Blog Post

AERA 2014 Sessions on Digital Badges

This post is cross-posted at Remediating Assessment.

by Christine Chow

Several of my colleagues in the world of open digital badges are heading to the AERA conference April 4-6 in Philadelphia. It looks like there’s a great program of sessions lined up, including some interesting research on digital badges. Here’s a rundown of the badges sessions at the conference.

Innovations in Learning in the Digital Age: Highlighting badges research at AERA
Fri, April 4, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Convention Center, 100 Level, 122A

AERA president Barbara Schneider asked the MacArthur Foundation to help organize this invited panel. Constance Steinkuehler is chairing a panel discussion, and it will be followed by breakout discussions & demos. Dan Hickey will discuss the broader landscape of research on digital badges, and Jim Diamond, Katie Davis, Cathy Tran, and others will join the discussion. Other panelists include Erin Hoffman, Game Design Lead from GlassLab, Jeff Curley from iCivics, L. Michael Golden from Educurious, Kemi Jona from Northwestern University’s FUSE, and Rafi Santo from Indiana University’s Hive Research Lab.

Innovations in Learning Technologies (In Roundtable Session 13)
Sat, April 5, 8:15 to 9:45am, Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace IV

This roundtable paper will consider the role and impact of research in the midst of recent educational advances and potentially disruptive technologies. Janet Twyman of the Center on Innovations in Learning will be discussing badges and other advances in gaming technology.

Innovating Education Practice Through Digital Badges: Recent Research, Current Practices, and Future Directions
Symposium chaired by Katie Davis, University of Washington
Sat, April 5, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Convention Center, 100 Level, 113C

The symposium will feature presentations and papers on four externally-funded badge research projects. Sean Fullerton will discuss the studies he is doing with Katie Davis on stakeholder perceptions; Sam Abramovich will discuss interest-based learning; Alex Halavais will discuss acceptability of badges; Dan Hickey will discuss the findings from the Design Principles Documentation Project.

Badges in Games for Learning and Their Motivational and Cognitive Impact (In Poster Session 10)
Jan L. Plass, Paul A. O’Keefe, Melissa Biles, Jonathan Frye, Bruce Douglas Horner
Sat, April 5, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Convention Center, 200 Level, Hall E

HASTAC Badges Research Awardee Jan Plass will present new research on the effects of different types of badges and the contextual factors that impact the effectiveness of badges. This is really important new research that should be quite relevant to many people interested in the impact of badges.

Peer-Awarded Merit Badges for Encouraging and Recognizing Disciplinary Engagement in Online Courses
Dan Hickey, Andi Rehak, and Lauren Smith
Sun, April 6, 8:15 to 10:15am, Marriott, Fifth Level, Grand Ballroom G

This paper is included in a session organized by the online education special interest group. It concerns simple “merit badges” that students awarded each other, as comments within threaded discussions of student generated artifacts in an online graduate-level course in education. They found that most of three-quarters of the merit badges were awarded for productive forms of disciplinary engagement and themselves represented productive disciplinary engagement. (Lauren Smith was added as an author after the proposal was submitted.)

Design Principles and Enacted Practices for Recognizing Learning With Digital Badges: A Collective Case Study
Andi Rehak, Daniel Hickey, & Christine Chow
Sun, April 6, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Marriott, Fourth Level, Franklin 11

This paper is presented in a session in the Advanced Technologies for Learning Special Interest Group. It presents interim findings for using digital badges to recognize learning from the Design Principles Documentation Project. It includes three case studies from three of the DML 2012 badges awardees, including Providence After School Alliance, Planet Stewards, and Sweetwater AQUAPONS. (This proposal was submitted before I joined the project, and I helped out on this paper and was added as an author.)

Designing Game-Based Assessment Around Learning Progressions
Sun, April 6, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Marriott, Fourth Level, Franklin 6

While this symposium is not explicitly about digital badges, it features some of the most innovative folks in the world of assessment, and they will certainly touch on important issues for anybody interested in digital badges. Diego Zapata-Rivera from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) is chairing the symposium, which features presentations from Ball State University’s Paul Gestwicki, ETS’s Edith Aurora Graf, Meirav Arieli-Attali, Yi Song, Jesse R. Sparks, and Florida State University’s Yoon Jeon Kim and Valerie J. Shute.

Considering the Implications of Assessment Design for Learning in Digital Badge Systems
Rebecca Itow and Dan Hickey
Sun, April 6, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Marriott, Fourth Level, Franklin 7

This paper session of the Learning Sciences Special Interest Group will feature a paper by Rebecca Itow and Dan Hickey. They are presenting the design principles for assessing learning with digital badges that emerged from the Design Principles Documentation Project. It will also compare how three very different projects assessed learning around their digital badges project.


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