Monday, November 10, 2014

New Digitial Badges Report from the Alliance for Excellent Education

By Gina Howard and James Willis 

We are excited to share our recent recognition on the first page of the new Alliance for Excellent Education report, Digital Badge Systems: The Promise and Potential by Kamila Thigpen. The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national organization that focuses on ensuring all students have an equal opportunity at graduating from high school and having the necessary preparation to succeed in college, work, and citizenship. Based out of Washington, DC, the organization focuses on developing and implementing federal and national policies that, “support effective high school reform and increased student achievement and attainment.”

DigitalBadgeSystemsCover-230x300.jpgThe report highlights the use of digital badge systems in and out of school settings and the support they provide professional educators and college and career-oriented learners. Case studies from Chicago Summer of Learning, the Providence After School Alliance, Young Adult Library Services Association, and the University of California, Davis are presented throughout the article to highlight the early implementation stages of digital badge systems.

 Thigpen provides an in-depth look at digital badges as she addresses the use of badges in experiential learning, how badges support professional learning, how they aid in building learning networks, and the policy and privacy questions that arise from the use of open digital badges. As for the future of badges, she writes, “When implemented on a large scale-with the support of a strong and diverse learning network of schools, youth-serving institutions, and organizational partners-digital badges are proving to be an effective way to facilitate connected learning opportunities."

The report also notes the work of organizations like Badge Alliance, a network of organizations and individuals that work together on the development of open digital badging ecosystems.

We were happy to notice that, as the report report indicates, we are in the process of synthesizing our findings from our study of the Badges for Lifelong Learning initiative grantees.  We are working hard to finish that report up in time for December 2014. Until then, the interim report for the Design Principles Documentation Project is available. You can also see some of the key findings in this webinar that James presented at the Digital Badges MOOC, Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials, hosted by Blackboard. This MOOC is a collaboration between Mozilla, Blackboard, Sage Road Solutions, and WCET. We would like to thank Anne Derryberry of Sage Road Solutions, Deborah Everhart of Blackboard, Erin Knight of the Badge Alliance, and Sunny Lee of Mozilla for the invitation to present some of our initial findings.

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