I attended the MacArthur Foundation gathering to hear about badging.
The gathering was entitled “Summit to Reconnect Learning” and was held in Redwood City, Ca. I thought I knew about badging – I mean I’ve been on FourSquare for quite awhile and have earned lots of badges there! What I’ve learned from interacting with a variety of people at this gathering is that badging is simple and complex. One of the speakers suggested that badging is where email was in 1965 – and that badging will become broadly adopted similar to email. Pathways of badging is one area to understand. Another area is how badging intersects with competency based education. And then, how badging fits with gaming systems that causes informal learning to occur.
The work that has already be done with badging appears to have started with Mozilla’s grant competition for digital badging in 2011. Since then, Mozilla and others have created a common vocabulary and concept papers that are open for anyone to use.
Throughout the gathering, there has been a combination of plenary talks, panel discussions and guided group discussions. The most productive time for me were the focused table top conversations that challenged us to identify how we may implement badging in our respective institutions and organizations. The other table top group that developed was one around badging for teacher professional development. It is interesting to think about how receiving badges for teacher professional development. I wonder about badging for professional development and how badging may fit into teacher education programs, credential renewal and ongoing professional development that allow teachers to move across a salary scale.
One of the more exciting projects shared was Chicago Summer of Learning which used a badging system for young people throughout the city in summer 2013. The case study here provides a nice snapshot of the program. There are people here from all major cities and are talking about how badging can extend learning for all ages of people beyond the school day – on school campuses, in libraries and in museums. One developing example is the Beyond the Bell program in LA Unified School District which is hoping to link schools, libraries and museums in the summer of 2014.
The excitement about badging was palpable among the attendees. This excitement has been helped with the active Twitter feed, the illustrator who has kept visual notes of the proceedings and the overall organization of the event.
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