shared his analysis of some of the biggest challenges facing those education companies wishing to bring badges into learning environments, starting with terminology, which is still a major tripping point for many being introduced to badges, who find terms such as ‘badge’ and ‘backpack’ juvenile or trivializing compared to the value that can be found in badges once the concept is fully understood.

As Carla pointed out during the call, language is complex and doesn’t always translate across boundaries, whether industrial or geographic. To that end, the Badge Alliance will be initiating collaborative work on a document that helps us translate badging concepts and terminology to other geographic regions and industries.

The question of an open ecosystem vs. keeping badges in silos also arose - some companies prefer to keep their badges in a closed system, for a variety of reasons, and until the need for an open, interoperable ecosystem reached a critical tipping point, it is likely that we will continue to see growth on both sides of this.

For many, Frank saw as he was conducting his research, badges are a nice addition to existing services, rather than a ‘must-have’ feature - and for others, there is still a lack of a basic understanding of open badges, which is a knowledge gap his paper aims to help close for the education companies his analysis was commissioned for. This paper puts badging in terminology that education companies understand, which will both inform those companies and provide a reference point for our ongoing work to ‘translate’ badging across sectors and continents.

Badges for campus initiatives

Another education landscape that will need concentrated efforts across the board is campus-wide badge policies others can model and build from. Carla Casilli, the director of design and practice at the Badge Alliance, is leading efforts for our wider community to collaborate on developing a campus / school policy for badges - contact her directly if you’d like to get involved via email:

If there are other areas you think would benefit from policy work, why not join the Badge Alliance Working Group on Policy? Go to to apply.

If you have a badges project to share with the community - big or small - let us know! Email to get on the schedule.

July 25, 2014 10:24 PM

Updated Open Badges Documentation

Our technical writer Sue Smith is a superstar - check out some of the updated documentation she’s worked on in recent weeks:

Updated documentation for Backpack repo:
There are also some updates to the in-code documentation here:

Anything missing?

If there’s anything in github you want to see updated or more thoroughly documented, let us know:

July 25, 2014 09:31 PM

SXSWedu deadline extended!

We’ve been busy preparing our badges-themed session submissions this week, so we’re happy to share the good news: the deadline has been extended!

That’s right, you have until 11:59PM CST this Sunday, July 27 to finalize and submit your idea to be considered for SXSWedu 2015.

Before you click the “Submit My Proposal” button, be sure to:

1. Review the 2015 Session Starter Kit for a detailed step-by-step guide through the submission form, equipped with audience demographics and helpful tips on how to shape your best idea.
2. Proof read every portion of your proposal for proper spelling and grammar, as well as accuracy.
4. Click the “Save and Continue” button at the bottom of each section if you make any changes.
5. Check all the boxes on the “Agreements” page and utilize the “Review my Proposal” option on that same page. Once you click the “Submit My Proposal” button, you will no longer be able to make changes to your proposal.

Direct any further questions to

Good luck, everyone! We’ll let you know when we’ve heard back about our session proposals.

July 25, 2014 09:21 PM

July 23, 2014

Open Badges blog

Bernard Bull | 5 Predictions About Educational Credentialing in 2024

Dr. Bernard Bull, who led the Beyond Letter Grades MOOC, is currently designing a set of graduate courses around badges and writes about credentialing, assessment, and the future of education and learning on his blog, Etale. In a recent blog post, Dr. Bull made 5 predictions about the educational credentialing landscape in 2024 - have a look at them below.

Read the full post here.


1. Unbundled Education – Education will become increasingly unbundled and aggregated across networks and contexts. This will give way to increased grass-roots educational initiatives, the capacity for learners to self-blend learning experiences from multiple sources and organizations, and cross-organizational credentials. Highly regulated sectors and those with strong centralized professional organizations and standards will be most insulated from some of this. It will lead to significant turmoil and disruption in many higher education institutions.

2. Networked Learning will become a fundamental life and work skill. While the most regulated industries will be more insulated, there will be significant conflict between democratizing and authoritarian models of education and training. Regardless, a fundamental aspect of lifelong learning will be the development, maintenance and ongoing expansion of a personal learning network. Related to this, we will see massive formal learning networks within geographic areas, specific fields and professions, and other distinct physical or virtual communities.

3. For many professions and trades, competency-based education and assessment will largely replace assessment of readiness through traditional letter grade systems, GPAs and similar measures. Systems like traditional letter grades will be phased out with the emergence of more accurate and granular measures of learner progress and competence. This will impact both initial training and continuing education.

4. Depending upon the context, alternate and micro-credentialing systems will replace or supplement letter grades, course, credits, and degrees (but the most regulated industries will be more insulated from this disruption). These emerging credentialing systems will have features like expiration dates and detailed information about the criteria met to earn the credential.

5. Educational experiences will provide significant learner control and/or learner-specific adjustments of time, place, pace and learning pathway. As part of this, adaptive learning and robust learning progression designs will replace many industrial or one-size-fits all models of education and training. For better or worse, with the maturity of adaptive learning tools, there will be a renewed and invigorated battle between the  “science of teaching and learning” and the “art of teaching and learning.” Learning analytics and big data will drive the design of high-impact, competency-based individualized learning experiences.

July 23, 2014 03:48 PM

July 19, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [49]

Hey there, badgers!

Here’s a quick run-down of what happened this week:

We hope everyone has a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week!

July 19, 2014 03:41 PM

July 18, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Why Develop in the Newsroom 2015 (part two)

This week, as part of our search for our 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows, who spend 10 months writing open code in the newsroom, we have asked others that develop in the newsroom why they do what they do.

The answers—we highlighted a couple on Wednesday—are still flowing in, but wanted to touch on two great ones, both from members of the team at Vox Media.

Lauren Rabaino, a product manager at Vox, outlines ten compelling reasons to write code in journalism. One hits on the fact that, in journalism, you’re constantly having to learn new things:

In order to execute on products that work, you have to force yourself to learn about processes and history and key players for topics you previously knew nothing about. Working in a newsroom with journalists is like going back to school, but more fun (there’s often a lot more cursing and whiskey and no tests except whether you’ve met the user’s needs).

Another of Lauren’s reasons hits hard at why *I* do this work: the ability to solve new problems:

The information industry has come far in recent years in evolving how we do storytelling in a digital world, but there’s still so much more to do, so much more progress to make, so many more problems to solve. This is a world that has immense and ever-growing potential at building the kinds of information solutions that help people live richer, more informed lives. And you can be a part of that. You can shape that. You can lead that. We need more leaders in this space.

For Ryan Mark, who recently joined the Vox team after a long stint developing at the Chicago Tribune, coding in journalism is personal:

I build for news because I’m building for myself. News and information, learning and knowledge is an extremely important part of my life. The free flow of knowledge that the internet has made possible has brought me happiness, wonder and purpose. I couldn’t imagine not being a part of it.

The application to apply to become a 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellow is open until August 16. If you love to code, want to learn new things, challenge yourself, and help make information more open, you should apply today.

July 18, 2014 10:07 PM

July 17, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 16, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 16, 2014:

This week, the Badge Alliance led the community call, taking advantage of a gap in the presentation schedule to update the community on some of what’s been happening in the Working Groups, and in the Alliance as a whole.

Badge Alliance Marketing Director Megan Cole joined us to give an overview of what the Badge Alliance has been doing since launching in February, as well as a few hints of what’s to come in September, when the first working cycle comes to an end and the second kicks off.

We also heard from other members of the Badge Alliance team as well as members of the Badge Alliance community working in leadership roles within the Working Groups.

A new and shiny website

The Badge Alliance unveiled their new website in June. Still in Phase 1, the website offers some introductory information about badges, the Alliance, and the Working Groups, as well as a sign-up form to participate in the groups.


Constellation Model for Social Change

The Badge Alliance is framed on the Constellation Model for Social Change, seating the work in a set of focused working groups that are working towards specific goals in particular areas of the badging ecosystem - such as higher education, cities, and digital literacy - and the infrastructure - including endorsement, research, and policy.

The work is done in cycles of six months, encouraging focused, engaged work towards both short-term and more wide-reaching goals, as well as providing the flexibility to adapt as the needs and landscape of the ecosystem change.

There are currently 11 open Working Groups for this first working cycle, each of which is stewarded by a Badge Alliance Liaison, a member of the BA team who ensures their groups are meeting goals, makes connections across groups, and points them to useful resources or others working on similar projects.


Working Group Highlights

During the call, we heard from three working groups:

For its first cycle, the Messaging Working Group is focusing on fine-tuning and increasing the amount of Open Badges marketing and educational resources available. Details can be found on the groups wiki page.

For its first cycle, the Cities Working Group is focusing on building the national Cities of Learning brand, increasing the number of cities participating in the initiative and documenting efforts. Details can be found on the groups wiki page.

This group has developed a roadmap of proposals and is working on some prototyping on the Open Badges assertion schema, as well as digging into extensions and endorsement capabilities.

For detailed notes on these groups, see the call notes at

If you haven’t yet signed up for Working Groups and would like to, visit

July 17, 2014 04:11 PM

July 16, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Why Develop in the Newsroom? 2015 Remix.

One month from today, August 16, the search for our 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows will come to a close. Knight-Mozilla Fellows do amazing work—they spend 10 months embedded in newsrooms writing code to help solve journalistic problems—but they don’t do that work alone. When you become a Knight-Mozilla Fellow, you join two communities: a community of fellows (both your peers and alumn from the program), and a community of developers working in the newsroom.

To mark this final month of our 2015 Fellowship search, we’ve invited a lot of voices to talk about their experiences coding in the newsroom. Later in the month you’ll hear from our fellows (both current and past) and our news parnters as well. But this week we’re going to hear from the community of developers currently doing this work in newsrooms big and small around the world.

The developer community in journalism is a dynamic one, and there isn’t one single reason anyone decides to start coding in a newsroom instead of a startup or in the enterprise. Instead, developers start coding in newsrooms for all sorts of reasons.

This week (as we’ve done in the past), we’ve asked developers to share their reasons and experiences with you. These stories—we’ll share a few a day—are wonderful; each one a unique argument to join a singular community.

For Jeremy Bowers, a developer at the New York Times, journalism offers something different than traditional coding jobs. He explains:

We’ve got soul.

We’ve got a mission.

We’re self-critical.

We’ve got stacks of interesting structured data aching to be investigated and summarized. Our reporters are staring down the federal government, tracking people who are otherwise invisible and watching the epidemics most people don’t even know about.

Aaron Williams, who codes at the Center for Investigative Reporting, echoes Bowers when he says that, in traditional programming, “it’s not often the code you write influences the politics of the community.” But, Williams also adds:

I develop in a newsroom because, honestly, it’s just plain fun.

On any given day you may have to write a web crawler to harvest crime logs from your local law enforcement agency or use Mechanical Turk to crowdsource analysis of PDFs you received from a public records request.

On other days you’ll need a better map than Google offers and end up making creating your own slippy map tile set. Or you may start picking up libraries like pandas and SPSS to do some serious data analysis on a 25 GB data dump you’re trying to clean in another Terminal window.

Needless to say, you’ll stay busy and you’ll become a better developer than you ever thought.

Have fun and change the world while you do it: Become a 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellow by applying today.

PS. if you’re a developer in the newsroom and want to contribute your voice to this collection as well, just let me know.

July 16, 2014 09:46 PM

July 15, 2014

Open Badges blog

UK Minister for Skills recognizes "emerging opportunities offered by Open Badges" and will encourage awarding bodies to explore badges

We’ve got some exciting news from across the pond:

The UK Minister for Skills recently commissioned the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) to identify obstacles preventing further education providers taking full advantage of technology  including Open Badges - and in particular to investigate the barriers placed in the way by regulatory bodies, funding bodies and awarding organizations. The group’s recommendations were designed to remove these obstacles, and encourage the further education system towards the digital future expected by learners and employers.

The Minister’s response included the following:

"We believe in the power of technology to transform education. From disruptive technologies like Open Badges, through to better use of technology to improve the teaching and learning experience, digital adoption can improve standards. Technology can make teaching more engaging for learners and more fulfilling for teachers. Technology empowers good teachers.
In broad terms, the conferring of an Open Badge on a learner is similar to the award of a qualification certificate, and the same quality standards must be ensured. The emerging opportunities offered by Open Badges in the areas of peer assessment, employer partnership, learning analytics and the engagement of learners means that it should be considered in learning technology at various levels. We will encourage Awarding Organisations, Ofqual and Ofsted to be aware of the potential of this technology.”

The full report and Government response is available here.

July 15, 2014 09:14 PM

Jess Klein

The first 6 weeks of Hive Labs

Six weeks ago, Atul Varma, Chris Lawrence, Kat Baybrooke and I embarked on an experiment we call Hive Labs. Let me tell you about, Let me show you a little slideshow I made about our first 6 weeks to the tune of Josh Gad singing In Summer from the movie Frozen.

So, in summary (or if you aren't the musical slideshare type) the first 6 weeks have been great. We did a bunch of listening and research, including attending events and hackjams run by and for Hive members. Here's a neat worksheet from a Mouse run Webmaker training in New York. 

We did some research and design on tools and resources to support prototyping:

Sherpa is a codename for a tool that helps prototypers define a design opportunity and openly work through the process for designing a solution. We designed some mockups to see if this is a direction that we should pursue. Sherpa could be a back-end for the "Cupcake dashboard" or be a stand alone tool. We spun up an instance of the "Cupcakes" dashboard  designed by the Firefox UX team to help figure out if it is a useful tool to surface prototypes.

We also prototyped a snippet for Firefox to promote Maker Party, worked on an idea for self guided Webmaking and began work on a Net Neutrality Teaching Kit.

Finally, we've shipped some things:
The No-Fi, Lo-Fi Teaching Kit and the Mobile Design Teaching Kit

The No-Fi Lo-Fi Teaching Kit asks participants the question how can we empower educators to teach the web in settings where connectivity isn't guaranteed?

With the Mobile Design Teaching Kit, participants play with, break apart and modify mobile apps in order to understand how they work as systems. This teaching kit is designed to explore a few activities that can be mixed and mashed into workshops for teens or adults who want to design mobile apps. Participants will tinker with paper prototyping, design mindmaps and program apps while learning basic design and webmaking concepts.

A local and a global Hive Learning Network directory

... and a section on to help guide mentors through making Teaching Kits and Activities:

The first 6 weeks have been great, and we are going to continue to listen, create and deliver based on needs from the community. We have lots more to build. We want to do this incrementally, partly to release sooner, and partly to build momentum through repeated releases.

July 15, 2014 09:09 PM

Open Badges blog

Testing, testing… Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges!

Testing, testing… Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges!:

To help with Maker Party (launching today!) Mozilla has been working on a series of Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges. These will be issued to those who can make digital artifacts related to one or more competencies on the Web Literacy Map.

Read more about how you can help test these badges at the link above.

July 15, 2014 06:00 PM

Hive NYC

Unpacking Hive’s Big Ambitious Goals

Last week, Chris Lawrence, Senior Director of Mozilla’s Webmaker Community, published a 1500-word blog post that was years in the making. Entitled, Hive Learning Networks’ Vision, Goals and Conditions for Impact, the post presents a five-year action plan for the network of organizations and individuals that make, teach and learn under the auspices of Hive. Helmed by Lawrence and Meghan McDermott, former Executive Director of Global Action Project, the document builds on recent output by the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet, the Connected Learning Alliance and Hive directors and synthesizes the common interests of key stakeholders at MacArthur, Mozilla, Hive Digital Media Learning Fund and National Writing Project.

unpacking_bhag_titleThe post outlines Hive Learning Networks’ big ambitious goal (a modification of the Big Hairy Audacious Goal popular in business circles) and identifies the benchmarks that will be used to gauge our collective progress along the way. The Hive BHAG is an indication of the changing approach (and refreshing alignment) within what has been a very wide field of practice and observation. The action verbs used to describe Hive’s goals (mobilize, catalyze, create and grow) help to illustrate a shift towards a more growth oriented phase in our work. As a document, the BHAG both announces and performs several things that organizational consultant and information designer David Sibbet notes a sustainably-minded organization focused on broader use and adoption might do, namely:

(List adapted from “Types of Sustainable Organizations” in Visual Leaders by David Sibbet, Grove Consultants International p64-65)

bhag_create_etcThe Hive BHAG proffers a vision of “ubiquitous connected learning.” It also proposes the route we might take to get there—by continuing to build and build upon the constellation of tools, curriculum, content and practices that we group underneath the large umbrella of Hive. What is Hive and what are “Hive-like” practices? The Hive Learning Networks Overview, and its twinned characteristics—collaborative/catalytic, equitable/accessible, engaging/participatory—feels as close as we have come to defining the utility and potential of Hive as a “demonstrated model” with local relevance and global connections.


While Hive’s BHAG looks forward, it also holds clues to where we as Hive (and as a field) have been. As someone who attended the first DML Conference back in 2010, Hive’s cohesion as a constellation of networks is indicative of a larger shift towards identifying and assessing the specific skills, competencies and practices that fuel how practitioners work with digital media and the web. The BHAG’s focus on connected learning and web literacy as the means to reach impact for Hive Learning Networks, is an example of a sharpened perspective being witnessed across the field in general. It joins several other recent efforts that together help to focus what has been a wide-ranging discourse. Other examples of larger shifts in perspective and renewed clarity of approach include the launch of the Connected Learning Alliance, emergence of the Badge Alliance, the new Explore and Resources features on the Mozilla Webmaker platform and the re-branding of the Pursuitery and Hive Learning Networks websites.


When I worked at the Institute of Play, we defined tools that helped learners to think and solve problems as “smart tools.” The apparatus could be as simple as a ruler or as complex as a line of code. For me, as a Hive Learning Network director, the Hive BHAG, the revamped Why Connected Learning? graphic and the Web Literacy Map are my current arsenal of tools to “think with.” Taken together, they have become trusty reference points to help navigate what Hive NYC is learning, making and testing all around me. While these accomplished maps and guides provide a much needed coherence and direction, they are still resolutely in development. To reach the ambitious goals of broad adoption and use, Connected Learning, Web Literacy and Hive’s BHAG,  must be play-tested by Hive communities, exploring new approaches, circulating discoveries and sharing challenges from Hive’s unique perspective here on the ground.

The post Unpacking Hive’s Big Ambitious Goals appeared first on Hive NYC.

July 15, 2014 12:30 PM

July 14, 2014

Forrest Oliphant


Now that we have a working noflo-canvas it is time to try more complex shapes. Voronoi Diagram and Delaunay Triangulation are canonical algorithms from Computational Geometry and were made classic for generative art or creative coding. These algorithms are useful to create textures or meshes. In general, you can give them a set of points and Voronoi will create cells around your points. Delaunay will draw triangles for each possible triple of points, with non-crossing edges. This figure presents both Voronoi Diagram (in pink) and Delaunay Triangulation (in blue) for some random points (in yellow):

Voronoi and Delaunay

Other examples follow:

Voronoi and Delaunay

To better understand the Delaunay Triangulation, let's see an example. The following figure shows a triangulation for a set of points. Note the circumcircles around each possible triangle:

Delaunay right example (modified from Wikipedia)

There's no points inside of any of the circumcircles: the points are located right in circumcircles' edges. You can try to find other triangles which points are not inside circumcircles, but you won't. Let me give you an example of a wrong triangle:

Delaunay wrong example (modified from Wikipedia)

As you can see, the red points are inside the circumcircle of our green triangle, so it's not a valid triangle. That's what Delaunay Triangulation is about: for a given set of points, it finds all the triangles which points are not inside a circumcircle (formed by the triangles).

And what about Voronoi Diagram? There's many ways to understand what Voronoi algorithm is about, but there's an easy way now that we know Delaunay Triangulation. Voronoi is dual (or related) to Delaunay. If we connect the center points of all the triangle circumcircles obtained by the Delaunay Triangulation, we have the Voronoi Diagram!

Voronoi and Delaunay duality (modified from Wikipedia)

The noflo-geometry implements both Voronoi and Delaunay algorithms. Being NoFlo a general purpose flow-based environment, it is a common approach to search for JS libraries which implements what you want and encapsulate them as a bunch of components. For noflo-geometry we used libraries by @ironwallaby and @gorhill, and thanks to NoFlo now you can use both as components with a common interface, at the same environment:



Here are some examples of tessellations generated by the Voronoi and Delaunay component:

Voronoi diagram 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Delaunay tessellation 1

Next steps

Forrest was invited to the super cool Assembly demo party (!!!) so we are planning to work on components for threejs, Web Audio API and timeline to create a demo! Fun times coming, please keep following!

July 14, 2014 12:00 AM

July 11, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [48]

It’s that time of the week again!

There’s been lots of activity this week. Members of the Badge Alliance Team were in Boston to meet with their Tech Council to consider the future of the technology that underpins Open Badges - more to come from that in the next week or two.

Lots of folks have been speaking and writing about badges this week too:


We’ll catch up with you all next week - have a great weekend, everyone!

July 11, 2014 02:15 PM

July 10, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 9, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 9, 2014:



This week we were joined by Bill Beazley, who also presented on Tuesday’s Badge Alliance call for the Workforce Working Group (notes here). Bill leads Piping Design U, a portal “dedicated to providing affordable piping design training and credentialing,” established by Information Assets, Inc.

Piping Design U recently announced its planned list of badges for its piping design training modules, and Bill joined us to share how he developed the badges, some lessons learned, and offer his thoughts on why badges are a particularly good fit for the kind of training offered by Piping Design U and other industry training models.

You can find Bill’s slides here.

Badges for incremental learning

Piping designers are highly paid, skilled workers, and they learn much of their skills and expertise on the job, gaining credibility through experience. Bill had developed a set of training videos, which he discovered were being broken down into smaller segments for “lunch and learn” sessions, where workers could develop skills and learn during lunch breaks and similar environments. These sessions required shorter videos and more incremental units of learning material, which led Bill to develop a subscription model for his courses.

Course model vs Subscription model

Piping Design U uses a subscription business model, which focuses on recognition of progression at a more granular level to encourage long-term engagement. It is suited to on-the-job or just-in-time training settings, as opposed to the ‘body of knowledge’ style learning fostered in a course model, where the goals are about finishing a course via sequential learning experiences.

The course model often awards certificates or degrees upon the completion of a course and the mastery of a set of skills. The subscription model, by comparison, is suited to the issuing of micro-credentials, which allow for recognition of incremental learning as a particular skill or knowledge set is achieved.

Bill developed 118 initial badges for the subtopics within Piping Design U, each with its own test bank, quic, certificate, and badge. Bill employed an interesting method for badge evidence - instead of publishing graded materials, Bill uses an ‘evidence policy’:

Piping Design U does not disclose test grades to the public.  Each badge has a set of objectives for the skills represented by the badge.  Each set of objectives is tested by a quiz of not less than 10 questions (or 10 individual answers) with at least one question or answer representing each objective of the skills definition.

In order to be awarded the badge, the candidate has to score at least 80% on the quiz.  Inside Moodle, a certificate is awarded if their grade meets the 80% standard. Awarding the certificate triggers awarding the badge, thus, the badge shows the certificate as the “evidence” of having the skill. The badge will not show the actual grade on the exam.

Badge definitions are also not listed publicly, but are included within the badges, so applicants can see what they need to achieve, and those viewing a badge can see the descriptions.

Continuing Education credit hours

Bill has approached the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to explore and encourage the adoption of badges as evidence of continuing education, something professional engineers and others must complete a certain number of hours of each year.

When Bill spoke to the engineering board, the badges did not contain enough of the data required, so were not eligible for CE credit. Bill then wrote a specification for meeting licensing requirements for continuing education, which can be added as a supplement to the badges. A draft of this policy can be found here: Piping Design CE Policy Draft.

Those Bill has spoken to on both a state and national level have been receptive to the idea of badges - though, as Bill pointed out, that doesn’t necessarily equate to rapid adoption. But it’s important on an ecosystem level to note that more and more accrediting bodies are either already aware of badging efforts in their industries and disciplines, or are receptive to the idea when it’s presented to them.

Although badging still receives pushback from certain circles - particularly around the issue of terminology - the concept of badging is gaining more widespread acceptance and generating excitement in education and the workforce as more people are seeing a real need for micro-credentials that can capture and showcase a detailed skill set or knowledge base that can connect learners and workers to real job opportunities.

For an in-depth look at what Bill has developed, see the call notes and check out his slides and blog. You can connect with Bill through the Badge Alliance Working Group on Workforce at

July 10, 2014 07:04 PM

July 08, 2014

Open Badges blog

July 8 Webinar: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments

Why Does Trust Matter in Connected Learning Environments?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 @ 11am PDT / 2pm EDT / 7pm BST

We are happy to announce that HASTAC and the MacArthur Foundation are hosting a webinar tomorrow about trust in connected learning environments, a topic that gets right to the heart of a healthy badge ecosystem. They even have some famous badge people joining them, including our very own Carla Casilli and Nichole Pinkard, as well as Barry Joseph!


Interested in thinking how technology, policies, and practices could build more trusted learning environments? Join HASTAC / MacArthur Foundation to discuss Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments on Tuesday, July 8 at 11am PDT (2pm EDT), the first of a four-event webinar series about trust, privacy, safety, and learning in an open online world.

What technologies, tools, and policies do learners need to navigate, collaborate, and learn online with confidence? What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments? How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust? What role do badges play in conversations about trust in connected learning environments?

Guest speakers will dive deep into these questions and the principle that “students should have safe and trusted environments for learning,” one of five principles for creating safe, optimized and rewarding learning experiences described in the Aspen Task Force on Learning & the Internet report: 'Learner In The Center Of A Networked World.'

More webinar topics this month:

This webinar series is part of the fifth HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition’s Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments, a call to action based on findings and recommendations issued by the Aspen Institute Task Force report.

The fifth open international Trust Challenge will award $1.2 million to institutions and organizations that tackle challenges to trust in real-life learning contexts. The Trust Challenge includes a call for proposals that will fund successful collaborations or “laboratories” that create scalable, innovative, and transformative exemplars of connected learning that bridge technological solutions with complex social considerations of trust.

More information about how to apply can be found at

"See" you there!


Connect with the Trust Challenge:

Twitter: and #dmltrust
Listserv: To receive notifications about the Trust Challenge, including reminders when the application opens, send a message to with “subscribe” in the subject line.

July 08, 2014 09:02 AM

July 04, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [47]

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

We’ve got a quick round-up of this week’s open badges activity, then we’ll let you get back to enjoying the long weekend:

That’s it for us - be safe this weekend, and we’ll see you on Monday.

Here’s 10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the 4th of July


July 04, 2014 08:15 PM

Laura Hilliger

Updates from the edge

Last week I was off work at a family event, and I was disappointed because I thought that maybe I wasn't getting the rest I needed from a week off of work. Apparently, social stress and work stress are different. This week when I feel like I've been extremely productive and managed to make a bunch of things. First off, I was pleased to see that while I was away the work on the DRM and Net Neutrality Trainings launching July 28th had started, and that the team creating that content is excited about the possibilities. There’s still loads to be done, so if those topics interest you and you want to help out, there are plenty of opportunities. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="311"] My brain was doing this all week. via Giphy[/caption] I collaborated with Doug to figure out the nuances of Webmaker Training and what it means for counting contribution towards the Mozilla project. I collected loads of data and wrote a couple of wiki pages that fully unpack the training that took place from May 12th June 8th. This debrief page talks about things went right, things went wrong and some ideas for improvement. This page explores how training is different from other types of programs in terms of how it relates to a contribution to the Mozilla project. Another thing that I accomplish this week was taking a good deep dive into MDN’s new Learning Zone that they're putting together. I'm excited about this work because I think that the MDN community and Webmaker community have a lot of overlap. We can help each other in learning social and technical skills around the web, and we can help each other #TeachTheWeb too. I'd like to create more bridges, and the Learning Zone work is a step in that direction. The MDN is beginning to create articles and Makes that relate to the Web Literacy Map. They’re also starting to think about Thimble, Popcorn and X-ray goggles Makes that support active learning. They’re planning on making tutorials and other fun things for our community to remix or use to #TeachTheWeb. I've also just been added to an email chain about the new Connected Learning Course that is going to be coming out in September. I’m looking forward to exploring cMOOC challenges and spinning ideas about blended learning along with the team putting together this new experience designed to create better ties between academic classrooms and online learning initiatives. For more info on what I do every week, you can always check out my Weeknotes, and I'm all over the web, so get in touch!

July 04, 2014 01:55 PM

July 03, 2014

Hive NYC

Resources That Help Teach the Web

This is re-posted from the Webmaker blog. Community Literacies is a new series about Webmaker’s finest teaching kits and learning tools, and the user stories that bring them to life. This one happens to feature Hive NYC’s Jeannie Crowley from Bank Street College. Have a resource to share? Get in touch.

In this issue, we explore community-made curriculum that mixes together creative practices rooted in the physical world — from circuit-building to photography — with digitized processes of collaboration, co-design and attribution on the web. We’ll start by learning about a set of hands-on activities built for Hack Your Notebook Day by Chad Sansing, Jen Dick and David Cole. We’ll speak to Alan “Cogdog” Levine about his work creating a Thimble tool that helps users understand complex image searches, and we’ll end our time together by chatting with Jeannie Crowley about teaching the whole child on paper, even the digital bits.

teaching kit

A co-designed teaching kit about notebooks and circuits

This summer, NEXMAP and CV2 have partnered with Educator Innovator to offer Hack Your Notebook Day, an initiative to support educators and learners with useful resources as they explore how 21st century notebooking can engage youth in creative STEM learning. Inspired by the educational content offered, educator Chad Sansing got in touch with NEXMAP’s Jen Dick and David Cole to co-design a teaching kit of circuit activities together in time for the campaign. And from emulating a circuit in a group, to working with LEDs, to making paper circuits interactive, there is definitely an activity for all skill levels and interests.Image thanks to NEXMAP

From the beginning, the kit-building process was a truly collaborative effort based cross-national communication — illustrating the best bits of co-design methods in action. “During our initial call to talk about how the kit could work, we brainstormed a scope and sequence on a Google doc that became our shared space for copy, links, and planning,” says Chad. And how did the kit get built after that, given the distances and time zones between collaborators?

“Well,” Chad explains, “After our initial meeting, I started migrating text to the landing page and the series circuit activity, and wrote the Human Circuits page. Jen then shot and shared all the .gif images, and built the other activity pages, and both she and David gave feedback throughout the process on how to structure the pages. Since Jen wanted facilitators to have a go-to spot for troubleshooting, we added a little CSS to make a red section on the sidebar for that purpose. As we worked, we checked in once a week on a call, made minor edits in real-time using Together.js, and got the kit in shape as a team.”

What’s next for this group of circuit co-conspirators? Up-leveling the kit to include wi-fi hacks and beyond! Chad, Jen and David have already agreed to team up again and build even more activities inspired by #HYNBD, which is coming up on July 9th. In the meantime, they’d love more collaborators. To find out more about what NEXMAP and its partners have planned, get in touch with Jen, and to help build an activity for the kit, email Chad.

The Hack the Notebook Day kit will soon be available on the Composing For the Web section of the Web Literacy Map.

teaching kit

A tool that explores complex digital image searches

Sometimes, the inspiration to create a teaching kit comes directly from the practice of making itself. Longtime educator and maker Alan “Cogdog” Levine had been experimenting with various advanced possibilities of Thimble for a while before he discovered the way to build a new educational tool that scratched a long-discussed itch. The resulting Image Seek (and its accompanying teaching kit) provide an in-depth exploration of the process of image searching and attribution on the web for hard-to-explain ideas.

“As someone who loves photography, all of my webmaking — blogs, websites, remixes — have relied heavily on photos to communicate my ideas,” says Alan. “It’s always been easy to find images when you have a specific, literal subject in mind — an image of a computer keyboard, a rhinoceros, or a knitting needle. Search engines are good at these kinds of searches. But what if you’re writing online, blogging, presenting or media editing, and need images that communicate ideas, concepts or metaphors? What keywords might produce images that suggest concepts such as bravery, honesty, struggling to learn, complexity, aggression, trust?”

“This is the idea behind Image Seek,” Cogdog explains. “It’s not about teaching how to search (as a strategy) but instead how to use search sites (as a skill). It’s the difference between knowing how to hit something with a chisel, and knowing how to sculpt art with that chisel.”

Cogdog adds that he would love to see others remix the Image Seek tool for their own needs. “By remixing it,” he says, “you can document both your process and the information you needed to attribute… which is out there, but not largely tried, so I am eager to see how others have used it!” Cogdog encourages remixers to get in touch with him on his blog or Twitter, and in the meantime he will be exploring these ideas in workshop form at a K12 conference in Tucson, AZ next month.

Image Seek is now available on the Search section of the Web Literacy Map. Image credit: Clarence Fisher,

teaching kit

An icebreaker that teaches the whole child, with digital bits

Sometimes, educators can be hesitant to include technology in the classroom. Perhaps it’s a problem of connectivity (see the Lo-Fi No-Fi kit on this topic), or perhaps it is simply an issue of empowerment, calling for better professional development. Jeannie Crowley manages digital media and learning at Bank Street College, is a longtime Hive NYC member, and has a background in using teaching to shift the way institutions use technology. To help educators who are newer to digital pedagogies, she has created an easy-to-facilitate icebreaker activity entitled “Teaching the Whole Child” that introduces the concept of teaching the web in the classroom.

This activity can be used as a lead-in to other hacking activities planned for the day, and has been built to explore the disconnect between the reality of the “whole child” approach to education, and participant perceptions of what that might mean in the context of digital skills. For Jeannie, this is an important discussion to be happening as the digital lives of students increasingly become a part of their lived learning environments. “I think if educators understand the importance of the web to young learners, they will be more likely to encourage active participation in the web as part of their everyday curriculum,” says Jeannie. She cites overhearing young learners’ extracurricular interests described as “wasting time” (ie playing video games), being “distracted” (ie social networks) and using the web to “interfere” with “real” learning.

“I developed this activity to help start a conversation about the importance of the web with educators who remain hesitant to incorporate technology into their practice,” Jeannie explains. “Its real exploration is the concept of the whole child approach we often talk about and how it might relate out work to technology, so by using powerful visuals in a hands-on exercise where we literally cut out of a child paper doll, we can examine our own commitment to teaching our children beyond the parts of their education we may deem to be irrelevant.”

Jeannie is especially interested to see how educators explore the question of what risks we run, both academically and emotionally, by ignoring the out-of-school interests of children. She encourages those who facilitate or remix the activity to get in touch, tell her what’s missing, and add their own local variations.

Teaching the Whole Child will soon be available on the Community Practices section of the Web Literacy Map.

A big thanks to our featured makers

We end this issue with many e-hugs and food fountain gifs for webmakers Chad, Alan and Jeannie for sharing their great educational creations. We hope this issue has left you feeling inspired to remix, reflect and create your own! Have a great piece of content you want us to feature, or want to nominate someone else’s work? Get in touch.

Get involved!

The post Resources That Help Teach the Web appeared first on Hive NYC.

July 03, 2014 06:12 PM

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 2, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 2, 2014:



This week we were joined by Dave Crusoe, director of technology and academic success for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, to share some updates on the badging work being done by the BGCA, and speak to a recent badges meet-up in the Atlanta, GA area.

A goal of the BGCA is to “propel youth through a continuum” for educational and career success. A new program of ‘Essentials projects’ is being launched at the elementary, middle, and high school levels that enable students to create portfolios of completed projects, as well as badges which serve as a certification of completion and recognition at each level. These badges also give learners access to opportunities within the clubs, so serve both as an incentive to learn and a recognition of progress and mastery. What’s even better is, the Essentials projects are aligned with the Web Literacy Map!

Badge Atlanta

After engaging the wider community in exploring badge-related questions, Dave wanted to look within and around Atlanta, GA, where the BGCA national headquarters are. Dave found three institutions already issuing badges in the region:

  • Georgia State University: The Certified Professional Innovator™ (CPI) Program is a non-degree certificate program designed for individuals who want to master the knowledge, skills, and courage to become "professional innovators." Designed for "mid-career" individuals in business (or other fields), the course is for those who want to roll out innovations at their programs. There are four combinations of distance and contact learning within the program, each of which is badged
  • Emory University - The Open Education Initiative, a pilot program to promote OERs, has explored badges as part of a broader look at micro-credentials. The writing program at Emory has also used badges as part of a media literacy program called Domain of One’s Own that helps student build their own portfolios, simultaneously helping them develop skills and give them a means to showcase their work
  • Epstein School - This K-8 private school has been using badges to recognize participation and engagement at various levels  (a k-8 private school) and are looking into how badges can serve as incentives with a view to building out a school-wide incentive system with badges

Previous community calls and research calls have explored the potential for badges to motivate or incentivize learners, but many of our community members who have built badge systems have framed their badges on recognition for competencies and skills rather than as rewards. Dave told the community call group that he thought many of the BGCA programs’ primary reason for using badges are to motivate and reward participation, which will be interesting to watch as these systems develop.

Nate Otto shared his thoughts from his work on the badge Design Principles Documentation project and recent conversations with other researchers in the community: “I think as people get more experience with badges, they realize the cool additional ways badges can empower people.” For many, badges as rewards is a starting point, that leads to more complex systems of recognition and pathways to further opportunities. As more badge systems using badges as motivators / incentives / extrinsic rewards for achievements start to grow, it will be interesting to see how these badges pair with and/or develop into recognition systems using badges.

To learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, click here. To explore what the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada are doing with badges, check out this community call summary and their Badge Centre.

July 03, 2014 12:10 PM

July 02, 2014

Michelle Thorne

Webmaker Training in Uganda

60 newly trained Webmaker Mentors. 12 amazing Webmaker Super Mentors. 200 students taught how to participate on the web. 1 epic weekend in Kampala!

Mozillians from Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda gathered together for the first time to run a train-the-trainer event for East Africa. The goal was to teach the local community–a lovely mix of educators, techies and university students in Kampala–how to teach the web.

The training in Uganda builds on Webmaker’s free online professional development. Our theory is that blending online and in-person professional development, participants get the most out of the experience and better retain the skills they learned. Not to mention staying connected to a local community as well as a global one.

Training Agenda

Together with the amazing event hosts, we crafted a modular training agenda.

It cover 2 days of training and a half day practice event. Participants had little to no experience teaching the web before the event. But after the training, they would go on to teach 200 secondary school students!

The training helped the participants get ready for the practice event and to teach the web to the communities they care about. We covered these four main learning objectives:

Not to mention lots of fun games and interstitial activities. I learned, for example, how to play a Ugandan schoolyard game called “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.”

Community Leaders

For me, the most exciting part of this event was meeting and supporting the emerging community leaders.

Some of the Webmaker Super Mentors were part of our first training a year ago in Athens. Others were quite experienced event organizers, mentors and facilitators who stepped up to the role of teaching others how to teach.

The training facilitators had a beautiful blend of experiences, and each facilitator, in addition to each participant, got to level up their skills as part of the training.

Lessons Learned

Every event is a learning experience, no matter which role you have. I learned a lot by helping San James teach people to teach people how to teach the web.

Thank you!

This was one of the most inspiring and fun events I’ve been to with Mozilla.

The hugest of thank yous to all the Super Mentors–from Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda–for making the event possible. A special thanks to San James and Lawrence for believing in this event for a long time. Your upcoming Mozilla Festival East Africa will be a success thanks to your wonderful team and the people you trained. This is only the beginning!

July 02, 2014 02:28 PM

July 01, 2014

Open Badges blog

Hive Learning Networks

Hive Learning Networks:


The Hive Learning Networks have launched a new central website!

What began as two Hive cities (in NYC and Chicago) nearly five years ago has become a growing constellation of communities around the globe that share a vision and set of goals, while also respecting the hyperlocal needs and opportunities to empower educators, innovate, and unlock connected learning opportunities for all youth.

Mozilla and The MacArthur Foundation are actively building and strengthening this network of networks, so they created this new hub to answer the following questions:

The new site aims to inform and connect those interested in the Hive model – whether that’s someone who wants to participate or contribute to an existing Hive, start a new Hive, or be interested in writing about or supporting Hive at a local, national, and global level.

July 01, 2014 02:38 PM

June 27, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [46]

Have you heard the news? Last year’s CGI America commitment to help 2 million Americans reach better futures through open badges has been upped to 10 million better futures worldwide! Read more on the Badge Alliance blog.

Speaking of which….the Badge Alliance has a shiny new website for you to check out! Increased functionality and access will come in the fall, but go to to take a look around the new site. Huge kudos to Salter>Mitchell for the branding and site design!

What else happened this week?

We’ll catch up with you all on Monday. Now go dive in to the weekend!

June 27, 2014 04:58 PM

Open Badges Community Project Call, June 25, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, June 25, 2014:



DigiSkills Cymru (that’s Welsh, for Wales!) was inspired by the idea that both the way public service workers work and the way they learn is changing as a result of digital technologies and that trade union-led learning needs to embrace this change. DigiSkills Cymru has been exploring open badges as part of their “off the shelf” design of learning opportunities, and their Project Manager Richard Speight joined us to tell us more about their work, and how badges fit into the work.

You can access Richard’s prezi here.

Training Digital Champions

The DigiSkills Cymru project (within UNISON Cymru/Wales) aims to add to and enhance existing learning provision funded by the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) using a co-design model that encourages participation and partnership working between projects, employers, providers and learners.

The four main branches of their work are:

  1. Providing Training, Advice and Guidance
  2. Leading the co-design of technology-enhanced workshops and other learning experiences
  3. Recruiting, training and supporting Workplace Digital Champions
  4. Working in partnership to develop Community Digital Learning Hubs linked to public service workplaces

UNISON Wales has a rich history in self-organized, community-based learning, so when Richard discovered Open Badges, he knew they would be a good fit for the DigiSkills Project. The co-design model deployed by DigiSkills Cymru includes badges for their online and face-to-face learning environments.

Their online learning platform in Moodle offers seven badged courses for digital champions, which expire after a certain period of time and must be renewed with an updated demonstration of digital skills and competencies. With badges, learners are able to showcase the skills they’ve developed, organizations can track learners’ progress through shared badges, and people can be connected to opportunities that were previously unreachable.

Richard has been working with other trade union services to improve use of digital technology and skills learning. An example of how DigiSkills Cymru has incorporated badges into its co-design is a Social Media for Nurses course with the Royal College of Nursing, which awarded open badges. This was a one-time-only workshop for self-selecting nurses who requested social media skills training - “union activists” who wanted to learn and be able to advise others on social media etiquette and online protection. They used the Jisc badge design toolkit, inspired by the Digital Me Badge Design Canvas, to design the badges for this workshop.

Badging is still very new in Wales, particularly for adult education and training. Many of the national awarding bodies are either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the concept of badges, questioning the value and endorsement of badges. Richard’s experience thus far has been moving in a positive direction, with more and more organizations and groups starting to adopt and explore badges for their adult education and professional training programs.

Hopefully by this time next year, there will be much more badgetastic activity happening in Wales that can be shared with the community. It’s great to see the movement starting, particularly with a focus on adult education - thank you to Richard for sharing his work with us!

To read more, check out the etherpad notes here:

Find out more about DigiSkills Cymru at

June 27, 2014 03:03 PM

June 26, 2014

Open Badges blog

10 Million Better Futures Through Open Badges Commitment Made at...

10 Million Better Futures Through Open Badges Commitment Made at CGI America 2014

Yesterday the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the Badge Alliance, announced a new Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action, to further increase access to opportunities in education and the workforce using open badges – digital credentials for knowledge and skills – to improve the futures of 10 million students and workers worldwide.

Last year, the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla and HASTAC made a commitment at CGI America to improve the lives of 2 million Americans, creating new paths to advancement for a million students and a million workers through digital open badges by the end of 2016. Within a year of that original commitment, partner organizations committed to providing badging opportunities to four million people, inspiring this year’s announcement to up the commitment to 10 million by the MacArthur Foundation and Badge Alliance.

The Badge Alliance and its partners are committed to expanding the use of badges globally over the next 2 years – and beyond – so that 10 million students and workers will be able to use badges to advance their academic progress or further their career goals by being able to demonstrate acquired skills and learning.

The lead partners are urging learning organizations, universities, school districts, and employers across the country to join the open badges commitment. For more information or to make a commitment, watch the video above and visit


We’re really excited to see this commitment get renewed and expanded to help 10 million people access better opportunities for education and career success through open badges. And what a great video!

Read the full story on the Badge Alliance blog —>

June 26, 2014 03:08 PM

June 25, 2014

Open Badges blog

#openbadgesMOOC Session 10 - Badges & Alternative Credentialing

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 10: Badges & Alternative Credentialing

This week on the #openbadgesMOOC, New Currency for Professional Credentials, we explored the world of alternative credentials with Anne Derryberry, and heard from Lipscomb University’s Dean of Continuing Studies Charla Long about how Lipscomb has been using badges to reimagine credentialing and prior learning assessment for their liberal arts college.

Anne Derryberry kicked off the session with an overview of the credentialing landscape today, looking at a number of alternative methods and how badges might play an increasing role in these methods in the near future.

In June 2011, Georgetown University released a study titled “The Undereducated American” that held some “grim predictions” for the future of employment, pointing to the declining college completion rate and the impact on workforce and wages this has had. The national demand for college-educated youth has outpaced supply - leading to a proposed solution of simply putting more students through higher education - 20 million, to be precise, on top of those already headed for college.

Although this goal aligns with President Obama’s goal of having more college graduates than any other country by 2020, it’s certainly not the only solution. The chart below, from a 2012 survey of Census Bureau data, shows that any form of further education can help increase monthly earnings for those aged 18 and over, whether it’s a professional certification or formal education:

Fewer and fewer students in higher education are entering college immediately following secondary education; 85% of undergraduates are non-traditional or “post-traditional” learners that have had years of professional and personal experience before pursuing post-secondary education.

These kinds of students come with a unique set of needs and goals. Many are employed full-time, and/or parents, and need flexible learning environments; others are seeking supplementary courses to build on professional or industry training they have completed in the workplace.

To help these students reach their goals, the range of credentials being offered has to adjust, and two projects aim to find solutions, one from the US Department of Education, another from the Labor Department.

In 2012, the Dept. of Education launched the “Experimental Sites Initiative" to improve post-secondary student outcomes, exploring alternative assessment and credentialing methods including competency-based education and prior learning assessment. Only a handful of institutions will be invited to become experimental sites, but the results will affect wide-reaching policy.

The Dept. of Labor launched the TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training) grant program in 2009, to help institutions of further education prepare participants for “high-wage, high-skill occupations.” This program aims to increase the number of certified skilled workers through traditional and alternative credentialing methods that match employer needs and industry standards. Positive results have been seen in the first three rounds of TAACCCT in a variety of formal and alternative learning and training environments.

Examples of Traditional and Alternative Credentials

A credential is broadly defined as a “verification of qualification or competence” issued to an individual “by a third party with relevant authority.” Examples include degrees and diplomas, as well as professional certifications, apprenticeships, licenses - and yes, badges. 

There are a number of alternative approaches, including:

The basic attributes of alternative credentials are that they are transparent, valid, reliable, and portable (that sounds familiar - those are fundamental attributes of open badges!)

Anne pointed out that, although these alternative credentialing methods, including badges, can help recognize the knowledge, skills, and abilities of workers and learners in a more complete and flexible way, most credentialing methods currently do not make use of badges as a part of their offerings.

There are a number of institutions working to change that, however. Anne highlighted the work being done at Brigham Young University, where badges are being used for their IPT Educaitonal Technologist program. Badges allow BYU to recognize students who went “above and beyond” in their studies, capturing much more than the transcript of course lists and grades.

Lipscomb University Badges

Another example of badges being used in post-secondary education is Lipscomb University, where a push towards competency-based education led Director of Continuing Education Charla Long to explore badges as a way to capture and showcase learners’ full range of knowledge, skills, and abilities in a way their transcripts couldn’t.

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 set of competencies (and different levels of competencies.) Every position has a unique combination of competencies, and Lipscomb’s role was 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 job, 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, with more being added every day, 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 Recognition of Badges

The question we often get asked is: what value do employers see in badges? Charla said that employer uptake potential was very high - they are currently talking to an employer considering sending 9,700 people through Lipscomb’s badged modules!

The impact on both higher education and the workforce of this kind of uptake would be huge - it’s very exciting to see such an enthusiastic response to badges and competency-based learning offerings.

Get in touch with Charla Long if you have more questions about Lipcomb’s badging initiative, and feel free to contact the badges team for general inquiries about the MOOC.


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

Go to to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.

June 25, 2014 03:58 PM

June 23, 2014

Chris McAvoy

Simplifying Open Badges Federation

We’ve had “Backpack Federation” on the Open Badges roadmap for a long time. It’s always been the next thing we’re going to work on, but it continually gets pushed down the list by other high priority items. My goal in this post is to remove the “Federation” project from our roadmap entirely and focus on the features we mean when we say federation. Those features are absolutely within our reach, some of them are being worked on now, some of them are complete and in production.

What does “Federation” mean?

“Federation” just means distributed, with no central service that’s solely responsible for the maintenance or governance of the service. The internet is arguably the greatest example of a federated network. There’s minimal central authority; anyone can add a node to the network. Facebook is the opposite, a single entity controlling a large network of users and services. Facebook allowing users to post Tweets to their timeline counts as federation under some definitions of the word, but for our purposes, we’re talking about distributed systems without a central authority.

What do we mean by “Federation?”

We pack a lot of meaning into open badges federation, what we really mean is “distributed badge storage that gives users choice and opportunity to be discovered for their achievements.” Federation means more backpacks, more user choice and more user benefit. I’ve written more about federation in past blog posts, and even more about a world with more backpacks.

Some brief user stories help illustrate what we mean by federation,

Let’s stop saying Federation

Let’s break down the scenarios above and give a rough idea of what needs to be built to satisfy the need.

I earn a badge at my local public library and can put it into the Mozilla Open Badges Backpack, or into my school’s backpack, or my backpack on my phone.

Our first pass at this feature was a prototype of a issuer api shim that stored your backpack of choice in the browser. It’s still viable, but we’re also thinking a lot about badge baking. A badge that includes metadata about what the badge represents inside the badge graphic, a “baked badge”, is a super portable badge. The current backpack concept requires that the earner “push” their badges into a backpack. By contrast, for years we’ve had an idea for a backpack that ‘pulls’ badges from an issuer; let’s pursue that. With a “pull backpack”, a lot of the burden of the Issuer API is taken from the Issuer. If they give a baked badge on their site, a “pull backpack” can suck it right up. Pinterest for badges!

I make a badge for Javascript programming public in my backpack. A week later, an employer finds my badge through a search for JS skills and I’m asked for an interview.

We’re working on a prototype of a badge directory which focuses on indexing BadgeClasses (the definition of an earnable badge, instead of the BadgeAssertion, which defines an earned badge). If we extend the directory to allow for indexing of BadgeAssertions, backpacks could report earned badges to directory services. The directory services could share feeds of their indexed objects, acting as supernodes in a network of badge indexers.

A researcher gathers anonymous data through the distributed network of backpacks about the amount of time it takes to learn skills equal to an undergraduate math degree via free online courses.

Also solved by a network of badge directories.

I want to learn how to research my genealogy, I find resources and badges online through a search in my backpack.

The Mozilla Discover prototype demonstrates how we can use a directory service that includes explicit machine readable learning pathways to make it easy for learners to create their own learning opportunities. Just like the idea of indexing BadgeAssertions in addition to BadgeClasses, we should create a specification for a BadgePathway and index it in the network of Badge Directories. That specification work will happen in the Badge Alliance Open Badge Standard Working Group.

A teacher can see the badges her students have earned over the summer, and associate them with common core standards she needs to teach this year.

By creating “pull backpacks” (backpacks that gather badges instead of waiting for issuers to push them to them) we’re opening the door for specialized backpacks that cater to specific users – like school age children that need additional checks on their internet usage from guardians and school officials. Allowing a school to host a backpack makes it easier to tie out of classroom achievements with in classroom learning.

A teacher can find content and badges for his classroom that maps to common core standards.

The Badge Alliance Endorsement Working Group is considering methods to allow third parties to add information to a badge, without needing the badge issuer to change their BadgeClass definition or a badge earner to change the issued BadgeAssertion. Badge directories will play a key role here too, indexing these kinds of endorsements and making them available to badge consumers.

A teacher can associate a badge they didn’t create with a common core standard; letting her colleagues know that it’s a great alternative to the canon curriculum.

While it’s great to create an endorsement for a broad audience, we shouldn’t lose site of instances where metadata could be added a badge and shared inside a private group for a specific purpose. Directory services need to scale big, but there are use cases that need small specialized private directories as well.

So, what’s this all mean?

Kind of like the parable of the boiling frog or less gruesomely, my parable of getting a full meal out of a bunch of small plate appetizers, we’re going to meet the goals of federation without a specific project named “federation”. Federation is dead, baked badges, backpacks that pull badges, badge directories, pathways discovery and endorsement are the new distributed federation.

Lot’s of input for this post came from John and Carla. Thanks! Feel free to comment on this post below, or get involved with a Badge Alliance Working Group to keep the conversation going!

June 23, 2014 06:25 PM

June 20, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [45]

Did you know? Today is National Summer Learning Day! We’re excited to see the Cities of Learning make summer 2014 one to remember (and make, learn, discover, create, and celebrate!)

Speaking of discover….this week’s community project call featured Chloe Varelidi, Mozilla’s discovery project lead, who took us through a tutorial of the recently released Mozilla Discover prototype. Chloe was joined by Kerri Lemoie of Achievery as well as Mozilla’s Mike Larsson, and together they shared some design and technological insight into the project, as well as some lessons learned along the way. Read the summary and check out the audio here.

Here’s a quick run-down of the other awesome things that happened this week:

competency based education

Thanks for a great week, badgers. Enjoy your weekend, check out some summer learning events, and be sure to show us what you discover by tweeting us at @OpenBadges or using the hashtag #openbadges!

June 20, 2014 06:44 PM

Summer Learning Day is June 20, 2014

Today is is a national advocacy day for raising awareness about the importance of summer learning for youth.

"Summer Learning Day is supported by elected officials and policymakers, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, universities, museums, libraries, and summer camps across the country. Whether you’re a community, summer program, school, or parent, there are many ways to celebrate Summer Learning Day!”

Check out to the Summer Learning Day Map to find an event near you!


The Cities of Learning 2014 are doing their part to keep youth engaged and excited about learning, making and doing not just through the summer, but all year long!

Chicago City of Learning (CCOL) grew out of the City’s 2013 Chicago Summer of Learning in which more than 100 youth-serving organizations joined together to make their programs visible. Youth participants earned digital badges that provide permanent recognition of the achievements made by youth through their activities.

Dallas is becoming a citywide learning laboratory this year, opening pathways to the future for young people of all ages. Dallas City of Learning allows youth to explore earth and science, design, sports, performance, coding, and many more programs and events.

Los Angeles Summer of Learning (LASOL) is opening doors across the city and online so all youth have access to the rich learning opportunities they need to thrive with fun badged programs from across the city. Through badges, young people can link one learning opportunity to the next – a class at a museum, for example, followed by a challenge online. They create their own learning pathways, and open up new opportunities for themselves.

Pittsburgh is turning the city into a living learning campus to enable young people to explore their interests, develop new skills and connect their learning to real-world opportunities. More than 30 programs - including summer camps, workshops, community events and drop-in activities - will offer badges focused on digital learning, maker learning, STEAM learning and youth media making.

Columbus, OH and Washington, D.C. will be launching their citywide badged learning programs in the fall, making sure the momentum and excitement from the summer keeps going all year long!


June 20, 2014 04:27 PM

June 19, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, June 18, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, June 18, 2014:



As you may have already seen, Mozilla Discover is here! Chloe Varelidi, who led the Discovery Project team, joined us on Wednesday’s call to walk us through the prototype and share some lessons learned.

Mapping “badge-able moments”

Discover works by connecting Open Badges to young people’s education, skills and experiences, character traits and interests.By mapping these “badge-able moments,” young learners can see what they’ve already accomplished and where they need to develop skills to get closer to their ideal job or learning opportunity.

Learners can browse the career paths of real-world professionals on the Discover site, seeing their skills and experiences as badges within a ‘map’ of the professional’s pathway. Learners can pledge to follow a similar path, or design their own career pathway from scratch customizing the experience to suit their needs.

As well as seeing what qualifications and experiences they may need in order to reach their goals, learners can also see ‘cross-career’ badges that represent the “soft skills” or personality traits that make a candidate particularly suited to a job or educational environment. Examples include the Tazmanian Devil, awarded for chaos tolerance to those who thrive in uncertain and ever-changing circumstances, and the Dolphin, awarded for effective communication.

Check out this awesome gif Chloe made that walks you through the tools: Discover Tutorial GIF

Lessons Learned

Towards the end of the project, Chloe said the team noticed a missed opportunity in using the tool to only identify the badge-able moments in one’s life. A pathway is more than just those recognizable moments; it’s a story. The narrative element wasn’t effectively built into the prototype, so being able to add other activities (both in the past, and future aspirations) could fill those gaps in future iterations of the tool.

Another obstacle the team faced was in defining assessment, as well as designing badges for others. Ideally, Chloe said, learners would go through a guided process of creating their pathways themselves, to ensure it fits their path and their goals. In the current prototype, all the badges rest on self-assessment, but future versions would tie in other forms of assessment activities.

Finding some level of consistency or standardization, while allowing the ecosystem to vary and thrive, was also difficult. As many badge system designers have often asked, how do we deal with different interpretations of skills? Interpretation can vary widely, especially if the tools or badges being developed are intended for leverage across networks and communities. Moving forward, we will all have to find ways to help the ecosystem grow with room for varied taxonomies and interpretations.

An interesting discovery (no pun intended) for the team while they were interviewing people in the research and development stages was that, for the most part, interviewees had not reflected on their life before, at least not as a series of accomplishments and events that built upon one another. It appeared to be a valuable exercise for many - an unexpected additional benefit of the tool.

Something else the team found while conducting interviews - everyone thinks their pathway is pretty crazy and unique. No one said “my pathway is pretty typical” or thought they’d had a conventional trajectory through education and their jobs or career. As the badging work continues forward, those working in big data may be able to provide more wide-reaching analytics of this kind of information.

Another unexpected - and interesting - lesson learned was that many issuers the team spoke to, even those who hadn’t heard of badges before,  took to the process of creating pathways very quickly. This is encouraging, as it suggests the work is adding a layer of intentionality and organization to a process that naturally occurs and appeals to learners, workers and employers.

Learn more!

If you haven’t already checked it out, go to and play around (don’t forget the badges in the pathway view must be double-clicked, though this will be fixed!)

Check out the etherpad for more discussion notes and links to various pathways:

Next week:

Join us next Wednesday to hear about how badges are being explored in Wales from Richard Speight of DigiSkills Cymru!

June 19, 2014 09:39 PM

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Building New Communities with the New York Times and the Washington Post

Community is at the core of what we do at Knight-Mozilla OpenNews—helping to build and strengthen the community of people writing code in journalism. And community is a big part of what has made Mozilla successful—the global community of contributors that has helped to build the Firefox web browser.

Community is also at the core of journalism: whether it’s geographic communities that form the bedrock of local news or the communities of interest that form around subjects as broad as basketball and politics, journalism has always had community at its core.

Which is why it’s exciting to announce that today, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, the New York Times, and the Washington Post are joining forces to create a next-generation community platform for journalism. The web offers all sorts of new and exciting ways of engaging with communities far beyond the ubiquitous (and often terrible) comments sections at the bottom of articles. We’re looking forward to writing code together to enable them.

We don’t see this project as a single product, but instead as building blocks for engaging communities throughout the web. Open source at its core, and focused on giving users unprecedented control over their identity and contributions, this is a project we believe in.

It’s also a unique collaboration between two of the largest and most respected news organizations in the world. Enabling that kind of collaboration is something that we’ve worked on for from the beginning at OpenNews. While this is a huge project—the grant is equal to the one that enables us to do our core work at OpenNews—it also feels like a natural extension of what we do.

Finally, this is a project that has the opportunity not only to improve community engagement in journalism, but to strengthen the web itself. Technologies like Backbone.js, D3, and Django have all been forged and tested in the demanding environment of the newsroom, and then gone on to transform the way people build on the web. We don’t know that there’s a Backbone lurking inside this project, but we’re sure as hell going to find out.

There’s much more to come, and we’ll be getting down to work soon. But for now, here’s to new experiments, to thinking big, and to communities, new and old—and all the the things we can accomplish, together.

June 19, 2014 01:00 PM

June 18, 2014

Open Badges blog

Cities of Learning included in first-ever White House Maker Faire

Today, President Obama will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and will meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and lead a grassroots renaissance in American manufacturing. 

As part of his year of action and this week’s focus on efforts that will expand opportunity by spurring manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship, the President will also announce new steps the Administration and its partners are taking to increase the ability of more Americans, young and old, to have access to these tools and techniques and to bring their ideas to life.

Included among the efforts being launched and celebrated at the Maker Faire include the Cities of Learning initiative:

joey hudy and president obama

(Photo source:

Read more from the White House Maker Faire Fact Sheet.

June 18, 2014 03:46 PM

Discover a career you’ll love and map the skills you need with #MozillaDiscover

We are excited to share more details about Discover, a prototype for a tool that empowers youth pick an amazing career, then map the skills and experiences needed to get there.

Originally posted on the Mozilla Blog.

Finding a career can be challenging. Cool jobs exist, but attaining them can seem impossible — especially for young people with varied interests and skills. Mozilla’s Discover project helps identify great careers by profiling the learning experiences of working professionals, then allowing youth to map their own path to a rewarding job tailored to their skills and interests.

“This is awesome, it’s like a much cooler and helpful version of my career adviser at school. And it looks like a game app.”

- Sarah, 10th grader from Brooklyn user testing at a Hive event

Discover works by connecting Open Badges to young people’s education, experiences, personality traits and interests. These paint a picture of  their skills — and where they need to  grow — to apply for their dream job, volunteer position or learning  opportunity.

Learners begin by browsing career paths of real-world professionals on the Discover site. The skills and experiences necessary for exciting careers are visualized as badges within editable maps. Learners can pledge to follow a similar path, or design their own career pathway from scratch. The pathways feature progress indicators and room for notes, so the experience is entirely customizable.

Working in partnership with industry leaders and professionals, the Discover project has created badge ecosystems in three major fields of employment: technology,  healthcare and service. While pathways are primarily intended to help young people maximize their own strengths to access careers, they are also aimed at meeting the expectations of employers, and can function as a valuable tool for matching candidates with opportunities.

The team behind Discover was greatly inspired by game-like mechanics and based their prototype on the following design principles:

Learning Pathways Are Malleable

Pathways are non-prescriptive and highly customizable experiences that evolve  according to a learner’s personal needs. In her book MindSet, psychologist Carol Dweck introduced the idea of a “growth mindset” in which intelligence and talent are malleable  factors. Dweck writes that cultivating a growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” As such pathways were imagined as puzzles, where users can rearrange their badges and add new ones as they progress in non-linear ways. 

They Are Playful

Focusing on playfulness as something that creates a joyful user experience the prototype was greatly inspired by game maps and role playing games, encouraging learners to adapt an explorer mindset and think creatively about their future. This playful approach was greatly Inspired by Patrick Bateson & Paul Martin, who write in their book, Play, Playfulness, Creativity and Innovation, “Play enables the  individual to discover new approaches to dealing with the world.

And They Help You Tell a Story!

While interviewing many professionals in the field and listening to their stories, the team realised that it’s a story that people love to  both tell and hear. That’s why in the prototype you will find little journal looking icons called “story bits,” that highlights the narrative side of learning and career pathways. Savitz-Romer & Bouffards’ book, Ready Willing and Able: A Developmental Approach To College Access and Success, illustrates that trying on an identity and pursuing a narrative approach when engaging youth in career options is especially important to that demographic.

Get Involved

  • Explore the Discover site. Check out a featured pathway and pledge to follow a similar path or create your own from scratch.
  • Discover is an open source project built by the Mozilla community. If you are interested in contributing, please visit our GitHub repo or reach out directly to Chloe Varelidi via email.
  • Want to know more? Join the June 18 community project call to hear about the project from Chloe:

June 18, 2014 12:57 PM

June 16, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Apply to become a 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellow

I’m excited to announce that starting today, applications to become a 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellow are open. The Fellowships offer an opportunity for people that love to code to get paid to spend ten months building new things in collaboration with some of the best news organizations in the world. Fellows spend their time following their passions, working in the open, sharing ideas, traveling the world, and writing transformative code.

2015 marks our fourth year of the fellowship program, and we’re going strong with seven incredible news organizations:

Our news partners offer a home base for each fellow, colleagues to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with, and plenty of problem-sets to work with. Knight-Mozilla fellows are in the newsroom when news breaks and gets to feel the electricity in the air as the world changes.

This year’s partners represent some of the best we’ve yet assembled, pushing new boundaries in reporting, in visualizations, in presentation, and in the news product itself. From Argentina to England, from New York to the San Francisco Bay, our 2015 News Partners are trying new things and breaking new ground—and *you* can join them.

The Knight-Mozilla Fellowship year is an amazing chance for a creative coder, civic hacker, data geek, engineer, or technologist to challenge herself, to write amazing code, and to help journalism transform on the open web. This is a golden age of web-native journalism, and you can be on the cutting edge of it.

If you’re up for the challenge (and you should be), you have until August 16th to apply. We’ve made the application fast: just a few quick questions and links to your best stuff. You have a couple months, but should apply today.

June 16, 2014 09:10 PM

Hive NYC

Mobile Design Teaching Kit

This is a guest post by Jess Klein.

I am excited to announce that the Mobile Design Teaching Kit is up on and available for testing. I have been working on this with the Appmaker and the Hive teams at Mozilla over the past month. The kit is designed for mentors to guide learners to play with, break apart and modify mobile apps in order to understand how they work as systems. This teaching kit collectively offers 12 activities that can be mixed and mashed into workshops for teens or adults who want to design mobile apps.

The kit is organized around three sets of modalities: Ideation, Design and Hacking. The thinking here is that activities could be used in workshops that take learners through everything from brainstorming an idea to, prototyping that idea and then implementing it. Additionally the kit goes from novice to expert maker in scale.

Ideation Kit
Objective: Participants will brainstorm to identify opportunities and solutions to real world problems while evaluating the appropriate platform for their design.
Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 8.47.10 AM

I have to admit at that the Ideation Kit was one of my favorite kits to write because I have been teaching these design exercises for the past five years or I have gotten to a point where I realize if we combine design thinking with civic engagement projects, we can have not only more successful hack jams or maker spaces, but invested learners who are putting their skills directly into action in the communities that they are inhabiting (whether that be online or IRL).  One of the activities that I think would be particularly fun to try out is Firestarter. The goal of this activity is to get introduced to seeing your community as an inspiration for design opportunities. Participants are asked to identify design opportunities and brainstorm potential solutions. Here they will evaluate the appropriateness of their medium choice in conjunction with their opportunity space.

One tool that came out of this particular kit is the mobile paper prototyping template. This template (see below) is useful because it acts as a stepping stone for learners to take their ideas, prototype them and eventually build them out with the Appmaker tool.

Design Kit
Objective: Participants will leverage their paper prototypes and use Mozilla Appmaker to create mobile apps.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 9.02.32 AM

With the design kit, participants user test their prototypes and are exposed to some key vocabulary and user experience design techniques. After that, there’s no dancing around – this kit is all about building out mobile apps with Appmaker. Participants learn how to make apps by hacking apps.

Hacking Kit
Objective: Participants will create “brick” components for Appmaker and learn some basic coding techniques along the way.

This kit is being designed for those learners who are so invested in making apps that they want to design their own components for the Appmaker tool to use and share with the appmaking community. One tactic here for component and brick makers is to go through the exercise of designing a paper prototype of the brick and user testing that experience with potential users before hitting the ground with code.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 9.16.08 AM

These kits are ready to be tested out – which is another way of saying that they probably have some kinks to be worked out and refined, but we are ready and eager to here your feedback. If you have tried out the kit, have ideas or just general feedback please go here to share out your thoughts.

These kits are a collective effort from many different teams and individuals within Mozilla but I particularly want to call out BobbyLaura and Kat for being awesome collaborators.

You can read more from Jess at

The post Mobile Design Teaching Kit appeared first on Hive NYC.

June 16, 2014 08:19 PM

Jess Klein

Mobile Design Teaching Kit

I am excited to announce that the Mobile Design Teaching Kit is up on and available for testing. I have been working on this with the Appmaker and the Hive teams at Mozilla over the past month . The kit is designed for mentors to guide learners to play with, break apart and modify mobile apps in order to understand how they work as systems. This teaching kit collectively offers 12 activities that can be mixed and mashed into workshops for teens or adults who want to design mobile apps.

The kit is organized around three sets of modalities: Ideation, Design and Hacking. The thinking here is that activities could be used in workshops that take learners through everything from brainstorming an idea to, prototyping that idea and then implementing it. Additionally the kit goes from novice to expert maker in scale.

Ideation Kit
Objective: Participants will brainstorm to identify opportunities and solutions to real world problems while evaluating the appropriate platform for their design.


I have admit at that the Ideation Kit was one of my favorite kits to write because I have been teaching these design exercises for the past five years or I have gotten to a point where I realize if we combine design thinking with civic engagement projects, we can have not only more successful hack jams or maker spaces, but invested learners who are putting their skills directly into action in the communities that they are inhabiting (whether that be online or IRL).  One of the activities that I think would be particularly fun to try out is Firestarter. The goal of this activity is to get introduced to seeing your community as an inspiration for design opportunities. Participants are asked to identify design opportunities and brainstorm potential solutions. Here they will evaluate the appropriateness of their medium choice in conjunction with their opportunity space.

One tool that came out of this particular kit is the mobile paper prototyping template. This template (see below) is useful because it acts as a stepping stone for learners to take their ideas, prototype type them and eventually build them out with the Appmaker tool.

Design Kit
Objective: Participants will leverage their paper prototypes and use Mozilla AppMaker to create mobile apps.

With the design kit, participants user test their prototypes and are exposed to some key vocabulary and user experience design techniques. After that, there's no dancing around - this kit is all about building out mobile apps with Appmaker. Participants learn how to make apps by hacking apps.

Hacking Kit
Objective: Participants will create "brick" components for Appmaker and learn some basic coding techniques along the way.

This kit is being designed for those learners who are so invested in making apps that they want to design their own components for the Appmaker tool to use and share with the appmaking community. One tactic here for component and brick makers is to go through the exercise of designing a paper prototype of the brick and user testing that experience with potential users before hitting the ground with code.

These kits are ready to be tested out - which is another way of saying that they probably have some kinks to be worked out and refined, but we are ready and eager to here your feedback. If you have tried out the kit, have ideas or just general feedback please go here to share out your thoughts.

These kits are a collective effort from many different teams and individuals within Mozilla but I particularly want to call out BobbyLaura and Kat for being awesome collaborators.

June 16, 2014 01:33 PM

Forrest Oliphant

An introduction to noflo-canvas

During the last weeks we were working on noflo-canvas and experimenting with it. Here I describe some of those developments and how we ended with the current noflo-canvas design.

Arrays and grids

Following Forrest's suggestions we have designed noflo-canvas inspired by Grasshopper, an algorithmic modeling tool for Rhino. In Grasshopper you can create an unique point or an array of points using the same component. In noflo-canvas, you have components like MakePoint which receives an unique pair of (x,y) coordinates or an array of them.

When given an array of x and y coordinates, MakePoint makes one point for each pair of x and y. It is like Spreads from VVVV.

Another possibility is to create one point for each possible combination of x and y. MakeGrid does that and resembles the cross product between two vectors (also resembles Cross from VVVV). This example makes it easy to understand:

Such patterns are powerful to algorithmic design because we can create complex shapes using few components. Imagine how many MakePoints are necessary to reproduce the same of just one MakeGrid.

Lazy evaluation

Another interesting detail in noflo-canvas design is how drawing commands are evaluated. Draw is the main component in noflo-canvas and all the magic happens inside it. Take the following program as an example:

Example program

Draw receives these commands:

    [{"type": "fill", "items":
         {"type": "circle", "center":
             {"type": "point", "x": 100, "y": 100}, 
             "radius": 100},

If we remove JSON stuff we get this Lispy representation:

    (fill (circle (point 100 100)

Lisp was a great inspiration not only for how we represent commands but on how we evaluate them. Draw parses received commands and applies the respective Canvas 2d method on its arguments.

The entire process resembles a lazy evaluator: each component just has to generate a specific instruction like {"type": "point", "x": 100, "y": 100} and send it to the target component. It repeats until those commands are finally received by Draw that evalutes them.

Connection ordering is important in those situations because we want commands evaluated in specific order: "I want to clean the canvas first, then draw a circle, then ...". NoFlo supports connection ordering which makes this design possible.

This lazy evaluation pattern is becoming useful in FBP, specially when you have to deal with an independent dataflow like the ones of Canvas 2d or Web Audio.

Running on backend

Thanks to node-canvas, it is also possible to use noflo-canvas on NoFlo programs running on Node.js. Flowhub has helpful documentation about how to connect Flowhub on your Node.js runtime.

Node-canvas uses Cairo as its graphics toolkit and we are using it to generate images with high dimensions on backend. Ready-to-use images like that are useful for caching. We are currently reporting experiments of this use of noflo-canvas in this issue.

June 16, 2014 12:00 AM

June 14, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [44]

Hello Badgers!

It’s been a great week in the badgeosphere, with global activity gaining momentum and lots of projects and conversations to get excited about:

On Monday, our Global Coordinator Jade Forester joined Digital Me’s Tim Riches in Newport, Wales for Digital 2014, a two-day conference focused on skills (day one) and digital industry (day two). Day One saw Tim give two presentations on open badges and participate in a panel about engagement in education, and judging from the questions asked in person and the explosion of Twitter conversations, it was a success! It’s always great to see our international communities growing and getting excited for badging initiatives in their networks.

Then on Wednesday, the Cities of Learning 2014 initiative launched - go check out the web site at! Don’t forget to track #CoL2014, #CitiesLearn, and #ConnectedLearning on Twitter (as well as #openbadges of course) for ongoing updates throughout the summer.

So what else happened this week?

Don’t forget to check out the Badge Alliance wiki - - for information on badges and working groups, including:

  • an overview and brief history of the Badge Alliance
  • a schedule of Working Group calls for the current and next week
  • and more…..

See you next week, badgers! Enjoy your weekend :)

June 14, 2014 07:03 AM

June 13, 2014

Laura Hilliger

:For Librarians

The four modules of Webmaker Training are somewhat non-specific. They are mainly designed to be an on-ramp for people who don’t have much experience with trying to #TeachTheWeb or people who are new to our community and the idea of Connected Learning. The four modules are the basics of what we as a community care about and why. We’ve tried to gather information that is useful when people are beginning to think about their involvement in the Mozilla community and in Maker Party, and we’ve tried to help people develop digital skills by prompting them to make using free and open tools. Since we have a wide reaching and global community, we have lots of different interests to think about. With Webmaker Training, I feel like we’ve found a model that can work for any interest, so I’m excited to see if I’m right.

Enter the Librarian.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200"] made for TV gone B Movie Franchise![/caption] In the fall, we will be running Webmaker Training: For Librarians as our first specific interest group. In thinking about the specific learning modules librarians would need, I felt like I need a little bit of backup. So I used me some connected networking skills and I reached out to some Mozillians who know libraries and librarians*.

Notes about this audience

1. Jennie said that one of her favorite quotes from the “sleep cell librarian crew” in our community was
“Librarians are trained by vendors.”
She explained that it’s normally proprietary software that ends up in libraries and, thus, librarians are helping people use that stuff. Solution 1: We’re a “vendor”, our software is the Web. Bam. 2. It was also pointed out to me that whether or not a librarian can justify his participation in #TeachTheWeb to a library director will determine if the modules are successful or not. Solution 2: Everything is open and free. I guess that most libraries in N. America are members of the ALA, but their e-learning resources are…uh…not free. Also, there’s not much in the way of information literacy or digital making in their e-learning catalog, so programs like Webmaker Training can augment. I don’t really know what a library director is looking for, but libraries are the perfect establishments for things like Maker Parties, digital skills workshops, web - ahem - literacy work. 3. There is a huge age gap in librarians, so there’s also a huge skill gap when it comes to technology. Solution 3: Karen suggested facilitating connections between generations, and I like this idea. I also think that modules for developing specific technical skills are a good idea. 4. There’s a difference between academic vs public libraries. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] Public[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignright" width="291"] Academic[/caption] Solution 4: I think we can solve this with modularity. Kaitlin and Greg over at the Mozilla Science Lab and Software Carpentry have been working with academic research librarians, so we have a jumping off place for things like data skills, indexing, unix, etc. I mean, look at these lessons. 5. There’s a difference between urban vs rural libraries. Solution 5: Oh yeah, I know! What can a rural librarian teach an urban librarian and vice versa? How does technology play a part in each library? What resources do libraries need? Let’s MAKE them together! 6. Librarians have some of the pedagogy stuff, so we need to have a stronger focus on the technical details. Solution 6: That aligns with my sense that we need some smaller more focused “skill” modules ;) It was also mentioned that Webinars, videos and anything people can consume at work world be helpful, so I’m thinking popcorn videos should make their way to 7. This group needs to understand how they can use this network and why it’s valuable to them. Solution 7: This is a discussion we should have together, but we have lots of case studies we can put together in an easily digestible format. Webpage to ebook anyone?


I’ve had quite a bit to think about in terms of how :For Librarians can fit into overarching visions of what Webmaker Training is or should become. These are my initial thoughts after digesting everything the “Mozillarians” had to say. I’d appreciate it if you collaborate with me on this by giving feedback, adding thoughts, curating content, donating ideas for good make prompts and otherwise help me push :For Librarians further.

Ideas for NEW modules

  1. Logistics (how to organize a Webmaker event / Maker Party - could be an education remix of the Event kits!), maintaining and developing free public spaces (finding funding and programming opportunities, understanding distribution).
  2. Building Online Networks (setting up a blog, HTML basics, online networking)
  3. Privacy and Security for Public Spaces (How to make online anonymity default, 3rd party cookies, https, do not track, Lightbeam)

Ideas for Building :For Librarians

As I said, we have lots of amazing baseline content. We don’t need an entirely new Building module, we need learning activities that would be valuable to lots of librarians. So what does each librarian want to make that would immediately benefit his/her library? A couple ideas for make prompts:

Discourse discussions we should have

So that’s where I am in my :For Librarians thinking. What do you think? Leave a comment, or better yet, join the discussion. * Thanks to Emily, Jennie, Kaitlin and Karen for brain dumping for me, and to the folks feeding me ideas in email ;)

June 13, 2014 11:51 AM

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, June 11, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, June 11, 2014:



Paul Jaussen, curriculum director for Books@Work, joined this week’s community project call to share some of the thinking behind the development of badges for participants in the Books@Work program.

Recognizing informal workplace learning

Books@Work brings professor-led literature seminars to the workplace, with the goal of helping workers build and enhance skills such as confidence, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. They “strive to develop a broad network of life-long learners and advanced readers whose passion spreads through companies, families, and communities.”

The seminars build groups of engaged readers who actively pursue and participate in the program as informal learning experiences in the workplace. Paul and the Books@Work team decided to explore badges as a way to recognize these learners for the work they do outside of their day-to-day duties to develop their skills and communities.

The Books@Work Badge

To earn the Books@Work Badge, participants must attend 10 out of 12 Books@Work sessions, as verified by the faculty (who will be taking attendance). Additionally, participants write a brief reflection on the experience, including impressions of the books they read. Participants are not required to apply for the badge, but can if they choose to.

As the program is focused on face-to-face learning, the Books@Work team wanted to find a digital space to recognize that learning. Paul described the learning experience as “fluid,” with an emphasis on personalized, exploratory learning. To that end, participants do not produce a particular kind of artifact, nor is there a standard outcome of the program. This meant that the criteria and evidence for the badge had to reflect this flexibility, allowing the learners to direct their own experience. Badges are a way to capture more varied experiences of the program, reflecting the growth of individual participants and their portfolios of completed tasks.

Though there is currently only one badge, Paul is hoping to expand the badge offerings for multi-level reflections, including self-assessment of previous badge applications and program reflections.

Community building through badges

Future badges may include ones for “recursive participation,” awarded to those who have already completed the Books@Work program and return to assist and mentor in future seminars. Paul is also interested in developing a digital interface for badges to be a point of communication for the larger community.

This budding badge system is a great example of how badges can capture a variety of informal workplace learning experiences that aren’t tied to formal workplace training or professional development. They also can encourage retention within the program and give participants a way to showcase their achievements, as well as connect with others who have completed the program. They may also serve as a way to introduce other organizations to the program, as workers can take their badges with them wherever they go.

It was wonderful to have Paul on the call to share this work with the community, and we look forward to hearing about the program’s progress in the future!

Next week:

Join us on June 18th to hear about the Discover Project from Chloe Varelidi. It’s going to be an exciting presentation, and we hope you can join us.

June 13, 2014 10:17 AM

June 11, 2014

Open Badges blog

6 Big U.S. Cities Launch Year-Round Citywide Learning Initiatives Offering Digital Badges for Youth

We are excited to announce the Cities of Learning initiative, and to be a part of the network of organizations supporting citywide learning for youth, helping these cities recognize this learning using open badges.

Read the press release below for more information!



‘Cities of Learning’ Create Opportunities for Youth from All Backgrounds to Prepare for Life and Work in the Digital Age

As the final bell rings at schools across the country this month, six major metro areas are kicking off new initiatives to provide out-of-school learning opportunities to youth from all backgrounds throughout the summer months and beyond.

Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. have joined the rapidly growing Cities of Learning movement, a new effort to network citywide resources to keep youth ages 4 to 24 engaged in educational and career opportunities when school lets out. Cities are funded by local partners and receive national support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Digital Youth Network and the Badge Alliance.

“Learning today needs to be powerful and relevant to prepare young people for the demands and opportunities of our times,” said Connie Yowell, director of education at the MacArthur Foundation. “Cities of Learning are stepping up to the challenge with programs that encourage curiosity, develop higher-order thinking skills, and help youth see how they might apply their talents in our increasingly complex and connected world. We call this approach Connected Learning, and we’re excited to see it catching on nationwide.”

Cities of Learning offer free or low-cost opportunities for youth to learn online or participate in programming at parks, libraries, museums and other institutions. Whether through robotics, fashion design, coding competitions or workplace internships, Cities of Learning provide an array of engaging opportunities for young people to explore new interests, develop their talents, and create unique pathways toward college or a career.

Local funding and logistical support for each City of Learning are provided by broad and often unprecedented coalitions, bringing together cross-sector partners such as the mayor’s office, the school district, nonprofits, institutional funders and out-of-school educational providers.

“We create a single portal to a citywide network of learning opportunities, transforming the entire city into a campus of learning,” said Nichole Pinkard, a DePaul University professor and founder of the Digital Youth Network, which provides the platform, training and technical assistance for the Cities of Learning. “For parents and youth, it makes it much easier to find and plug into rich learning opportunities that they may otherwise never have known about or been able to afford. It also brings together an array of people and organizations who are invested in the city’s youth in a new and significant way.”

Chicago launched the Cities of Learning movement in 2013 with a successful summer program that now continues year-round. This summer, Dallas, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh will kick off their Cities of Learning, with Columbus and Washington, D.C., joining the lineup this fall. More cities are planning to launch in 2015.


A key component of the Cities of Learning effort is the awarding of digital badges to showcase the knowledge and skills youth acquire during out-of-school learning. Like badges earned in scouting, digital badges document and celebrate mastery of new skills but with a 21st century twist. Cities of Learning use the secure Open Badges platform to safely award, store and display digital badges.

“Open Badges are an exciting new way to recognize and capture learning wherever it happens — in school, in the community or online,” said Erin Knight, executive director of the Badge Alliance. “Open Badges can safely and efficiently store in-depth and verifiable information about what was learned, what skills were mastered and what competencies were attained. Young people who earn badges can choose to share them with friends and family or with teachers or potential employers in a way that might support future education pathways and career choices.”

Cities of Learning are designed around the principles of Connected Learning, a new approach that builds on the basics, leveraging technology to make learning relevant to the demands and opportunities of the digital age. Connected Learning increases engagement by linking in-school academics to a learner’s out-of-school interests, by fostering supportive networks of peers and mentors, and by creating opportunities for youth to make and produce things in the real world.


For more information about Cities of Learning, including how to find local opportunities, visit

June 11, 2014 03:37 PM

Jess Klein

What's in my toolshed: the prototyping edition

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I go about prototyping. That's a huge topic, because really prototyping is a step along a long, loooong and windy path that begins with an idea. I often analyze in painful detail how I get the idea or what I do with that idea once I have it, but today I want to think through my process in terms of what's in my bag, or what's my setup. 

I think it goes something like this:

I have an idea.
Tools: shower, running shoes, a friend and/or hot chocolate

I sketch out the idea.
Tools: pencil, notebook, ipad, paper53, cosmonaut

I share that idea with a small group of people
Tools: more hot chocolate

This cup is from the  folks at One Girl Cookies in Dumbo

I share that idea with a larger group of people
Tools:  a blog, camera (usually just use my phone)

Then, I share the idea with people in my making environments
Tools: github, flickr

I read and write - A lot. I tend to research everywhere from blogs to books, to print articles. I ask experts and novices a like to talk to me.
Tools: New York Public Library, DML, goodreads, the interwebs

What I am reading now: Creative Confidence by the Kelley Brothers. Check it out!

Then I am like omgossssh  I have so many things I need to get organized, so I put all of my tools into some sort of list, or spark file.
Tools: Evernote, etherpad , Google Docs

By this time I realize that I want to make something so that people can have a proof of concept to play around with, so I start to make something interactive.
Tools: POP, Coda2, Cyberduck, Webmaker, Appmaker, Adobe Illustrator, etc.

Then I go into a rapid cycle of user testing -> iterating -> usertesting
Tools: redpen for mockups, user testing websites, Hive meetups, minigroups, groupme, Webmaker demos,  more hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.

At this point I kind of move into a decision making phase. This is a whole other set of operations, however I now have a lot of tools at my disposal to make that decision. By now, I have now developed a cohort of people who I am working with to develop the prototype - whether that be user testers, feedbackers or active co-developers.

I should note here that a) this whole process relies heavily on hot chocolate - my current favorite can be found by visiting the Little Sweet Cafe just off of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and b) my process is all about prototyping in the open. I find that prototyping by, for and with people makes my ideas stronger and helps me to fail faster so that I can pick myself up and iterate with more knowledge, more often. I'd love to hear what ways YOU prototype.

June 11, 2014 02:48 PM

June 10, 2014

Chris McAvoy

Remember our old pal the Open Badges Standard?

The specifications that make up the Open Badges Standard form the basis for the Open Badges Infrastructure; the collection of platforms and tools that make Open Badges possible. While the infrastructure has continued to grow, the standard has remained pretty stable over the last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, standards are standards because they’re stable. Despite its growth and reach, Open Badges is still a young project, there’s plenty of work to be done, so it’s time to start looking at the standard with a critical eye. Is it complete? What does it need?

Badge Alliance Standard Working Group is made up of organizations and individuals that ask those questions. We’ve worked together to evaluate the existing specifications and look for opportunities to improve and extend their reach.


The first issue we tackled was largely administrative. How do we function as a group? The Alliance built each working group with a chairperson, an Alliance liaison, and a cabinet the chair and liaison assemble. The Standard WG is a bit different, because we’re maintaining technical standards, we also decided we needed a more formal charter that explained how changes to the standard would be proposed, evaluated and accepted or rejected. We based the first draft on similar charters written by the W3C, and the Python Enhancement Proposal process the Python community created. The first draft of the BA-Standard WG charter is here.


The first task the group took on was to go back through the discussions on openbadges-discussion and pull out features that would make good candidates for discussion in the group.

It was pretty clear that the number one addition we all wanted to see added to the specification was a formal way to extend the assertion, both as a way to add information and as a way to experiment with future ideas.

We posted draft proposal to the openbadges-discussion, discussed, updated, discussed, iterated, and discussed some more.

We found that it was difficult to extend the schema if we couldn’t describe the schema in a machine readable way. We’ve put the extension specification on hold until we have a full json-schema representation of the 1.0 specification. After that, we’ll represent schema extensions in json-schema, most likely taking advantage of the json-schema ability to extend json-schema.

What’s next?

We expect the json-schema-fication of the 1.0 specification / schema by June 24th, and the extension specification by July 8th. After that, we need to sync up with the Endorsement Working Group and ask the difficult question, “After you issue a badge, is it mutable? Can we add information to it?”

How to get involved

If you’re an organization that relies on the Open Badges Standard, or if you’re just interested in schemas and specifications, we’d love your comments on all the above! Join the discussion on the BA-Standard WG Mailing List or join one of our bi-weekly calls.

June 10, 2014 09:12 PM

Open Badges blog

Discover Open Badges

Discover Open Badges:

The Discover site is live!

Many of you have heard about the Gates Foundation-funded Discover(y) Project led by Chloe Varelidi with Lucas Blair, Grainne Hamilton, and Mike Larsson. Back in March, the team shared their progress on a community call to much excitement.

We are happy to share with you today the live prototype the team has developed.

Click the link above and check it out!

June 10, 2014 05:26 PM

June 08, 2014

Open Badges blog

Webmaker Training badges are GO!

Webmaker Training badges are GO!:

Former badger Doug Belshaw has been working with the Webmaker team on developing Webmaker Training badges - check them out at the link above!

June 08, 2014 10:31 PM

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [43]

We hope everyone is having a good weekend!

In case you missed this week’s badgetastic happenings, here’s a quick recap:

Join us next week for more badgeriffic news, project updates, community calls and online discussion.

Enjoy your weekend!

June 08, 2014 09:53 AM

June 05, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, June 4, 2014

Open Badges Community Call, June 4, 2014:



This week we were joined by Dr. Bernard Bull, who led the "Learning Beyond Letter Grades" MOOC last year, and John Foster, President of NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute). Both are working on badging initiatives that expand the assessment and credentialing methods for secondary and post-secondary education, and their presentations kicked off a great discussion.

Practices and Possibilities for Course Badging

Dr. Bernard Bull currently serves as Assistant Vice President of Academics, Associate Professor of Education, and Director/Chair of the M.S. in Educational Design & Technology at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW). He works with students across 19 online courses, and is also working towards a re-imagine master’s degree that is based entirely on badges - instead of completing courses, students would work towards achieving a set of 70 badges that would signal competencies that make up the master’s program. He is currently in conversations with CUW’s accreditation body to get approval to take this big step, and if successful, it could start a wave of programs and institutions looking seriously at alternative learning and credentialing methods.

In introducing the concept of badges to faculty, Dr. Bull has found that, even once the idea of badges is understood, many faculty are hesitant to support badges as they become unsure of their role in a learning environment that is largely project-based and student-directed. The instructor’s role becomes one of mentorship and coaching, according to Dr. Bull, where faculty advisers provide support and additional resources if they see gaps in a learner’s pathway. They also provide an element of accountability, ensuring students are staying on track. In this new learning model, instructors are valuable for more than just their knowledge of course content, but for their expertise, mentoring, and access to years of resources and experiences to draw from.

Dr Bull’s experience in both talking about badges and in badge system design - or "badged learning experience design" - has given him an insight into some of the possibilities and best practices for implementing badges for higher education courses, which he outlined in a recent blog post: 10 Promising Practices & Possibilities for Using Digital Badges in Your Courses.

Some of these practices and possibilities include:

To check out the full list, go to Dr. Bull’s blog.

Badging Competencies and Skills with NOCTI

NOCTI provides third party industry credentialing for programs that provide technical training across the US, such as the Society for Manufacturing Engineers, the American Culinary Federation, etc., serving over a quarter of a million customers each year in secondary  post-secondary education.

John Foster, President of NOCTI, and his colleagues have been advocating for badges in their networks and communities since the beginning of the open badges movement, seeing natural parallels between the competency-based learning focus of CTE (Career & Technical Education) and the ease with which badges can recognize competencies in a more granular way than traditional assessment and certification methods.

NOCTI is connected with the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), the organization that makes decisions about what constitutes college-level credit (NCCRS requires a 70% “cut score” in order to receive college credit.) This connection has allowed NOCTI to start testing the receptivity to badges into the college credit world, and John said that the initial anecdotal evidence has been resoundingly positive, which may signal a shift in the credentialing world towards accepting alternative credentials and giving them similar weight to traditional models.

In the upcoming 2014-15 school year, NOCTI will be offering open badges in all the areas they represent - which is huge! NOCTI will award badges for technical competence based on the NCCRS’ 70% cut score rule, awarding college credit and badges simultaneously.

We are seeing more and more instances of badges being issued as a supplementary or supporting credential alongside traditional degrees, certificates and credit. As John said, there will still be those advocating for the traditional paper-based credentials, while others will push for alternatives such as badges.

It’s so exciting to see an increasing number of accrediting organizations and educational institutions using badges as a way of recognizing learner’s achievements. We look forward to seeing this momentum pick up even more as the Badge Alliance working groups in higher education, endorsement and workforce focus on connecting those already working in their own communities and supporting their efforts as they expand their reach.

Next week:

Join us on June 11th to hear about the badging work happening at Books@Work from their Curriculum Director, Paul Jaussen.

June 05, 2014 03:22 PM

Jess Klein

Portfolio Design Workshop

Yesterday I went to a portfolio workshop for Hive NYC members at the Brooklyn Public Library. The workshop was run by Julia Vallera and the goal was to help people think through the process of developing content to showcase projects created within the Hive, however, the it ended up being so much more. By the end of the day, participants were helping members of the Hive HQ iterate on their portfolio application form, and started to articulate the need for tools that support an innovation framework.

Lifecycle of a Project 
Workshop participants reviewed the timeline of a project from exploration to the phase where you might be sharing out learnings (the portfolio touchpoint). Julia used this chart which compares the creation cycle to the lifecycle of water (how amazing is that?!). Particpants articulated that while there are lots of touchpoints and feeback loops after something has been created, there is a real desire for in-progress community support and reflection.

Portfolio template:
Participants used this template to start developing out their project portfolio piece.  Some feedback that Hive members gave is that it would be awesome if they could be developing the content throughout their making process. Additionally, they explained that it was really important to be able to identify who the author of the content was and in turn, who that author was "speaking to" via the medium of the portfolio.

After listening to Hive members talk for a few hours and taking notes (below), I realized that there's a real opportunity to support what Brian from Beam Center referred to as a "framework for innovation" and what Leah from the Hive called a "living archive of process." 

I am going to tinker with Atul, Kat, Chris and the rest of the Hive community to think through what this could be, but overall I found this workshop inspiring and am eager to start noodling in this opportunity space. Some initial thoughts is that we should think through what a process dashboard and process project profile could look like. Here's what I sketched while at the workshop, but am going to dive deeper this week. 

June 05, 2014 02:32 PM

June 04, 2014

Matt Thompson

Schoolhouse Rock: highlights from the latest release of Webmaker

We’re shipping a new release of Webmaker every two weeks. Here are some highlights from the new “Schoolhouse Rocks” release we just completed. It’s currently on our staging server for your testing and feedback, and will be shipped to the live by June 16.

This release was all about building great content, and restructuring the site so that people can find that content more easily.”
–Cassie McDaniel, Webmaker UX Lead

Tell us what you think:

What’s new?

New “explore” page

The new “Explore Webmaker” page provides a quick overview of what you can do at Why we did it: the consistent feedback we got from users was: “before I join or start making or teaching something, I need a little more information.” This page is designed to provide that.

New “resources” section

15 new pages with resources, activities and curriculum for teaching digital skills.

It’s like an open textbook for teaching web literacy and digital skills.

Each of the 15 Web Literacy competencies has their own page, with a mix of the best resources we could find across the web to discover, make and teach. Check out:

Badges are ready for your beta-testing

The new Webmaker Super Mentor and Hive Community Member badges are ready for testing on staging. Here’s how to help.

New web literacy and training badge designs

Using Sean Martell’s Mozilla-wide style guide, we created 20 new badge designs for Webmaker Training and for the web literacy competency pages featured above.

Simplified IA and navigation

We’re simplifying navigation and information architecture. We’re replacing the old “teach” page with the resources page highlighted above. And the old “Starter Makes” page will be merged into the “Gallery” (coming soon).

June 04, 2014 12:31 PM

June 03, 2014

Open Badges blog

The Badge Alliance wiki is here!

Check out the wiki for:

If you have any questions, email or tweet @BadgeAlliance

June 03, 2014 07:01 PM

Mark Surman

Things I’m thinking about

I’m in one of those ‘need to get back to blogging’ modes. Thinking about a lot of things. Feeling too busy to blog. Waiting until I have the perfect thing to say. Which is always a bad sign.

So, to get the juices flowing, I just decided to make a list of things I’m thinking about. Here it is:

1. Connecting open mobile <-> local content <-> web literacy — we we need to make progress on all three of these things at once if we want the web to be a serious player for the next few billion internet users. I’m working up a project on this topic with Ben, David and others.

2. Building a web literacy mentor community that scales — I’m excited about Maker Party, but also worried we’ll see post-campaign drop off again this year. We need a more systematic mentor program that grows, gets better and keeps people engaged 365/days a year. I’m helping Michelle and Brett think about this.

3. Figuring out the connection between an open internet and a fair internet. This a tricky. We assume an open internet will unlock opportunity for the billions of people coming online over the next few years. But it could just as easily lead to digital sweatshops. My new friends Chris and Brooke got me thinking about this in April. And I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

4. Finding the right balance between clear goals, working across teams and distributed leadership. If I’m honest, we’ve struggled with these things at MoFo for the last 18 months or so. Our recent all hands in San Francisco felt like a breakthrough: focused, problem-solvey, fast moving. I’m thinking alot about how to keep this feeling. Working with Gunner and a bunch of other people on this.

5. Pushing on the Hive Lab concept. Some of the best Webmaker ideas — and much of our new Webmaker ‘textbook’ — come from the educators, designers and programmers we work with in Hives. However, we haven’t really figured out a way to systematically support and invest in this ‘lab’ side of Hive. I’ve been working with Claw and others to see how we can do more here.

6. Raising money. I’m always thinking about this, so it’s on my list. Right now, I’m thinking about major gifts, which is an area we’ve never cracked. IMHO, breaking through in this area is critical if we want to build Mozilla into a 100 year org that withstand the ups and downs of the market. I’m starting to talk to Geoff about this. Also, looking for outside people to help.

7. Linking Maker Party and net neutrality. Alot of the issues that Mozilla cares about are hard for people to get their heads around — net neutrality, DRM, etc. We should be able to use our web literacy work to help with this. I’ve been talking to Dave, Amira and others about building a ‘net neutrality teach-in’ campaign into Maker Party as an experiment in making this web literacy <-> big-hairy-internet-issue link.

8. Talking about LEGO some more. Specifically: how the LEGO Movie has a bunch of corny-but-useful metaphors for how screwed the Internet is right now. And how we can’t rely on a single here (e.g. Mozilla) to save the day. Spoiler: I’m going to use some LEGO Movie clips in my Knight Civic Media Conference talk later this month.

Random. I know. But these are places my brain is right now. A little scattered. But all feels juicy, good, important. Will write in more depth on some of these things soon.

Filed under: drumbeat, mozilla, webmakers

June 03, 2014 03:22 PM

May 30, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [42]

June is right around the corner - how did that happen?

That means that summer is on its way, and the Cities of Learning are each gaining momentum:

In other badging news:

Don’t forget to join us at 2pm ET for the webinar on the Dallas City of Learning - go to for more information.

See you all next week!

May 30, 2014 04:03 PM

May 29, 2014

Open Badges blog

The Dallas City of Learning site is live! Go check it out at...

The Dallas City of Learning site is live!

Go check it out at

May 29, 2014 03:36 PM

Digital Badge Summer Institute in Norco, CA

Join the Corona-Norco Unified School District’s Digital Badge Summer Institute in July

To assist others in exploring digital badging for their organization, the Corona-Norco Unified School District is hosting a Digital Badge Summer Institute.

This will provide a space for those who are new to badges to explore digital badging (conceptually and technologically) and start designing a program and implementation plan that will meet their needs.

Since the launch of CNUSD’s open source platform, 21st Century Badge Pathways, it has reached full implementation across a large, urban district with approximately 54,000 students! The Corona-Norco team are now beginning to gather research regarding the impact badging has had on student motivation.

Location: John F. Kennedy Middle College High School, 1951 Third Street, Norco, CA 92860

To register: Please contact April Moore by calling (951) 738-2200 or via email at

May 29, 2014 01:01 PM

May 27, 2014

Open Badges blog

Film Fest Badging Pioneered by THIMUN Qatar

Read the original post here.


The Hague International Model UN (THIMUN) Qatar/Northwestern Film Festival pioneered the use of digital badges for their nominated directors at its second annual event in April of this year.

Badging, or eCertificates as the Model UN community calls them, was first used at THIMUN Qatar’s Model UN conference in January 2014, and by the online partner, THIMUN OMUN, in late 2013. But badging a film festival highlights the great ways that this method of recognizing student achievement can be used.

With a bit of creativity and willingness to experiment, the options open to educators to construct meaningful and highly personalized achievement awards has never been better. Hat tip to Achievery for their fantastic platform and their support to THIMUN Qatar’s pioneering work.

May 27, 2014 05:52 PM

Jess Klein

Dear Massimo

Dear Massimo,

I met you when I was 23 and working as a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Arts & Design. You and Lella came to work on the exhibition design for a show on the jewelry of Seaman Schepps. At the time, I had never worked with a real designer and I was in complete awe of your process. You were a great listener, and methodically took notes and drew sketches while we described to you our dreams for the exhibition. You had a mechanical pencil. You drew thick and distinctive lines, unquestionably bold.

Your notes were written in capitals, like an architect. You were stubborn and your stubbornness pushed all of us around you out of our comfort zones. I remember sitting with you and Lella, in the back of a yellow cab when we discussed the materials that we would be using to create the pedestals to display jewelry. You said "lead".  Lella said "MAAAAASSSSIMO, don't be ridiculous." You then described to us your vision of having the intricate jewelry stand out against the simplicity of the raw material. Your vision, was measured, austere and had perfect symmetry. As someone who had to work with the contractors to acquire the lead and to actually handle the lead to build the cases, I was of course completely terrified. Isn't lead toxic? Like, could this perfect design decision of Massimo's actually kill me in the long run?  We worked together and learned that wax detoxifies lead. We went to your studio (the first real designer's studio I had ever seen) and tested it out.  You had an I told you so look on your face like a devilish child. And so, we made the cases:

You loved a good fight. One of my favorite things was listening to you, Lella, Yoshi Waterhouse and Beatriz Cifuentes completely disagree about design direction. Lella was your partner and you had a beautiful banter that inspired me to be adventurous, and own my questioning nature. 

At the time I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was working in museums but found myself sketching in the galleries and taking side jobs just to draw. You saw me at lunch one day and asked me why I was wasting my talent and then you didn't stay around to hear an answer. Lella, of course, followed up with me and told me to try things out, to take in as much art and design as I could and that things will figure themselves out. You very much had the ask for forgiveness, not permission attitude, which I still to this day, admire.

I ended up working at the Rubin Museum of Art after that museum, and found myself constantly questioning and designing and thinking about my conversations with you. Eventually I built up enough courage to quit and went to design school. I learned about why I should admire you even more and read your writing on design, watched you speak in Helvetica and looked at your wealth of work over time. But really, that's just the evidence. You showed me how to be a designer because you embodied it. You had a viewpoint, and a goal of helping people to better understand the world they inhabit, through design. I am a stylistically a different kind of designer, but you taught me to own my stubbornness and to have an opinion. 

I will always admire you. We are lucky enough to see all the design interventions that you have left the world on a daily basis.  Thank you for being bold and stubborn. 

I already miss you.


Note: I learned that Massimo Vignelli passed away today. His son, Luca asked for all those for whom Vignelli was either an influence or an inspiration to write him a letter. This is mine.

May 27, 2014 05:01 PM

May 26, 2014

Matt Thompson

Help test new Webmaker Badges

(Cross-posted from the Mozilla Webmaker blog)

Will you take a few minutes to help beta test the new Super Mentor and Hive Community Member badges on staging? Then make them better by filing bugs or sharing feedback on our newsgroup.

Once these two new badges are tested and ready, they’ll unlock new privileges for community members and help us prep for Maker Party. But first: we need your help to kick the tires and test out the software.

What do we want you to test?

We want you to apply for these badges, and then display them on your Webmaker profile. Plus, for Super Mentors and admins, we need to test the process for logging in to BadgeKit, reviewing badge applications, and then issuing them. Step-by-step instructions for all that are below.

We’re just testing using fake data — none of these badges will count “for real”

You’ll be testing using our staging sandbox, not the live web site. So none of the badges you apply for, issue or receive will count “for real” — we’re just testing out the flow and overall process.

What badges are ready for testing?

  1. The Webmaker Super Mentor badge. This badge is for mentors who have gone above and beyond in contributing to the Webmaker project. Later this summer, Super Mentors will have the ability to issue Webmaker Mentor badges and new Web Literacy badges.
  2. The Hive Community Member badge. This badge is for active Hive Network members that have demonstrated abilities in Peer Observation, Resource Sharing, and Process Documentation.

How do I apply for them?

Click the Apply button on either of these pages:

Where will my badges show up?

On your Webmaker profile page. You can find your profile page at a URL like this one — just replace “[username]” with your own Webmaker username:!/[username]

For example, this is k88hudson’s profile page.

How do I issue badges?

You must first have a Webmaker Super Mentor badge or be an administrator. To issue the Hive Community Member badge, make sure you are signed in to Persona. Click the “Issue badge” button on that page.

How do I approve badge applications?

You must have a Webmaker Super Mentor badge or be an administrator to approve badge applications. Here’s how to do it:

1) Log into Badgekit with Persona. Click on the “Applications” tab.

(If you don’t see this tab or any badge applications, contact @k88hudson or @echristensen on IRC to add you to the admin group.)

Applications tab

2) Click on the +[number] button to see all badge applications

3) In the “Criteria” tab, make sure you click ‘Meets criterion‘ for each criterion.

4) In the “Finish” tab, click “Submit Review” to submit your review.

I’m a Webmaker or Hive administrator. What else can I do to help test?

First, make sure you have a Webmaker admin account on mofostaging. There should be a little “admin” symbol next to your username in the top right corner of the staging site. If there isn’t, ask @k88hudson, @cade or @jbuck in #webmaker on IRC to make you an admin.

admin badge

Go to to see a list of badges.

Click on a badge. Try issuing a Hive Community Member badge, or a Webmaker Super Mentor badge by using the ‘issue new badge’ input.

Admin panel

You can also try deleting and re-issuing a badge to yourself through the admin interface.

What’s next? When is this shipping to the live site?

We’re planning to ship everything you see here to the live site by June 13. For a full roadmap of tasks, milestones and deliverables see

May 26, 2014 05:11 PM

May 23, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [41]

Welcome to the Badger Beats, the weekly roundup of open badges news, updates and happenings. This week the Badge Alliance team shared more information about the operations and logistics of the Alliance and the working groups that will be seating the work.

On Monday’s live session of the Open Badges MOOC, Megan Cole gave a detailed overview of the Alliance - you can read more here. She also joined us on Wednesday’s Community Call with Carla Casilli, to share more information about the plans for the official launch of the Badge Alliance in June as well as some lessons learned so far from the ten initial working groups formed by the Alliance. The audio and a brief summary of that call is available here. You can also find more information about the working groups’ regular calls here.

After a few weeks’ hiatus, the Research & Badge System Design Call returned this week with a great presentation from Steve Lonn and Cait Holman of the University of Michigan, where the Mblem badge pilot for co-curricular learning in the M-STEM program kicked off over the winter. Steve and Cait joined us to share some initial findings from the pilot - read more and access the audio here.

What else has been happening this week?

MOOCs, Open Badges, CBL top 3 disruptive innovations shaping edu:

  • University Campus Suffolk has been developing an open badge generator from Google sites - check it out!

Sam Dyson

Have a fun (long) weekend, badgers - we’ll see you all on Tuesday!

May 23, 2014 03:04 PM

Laura Hilliger

This Week in Webmaker Training: Building

Last week, we launched a new online learning experience, Webmaker Training, and you can see how that first week went here. This week in Webmaker Training we concentrated on building open educational resources. We used the Webmaker Teaching Kits to document activity ideas and learning objectives for teaching the skills and competencies on the Web Literacy Map. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="615"] via azharfeder in Webmaker Training[/caption] Participating in this kind of open, online learning experience is like learning to ride a bicycle. It might be difficult to get used to how this thing works and to stay on it, but once you’ve learned to ride, there are endless possibilities of places to go and people to ride with.

We are making interesting things:

And having interesting discussions:

It’s never too late

Come collaborate and make things with this engaged community. We all have something to teach and something to learn, so join us now in Webmaker Training! You can see all the live sessions on the calendar and schedule your own by announcing your topic in the Live Sessions category in the #TeachTheWeb discussion forum. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="196"] via Maha4Learning and[/caption]

Here’s how YOU can participate:

You can join in any time to ask questions, provide feedback and have fun learning and making with the entire community. Next week, we’ll talk about facilitating participatory learning experiences and playtesting our events. Thanks to all the participants, I'm loving teaching and learning alongside you!
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May 23, 2014 12:30 PM

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, May 21, 2014

Open Badges Community Call, May 21, 2014:



This week we were joined by Megan Cole, Director of Marketing and Operations at the Badge Alliance, and Carla Casilli, Director of Design and Practice. Megan gave us an overview of where the Badge Alliance is in its preparations for a full launch next month, and both she and Carla shared some lessons learned so far from the initial set of Working Groups.

On Monday’s live session of the open badges MOOC, Meg provided a detailed overview of the Badge Alliance - you can access her slides and read more about that here.

You can find links to each Working Group’s discussion forum and community call details here.

Coming soon:

May 23, 2014 07:03 AM

May 22, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Research & Badge System Design Call, May 21, 2014

Open Badges Research & Badge System Design Call, May 21, 2014:


Speaker: Steve Lonn and Cait Holman

Steve and Cait joined us to share some of the work being done for the digital badges pilot for co-curricular learning in Engineering at University of Michigan.

Abstract: This pilot project studied the recognition of undergraduate engineering students’ co-curricular learning experiences using digital badges in one semester, Winter 2014. Using a web environment, students described and reflected upon their experiences in categories of competencies that leaders in industry and education have identified when evaluating the future needs of the global STEM workforce. The objectives of the project were to: (1) deploy an online system that served to standardize the recognition of engineering co-curricular learning; (2) understand different motivations students have for seeking recognition for their co-curricular learning and whether digital badges satisfy those motivations; (3) maximize the perceived value of digital badges while minimizing undue burden on the student to collect evidence of their co-curricular learning; (4) examine how students discuss, discover, and share digital badges and their supporting evidence, with their peers and with potential employers; and (5) disseminate findings that inform the use of digital badges designed to represent the wide variety of skills that students can acquire through co-curricular opportunities in higher education.

Access Steve’s slides here:

Badges for Co-curricular Learning

Steve’s work on this badging pilot began with acknowledging a shortage of qualified STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) candidates entering the workforce. Contributing factors include lower retention rates for STEM programs in higher education and a lack of persistence among students.

To try and combat this STEM shortage, Steve formed a partnership with M-STEM Academics, established 7 years ago with a focus on increasing the number of students entering the workforce in the STEM fields. Together, they are teaching students how to communicate the M-STEM work to employers effectively, encouraging them to join relevant extracurricular activities and groups, and more generally working to expand learning beyond what is captured on a transcript.

"How can students gain recognition and connect their co-curricular and curricular activities? How can students communicate their learning to employers?”

These questions guided the development of the badge system for the M-STEM work, which ultimately was influenced by the University of Indiana’s Design Principles Documentation Project and by Bloom’s Taxonomy, distinguishing between beginner, intermediate and advanced badge levels. There are 8 badge categories in total, aiming to simplify the requirements for badge earning and allows for a more granular and flexible interpretation of experience, allowing students to effectively tie their learning together and showcase it to potential employers.

Students were involved in the naming process for the badge system, submitting suggestions through a competition during the pilot phase over the winter of 2013-2014. The final name - Mblem - reflects the M-STEM work and also speaks to the emblematic nature of badges as recognition of achievements and identities. The Mblem program launched in January 2014.

From the initial analysis of badge earning and perception, Steve reported that across the student pool, opinions varied about the badges’ usefulness for employability:

More clarity on these results may come from surveys of future groups of students engaging with the Mblem system.

Another question asked by Steve and his team were why more students didn’t choose to earn badges. Again, the relationship between badges and employability is highlighted, and you can see below that a top reason for not earning badges was thinking they wouldn’t help students get a job.

It will be interesting to see this initiative develop and to track changes in these perceptions - and hopefully start seeing real impact in the STEM fields as a result of the Mblem badge program.

To view the full discussion, click here.

May 22, 2014 11:25 PM

Forrest Oliphant

Auto layout

One issue around Flow Based Programming is the amount of time we spend dragging-and-dropping boxes to get the most proper layout.

On a text-based programming language we have at least the left-right and top-down directions to follow. However, in a 2D FBP canvas those nodes can be anywhere and the graph can become really messy.

Graph layouts can become really messy, requiring lots of time of dragging and dropping boxes to organize them in a proper layout

A proper layout is crucial to make a graph easy to read to both its creator and anyone else (the graph is the documentation).

So we want easy to read graph layouts but we don't want to do it by hand. Auto layout to the rescue!

KLayJS in action

Last months we were researching auto layout algorithms on The Grid. There are plenty of techniques and features we can expect from those algorithms and implementations. At the same time, in FBP environments like Flowhub / Meemoo we have many constraints to consider: port ordering, components as groups or subgraphs, input and output "nodes" and so on.

We ended up using a layer-based hierarchical algorithm called KLay Layered which is originally written in Java. It is part of the KIELER Project from Kiel University.

In collaboration with the amazing KIELER / KLay team we developed KLayJS, a JavaScript interface to KLay using GWT's JSNI. Now we can run the original layout algorithm inside a Web Worker and get rid of all the GWT crazyness. There is already a Bower component to this interface, so you can use that on your own graphs.

The auto layout feature provided by KlayJS is currently available on Flowhub: it's the magic wand you can wave anytime you want to organize your graph.

Auto layout in Flowhub

While using auto layout we are identifying two scenarios where it is becoming really useful:

  1. When creating a graph from scratch you don't have to think where is the best place to drop your components. Keep focus on problem solving and just call auto layout everytime you need to align and organize the components;

  2. Auto layout works better when you have grouped components. So it motivates you to keep grouping components together, making it easy to read and document.

Auto layout is not perfect, many times edges crosses and nodes are not well arranged, but it is a handy tool on FBP environments like Flowhub / Meemoo and we want to keep improving it.

May 22, 2014 12:00 AM

May 21, 2014

Open Badges blog

#openbadgesMOOC Session 9 - The Badge Alliance [an overview]

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 9: The Badge Alliance

This week on the #openbadgesMOOC, New Currency for Professional Credentials, we heard an overview of the Badge Alliance from its Director of Marketing & Operations, Megan Cole.

Last week, the Badge Alliance team traveled to Chicago to meet with their Steering Committee, which includes familiar names in the badging conversations such as Connie Yowell (MacArthur Foundation); Mark Surman (Mozilla Foundation); Philipp Schmidt (P2PU) and David Theo Goldberg (University of California). Others will be joining in advisory roles to the Steering Committee and Badge Alliance as the work moved forward.

You can review Megan’s slides here: Badge Alliance Overview [May 2014]

The Badge Alliance Constellation Model

The Badge Alliance is framed on the Constellation Model of Collaborative Social Change, which supports multi-organization partnerships across complex networks.

When the Badge Alliance soft-launched at the Summit to Reconnect Learning in February 2014, ten initial working groups were formed to address some of the most crucial issues facing both the broader infrastructure for open badges, and the growing ecosystem as a whole.

Working Groups

The Badge Alliance Working Groups will seat the work of the Badge Alliance and are comprised of individuals and organizations working together to address key questions, issues and opportunities facing the ecosystem.

As you can see below, there are lots of folks who have signed up for the Working Groups already:

It’s an exciting time to be involved with badges - check out the slides above, email the Badge Alliance at, and track the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #BadgeAlliance and #openbadges


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

Go to to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.


Next session:

Monday, June 23, 2-3:00 ET:
The Role of Badges in Alternative Credentialing

In response to specific employer/industry requirements and the particular needs of the adult learner, interest in new approaches to credentialing is on the rise. In December, 2013, the U.S. Dept. of Education issued a notice inviting suggestions for new experiments for the Experimental Sites Initiative. The notice expressed particular interest in competency-based education programs and prior learning assessment for postsecondary education. This session will investigate various ways that open badges provide the basis for alternative credentialing programs.

May 21, 2014 03:19 PM

May 20, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badge Alliance Working Groups: Calls + Info.

If you’re a part of any Badge Alliance working groups, you might need to bookmark this link:

That’s where you’ll find links to each group’s community forum and call information.

We’ll also post the information below:


Calls are: to be scheduled.


Calls are: every other Thursday at 10am PDT // 1pm EDT // 6pm BST
Next call: 22 May, 2014


Calls are: every other Thursday at 10am PDT // 1pm EDT // 6pm BST
Next call: 29 May, 2014


Calls are: every Tuesday at 9am PDT // 12pm EDT // 5pm BST
Next call: 27 May, 2014


Calls are: every other Thursday at 9am PDT // 12pm EDT // 5pm BST
Next call: 22 May, 2014


Calls are: every other Friday at 9am PDT // 12pm EDT // 5pm BST
Next call: 30 May, 2014


Calls are: every other Monday at 10am PDT // 1pm EDT // 6pm BST
Next call: 26 May, 2014


Calls are: every other Wednesday at 10am PDT // 1pm EDT // 6pm BST
Next call: 21 May, 2014


Calls are: every other Tuesday at 8am PDT // 11am EDT // 4pm BST
Next call: 3 June, 2014


Calls are: every other Tuesday at 10:30am PDT // 1:30pm EDT // 6:30pm BST
Next call: 27 May, 2014

May 20, 2014 02:07 PM

May 19, 2014

Doug Belshaw

On ‘Kit Builder’

Kit Builder

Note: this is one of those blog posts where I use one thing as a convenient hypocrisy to talk about another thing. Kind of like Jeremy Clarkson’s car reviews, I guess. If you just want to get to the meat, check out my very talented colleague William ‘FuzzyFox‘ Duyck’s new pre-alpha Webmaker prototype: Kit Builder. The rest is tangential, to say the least.

I’m increasingly convinced that there’s a gaping hole that someone will soon fill when it comes to organisational effectiveness. Before I describe that, I need to talk about some of the basic technology-related things that organisations need in this day and age in order to be effective.

OK, so I’m simplifying massively for rhetorical effect, but here’s three things I think you can’t do without – no matter what size of organisation you’ve got. These may be more formal or less formal, but you need them unless you plan to descend into chaos.

1. Issue tracker

I wrote about this in a bit more detail in a recent post, but basically what I mean is that you need some way for people to raise ‘bugs’, ‘issues’, ‘tickets’ or whatever you want to call them, and get the whatever the problem is fixed.

Examples: Trello, BugZilla, GitHub

2. Resource tracker

Much as I hate the term ‘human resources’, I’m going to use it here because it’s useful. Other people in your organisation should know where things and people are. Or, if that’s not possible for whatever reason, they should at least know you (or a room’s) free/busy status. It’s all about co-ordination, really.

Example: Google Calendar, Basecamp

3. Knowledge base

The best organisations I’ve worked in have had wikis. It’s all very well knowledge residing ‘in networks’ but that does build new knowledge. That only comes when a community (not a network) of people come together to intentionally build something. That’s where the magic happens. You don’t have to use a wiki, of course, but that’s what I’ve seen work best, time after time.

Examples: PBworks, Mediwiki

So, coming back to the ‘gaping hole’ I mentioned earlier, what do you do when one organisation has all of this in place, and another one doesn’t? Or… even if both organisations have adequate systems, but those systems don’t ‘talk’ to one another. At the moment, that’s where the friction comes, and that’s why there’s well-paid people all over the world who are friendly ‘go-to’ people and help paper over the cracks of relationships between organisations potentially fraught with misunderstandings.

You’ll not hear me say this often, but what we need is a technical (but simple) solution to this mess. A way in which organisations can work together for unspecified periods of time without causing problems, resentment or internal issues for their own setup. I guess it’s a kind of souped-up version of what Jon Udell was trying to achieve with the Elm City project.

What we don’t want are de facto standards like “let’s just all go 1:1 with iPads!”. Or, why don’t we all use Microsoft Office! Or even, “everyone should use Google Apps!”. We tried that, folks. It fails.

But what on earth has this got to do with Kit Builder, a pre-alpha prototype for educators who want to make teaching kits? Well, I’m getting to that. Let me just make a quick point about ‘means of production’ first.

As Marx didn’t write, but someone on Wikipedia helpfully did:

The means of production can be simply described as follows: in an agrarian society the soil and the shovel are the means of production; in an industrial society, mines and the factories; and in a knowledge economy, offices and computers. When used in the broad sense, the “means of production” includes the “means of distribution” such as stores, the internet and railroads.

I’m butchering Marx’s work here, but the point I’m trying to make about Kit Builder is that it’s not just another capitalist company offering you a proprietary silo. Even in pre-alpha, it’s a pretty straightforward way to create high-quality resources. You’re in control of everything. You can copy and paste the HTML into Notepad, for goodness’ sake.

Once you’ve created a resource using Kit Builder (or Webmaker in general), you get all of these benefits:

I wasn’t sure how to put this as a bullet point, but you also don’t get the crazy situation where Sue has one program which spits out files that are incompatible with Bob’s program. And, because there’s no downloading/uploading of files, we don’t end up with filenames like:

Billy's presentation FINAL (use this one!) NO THiS ONE (final version) v2.ppt.docx.pdf

At the moment the text boxes in Kit Builder require you to use Markdown to format your text. I’d suggest we keep this as a feature. Markdown is a human-centric way to enter text that is then rendered as a web page. It’s easier to understand if you realise that HTML stands for ‘HyperText Markup Language’ and is machine-readable code for rendering web pages. Markdown on the other hand, is much more human readable, and allows you to include arbitrary HTML if necessary.

I’d very much encourage you to explore Kit Builder. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my 18 years on the web so far is that open wins the long game. Shiny, pretty closed things come and go, but if you’re in it for any period of time, bet on open. And if you need to level-up your skills, don’t just sit on your hands, join in with Webmaker Training.

And finally, if you’ve got a way to build something that talks to lots of different systems and provides a human-readable layer, please do it. Do it now.


May 19, 2014 06:54 PM

May 16, 2014

Hive NYC

Hive NYC, You’re Invited to the Maker Party!


Mark your calendars: the Maker Party campaign is back for its third year and will run from July 15th-September 15th!

What is Maker Party?

Maker Party is Mozilla’s annual, global campaign to celebrate making and learning, and to promote web literacy, connected learning and digital skills. The campaign unites educators, organizations, and enthusiastic web-users around thousands of community-run events that feature online and offline play and exploration. Last year, there were 1,700 events across 330 cities where people of all ages created/remixed websites, made stop-motion animation films, built robots, designed games and more. You can learn and see more on the new Maker Party website.

Last year, many Hive NYC, Toronto, Chicago and Pittsburgh members took part, and Hives became a big hub of activity within this larger campaign. This year, we’d love to tell an even more robust story about Hive Learning Networks driving city-wide involvement in this global movement.

Hive + Maker Party

A great Maker Party partner is an organization that is sharing information on the campaign or web literacy with relevant communities, or throwing events/creating resources that teach the web and digital skills. A lot of you are already doing this!

Participating in Maker Party is an opportunity to amplify your work, and also it’s a chance for Hive as a network to come together to achieve greater impact. By hosting and participating in events, Hive members collaborate and learn with colleagues, while providing more opportunities for youth to explore their interests and define new learning pathways.

Here’s an X-Ray Goggles remix outlining are few more reasons Hive members should get involved!



Here’s how you can participate:

1) Become an official Maker Party partner – there are two levels of partnership:

2) Align your existing programs and events that feature making and learning.

3) Facilitate an activity at an upcoming Hive NYC Maker Party.

As a partner, Mozilla will support your participation every step of the way by:

We encourage every organization–whether Hive member, partner or friend–to consider how you might get involved in this campaign, and we’re happy to help you find alignments or provide additional support if needed.

If you know for sure that you’d like to become a Maker Party partner, please email They’ll need to know what level of partnership you’re interested in, and will also need your logo to add to the Maker Party site. If you want lighter touch ways to get involved, let us know at Hive HQ.

Hive has been instrumental in the past at making this campaign a success, lets do it again!

The post Hive NYC, You’re Invited to the Maker Party! appeared first on Hive NYC.

May 16, 2014 03:28 PM

Laura Hilliger

This Week in Webmaker Training: Exploring

Connected Learning Graphic from

Over at Webmaker Training we’re working together to learn how to #TeachTheWeb. On Monday, May 12th, we launched the first course on Exploring the methodologies behind Webmaker – including Making as Learning, Connected Learning and the Open Web.

This is how YOU can participate:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] how to participate in Webmaker Training[/caption]

Here's how others are participating

I strongly encourage you to go check it out. Here’s some interesting things that have been happening: People have been stepping up and planning live sessions. We have video live sessions and Twitter chats scheduled on the calendar, including: You can see all the live sessions on the calendar and schedule your own by announcing your topic in the Live Sessions category in the #TeachTheWeb Discussion forum. This morning Doug and I were pleased to find that of the topics that emerged organically in the Discussion, many reflected the actual Make prompts from the Exploring module. You can see these make prompts here, and be sure to continue submitting your makes and thoughts! There are a lot of thoughtful interactions happening inside the #TeachTheWeb discussion: [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="420"] Casual Awesomeness via Doug Belshaw and[/caption] You can join in any time to ask questions, give feedback and have fun learning and making with the entire community. Next week, we’ll start building open educational resources in a collaborative fashion and working on giving each other constructive criticism. It’s been a great week, looking forward to MORE!!

May 16, 2014 02:19 PM

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [40]

Happy Friday, badgers!

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

"I recently shared my third badge (Assessment Principles) on Facebook and I had friends asking to learn more about digital badges. I feel particularly proud of this badge as it was a leader badge. A leader badge was awarded to class participants who were promoted the most on any one of the three sections of the course.”

On Monday, be sure to join us for the live session of the #openbadgesMOOC at 2pm ET. We’ll be sharing more details about the Badge Alliance. If you haven’t already signed up, go to

That’s about it for this week, folks. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you on Monday! Enjoy the nice weather (if you have it!)


May 16, 2014 11:24 AM

May 15, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Call, May 14, 2014

Open Badges Community Call, May 14, 2014:



This week Dale J Stephens, author of Hacking Your Education and founder of UnCollege, joined us to kick-start a discussion of alternative pathways to success through non-traditional means.

"In Hacking Your Education, Stephens speaks to a new culture of “hackademics” who think college diplomas are antiquated. Stephens shows how he and dozens of others have hacked their education, and how you can, too. You don’t need to be a genius or especially motivated to succeed outside school. The real requirements are much simpler: curiosity, confidence, and grit.

When Dale Stephens started college, he soon realized it wasn’t the right fit for him. After six months, he left college and sought out numerous people who’d had similar experiences, talking to those who had achieved success without relying on formal education. His findings from those interviews culminated in his book, Hacking Your Education, and led to the development of a non-traditional gap year program that teaches the “meta-skills” Dale identified as being the keys to success outside of formal education, including persuasion, critical thinking, communication, negotiation, and research. These are the skills of “fully-functional adults” that help people become more effective learners, but Dale couldn’t find a place where these skills were being taught - so he created it himself.

To create the UnCollege gap year program, Dale looked at the following 4 common experiences of those he spoke to who had become successful without relying on traditional higher education:

  • a residential period living with other learners to build community
  • living / working abroad
  • a period of work experience in the real world
  • developing their own projects
UnCollege accepted ~250 applications for the first cycle, and found that the biggest challenges weren’t pedagogical, but social: putting a group of 18-year olds in a house together is a recipe for disagreement and conflict no matter the environment, but since that first program, the introduction of mentors and further development of the curriculum has led to improvements in the social and domestic elements of the program.

Three cycles of UnCollege have now been completed, and programs are set to run in multiple new locations in the coming year, including Stockholm, Paris, and Toronto. The original house in San Francisco is still running, and offers regular fireside chats for those interested in learning more about the house and the program.

Upon completion, most students have reached a base level of employability. Some enter the workforce, while others continue on to further learning. This has raised the question of accreditation for Dale, who says it is on his list of “things to explore” as the program expands and becomes internationally replicated. Currently the UnCollege gap year program offers no formal accreditation, although students do end up with a portfolio of work built around specific curricula and students’ accomplishments.

The participants on the call suggested a number of ways to recognize this learning, including endorsements from mentors and peers, developing a ‘co-curricular record’ and, of course, open badges.

To be able to build and convey the value of these kinds of learning experiences, Dale argues that focus must be placed on building social capital and a network of relationships that can scale easily. Badges may be a part of the answer to this challenge, and can certainly offer a way to recognize students’ achievements in a portable credential they can take with them to employment or further education.

Check out the full discussion in the call notes, and go to to read more about the gap year program.

May 15, 2014 10:12 PM

May 14, 2014

Ben Moskowitz

The Web Is Changing

I spent 2 years of my life running a small media rights advocacy organization, the Open Video Alliance. We started in 2009, only a few years after YouTube came online, when people talked in glowing terms about how web video would benefit democracy. More diverse perspectives, less media consolidation, more participatory culture. All of that came true. Talk of citizen journalists and camera phones is old news.

But I am also from the free software world, so I think in long terms, absolutes, architecture. Part of our full-spectrum advocacy plan for “open video” was technical:

1. Open standards for video — no essential video technology should be controlled by a single party. Therefore: HTML5 instead of Flash.

2. Royalty-free technologies for video — no essential video technology should cost money. We don’t put a tax on text, why should we put a tax on video? Therefore: WebM instead of H264.

3. No use restrictions — people should be able to watch what they want, and no computer system should censor, restrict, or limit the making, sharing, or publishing of video content. Therefore: no ContentID-style filtering, no DRM in the browser.

I joined Mozilla because it was the only technology company to be seriously pushing this agenda in the marketplace. The long history of Firefox is “techno-social change through succeeding in the marketplace.”

Here is the theory: if a significant enough proportion of web users are on Firefox (Gecko, really), the makers of Firefox have some leverage in the technical development of the overall web. Put another way: “the role of Firefox is to keep the other guys honest.”

When I joined Mozilla, I thought Firefox was in a unique position to make (patriarchal?) technology decisions on behalf of users, that would make the technical architecture supporting video “more open.”

I am starting to doubt whether that’s the right way to position Firefox. Evidence shows that Firefox doesn’t have that kind of technical leverage. In an earlier time, we had immense leverage as “the alternative to Internet Explorer.” In the modern era we have tried—and failed—every time we’ve tried to pull those levers on our own.

We were the only hold outs on H.264, and we had to give in. Despite heroic efforts, our moves on Do Not Track and third-party cookies are turning out to be more thought leadership than real leverage. And today, we are reluctantly giving in on DRM in HTML5.

The price of success—introducing competition into the browser space—is that you don’t have leverage when you’re the only holdout against a industry-wide move in a different direction. Mozilla has gravity, but far less than combined weight of the mobile and content industries.

When your continued relevance depends on people liking and using your product, you can’t afford to be “the browser that can’t.”

With no H.264, Firefox was seen as “the browser that can’t play video.” An inaccurate but not unfair conclusion from a great many millions of browser users. And for several years. With no DRM, Firefox would have been seen as “the only browser that can’t play Netflix.”

The arguments against DRM are exceptionally well-articulated by Cory Doctorow and others. But the fact is, you definitely can’t afford to be the only hold-out on a feature that enables users to do more. In this case, for better or worse—”watch Netflix.” Yeah, that thing that accounts for 40% of all U.S. internet traffic.

This is confusing for free software people, because DRM clearly limits users. Yet Firefox is not the world. If Firefox doesn’t do DRM, Firefox limits its users in what they can do. It denies them functionality they can get by using other products. That’s a paradox which can’t be resolved by “taking a hard stance against DRM.” So if you’re mad today at Mozilla, read this a few times. You must understand the evidence supporting the logic for Mozilla’s decision to not die on this particular hill.

I believe there are hard lessons here for Mozilla, which is uniquely 1) a user-facing public benefit organization; and 2) a public benefit provider of products for users.

Chiefly: Freedom is not a technical feature. It’s a state of consciousness.

This sort of proclamation is personally tough, because it’s a concession that my two years pushing for royalty-free codecs as a defining political issue were—possibly misspent? It’s tough because it puts the proclaimer into unnecessary confrontation with allies like the EFF, the Software Freedom Law Center, and the Free Culture movement (where I come from), who imagine products like Tor and Freedom Boxes and other things taking over the marketplace, because they will enable users to do more. But often, they enable users to do less. The availability of such technologies is important weaponry in the battle for technical freedom. But they’re often not enough when you’re in a long-term war for the user.

Freedom is not a technical feature. At least, not for the mass market. It is truly heartbreaking to say, because I know people who have given literally everything for this idea.

But here is the good news: enabling users to do more is a feature.

There are legal fights, regulatory fights, political fights against DRM, which are appropriate and needed upstream. That’s why Mozilla is being very clear today that this is a painful decision.

But opposing DRM is not a good use of Mozilla’s resources. We’ve stood on principle before, with H.264, and it hurt us, and our ability to have impact elsewhere. A bit like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

A better role for Mozilla, and organizations like it—who have install bases, mindshare, some money, and a daily relationship with users—is to be affirmative. Proactive. Partners with its users for a better world. Not to be oppositional, but to actively innovate on the user’s behalf.

Mozilla’s at its strongest when its building new opportunities into the web platform. Teaching kids to code. Shining a light on who is watching. Empowering users, developers, and everyone in between. We have to help our users know more, do more, do better. Mozilla is about to undergo a renaissance, and I think you’ll see this reflected more and more with how we communicate with our users. Ultimately, any user-facing organization will have the greatest impact by proactively working on behalf of its users.

A coda: a case could be made that EME will make it easier for content distributors to experiment with—and perhaps eventually switch to—DRM-free distribution.

In 2007, Steve Jobs wrote an “open letter” on iTunes DRM. Today, most iTunes music is not DRM’d—it is watermarked. In that letter, Jobs laid out an argument against DRM, and a prediction that the short-term implementation of DRM would ultimately render DRM itself irrelevant. The argument was essentially this:

“We dislike DRM. But it’s a rational choice at this time to implement it. Because if we implement it, our users get access to content they otherwise wouldn’t. And the content owners can overcome their fears, come to our platform, experiment with less restrictive business models, and ultimately give up on DRM.”

Mozilla is essentially saying the same as Jobs in 2007. And I think this will also come true on the web. Perhaps there’s a sliver of truth in the idea, suggested even by Tim Berners-Lee (the father of the web!), that DRM in HTML5 is a victory, rather than a defeat.

That’s a rather shocking idea to some—including me. But one thing is for sure: the web, more than ever, is the platform through which we all access, publish, and share everything. It’s the web that’s changing, not Mozilla.

May 14, 2014 08:32 PM

Open Badges blog

The Los Angeles Summer of Learning site is live! Go check it out...

The Los Angeles Summer of Learning site is live!

Go check it out at

May 14, 2014 06:44 PM

May 13, 2014

Open Badges blog

As a City of Learning, Pittsburgh joins cities across the...

As a City of Learning, Pittsburgh joins cities across the country working to use digital badges to recognize learning that happens anywhere and anytime, and connect that learning to real-world opportunities for the city’s children and youth.

On Tuesday, June 10, The Sprout Fund will convene national partners, including the MacArthur Foundation, Digital Youth Network, and the Badge Alliance along with local leaders to launch a city-wide effort to co-design a badge ecosystem for Pittsburgh.

The event will feature remarks from both national and local partners and a reception to follow.

See how learning is being reimagined in Pittsburgh at

May 13, 2014 09:39 PM