SHOW ME YOUR BADGE: Away with the gold stars. The Mozilla Foundation officially unveiled Version 1.0 of its Open Badges project at the Digital Media and Learning Conference this week. It's the culmination of eight months of beta testing and development, during which over 600 companies, non-profits, foundations, and other organizations have issued over 60,000 badges.
The highly-anticipated effort marks a bold and welcome step towards a new standard of credentialing, one which takes into account the fact that people can gain a myriad of skills and knowledge through the web and other informal channels. Users will be able to proudly show off these badges on "backpacks," blogs and social networks--and share the with potential employers and schools.
What gives these Open Badges the extra oomph over any random digital badge is the metadata standard that allows anyone to verify the issuer, the criteria for which it was issued and the governing authority and evidence-based standards that the skills are based on. (Interested developers can check out some of the specs on GitHub here.)
One can easily imagine badges issued for technical proficiencies like coding or Common Core-aligned knowledge. But there are ample opportunities for use beyond the conventional skills as well. Emily Goligoski, Design and Community Lead at Mozilla Foundation, brought to our attention that the Chicago's Summer of Learning initiative, involving 143 local organizations, will be issuing Open Badges to children who complete an array of learning activities, from field trips to experiments to team projects.
"This is creating an ecosystem that lets people verify information and recognize learning that happens anywhere and turn that into something valuable for schools, jobs, and communities," says Erica Sackin, Senior Director of Communications.