Mozilla’s Open Badges project reached a major milestone last week, with the launch of the MacArthur Foundation and HASTAC’s “Badges for Lifelong Learning” Competition. The competition includes collaborators like NASA, the Department of Education, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a number of other organizations large and small — all testing the potential of badges to assess, recognize and reward learning.
Rounding up resources and early reaction
This post summarizes some of the key assets and early conversation from the launch, as we push toward the next major competition milestone: the deadline for Badge Content and Program proposals on October 14.
Video, transcripts and other useful resources
- DML Competition web site
- Mozilla Open Badges web site
- Video from the Sep 15 DML competition launch
- Complete transcript of the event
- Mozilla press release
- MacArthur Foundation press release
- Open Badges presentation slides
- Open Badges Infrastructure beta1 release
- Social media links (curated by HASTAC)
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- TechShout: “Mozilla is simplifying the online process of issuing and sharing digital learning badges through the Open Badge Infrastructure project”
- Education Week: “The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is launching a $2 million open competition for ideas relating to badge development.”
- The Inquirer: “Mozilla offers developers a badge system”
- SD Times: “Mozilla’s plan to support life-long and professional learning”
Blog posts: Good high-level summaries
- Cathy Davidson, HASTAC: “Why Badges? Why Not?“
- “Our current, standardized systems of credentialing are very rigid and often restrictive. Badges allow groups of people—organizations and institutions—to decide what counts for them and how they want to give credit.”
- Mark Surman, “Mozilla Launches Open Badges Project“
- “If we’re successful, the benefits to learners will be tremendous. Open Badges will let you gather badges from any site on the internet, combining them into a story about what you know and what you’ve achieved. There is a real chance to create learning that works more like the web.”
- Audrey Waters, “The Importance of ‘Open’ in Mozilla’s Open Badges Project” + Mozilla’s Open Badges Announcement, Storified
- “Openness is incredibly important here. The openness of who can issue badges. The openness of the code (here’s the GitHub link). That means this isn’t proprietary technology, nor is it some sort of proprietary accreditation process. The emphasis on Open Badges is ‘open.’”
Education and learning innovators
- Rafi Santo: “#DMLBadges and Shifting the Overton Window on Learning“
- “I’m not here though to discuss the initiative itself, or to weigh in with my opinion on badges and their potential to shift the educational landscape in positive ways, or not. What I do want to talk about is how I see the current conversation around badges being a positive thing for that landscape.”
- Jason Baird Jackson, “Badges!“
- “One of the best things about badge programs is that they can be organized by a diversity of groups and agencies (unlike formal higher education, which is built around colleges and universities and their slow moving practices).”
- Gillian Kerr, “Mozilla Open Badges – finally, a credible standard for online credentialing“
- “If it takes off, … this service will enable people to demonstrate their skills and credentials using an international standard that could be used for education, job searches and networking.”
- Stevie Rocco: “Mozilla’s Open Badges Project“
- “To me, this is a really exciting concept for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the idea of learners being able to more adequately express their skills and abilities in ways that haven’t been possible before.”
- Ostatic: “Mozilla’s Open Badges Offer Ways for You to Showcase Your Skills“
- “It is essential that academic degrees are not the only markers for tech-focused achievements in today’s world…. It would be especially great to see Open Badges offer ways for people with specialized open source skills showcase what they know.”
- Klint Finley, Silicon Angle: “Rethinking Skill Certifications: Mozilla’s Open Badges Project”
- “Is there a way to provide more ‘micro-certifications’ for technologies and professional accomplishments? Mozilla’s Open Badges project is one emerging possibility.”
Thoughtful criticism and questions
- Bud Hunt, “Digging Out My Sash“
- “If the DML competition encourages thinking and writing and exploration and action around ideas like the idea that any accountability system, or accreditation system, is ultimately a subjective system, made by people, however we design it, then I say, let’s rock. But let’s do so carefully.”
- Jenna McWilliams, “Notes on and concerns about this year’s Digital Media & Learning Competition“
- “The rationale driving MacArthur’s decision to throw its weight behind badge systems needs to be made more apparent.”
- Andrea Zellner, “Thoughts on Badges for Learning“
- “I don’t feel as if I understand the theoretical basis for the research questions around badges for learning.”
- Alex Reid, “Welcome to Badge World” + “three learning assessment alternatives #dmlbadges“
- “As I view it, the badges/assessment thing tries to address four separate issues that really need to be disconnected. In fact, one could argue that their interconnection has produced the serious problems education faces today.
- How do we inspire students and/or support their intrinsic motivations to learn?
- How do we measure/value our students’ achievements?
- How do we measure/value the success of pedagogies, programs, institutions?
- How do we capitalize on the values of #2 and #3 in the job market?
Some early analysis and response (more coming)
- Carla Casilli, “Fear of a Badges Planet“
- “Mozilla’s Open Badge effort is not a gamification of anything. Instead, the Open Badge system is an opportunity to reimagine personal communication of social representation. Think of it as an entirely new, authenticatable, verifiable, dependable means to an end: a brand new vision for the old resume/curriculum vitae.”
- Audrey Waters, More Thoughts on Badges
- “Mozilla is part of the force that keeps the Web open and free. So I like them. I do. And I like the idea behind having an open source system by which people can showcase what they’ve learned, what they’ve achieved.”