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