Another great summary from the fabulous Bryan Alexander:
Participants were drawn from liberal arts campuses, a research-I universities, and nonprofits. Discussion was fast and furious, as before, so these notes are a schematic distillation of concepts and points.
We began by brainstorming how one current teaching project could use idea. A language teaching Web site could support badges to indicate different levels of language learning. Outside bodies could help generate authority for such badges, like the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
One of the challenges of providing high-quality STEM experiences outside of the classroom is ensuring that students' learning experiences are recognized by college admission offices and employers. Skills learned and projects completed in out-of-school time may not be documented on a traditional resume, and there are few spaces on social networking sites or other forms of self-representation for highlighting non-academic or non-professional learning experiences.
Here is my response to David Wiley’s very interesting blog post about an educational badge system, similar to the Mozilla Open Badges program. About the word “badge.” As the above discussion [on Wiley's blog] makes plain, this talk of “badges” marks this whole endeavor as one started by boys, or former Boy Scouts. On a marketing point, I would worry about losing some traction with the female majority of the college-going public.
We are planning to move our focus towards a more skills based curriculum at our school this year. We have been very successful as a school over recent years but we’re very aware that to move to the next level we need to produce more rounded learners.
I prefer Cathy Davidson’s metaphor of educators and students being forced to “paint with a limited palette." Applying a factory metaphor to schools denigrates some of the fantastic work that goes on inside them, despite the system itself being wrong. At least part of the problem is that schools have become divorced from their communities and are forced to use blunt assessment tools to ‘measure’ students.
In the past week since Badges for Lifelong Learning launched, people have written critical, constructive, and positive things about badges, but I haven't come across anything that really unpacks what badges are. I've read that badges are like credentials, related in ways to diplomas and degrees.
Open Badge is one of many projects trying to rethink how tech workers’ skills are evaluated. for example, projects such as Geeklist center around using Github in place of a resume. There’s a real opportunity for disruption here and a real need within the enterprise to find new ways to evaluate candidates.
The power of informal educational badges lies not in their ability to measure individuals, but in their ability to reflect them. When digital elections and referendums eventually become a reality, a reflection of how distinct groups within society – based on experience, skills and the areas with which individuals have deeply concerned themselves – a reflection of how these distinct groups vote will be a tremendous aid to elected representatives.
In the storify below, I've collected some of the resources about the project, as well as some of the reactions via Twitter to today's announcement -- Mozilla's announcement as well as the Digital Media & Learning's badges competition.