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Two images to explain the notion of badge "strands" and our digital tool process flowchart.

Two images to explain the notion of badge "strands" and our digital tool process flowchart.

The first image is an early depiction of a badge with no strands earned.  To the right is shown the result of clicking on the "empty" Eastern quadrant of the badge.  It displays the cultural meanings of the Eastern portion of the medicine wheel and gives background information on earning an Eastern strand by providing links to the resource Web site.  It also provides links to sample strands earned by others.

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The lower half of the image shows the badge with an Eastern strand earned.  Clicking on the quadrant reveals the title as chosen by the learner, the learning goals of producing this creative offering, and a link to the actual creative work.  In this case the learner chose to host the content on their personal blog.



The second image shows a compilation of the steps in getting information about strands and submitting creative works as "gifts" to the community.  It begins with the Earthworks Resources site and provides background information on earning strands.  Earners post their creative submission as a gift which in turn is reviewed by mentors and crowd-sourced reviewers.  If worthy, the strand is bestowed (earned).

For full version go to:



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From Summer of 2012 through October 2013, Digital Watershed and The Ohio State University developed the first phase of the Earthworks Rising Badge System. The Earthworks Rising Badge System is an accessible gateway to meaningful, engaged learning and mentoring experiences that empower young people and learners of all ages to cultivate a broader understanding of the importance and cultural value of the Earthworks of North America.  The vision, voices and multiple perspectives of Native American culture have directed and guided the content developed for this interactive initiative.


The Earthworks Rising Badge System & Website were developed currently.  In this system, information available in the website is presented through the the four sections of the imagery of the medicine wheel.  The sections represent Awe, Earth, Sovereignty and Connections – all elements tied to the Native American medicine wheel.  Each section, its color, its meaning, its symbolism are all very specific and arise from length consulting with our American Indian Advisory Group.


The Badges are tied closely to the content of the website.  After exploring the website for background information, explorations and challenges, earners begin by identifying one challenge they wish to make into a project.  The Earthworks Rising website provided digital tools to encourage badge earner to: 

  1. Explore ideas through multiple cultural perspectives
  2. Create and digital and hands-on projects to share with other people
  3. Reflect on their learning experiences about the Earthworks of Newark, Ohio

Projects may be of various media types, including community organizing, oral and written storytelling, artistic expression (producing sculpture, music or dance, etc.), making a presentation, or other creative outlets that can be documented digitally.  Prospective badge earners submit a link to their creative project which is reviewed by a panel of mentors - some or all of which are Native American.  Mentors evaluate the project and, if approved, a portion of the badge is awarded though an administrative portion of the website.


The badge acts as a dynamic router to view any of the challenges chosen by earners and submitted as projects.  Up to three sub-badges (called “strands”) per each of the four medicine wheel elements (A, E, S, C) for a total of twelve (12) “strands” in this version of a "pie badge".  All strands are awarded at the same level and each earned strand includes a visual representation of the strand as a colored wedge, or segment, of the badge.  



The badge process begins with the submission of projects by potential earners who are registered with the website.  Submissions of projects take place on a submission form page linked to from a challenge and include the following information:

  • Challenge Card Title
  • User Login Name
  • My Project Name
  • URL link to Project
  • Project Description
  • Image Upload
  • What was the most rewarding thing you discovered doing this project?
  • What was the most challenging thing you encountered doing this project?

After evaluating and awarding a sub-badge strand, mentors submit the segment designation of the badge and a set of data to a Learning Record Store.  This badge uses TIn Can, also known as the Experience API.  


The data includes information on the challenge card, the URL link to project, and the description of the project.  Both a ZebraZapps badge and an OBI badge are generated for the earner.  ZebraZapps is an advanced e-learning tool availalble in the cloud.   

Upon launching the badge (via a URL sent to earners or via a link in the OBI badge) the medicine wheel and its four iconic symbols are displayed, along with a short description and the name of the earner.

Clicking on the badge animates a transition to an image displaying the pie segments of the badge.  Segments at full color have been earned. Those grayed out have yet to be earned.  

In addition to selecting a segment, users can also click on the icon on the left to visit the home page of the Earthworks Rising website, or click on the information popup on the right to get more on the medicine wheel.

The popup explains the significance and meand of elements found within the medicine wheel and gives users additional links to the page on the website explaining how to earn a badge.

Clicking on a badge segment reveals the icon associated with that segment (in this case, Awe, which is yellow and displays an eagle icon in the upper left of the badge) and information specific to this earned strand.  Now the medicine wheel has become a router for the strands.

On the lower left is information about the challenge accepted by the earner including a description of the challenge card found in the website, and an image associated with that challenge.  The eye symbol and "The Challenge" provide a direct link to that card in the website.

The image on the lower right is the image submitted by the earner.  Clicking on the eye sumbol and "My Project" provides a direct link to the site where the earner has stored their project.

Clicking on the magnifying glass makes it larger and reveals the text description submitted by the earner.  It is a scrolling text field and includes the earner's description and observation about the project.  Though the earner has also received commentary from their website mentor, that information is considered private.  Click the magnifying glass again to reduce the image size.

In Phase 2 of the project (beyond this scope of this current funding) we will explore giving earners the option to submit videos of their project, to be displayed in the same space within the badge as the imagery.

Finally, on the information popup on this router portion of the badge explains how to navigate the router and what the different colors/opacities mean.  In the next phase we will explore what happens in the center of the badge when all strands are earned.