Planet Webmaker

September 01, 2014

Laura Hilliger

New Modules at Webmaker Training

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

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

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

Looking forward to making and learning with you.

September 01, 2014 01:20 PM

August 30, 2014

Chris McAvoy

Open Badges and JSON-LD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 30, 2014 11:34 AM

August 29, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [55]

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

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

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

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

August 29, 2014 10:13 PM

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug27

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

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

Documenting summer learning and career readiness

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

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

The four badges created by the team were:

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

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

Participatory Design

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

Passport for Documentation

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

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

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

August 29, 2014 08:18 AM

August 26, 2014

Open Badges blog

What a good iDEA!

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit onemillionyoungideas.org.uk

August 26, 2014 08:22 PM

August 23, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [54]

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

Here’s what happened while we were in Vacationland…

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

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

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

image

August 23, 2014 04:53 PM

August 22, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 20, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 20, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug20

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

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

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

The goals of the GSE are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 22, 2014 05:58 PM

August 18, 2014

Matt Thompson

Webmaker: what is the latest data telling us?

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

Getting to 10K

Current contributor count: 5,529 (Aug 15)

Webmaker users

Highlights:

Owned media

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

Maker Party

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

Next steps

Short-term focus:

Longer-term questions

August 18, 2014 03:00 PM

Jess Klein

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

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

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

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


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


THE CHALLENGE


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


THE SOLUTION


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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

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

August 18, 2014 01:26 PM

August 16, 2014

Open Badges blog

Pearson to Issue Badges for Adobe Certified Associate Certification Program

Pearson to Issue Badges for Adobe Certified Associate Certification Program:

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

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

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

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

To read more, click here.

August 16, 2014 05:01 PM

August 15, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [53]

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

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

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

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

…..get it? ;-)

Journal for the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

August 15, 2014 07:43 PM

Daniel Sinker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 15, 2014 03:36 PM

August 14, 2014

Matt Thompson

What would a web literate school look like?

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

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

Notes from Phil’s blog

What would K to 12 digital literacy look like?

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

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

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

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

The hard part is implementation

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

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

His best solution so far?

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

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

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

Parents want these skills for their kids

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

How Phil explains digital literacy to parents

From exploring and building to connecting

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

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

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

How could Webmaker’s curriculum offering improve?

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

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

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

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

Badges as a more fluid way to recognize learning

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

Cloud-based collaboration

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

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

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

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

Some early conclusions and analysis

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

August 14, 2014 04:42 PM

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 13, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 13, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug13

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

Gap analysis for competency assessment

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

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

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

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

Challenges and lessons learned

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

If you build it, they will come

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

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

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

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

August 14, 2014 01:56 PM

August 12, 2014

Open Badges blog

Open Badges at SXSWedu 2015 || Sample tweets to share with your followers

The public voting period for PanelPicker is now open!

We recently shared details of six panel submissions we’ve put together with various members of the global open badges community and the Badge Alliance team - read more on this blog post.

As you know, community support is very important for the South by Southwest Education Conference + Festival, so we kindly ask you to take a moment to share your favorite prospective talks with your followers. This is your opportunity to help get the open badges community to SXSWedu 2015.

image

Sample tweets you can share with your networks and communities: 
  • Help get @OpenBadges to #SXSWedu2015! Visit http://bit.ly/OB-SXSWedu to read about our panels & start voting! #openbadges #badgealliance
  • Vote for #openbadges to speak at #SXSWedu2015 || Badging & the great form vs function debate, feat. @soletelee || http://bit.ly/OBskills
  • Vote to get #openbadges to #SXSWedu2015 || New Open Badges Strategies in Higher + Alt Ed, feat. @carlacasilli || http://bit.ly/OBhighered
Thank you everyone!

Wish us luck in getting these submissions to SXSWedu - and hopefully we’ll see you there!

August 12, 2014 02:22 PM

Vote now to get Open Badges to SXSWedu 2015!

PanelPicker public voting: August 11 - September 5

The public voting period for PanelPicker is now open! PanelPicker is the crowd-sourced platform that empowers the community to voice their opinions about what programming they want to see and which people they want to hear from at SXSWedu 2015. More than just a submission and voting tool, it allows users to review each other’s work and provide feedback on proposed sessions.

You have the chance to show your support for the Badge Alliance and open badges partner organizations as we have six proposals featuring open badges that are up for consideration for SXSWedu 2015. Cast your ballots now through Friday, September 5, to see badges take the stage next year!

Below you will find a short description of each session that will feature an Open Badges team member. Along with partner organizations, we have proposed sessions that address key areas related the work of the Badge Alliance and partner organizations: recognizing 21st century skills; badges for higher and alternative education; global case studies in badging; badges and connected learning; creating citywide badge systems for connected learning; and learner-driven pathways.

Community-driven support is vital to earning a place at SXSW so we kindly ask you to vote for each session by clicking the links below.

Community member votes count for 30% of a submission’s total score, so your votes matter greatly in getting these important discussions onto the conference schedule.

Thanks for helping us spread the word about badges to groups of educators from the around the world.

Sample tweets to share with your networks can be found on our blog.

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

SXSWedu proposals to vote for:

Badging is becoming the new currency in credentialing. It strikes a balance between the function of demonstrating or assessing skills and the form of communicating them to the market - both through transparency and granularity. This is especially important for hard to define categories like “21st century skills.”

Speakers: Jarin Schmidt, Pearson; Sunny Lee, Mozilla / Badge Alliance; Mike Geyer, Autodesk

Click the button below to vote for Badging & the great form versus function debate"

image

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

Open Badges provide new ways of acknowledging learning and experiences; in this session we’ll push the edge of the educational innovation envelope by demonstrating how badges can both comfortably operate within traditional Higher Ed and disrupt it at the same time. Additionally we’ll discuss badge research and address how badges are changing alternative education. Three dynamic speakers will demonstrate the methods they’re using to assess and acknowledge learning in a badge-friendly world.

Speakers: Carla Casilli, Badge Alliance; Dan Hickey, Indiana University; Dr Bernard Bull, Concordia University Wisconsin; Ned Batchelder, Open edX

image

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

Around the world, innovators in education & workforce are using data-rich open badges to identify talent, mark learning pathways, & open doors to opportunities worldwide. Millions of badges have been pledged to the Badge The World site, where educators, employers, and awarding bodies can collaborate & contribute to the expanding open badging ecosystem. We’ll share case studies in badging from the US, Europe and Australia, exploring 5 key lessons learned in badge system design and implementation.

Speakers: Tim Riches, DigitalMe; Mark Riches, Makewaves; Kathryn Coleman, Deakin University; Serge Ravet, ADPIOS

Click the button below to vote for Badge The World: Global Lessons in Open Badging

image

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

Connected Learning is a new approach that harnesses technology to make learning more powerful and more relevant to the world youth live in now and will work in tomorrow. Interest driven, academically oriented, social, and connected to real life and real work, Connected Learning is designed to address the opportunity gap and equip all students with the 21st century skills they will need to thrive in a complex world where the only constant is change.

Speakers: Jennifer Humke, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Craig Watkins, University of Austin-Texas; Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, National Writing Project; Natalie Warne, Connected Learning Alliance

Click the button below to vote for The Best Learning Doesn’t Only Happen in School

image

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

Cities of Learning create cross-sector partnerships to ensure all youth have access to learning opportunities in libraries, museums, and other local institutions, as well as online. Started in Chicago in 2013, the movement has spread to Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., with more cities poised to join in 2015. Cities help put Connected Learning into action by using open badges to showcase knowledge youth acquire and create pathways between learning experiences.

Speakers: Megan Cole, The Badge Alliance; Ed Meier, Big Thought; Cathy Lewis Long, The Sprout Fund; Nichole Pinkard, Digital Youth Network

Click the button below to vote for Creating Citywide Connected Learning Ecosystems

image

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

As new learning models emerge and old ones fall, highly personalized “anytime, anywhere, any pace” learning pathways are taking hold that put the students in the driver’s seat. In this panel, take a glimpse into the pedagogy of two innovative learning models that are recognizing hard and soft skills and making connections well beyond the school walls. We’ll demonstrate how a global directory of learning opportunities is facilitating these critical connections and will empower your learners.

Speakers: Chris McAvoy, Badge Alliance; Damian Ewens, Achievery; Marc Lesser, Mouse; Dana Borrelli-Murray, Highlander Institute

Click the button below to vote for After the Unbundling, Learner-Driven Pathways Rule

image

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

Because word of mouth is so important around this gathering, taking a moment to share your favorite prospective talks with your followers is much appreciated. According to the organizers, "This is your opportunity to help determine what sessions, themes, and speakers are best fit for the SXSWedu Conference & Festival."

More about SXSWedu:

Education’s most energetic and innovative leaders from all  backgrounds of the learning landscape including teachers, administrators, university professors, business and policy leaders  converge each March at the SXSWedu Conference & Festival. The four-day event is a platform for the growing SXSWedu community to  connect, collaborate, create and change how we teach and learn. Read more here.

 

August 12, 2014 01:56 PM

August 11, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: Last week to apply, a look at the total Fellowship package

This is the final week to apply to become a 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellow. The application closes at the stroke of midnight Eastern time, Saturday August 16.

The last few weeks, we’ve had our news partners and our current Fellows make the case for why YOU should apply to become a Knight-Mozilla Fellow.

Becoming a Knight-Mozilla Fellow is a thrilling opportunity, one that will plunge you head-first into the problemsets of journalism, and allow you to experiment and build compelling solutions. We tell our Fellows that they should “follow your passions” in approaching their builds and projects.

But those passions require time, and moving to a new city (Fellows live in the city their host newsroom is located in) requires real dedication. As a result, being a Fellow is an adventure, but it’s also a commitment: of thought, of talent, and of time.

At OpenNews, we recognize that commitment and work to live up to it by offering a generous stipend and significant supplements to it that reflect the needs of the lives our Fellows lead.

In addition to the $60,000 Fellowship stipend, we offer a series of supplements to help offset the cost of housing, healthcare, moving, and more:

We want the year that you are a Knight-Mozilla Fellow to be amazing. We want you to make things that last long beyond your Fellowship year. We know that the first step on that is knowing that you’re taken care of during your Fellowship year, and we do our best to make sure you are.

The end of this week—midnight eastern Saturday night—is all that’s left to apply. Don’t hesistate: make the commitment to apply.

August 11, 2014 10:24 PM

August 08, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [52]

It’s the Badger Beats’ first birthday today! It’s been so exciting sharing our weekly activities and accomplishments with you all - here’s to another year of badgeriffic growth!

Here’s what went on this week:

Thank you for giving us so much to share, this week and all year!

Time to go eat some cake in celebration….

image

August 08, 2014 07:29 PM

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: One week to apply, our newsroom partners make the case

Becoming a Knight-Mozilla Fellow means being embedded in some of the best news organizations in the world. That means you won’t just be in the room when news breaks, you’ll be creating compelling new ways to break it. You won’t just have colleagues to learn from, but peers excited to learn from you too. And you won’t just be another set of hands in the newsroom—you’ll be experimenting, trying new things, and tackling major newsroom projects.

The deadline to apply to become a 2015 Fellow is August 16, just a week away, and the newsrooms that are partnering with us—the Guardian, NPR, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vox Media, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and La Nacion in Buenos Aires—have articulated the opportunities fellows will have if they’re embedded with them. At the Guardian in London, incoming Executive Editor of Digital Aron Pilhofer sees “the unique vantage point” of a Knight-Mozilla Fellow:

You will be fully part of the London newsroom, able to collaborate with reporters, editors, graphics editors, interactive developers, designers and more. You’ll also have the ability to collaborate with business-side teams as well, including the Guardian’s world class digital development, analytics and product teams.

But as a Knight-Mozilla Fellow, your goal isn’t just to improve the Guardian; it’s to improve journalism as a whole, with one of the world’s most important newsrooms as your laboratory.


NPR wants a fellow to join their unique hybrid Visuals team in Washington, D.C. For Brian Boyer, the NPR Visuals editor, the fellow will be a teammate—plus:

You’ll be our teammate: making stuff with us, learning what we’ve learned, teaching us what you know and what you’re learning elsewhere during your fellowship year.


The Washington Post and the New York Times are teaming up with Mozilla and OpenNews to build a next-generation community platform for news. As the Washington Post’s Greg Barber writes, they’re bringing two Knight-Mozilla fellows into the New York-based team as well:

One thing we know for sure is that we want Knight-Mozilla Fellows with us, doing what they do best: experimenting and breaking boundaries. We want fellows to push the work our core team is doing in new directions, to think of things we haven’t, to be independent operators within this deeply collaborative project.


Vox Media sees their fellow as someone that can bridge their seven media sites and help “open source the elements that would be beneficial to the larger journalism community.” Writes Chief Product Officer Trei Brundrett:

We have benefited greatly from open source as we have aggressively built a media company from scratch. Now we’re eager to give back as an active member of the OpenNews community. This year at our hack week, VAX, we kicked off the process by making it easier for our teams to share our work with the open news community and releasing some code, but there is still much left to do. We want you to help us shape that commitment.


The Center for Investigative Reporting is looking for someone who “loves visual data” to help bolster their dataviz work. Writes Jennifer LaFleur, CIR’s Senior Editor for Data Journalism:

We work with many graphic designers and have featured their incredible work. But we’ve never had anyone dedicated to making our reporting and data analysis really shine. When it comes to news apps, we’ve been pretty good at faking it, but we know that we can really up our game.

We need to be able to tell readers things they don’t already know and are actually worth knowing. We need your help to communicate that information more effectively. We’ll challenge you to help users understand complex concepts and help us understand the best way to distill millions of relevant records into a compelling presentation.


In Buenos Aires, La Nacion’s data team is “motivated by the possibility to produce changes with our work, using technology to open data, especially in a country where there is no transparency law and with high levels of corruption,” explains data manager Momi Peralta Ramos. Their fellow would join their team in opening datasets and making them accessible to the Argentinian people. As their whole team explains in a subtitled video:


The opportunity to work with these incredible news organizations is yours. If you love to code and want to spend 10 months deeply immersed in the problem-sets of journalism, then apply now.

August 08, 2014 02:00 PM

Open Badges blog

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 6, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 6, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCAug6

This week our former research call co-wrangler Emily joined us to share the current work in progress on Mozilla Badges and gather feedback from the community - you can contribute too! Keep reading to find out more about the proposed new site, set to soft launch on August 22, 2014.

The Challenge

Mozillians - those folks who work for Mozilla or are contributors to the project - currently lack a central hub for badge creation and exploration. Existing badging sites such as badges.mozilla.org is confusing in its current iteration, and as teams such as Webmaker and Hive develop their own badges, the need for a central badge site is becoming greater.

In response, Emily and a team at Mozilla have been looking into ways to support badging for products and teams within the Foundation.

The Proposal

The idea is for badges.mozilla.org to be revamped, and there was an audit of the existing site to uncover problematic areas and brainstorm solutions. After collecting issuer and prospective earner feedback, and collaborating with a visual designer, engineers, and metrics lead, wireframes for the proposed new site have been developed and are on Redpen, a collaborative tool that allows for clickable feedback.

image

Badge issuing vs. earning

In determining the new site’s purpose, current site analytics indicated that only small percentage of users were coming to issue badges, with most seeking ways to earn badges. This led to a redirected focus on badge discovery and exploration, with issuing as a secondary feature.

Provide feedback

Below is a list of the wireframes for the new site - take a look around and leave your comments and questions by clicking on the pages.

Bear in mind there is still placeholder text on these pages, and colors, etc. are not finalized yet - these are to give a sense of what the site will be for, so feedback on any of the following wireframes is much appreciated.

Reach out directly to Emily via email or Twitter with questions.

Wireframes for review:

Splash page: https://redpen.io/rb16731597d03db169

Tour page: https://redpen.io/wr53db77dc6c0e38d4

Home pages (note - between the different Home screens, only the header varies):

Badges pages:

Profiles: Mozillian account: https://redpen.io/ug9a0dfda795e9d2c0

Persona account: https://redpen.io/nef13f1dc7e4300005

Tags and Teams:

Thank you for your help!

August 08, 2014 12:34 PM

Nate Otto | MIT Report Questions the Fitness of the Course as the Organizational Metaphor for Higher Learning

Nate Otto, Project Coordinator for the Badges Design Principles Documentation Project and active badges community member / superstar, responds to this week’s release of a 213 page report from a cross-disciplinary MIT task force investigating the future of education at MIT. The report makes 16 recommendations, including to commit to further innovation in pedagogy.

The Chronicle of Higher Education today picked up on a key component of that innovation, a recommendation to explore “modularity” in the delivery of online learning environments, which could extend to experimentation in the classroom as well: Are Courses Outdated? MIT Considers Offering ‘Modules’ Instead

Nate’s guest post on his colleague Dan Hickey's blog makes the connection between modularization and self-directed, flexible learning pathways, and also observes that supporting faculty (and learners) in the modularization of their course content can be further facilitated or scaffolded with badges:

Badges allow learners to tell a story about their experience, customized to be appropriate to the audience. If each student going into a module brings a collection of previously earned badges with her when she applies, the module can read that badge collection and collect aggregate information about what prior experiences students thought were relevant in preparing them to take on that particular module. If a system presented this information at the points where students make their decisions about where to focus their efforts, it would feed organization back into a landscape no longer mapped out in courses. When prospective students are entering a field, each module can tell them what other modules are recommended as related or prerequisite.

Read and comment on the original post here.

August 08, 2014 11:53 AM

Erin Knight | A Badge By Any Other Name

Read and comment on the original post here.

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

The recent announcement by Udacity to offer nano-degrees really got me thinking. It’s, of course, a new word - a hip and buzzworthy word especially with the geeky crowd (nano!). So now we’ll add that to the list beside credential, badge, microcredential, certification, certificate, pathway, industry-recognized credential, points, and probably more that I’m missing.

Let’s face it, the alternative credentialing space, as its called (words that don’t have consistent meaning themselves), is hot right now. Policy changes and exemplars like SNHU have opened the gates for more types of learning and more recognition that matters to employers and other stakeholders beyond the degree. It makes sense that there are a lot of players jumping at the opportunity to leverage the potential openings, make an impact, get a piece of the pie.

But I think we are really at risk of failing ourselves, and more importantly, the learners, if we segment too early.

Names are just words, but words really matter. If we start calling each project something different, not only are we confusing people and holding ourselves back from showing the true size and power of this work, but we are designing from the beginning, even if unintentionally, for NON-interoperability. Or should I say outeroperability or extraoperability (see, I can make up words too!)

What we’ve learned over and over, is that to really influence systematic change in learning, you need an ecosystem. To do this at the scale we all talk about, we need interoperability and connectedness across lots of organizations and stakeholders. We need need providers and contributors, with their own personal agendas, to be able to do their work, but in a way that feeds into a broader context. Otherwise, we’re designing more prescribed pathways that only touch a certain set of learners. Silos might impact a small segment, but will not lead to systematic change. In so doing, we’re limiting learners’ agency and limiting our own success.

Words really matter to people. In many occasions, I’ve gotten some scowls and exasperated comments when I assert that a badge is a credential. To many, a credential is a very specific thing and the implication is that we’re hurting ourselves and the effort by using that word. A quick look on dictionary.com returned the following:

image

#2 is the ticket here. Anything that can tell us something about someone with confidence. That’s definitely what we mean by ‘badge” and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Udacity means by ‘nanodegree’ and MIT means by ‘degree’. Again, I’m not trying to be naive or ignore the obvious nuances and need for validity and assurance here, but just trying to point out that the words are really not as different as we think they are. Or if they are supposed to be, then we’re doing a really bad job explaining why they are different and need to be different.

I’m not necessarily saying that ‘badge’ should be the word for everything. Or maybe I am. I personally think it could be, b/c a badge is simply an evidence-based digital record of something. That something could be a single skill, or a higher order collection of skills that represents something more like what we now call certification. I think badges can represent low stakes, informal learning experiences, as well as high stakes, stacked skills/competencies (nanodegrees are just sets of badges, no?). It’s simply more information that we need to put into each badge to distinguish. There may be should be different types of badges like skill badges or certification badges to help distinguish and evaluate. But whether you agree with that or not, most importantly, I’m saying, let’s all agree we’re working with the same low level thing so that we can design for interoperability from the beginning at the bottom…still leaving lots of room for innovation and customization at the top, with the market, but making sure all of this great work is connected for the learners, for the ecosystem, for us.

Many of you might be thinking, ‘Wait, didn’t you make up a new word too? Why ‘badge’? Why not just call it a credential?" You don’t miss a thing, do you? :) Back a few years ago, the term ‘badge’ was something that was building on all of the interest and usage of digital badges in the social and game space at that time. We started this work at a time when the concept of alternative credentialing was only a few whispers in hallways, and the audacious statement made then was what if we used these digital badges, these digital records, as learning credentials. Again, words matter. I think it was important then to have a different word to start that conversation, which it certainly did, but now that there is momentum, adoption and interest, we’re at a time when its important to use the same words, or at least again, agree on which words we’re using for what. 

I think the first step is being intentional and consistent with how we define a badge, and how these other terms are defined and used as well so that we can make a conscious decision together about what words to use and be clear about how it all fits together. Luckily the Messaging WG is tackling this head on and in addition to building talking points for key audiences, also developing a glossary of terms in the alternative credentialing space.

If you’d like to contribute to that effort, please sign up for the working group at badgealliance.org. You’ll be added to the mailing list, where you can post opinions and thoughts on this important matter and we can work it out together. Also, don’t hesitate to shoot me a note or post a comment here. 

I guarantee that we’ll never settle on a word or words that everyone agrees with. But I am sure that we are all after the same thing and that we have enough of the right minds and perspectives at the table to make some conscious decisions on how to leverage each other and make the most impact. We have to design interoperability in from the beginning and that starts with the words we choose.

What do you think?

-E

August 08, 2014 11:43 AM

August 06, 2014

Laura Hilliger

Connected Courses

I’m quite pleased to point you to a new online learning experience being put together by a group of amazing educators from the Connected Learning community. Starting September 15th we’re going to be talking about openness and blended learning in a 12 week course that aims to help people run their own connected courses. It’s meta! I love meta. The coursework will help you understand how we work in the digital space by demystifying the tools and trade of openness. We’ll explore why you might run a Connectivist learning experience, how to get started, how to connect online and offline participants, and how to MAKE things that support this kind of learning. We’ll talk about building networks, maintaining networks, diversifying networks and living and working in a connected space. We’ll learn together, share ideas and start making action plans for our own connected courses. You might understand, based on the above, why I’m excited about this. For the past couple of years I’ve been learning how to run connected courses, and I’ve been looking to people like the organizers of Connected Courses for advice, best practices and support. I’ve learned so much about how open online learning can activate and inspire people, and I’ve spent loads of time trying to understand the hows and whys in order to make Webmaker’s #TeachTheWeb program a sustainable engine of learning and support for our community. This course aims to simplify many of the trials and tribulations I’ve had organizing in this educational space, so that anyone can run these experiences and join in on open culture. Everyone is welcome and no experience is required. The first unit starts on September 15th, but you can sign up now and find more details about the topics we'll be exploring at http://connectedcourses.org See you there!

August 06, 2014 11:43 AM

August 05, 2014

Daniel Sinker

OpenNews: So what is the Fellowship experience like anyway?

We are under two weeks until the end of our search for our 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows. If you love to code and want to spend ten months having an impact in journalism, you should apply.

Of course, you may have questions about what being a fellow is actually *like*, and so the last two weeks, our current Fellows have written about their experiences. Each experience—like each one of our fellows—is different, and the takeaways are unique. The Knight-Mozilla Fellowships are about writing great open-source code, but they are also about so much more. And what that is, is up to you.

Harlo Holmes, who has spent her fellowship year at the New York Times likens becoming a fellow to “Scrooge McDuck taking a swim in his vault.” Except in this case, the vault isn’t filled with money but instead “a veritable treasure trove of code libraries, frankenstein-y demos and PoCs, and wacky ideas.”

Ben Chartoff’s fellowship at the Washington Post has been all about learning:

I know so much more than I did half a year ago, and have so many more people and communities I can learn from. I may not be in school anymore, but I’m certainly a student. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my career, I will be learning every day, and I’m figuring out out how to life-long-learn because of this stupendous, magical, yes-it’s-really-that-great fellowship


For Gabriella Rodriguez, her fellowship at La Nacion—which involved moving her entire family of four from Portland, Oregon to Buenos Aires, Argentina—has been “una aventura!" Gaba has been focused on bringing more voices into journalism, she explains in Spanish, through her work on the VozData project, and by organizing “cafés de DATA” with the civic hacker community across the Rio de la Plata in Montevideo, Uruquay.

Brian Jacobs applied to become a Knight-Mozilla Fellow two years in a row, and his second time was the lucky one, landing him a fellowship at ProPublica in New York. His time as a fellow has been about doing the unexpected:

I’m working on a project that involves visualizing NASA data, integrating with repositories of satellite imagery, processing it in Photoshop, in the command-line, making it interactive in a news application, helping to create what I hope will be something really beautiful and worthwhile to explore. Working with data from space is basically the coolest thing I could be doing right now. Did I expect to be doing this? Not really. All I did was follow my interests, because I have less of a job description and more of a general mandate to work with incredibly smart people and make interesting things.


Marcos Vanetta moved from Buenos Aires to Austin, Texas for his fellowship year at the Texas Tribune. His first time in America, and his first time in a newsroom, he has adapted quickly. He writes in Spanish that after only four months, he’s writing software and participating in projects that are visited by thousands of people every day.

Aurelia Moser, who has had a joint East African fellowship with both Ushahidi and Internews Kenya, has juggled her collaboration with news partners, fellows, and many others in the journalism code community (the workflow has been tricky enough that she’s managing it with Github issues). And it’s embracing working in the open that has impacted her fellowship year the most:

Some of the more tacit benefits are nearly impossible to articulate without being gushy. It’s the stranger famery you’ll experience in the news community that clashes with your impulse to imposter syndrome; the kind where you’ll get requests to collaborate on projects from strangers instead of just your friends. Pre-fellowship, I never really had comments on my Github projects and my public code persona was pretty weak; 5 months in, I get regular email about blog posts I’ve written and repos I’ve open-sourced.


Each of our current fellows has had a singular experience. They have learned more about journalism, more about their coding skills, and more about working with others, and about themselves. As Ben Chartoff says in his post, “This fellowship has already changed my life.”

And, a year ago, each of them was were where you are right now: Wondering if they should apply, wondering what it would mean to their lives. They know the answer now because they applied. You have until midnight Eastern August 16 to find out for yourself.

August 05, 2014 09:29 PM

Forrest Oliphant

First steps for noflo-webaudio

Before any word, let's make some noise. You can play yourself with this demo clicking here.

This simple demo was presented by Forrest in his last Assembly talk. It illustrates how we are combining audio and visuals in NoFlo.

It uses noflo-webaudio, our wrapper library to the Web Audio API. Web Audio API defines a "signal-flow graph" where audio sources connect to processors and can be manipulated on a sample-accurate base. How to map such "signal-flow graph" to NoFlo? Having worked with noflo-canvas we wanted to explore if the same design and semantics used on it could work with Web Audio.

In noflo-canvas, each component generates lispy commands that are lazy-evaluated in a complex component (Draw). We are doing the same for noflo-webaudio. In this way, we have some components like Oscillator and Gain that sends lispy commands like the following:

{"type": "gain", 
 "input": [{"type": "oscillator", "frequency": 440.0},
           {"type": "oscillator", "frequency": 660.0}]
 0.8}

which, again, maps to a lispy representation like

(gain ((oscillator 440)
       (oscillator 660))
      0.8)

Each time a component input (like Oscillator's frequency) changes, it sends an updated command as its output. The Play component gets all those commands and takes care of how to plug them together and update the parameters when needed.

The major difference is that noflo-canvas follows a "redraw the entire canvas everytime" paradigm while noflo-webaudio can't reconnect all the audio nodes everytime: most of the time the audio graph doesn't change, just the parameters. So Play should be smart enough to walk through the received commands and decide which should be reconnected (like Oscillators and AudioFile) and which should have just its parameter updated.

The JSON representation of such signal-flow graphs remembers a declarative paradigm. We are exploring a Web Audio library called Flocking which makes possible to define signal-flow graphs in a declarative way that maps directly in the way we are dealing with noflo-canvas and noflo-webaudio for now. So we should have a usable noflo-flocking soon.

We already have support for Web Audio API in Android and iOS devices so we can expect mobile music instruments in NoFlo in the near future!

We started the noflo-three components library to Three.js during this time too. We hope the same design we used for noflo-webaudio can be applied to a scene graph like that used in Three.js. We are also making some nice generative stuff with noflo-canvas that we will love to share soon.

August 05, 2014 12:00 AM

August 04, 2014

Jess Klein

How to learn more about Net Neutrality

Like many people, I wasn't really aware of the potential impact that opposers of Net Neutrality could have, or for that matter what net neutrality was, until I was introduced to the topic by John Oliver on his tv show Last Week Tonight. After hearing his explanation and comedic rant, I started to learn more about net neutrality. My colleague, David Steer explains net neutrality as the opinion that 
"Data, regardless of who it is from or who is receiving it, is treated equally by Internet service providers."
I like to think of it as opening up the door for 2 internets - one that comes at a cost, and another that is free. Sounds fine, right? You're like .. ok what's the big deal? I'll just use the free one. But just like many other free services that you have used that all of a sudden put up features behind a paywall, your free offering becomes crap - cluttered with ads, slower to use and just a poor man's version of the prime real estate - this too will happen with the Web. 

I believe that this issue is the most important topic for web users (globally), because without the neutral infrastructure of the internet, many freedoms that we take for granted in this hand crafted community - such as speech - become compromised in a privileged and gated web. Opposition to net neutrality threatens democracy, participation and free speech.  But this isn't a hopeless cause, there is actually something proactive that you can do to protect the Web that you love: you can learn more about Net Neutrality and explain it's importance to your small circle of the world why it's important. The goal is to create an educated groundswell that will be able to defend the open web.

Here are a few concrete ways to learn:

1. Attend the free Net Neutrality global teach-ins offered by Mozilla this week
2. Check out the the Net Neutrality kit
3. Do an activity  - here's a 1 hour activity
4. Join the conversation on discourse

I contributed to these kits by making a few activities:

I fight for #TeamInternet to save net neutrality because: You can make an internet meme explaining why you support net neutrality.


Superheroes for Net Neutrality: Calling all Superheroes! The Legion of Thorn has created 2 Webs - resulting in a dystopian state. Avenge them and defend Net Neutrality by crafting a league of superheroes to join Team Web, and remix a comic book webpage to show how they use their superpowers to save the day. 



This comic remix was made by a 7 year old

Regardless of how you learn about Net Neutrality, take some time out of your day to add it to your information diet.

August 04, 2014 01:43 PM

August 01, 2014

Open Badges blog

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [51]

Happy Friday!

Here’s a quick round-up of the week’s badging news and updates:

And finally - a HUGE congratulations to our Marketing Rockstar, Megan Cole, who is getting married this weekend!

See you all next week! In the meantime…..

August 01, 2014 05:30 PM

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 30, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, July 30, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJuly30

This week we were joined by Robert Friedman, Portfolio Strategist for Mozilla / Hive Chicago, who shared the work behind the recently announced Hive Community Member badge. Slides from his presentation can be found here.

Hive Learning Networks are a growing constellation of communities that are championing digital skills and web literacy through connected learning around the world. The folks at Hive are starting to recognize the individuals who contribute to Hive’s growth and success with the Hive Community Member badge on webmaker.org - around 400 Hive contributors have already been awarded the badge!

Badges as tools of Connected Learning

“Hive badges will serve as an essential tool to drive the adoption of connected learning practices by Hive educators.”

The Hive team started working towards developing community badges at the Summit to Reconnect Learning (SRL) in February, where the Badge Alliance launched and Hive Global made a commitment to launch a series of educator badges.

Hive leaders knew their badges would be about connected learning in educational spaces, but the didn’t want to pursue badging and assessing student work, nor did they want to badge service providers for their work either - in many cases, Hive can’t claim to provide the specific, focused professional development support that would support badges.

Hive communities create environments where connected learning and professional development can happen in a peer-to-peer fashion. This important part of the Hive’s work is where the team focused their attention, and the badges became more about the way Hive communities function, rather than the work done by its members.

As many badge designers have discovered, the Hive leaders and community addressed the question of badge value, asking “How are badges an important tool for connected learning?”

Something the team explored was the fact that youth are motivated by different things than adults, which means that adult badge designers sometimes create badges ‘for youth’ that in fact impose adult motivators on youth. For example, adults don’t usually respond to the concept of “unlocking” rewards or additional opportunities, as youth do, but are more interested in defining what membership in the Hive meant, and gaining recognition for participation.

This desire for recognition of participation and membership is where the badge comes in, as an important tool for community- and identity-building within the Hive’s connected learning and professional development communities.

Connected learning for professionals

At the Summit, the Hive leaders unpacked the meaning of connected learning for professionals, and found the principle of Hive being “openly networked” resonated with many team members. By digging into this principle more deeply, Hive leaders identified three key elements that became the main criteria for the badge:

learning and development community

process of creating the first badge has better informed Hive team for creating a better (more valuable) badge system

Next steps

Hive leaders worked closely with the Webmaker team to develop badges for Webmaker as well as this first Hive badge; as a result, Hive became a major driver of the Webmaker community and helped shape how badges are claimed, issued and displayed.

Moving forward, the team will be tracking badges issued and claimed, to help inform and scope out a trajectory for a more robust badge ecosystem. They’ll also revisit the Community Member badge, breaking it down and digging deeper to recognize more of their community’s contributions, including giving people the option to issue badges for peer recognition.

Long term plans include leveraging the wider connected learning community to see where Hive can impact educator badges on a broader scale - including participating in the Badge Alliance Working Group on Badges for Educators and Professional Development.

To learn more about the Hive, check out hivelearningnetworks.org

You can apply for the Hive Community Member badge by clicking the link.

August 01, 2014 03:03 PM

July 31, 2014

Open Badges blog

#openbadgesMOOC Session 11 - Cities of Learning

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 7: Badges & Competency-Based Learning
Session Recording: http://bit.ly/OBmoocCOL

The Cities of Learning (CoL) is a nationwide movement to leverage community and government resources, turning a whole city into a campus for year-round learning, offering 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.

Megan Cole, Director of Marketing + Operations at the Badge Alliance, has been coordinating efforts across the six 2014 Cities of Learning, and brought representatives from Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas to this week’s MOOC session to share their thoughts. Carla Casilli, Director of Design + Practice, led Monday’s session of the #openbadgesMOOC, New Currency for Professional Credentials.

A nationwide movement for connected learning

Chicago launched the Cities of Learning movement in 2013 with the successful summer pilot program, Chicago Summer of Learning. Over 100 organizations offered activities to Chicago’s youth on and offline, issuing over 100,000 badges through the course of the summer. This year, Chicago has expanded its summer learning into a year-round initiative, the chicago City of Learning (CCOL), and five other cities will be implementing citywide badged learning programs - Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. Still more are making plans to join in 2015 (read more).

The Cities of Learning are designed around the principles of Connected Learning, an 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.

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. The national efforts are supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Badge Alliance, and DePaul University.

Learn more: citiesoflearning.org

Chicago

Nichole Pinkard and Sybil Madison-Boyd of the Digital Youth Network (DYN) shared some of the lessons learned in Chicago from last year’s pilot.

The Chicago Mayor’s office first started exploring a summer learning initiative to avoid the learning loss described as ‘brain drain’ or ‘summer slump’ that many schools see in September after students have spent the summer months out of school. In Chicago, the Mayor’s office drove the program, bringing together over 100 community organizations and institutions to engage youth in fun activities that kept them actively involved in learning environments that exist outside their classrooms.

Chicago is now on its second year of citywide learning and its reach has expanded to 200,000+ youth. More than 1,000 youth programs in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) are being offered by the 120+ organizations participating in CCOL, including on-the-job learning opportunities.

Digital badges earned by youth in Chicago become “tools for connected learning,” according to Sybil. The badges allow youth and their mentors / teachers to track progress and illustrate a learning pathway, as well as play a role in identity-building and skills-sharing, empowering youth to pursue further education and career opportunities within their city - and beyond.

Learn more: explorechi.org

Dallas

Erin Offord, Director of Community Relations at Big Thought, joined us to talk about the work coming out of the Dallas City of Learning.

The Dallas offerings, which aim to reach 10,000 youth this year, include a number of online and in-person activities in earth science, design, sport, coding, and more from over 50 partner organizations.

The team behind the Dallas initiative is focusing their programming on equal access, ensuring their big city can act as a navigable campus for youth to engage in learning activities wherever they are.

They’ve been receiving positive feedback for the digital learning components of the program, and offered training for their partner organizations to introduce them to digital badges and make sure they were ready to develop and issue badges for the activities they’re offering. The conversations that began in those training sessions have shaped some of the national conversation as well, pushing for a youth-centric approach that is innovative and engaging for the kids participating in these programs.

Erin sees great potential for expansion in the Dallas partner organizations when it comes to the digital elements - even those unfamiliar with badges left the training ready to badge the city’s activities.

Learn more: dallascityoflearning.org

Los Angeles

Luis Mora, an administrator at Beyond the Bell, joined us to share some of the work going into the LA Summer of Learning.

The LA programming aims to offer 50,000 youth opportunities and access to activities in robotics, fashion, astronomy, and more.

Like the other Cities of Learning, Luis and the folks at Beyond the Bell are looking at Los Angeles as a campus for learning - but unlike other cities, LA is placing special emphasis on workforce readiness. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy are challenging youth between the ages of 16 and 24 the opportunity to become workforce ready this summer, and the LA Summer of Learning is helping youth access opportunities that develop workforce skills and prepare them for life beyond graduation.

By earning five workforce readiness badges - in Basic Job Skills, Résumé Building, Financial Literacy, Interview Skills, and Job Application - youth can unlock the Workforce Ready Challenge Badge, as well as entry to the LA Chamber of Commerce’s “Work Ready Certification Badge” and the opportunity to unlock jobs.

Learn more: summeroflearning.la

July 31, 2014 06:13 PM

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 webmaker.org.

image

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: http://bit.ly/CCJuly30

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 badges.coursesites.com

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:

Speakers:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJuly23

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: carla@badgealliance.org

If there are other areas you think would benefit from policy work, why not join the Badge Alliance Working Group on Policy? Go to http://bit.ly/BA-Policy-WG to apply.

If you have a badges project to share with the community - big or small - let us know! Email badges@badgealliance.org 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:

Tutorials:
Updated documentation for Backpack repo:
There are also some updates to the in-code documentation here: https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges/tree/doc-updates/docs/apis

Anything missing?

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

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 sessions@sxswedu.com

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.

image

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.

image

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 http://bit.ly/CCJuly16

If you haven’t yet signed up for Working Groups and would like to, visit badgealliance.org/get-involved/

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 Webmaker.org 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.

bhag_mobilize2

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.

smart_tools

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

noflo-geometry

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:

Voronoi

Delaunay

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:

FAR_Twitter_Bgrnd

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:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJuly9

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 http://bit.ly/BA-Workforce-WG.

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 http://dmlcompetition.net/building-trust/

"See" you there!



——————————————————

Connect with the Trust Challenge:

Web: www.dmlcompetition.net
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dmlComp and #dmltrust
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMLcomp
Listserv: To receive notifications about the Trust Challenge, including reminders when the application opens, send a message to dmlcompnews-request@duke.edu 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

image

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, evenfromhere.org

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:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJuly2

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:

image

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 hivelearningnetworks.org 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 badgealliance.org 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:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJune25

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: http://bit.ly/CCJune25

Find out more about DigiSkills Cymru at http://www.digiskillscymru.org.uk/

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 10MBetterFutures.org

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

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
#openbadgesMOOC

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 http://badges.coursesites.com/ 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!

image

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. http://chicagocityoflearning.org/

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. http://dallascityoflearning.org/

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. http://summeroflearning.la/

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. http://remakelearning.org/blog/2014/06/20/why-were-making-our-city-a-summer-camp/

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!

image

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:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJune18

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 http://discover.openbadges.org/ 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: http://bit.ly/CCJune18

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: Makezine.com)

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: http://bit.ly/CCJune18

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 Webmaker.org 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 http://jessicaklein.blogspot.com/


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 Webmaker.org 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},
         "fillstyle":"#00ff00"}] 

If we remove JSON stuff we get this Lispy representation:

    (fill (circle (point 100 100)
                  100)
          "#00ff00")

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 citiesoflearning.org! 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 - wiki.badgealliance.org - 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="alignnone" 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 http://training.webmakerprototypes.org 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?

Digestion.

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:

Speaker:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CCJune11

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!

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

image

‘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.

image

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 www.CitiesofLearning.org.

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.

Paperwork

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.

Workwork

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