What are Open Badges?

Open Badges are seen as a potential new approach to granting learning credentials, 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?

  • Badges takes and operationalises learning objectives into short demonstrable segments so that learning is accompanied with objective artifacts that reflect the knowledge gained. It has impact on both undergraduate and CPD (professional development) courses. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Aug 18, 2012
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Open badges is the learning side of the implementation of micro-credits. If a longer 16 week semester length course is broken into 8 2-week segments with clear learning outcomes associated with skills and procedural learning 'modules' it is reasonable to assume that recognition for the accomplishment of these learned elements could be assessed and awarded credits. This adds a whole new dimension to "student directed learning" since it opens up the possibility of a 'course' now constructed, lego-like, through the expression of a students interests marrying together badged modules to create a new course and curriculum. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Aug 18, 2012
  • Related to the above, badges bring to the foreground personalised learning directed as much by the learner as adaptively alignment of student learning material by the instructor. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Aug 18, 2012
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • This is a 'game changer'.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Connecting veterans to STEM fields through open badge projects has already begun at the University of Missouri , Kansas City. NASA has begun offering badges for robotics education, mainly oriented at high school students. They don't yet have their own open badge system but they are exploring options with the Mozilla Open Badge project. - Phillip.Long Phillip.Long Aug 18, 2012
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