Through a generous grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Global Kids, Inc. is excited to announce that it is developing a new badging system for New York City and Chicago members of The Hive Learning Networks.
The Hive Learning Network is a community of civic and cultural institutions dedicated to transforming the learning landscape and creating opportunities for youth to explore their interests in virtual and physical spaces. Up to 28 Hive member organizations will pilot badging programs within the system, both for their own organizational needs and for the broader Hive network. Global Kids (GK) will contribute the first series of badges, for global citizenship and civic participation, and be amongst the first to offer a model demonstrating how the Badging System can be deeply integrated throughout a youth-serving organization.
The project addresses MacArthur’s interests in strengthening informal learning institutions and using digital badging systems to motivate, scaffold, and certify the informal and interest-driven learning of the youth they serve. This project will address the two while expanding the breadth and depth of learning opportunities for youth in both cities. Civic and cultural institutions within Hive NYC and Hive Chicago will be invited to participate in the first year of the project. Some Hive members will use their content expertise to contribute new badges for the use of other Hive members, while others will create badges just for youth within their programs. Some organizations will integrate the badging system into their programming, while others will use it to connect youth they serve with other Hive youth, resources, and activities.
For example, Global Kids will integrate the system within our after-school programming to offer Global Kids youth leaders:
Assessment, both formative and summative, to provide meaningful feedback about their participation in our programs and qualified certifications that can be shared with those in the workforce and at universities;
Deeper engagement with Global Kids’ programs, through games-based techniques and an online social network;
Scaffolded learning, supporting them to find their own path through Global Kids’ programs;
Enhanced lifelong learning skills by developing their ability to value what they learn at Global Kids, give name to it, and connect it with their formal and informal learning; and
A more democratic learning experience, in which they get to take part in their own assessment process and shape the system itself.
The Hive Badging System will be a branded version of Global Kids’ installation ofLearningTimes’ BadgeStack. LearningTimes provides tools and expertise to the world’s most innovative organizations to create powerful interactive online learning experiences. LearningTimes’ BadgeStack is one of the most robust badge-based learning platforms on the market today, and includes features key to executing GK’s vision. Developed in 2011 and released for public use in 2012, BadgeStack was the first to fully integrate with Mozilla’s Open Badging Infrastructure. The key features of the new site will include:
- A youth feature-set
- An admin feature-set
- Digital badges
- A digital transcript
- Digital portfolios
- Missions, power-ups, and rubrics
- Facebook integration
- GK and Network-wide badges
Global Kids began developing its first badging system four years ago, within an after school setting funded by the MacArthur Foundation, which supported youth to recognize, talk about, and demonstrate a range of digital literacy skills. This system was later taken to scale within the New York Public Library, adapted for use within a K-6 school in New Orleans and an Atlanta middle school, and is currently in development for additional schools. This experience also informed a badge implementation to train youth to become serious game designers, in partnership with MOUSE, and to assess, direct, and engage interest-driven learning within a mobile project for the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo (the latter funded by The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust).
Today, Global Kids is poised to play a prominent role to advance our collective understanding of the educational potential of badging systems, demonstrating how digital media can provide a network binding together the institutions within youth’s learning ecology and supporting the development of the lifelong learning skills required to strategically shape and navigate those ecologies.