Adults and students are acquiring knowledge and skills outside the traditional school or classroom but if they fail to enroll in a school or college program they receive little credit for their accomplishments.
Badges are earned through skills and knowledge gained in a variety of ways including informally, through one’s workplace, open courseware and other online classes, and even traditional colleges. The badge system would let you gather badges from any site on the Internet, combining them into a story about what you know and what you’ve achieved….This sort of badge collection may eventually become a central part of an online reputation, helping you get a job, find collaborators and build prestige.
So-called digital badges could end up breaking the stranglehold that traditional colleges and universities have enjoyed in awarding credentials. Digital badges could give Americans who earn them the kind of impressive credential that a college degree has conveyed without having to go through the time and considerable expense of earning one or more diplomas.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, HASTAC and Mozilla announced a $2 million Digital Media and Learning Competitionfor leading organizations, learning and assessment specialists, designers and technologists to create and test badges and badge systems. The competition will explore ways digital badges can be used to help people learn; demonstrate their skills and knowledge; unlock jobs, educational and civic opportunities; and open new pipelines to talent.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the digital badges a “game-changing strategy”: “Badges can help engage students in learning, and broaden the avenues for learners of all ages to acquire and demonstrate—as well as document and display—their skills.
Technology can empower learners, We need to design the assessments and documentation strategies to support that empowerment.
Hopefully, a first step might be finding ways for teachers to demonstrate their ongoing learning rather than collecting “hours” for recertification.