What are Open Badges?

Open badges are seen as a potential new approach to granting learning credentials -- like micro-credits -- organized from the perspective of documenting personal skills and achievement in the same way a Boy or Girl Scout might earn a merit badge. This approach is being used in settings like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has launched its own badge system, enabling users to easily display their achievements on the web. Open badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While open badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be more authentic signs of knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition than standard tests, grades, or course credits.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • How are schools in particular thinking of using the open badges, taking advantage of ones like Khan and Mozilla or creating their own at the school or teacher level. What credibility are the schools giving to these? - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 2, 2013
  • Badges are essentially an alternative motivator up to a credentialing system. The idea of badges needs to be linked to a more social, collaborative mindset driven by connected learning. Game mechanics don't really fit, other than in 'levelling up' or scoring a badge a bit like FourSquare badges. It's important to get this description very precise so as not to devalue the potential value. An explanation of how badges are more authentic is needed...not just saying Khan Academy is having some success. Explain how it links to credentialling, future work options, recording authentic educational learning experiences.http://youtu.be/iqVidWPVBKA - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 5, 2013
  • - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 5, 2013Badge validation. How do we know that badges are valuable? Most of the discussion around badges seem to assume that badges will be valuable. Yet the criteria required to earn a badge are specified by the badge creator; we have no confidence that the badge creator understands how to create a badge. I'm reminded of the criticism of Kahn Academy when the viewers earn a badge just for watching part of a video. Badges can be used to mark endurance (e.g, watching a video or working a certain number of problems or finishing a task) or some other person's belief in competency (e.g, solving a certain number of problems, or correctly finish a task such as writing a five paragraph essay.) What's missing is external validation that the badge, and the accomplishments that lead to the badge have any value. Remember the "awards" handed out for websites in the early days of the web? They died because they didn't really mean anything. In order for badges to have continuing value, standards will need to be created that defines types of badges and what actions will lead to validly earning a badge. Derrel, love your question. How do we make badges have the "cool effect?" How does the badge retain its value after collection? - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 6, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • The potential to let students explore on their own and not wait for the teacher to assign them recognition is huge. In order for students to take responsibility for their own learning they need to still have feedback and a way to display their learning, the open badging has that potential. It is something tangible they can show to parents and teachers as to progress they are making. If the system is seen as relatively reliable it could be something employers and universities could look for from students to see their interests, accomplishments and motivation - mrskeeler mrskeeler Mar 2, 2013 - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 5, 2013
  • I would like to see them have true worth that show accomplishment, but getting it to work for creative expression will be difficult as it will need human judgement. If the badges are validated, they might show steps that a learner takes, but badges are only for learners because somebody who knows more than the learner is creating the badge. And one of the points I am struggling with is the concept that the "badge" is a proxy for the product, which in turn is a proxy for the knowledge. They too easily could be letter grades by just another name.- Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 5, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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