Greetings, everyone --
I'm excited about being part of the HASTAC Scholars community! I've enjoyed reading the posts of the 2013-2014 Scholars, learning about projects, ideas and passions.
I'm a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University; my cognate area is Instructional Technologies. In my professional career, I've had various "lives" or "persona" as Teacher/ Trainer/ Leader/ Coach / Information Specialist / Computer XXXXX / Digital Diva/ Artist/Scientist/Designer.
More specifically :) I've learned from experiences serving as: School Principal (K-8), Director of Libraries and Instructional Resources (established collections and programming), Programmer/Analyst, Systems Librarian, Director of Learning Technologies, Coordinator of Electronic Resources (Assistant Prof/ Librarian) and Visual Resources Librarian. Before I changed my undergrad major to Art History, I was a Biology major, continuing my studies in the UK.
While my background may seem varied to some, to others, my experiences may seem familiar to those who share my interests in learning, information, human capacity and various forms of knowledge transfer. I'm deeply interested in learning -- why and how people learn, motivations, circumstances and mind sets of readiness to learn, kinds of learning, capacities of individuals and groups to learn, what we should learn and its importance. As an educator and leader, I'm a proponent of thoughtful instructional design for purposeful learning outcomes (for teachers and other educators, as well as the kids!).
My passion, rooted in the clarity of perception regarding the transformative potential of information, knowledge and learning, is equity of opportunity to participate and partake in these systems and processes. "Learning" occurs in various venues, formal, non-formal or informal.
At times the knowledge acquisition systems emerging our educational platforms have been limited, challenged and therefore inadequate -- despite dedicated educators' efforts -- for so many reasons: the fast pace of global change, politics, unrealistic expectations, divergent expectations and the perpetuation, in some contexts, of educational models which primarily measure recall and understanding. While folks collaborate, plan and work diligently -- the content and context of formal education will inevitably take quite some time to change.
These are some of the reasons I am interested in the concept and applications of digital badging and the potential of open education.
My dissertation research is intended to be a baseline study of the use of digital badges for STEM related learning (One of the badging platforms, with badge descriptions: https://www.makewav.es/badgebox) and more on the study: http://www.badgebox.net/ " Research Hub" and other menu items to the right). I love the idea of digital badges because they have such potential for educators in all learning environments. For example, one group in my study will be using the InfoMaker series badges to scaffold, measure (though meeting badge critiera successfully to demonstrate mastery), recognize and communicate learning in after school programs. In the process, badge earners will also be learning and applying "design" thinking.
This is very interesting, because the InfoMaker series is aligned with national educational standards including the ELA and Math Common Core and the difficult-to-teach-and-assess Next Gen. Science Standard (actually "Practice") of "Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating information." (Some aspects of the InfoMaker badges are not aligned with specific standards, which is also the point -- because not all learning is aligned with standards -- nor should it be). Designed into several different levels, the badge learning trajectories are designed to be robust. I'm really interested to learn of the learning outcomes of this particular group!
During my conversations with school leaders, the point at which they comprehend the possibilities is clear (notwithstanding the challenges of course :)). I've blogged about these conversations: http://goo.gl/5JBZrz
Digital badges have potential in so many learning contexts! I'm also working on projects in higher ed. (teachers and school administrators) and in business learning contexts.
Are digital badging and open education "the answers?" Ultimately, no -- I don't think so, but the emerging conversations around teaching and learning occuring as these ideas gain traction, have and will change education moving forward. But, my thoughts and experiences in this area are perhaps for another post :) I'm looking forward to sharing and hearing your ideas!
all the best,