Badges for learning!

Slowly, ever so slowly, the number of times I come across ‘BADGES’ in relation to learning is on the rise.  Sometimes this is in relation to open accreditation (think higher education) or it might be in relation to classrooms, and gaming approaches to learning motivation. Alternatively, it just might be in relation to social networks (foursquare!) and our passion for collecting badges for ‘check in’ or similar.

Open Badge systems provide many and varied opportunities for representation, not the least of which is uniqueness. Open Badge systems are more than a series of simple documents indicating learning.Think of it as a rich and varied representation of journeys, experiences and learned processes.

Possibly the most prominent one to emerge across sectors is Mozilla’s Open Badges, launched September 2011, that provide any organization the basic building blocks they need to offer badges in a standard, interoperable manner.

A number of tertiary institutions have adopted this approach to learning motivation and accreditation. Badge-powered learning at Purdue University is very comprehensive!

Now, Passport, a new classroom app created by Purdue University, allows instructors and advisers to give students digital badges to indicate mastery of skills. The application uses Mozilla’s Open Badge infrastructure and is available for use by instructors at any institution. Passport provides a platform for anyone who wants to deliver learning credentials. From creation of the challenge to creating the actual badge image itself, and then a way to display earned badges, it’s all built into the platform. A comprehensive explanation and information is available at the post: Digital Badges show student’s skills along with a degree.

If you are working in a school, there is no need to feel left out of the opportunity to integrate badges. ClassBadges is a free, online tool where teachers can award badges for student accomplishments. Through your teacher account, you can award badges customized for your classroom or school. Why not let your students can get involved in creating and managing their badges?

I have a feeling that badges for lifelong learning are an important new development to watch, adopt, and enjoy!

Image: Badges cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Leo Reynolds

Horizon Report 2012 – Higher Education

Trend-spotting is an interesting passtime, much loved by the media and futurists alike. However, there are some publications that provide an annual review of global developments that make essential reading.

The internationally recognized NMC Horizon Reports is one of these publications. These series of reports identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe. To create each report, an international body of experts in education, technology, and other fields is convened as an advisory board to work on a  set of research questions intended to surface
significant trends and challenges and to identify a wide array of potential technologies for the report.

Each of the three global editions of the NMC Horizon Report — higher education, primary and secondary education, and museum education — highlight six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use with their focus sectors within three adoption horizons over the next five years.

(I am very lucky to have been an advisory board member of the K-12 Edition since its inception – and am currently immersed in the 2012 edition discussions at the moment).

The  2012 Higher Education Edition has recenlty been published, and is available  here.  It makes very interesting reading for me as I work with a new cohort of postgraduate students and see how well student capabilities align with the changing landscape of learning.

Key trends:

  1. People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  2. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
  3. The world of work is increasingly collaborative, driving changes in the way student projects are structured.
  4. The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as
    educators.
  5. Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborative models.
  6. There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge-based and active learning.

The areas of emerging technology to watch :

Time to adoption: One Year or Less

  • Mobile Apps
  • Tablet Computing

Time to adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Game-based Learning
  • Learning Analytics

Time to adoption: Four to Five Year

  • Gesture-based Computing
  • Internet of Things

NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by paul (dex)