Extending Badges

Thursday, May 28, 2015 Comment graphic open badges now with extensions

At the beginning of this month, the Badge Alliance published version 1.1 of the Open Badges specification. This is a technical reference for developers. However, it has exciting, far-reaching pedagogical and social possibilities that are worth highlighting. In this post, I want to explore just a couple of these: mapping and endorsement. Mapping The Open Badges specification has always included a standard set of metadata fields that organisations use to issue badges. These include things like: Name: what the badge is called Description: what the badge is for Criteria: what individuals have to do to earn

Peering Deep into Future of Educational Credentialing

Monday, March 30, 2015 Comment doug belshaw graphic breaking down badges and block chain

I recently attended Nesta’s FutureFest event in London. It was a heady mix of everything related to what’s next: from food to technology to economics to politics. What really caught my attention, however, was the way in which one particular innovation seemed to have captured the imagination of people across various sectors. That technology is the blockchain. Bear with me. Some of this will have to be slightly technical in order to get across the point I want to make about credentialing. First, I’ll explain in broad brushstrokes how the blockchain is currently used to underpin Bitcoin, the ‘cryptocurrency’ you’ve

Learning Pathways: Descriptive or Prescriptive?

Thursday, January 29, 2015 Comment animation of black blots blobs connected by intricate web of lines pathways

A few months ago, in a post entitled Scaffolding Web Literacy Through Learning Pathways, I differentiated between training pathways (“a series of steps that lead to the individual being able to reproduce knowledge or action”) and learning pathways (“experiences lead[ing] to the re-shaping of… future behaviour”). Descriptive/Prescriptive In this post, I want to dive deeper into learning pathways, dividing these types of pathways into broadly two groups. There are those kinds of pathways that are descriptive and those that are prescriptive. Neither of these labels is pejorative, as each could be appropriate given a particular context. This way of looking at learning

Badges For Learning Series, Part 2: Getting The Full Picture

Thursday, May 01, 2014 Comment student in classroom taking picture on ipad of another student holding an ipad

In my previous post, “My Beef With Badges,” I called on the emerging badging community to stop conflating our aspirations with our achievements, and to start sharing a more accurate picture of the challenges we all face. I also tried to make clear that I have been a part of the very problem I now aim to address. As I’ve been asked in recent weeks to present and engage our community around these ideas, I’ve often expressed my intent to “walk the talk” and share what we’ve been observing where I work, at the American Museum

Why Organizations Large and Small Should Align with Mozilla’s Web Literacy Standard

Monday, April 08, 2013 Comment Innovation graphic tier open badges infrastructure the web and complicated studd

At Mozilla we don’t like silos. We believe in innovating upon open standards and in ensuring that the Web remains an open platform. That’s why our Firefox web browser exists. It’s why we’re working on Firefox OS. And it’s why we’re delighted to have recently launched v1.0 of the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI). In a previous post I introduced our latest work engaging the community around a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. In this post I want to elaborate on that and explain how the standard might work in practice. One of the great things about the OBI is that

Why We Need Badges Now: A Bibliography of Resources in Historical Perspective

Friday, March 01, 2013 Comment poster of different badges icons explaining badges are visual representations of skill or achievement

It was something over a year ago when we first began talking about badges as a powerful new tool for identifying and validating the rich array of people’s skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and competencies that happens everywhere and at every age.  That’s when we decided that this year the Digital Media and Learning Competition would be dedicated to an array of competitions on badging.  I remember when we started writing, blogging, talking, speaking, and in other ways trying to create a conversation around badges as an alternative mode of assessment, people would look at me like I

Some Thoughts on Interest-based Pathways to Learning

Monday, January 28, 2013 Comment interest based pathways for learning graphic colorful honeycomb design

I have a confession to make. It’s a shameful, dark secret that I fear may be common to many adults around the world. And, when I was teaching, it was certainly one that I saw shared by many students I came into contact with. It’s something you don’t tend to admit to — especially as an educator. What is this thing that I’m reticent to admit? I’m not sure how I learn best. Do I learn best by listening to podcasts? What about by studying diagrams? I seem to find those useful. I dropped out half-way

Digital Literacies and Web Literacies: What’s the Difference?

Monday, August 20, 2012 Comment graphic showing difference between digital and web literacies

I’m currently iterating some work around Web Literacies for the Mozilla Foundation (you can see the latest version of my thinking here). Perhaps the biggest consideration when dealing with so-called ‘New’ Literacies is distinguishing them from one another. As I’ve discussed many times before, without some clear thinking on this issue both theorists and practitioners alike tend to talk past one another using imprecise terminology. What I want to consider in this post is the relationship between Digital literacies and Web literacies. Aren’t they just synonyms? The topic of digital literacies was the focus of my

Gaining Some Perspective on Badges for Lifelong Learning

Friday, March 30, 2012 Comment 2 beautiful birds flying together

I first read about the idea of Open Badges back in the middle of last year. It excited me. One thing I’ve always been interested in is how to shift the power dynamic within classrooms towards learners in a positive way. Changing (or at least providing additional) ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding is one way to do that. Using Mozilla’s Open Badges infrastructure, any organization or community can issue badges backed by their own seal of approval. Learners and users can then collect badges from different sources and display them across

Reflections on DML2012 and Visions of Educational Change

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 Comment DML 2012 conference room full of people

A few days back home after DML2012, I’ve been browsing through the blogosphere and tweet streams and reflecting on the various conversations I had at the event. One unfortunate side-effect of being part of the organizing is that I can’t get to many sessions, so I’m grateful for the after-party happening online. I wanted to pull one thread of my own learning related to this year’s theme, which centered on innovation, technology, and educational reform. BEYOND EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY The theme and the Bay Area location was a provocation, designed by conference chair Diana Rhoten to confront