Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Digital Badges and Games for Impact

By Daniel  Hickey
It has been almost a year since the 2011 kickoff meeting of the MacArthur Foundation’s Badges for Lifelong Learning Initiative.  What a fascinating year.  It finished off with some really interesting meetings with some of the most innovative minds in education and learning.  I have learned a lot about how digital badges and other new technologies might help assess, motivate, recognize, and evaluate learning.  In the next few posts, I want to share some of the things I learned and discuss some of the issues that have come up.  In this post, I want to consider the potential of digital badges for re-igniting educational videogaming, and reiterate the central affordance of digital badges.  I also want to tell everybody to go see The Art of Videogames at the Smithsonian before it goes on tour.

White House OSTP Meeting on Games for Impact

Constance Steinkuehler and OSTP Leaders at Games for Impact Meeting
On July 26th, I attended a meeting where the groundwork was being laid for a multi-university consortium that would focus on Games for Impact.  The meeting was organized by Constance Steinkuehler of the University of Wisconsin, who is on loan as a senior analyst at the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  It was a fascinating meeting involving 20 university faculty, 40 other collaborators, and perhaps a dozen program officers for DOE, NSF, and elsewhere.   Digital badges were only tangentially related to the meeting, as the educational gaming community faces numerous challenges at this time.  The obvious question for me is how digital badges might help address these challenges, and if so, how that might proceed.