Badges: Connectors in Connected Learning

badges-connectorsDigital badges are the “connectors” in a connected learning environment, helping to create opportunities for youth to follow their passions through academic learning within a peer community. (Image inspired from a slide from the Reconnect Learning 2014 Open Badges Summit.)

From tuning into the livestream from the Summit, I had the opportunity to hear MacArthur Foundation’s Connie Yowell speak about the power of badge learning.  She reminded us that digital badge learning is grounded in current research that portrays how youth interact with digital media.  Principles of Connected Learning support youth in”hanging out,” “messing around,” and “geeking out” or (HOMAGO).    Badges serve as feedback in the learning journey, mark milestones and provide multiple pathways.  Powerful learner/mentor relationships are a cornerstone of the badge learning experience, where adults coach learners in their quests to learn.  Badge learning supports multiple purposes, but the connected learning framework is at the heart of the design, which provides highly engaging, purposeful and accessible learning opportunities for youth.  To explore some of the livestream sessions from the Summit , go to the Moziliarian Blog.

News on How Badge Learning is Scaling Nationally
A few weeks ago leaders at the Reconnect Learning 2014 Open Badges Summit shared exciting news and developments around advancing an open badges global ecosystem.  Take a look at the Case Studies from the Reconnect Learning site to explore a variety of badge learning models and initiatives, as well as the Knowledge Bank to learn more about badge learning developments and trends in the field.  Pearson, ETS, and edX are just a few organizations who are adopting the open badges standard.  In addition, Mozilla launched Badgekit, an “out-of-the-box” tool to issue, create and assess badges, and Mozilla announced the formation of the Badge Alliance, a “network of organizations and individuals building and enhancing an open badges ecosystem”.  (Learn more about the purpose of the Badge Alliance here.)  And finally, take a look at the “2M Better Futures” site to learn about the campaign to scale up the open badges ecosystem to a national level, benefitting 1 million workers and 1 million students by 2016.


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