Posted in help, News

Here comes Badge Wiki

pablo (1)

We Are Open Co-op has announced a new partnership with Participate to create a knowledge base around Open Badges. This will be a sustainable community project, so they will be looking for volunteers in the near future.

This is good news for everyone interested in Open Badges. It remains to be seen how active and useful the service will become, much of which depends on the willingness of the Open Badge community to add content.

As an idea it is, of course, excellent. We could all benefit from a shared repository of information as the world of open badges keep expanding.

Read more

Posted in assessments, News

Research on Open Badges

pablo-19

This just landed in my inbox, and I thought to share it with you.

We are four Finnish University students, and we are doing a project about Open Badges together with the Ministry of Education in Finland. The purpose of this survey is to gather information about what people know about Open Badges and what could be done to increase and develop the use of Open Badges.
We hope that you can take a few minutes to answer our questions and feel free to share this survey with anyone that you think could have an input on the subject. You can also answer the questions in Finnish or Swedish even though the questions are only in English.
Here’s the link to our Open Badge survey: https://fi.surveymonkey.com/r/P6J5HLH 
Posted in assessments, News

The businesses that opened badges

pablo-13

So i decided to enroll in this MOOC on Open Badges. I mean, i do have some experience with the thing, and we issue badges on an increasingly regular basis, but i thought, why not, it can be useful.

We are still in the beginning of the MOOC (scheduled to run for 6 months). Already I can see benefits.

First off the approach was to include my personal interest and life story. To begin we were all asked to badge our life experiences. Suddenly, and with such a simple device, the concept broadened and became more interesting.

Next up was a webinar with representatives from various companies using badges. Working as I do in non-formal adult education it was interesting to hear other views on learning and competence-building. As a follow-up we were then asked to identify three companies using badges, and analyse them. Having canvassed the net for a while, and then asked in a Badge-related Facebook group i found them

  1. Kesko is a large national food supply chain. They have their own academy for their many employees, called K-akatemia. Within this educational provision they are currently offering a total of 5 different badges, dealing with cyber security, good sellmanship, and being a K-chain employee. More: http://www.kesko.fi/koulutus/ohjeita-opiskelijalle/open-badges/
  2. IlonaIT is an IT-company specializing in providing solutions and platforms for education. Adobe Connect is their flagship product in Finland, but they are also offering a lot of other things. IlonaIT uses badges to reward participation, but also within their training offers, for example in OBF (Open Badge Factory), Adobe Connect, Mobiilitotaali, Gafe.

More: https://ilonait.fi/osaamismerkit/

  1. Rastor is a private education provider, targeting primarily companies with competence development schemes and consultancy. However, in spite of my best efforts i did not manage to each anyone at Rastor that could help me or tell me how they were working with badges. It was also not possible to find anything useful on their web pages.

 

In general it seems to me the companies using badges are not very forthcoming in terms of using this in marketing or even to provide easy to find information. It could be because their usage is low, or it could be that they have simply not thought about it. Apart from Kesko the two other examples i found were IT-related, so it might be their interest comes from working in the field. Personally i think the most benefit would come from having SMEs in sectors other than IT discover and put badges to good use.

The companies I did locate used badges either to encourage learning of their staff (Kesko) or to encourage general participation (IlonaIT). An additional aspect we were asked to investigate was quality aspects in relation to Open Badges within these companies. I could not find anything written on this, so this is my speculation: The badges Kesko awards are just a few, and they are for quite specific things. Keeping the number of badges low and their use very targeted is one way of ensuring that the badges do represent a real value. At the same time they are not utilizing the full potential of creating learning pathways and increasing potential learner/employee interest to improve themselves. My conclusion is that they really should make a badge ecosystem, and widen their scope to reach within their whole organisation.

IlonaIT offers badges as a way to easily encourage participation on trainings or online events. This creates a positive buzz around the company, and might make them stand out in a crowd. However, for that to happen i think they must make their badge commitment much clearer and stated.

And that concludes my analysis of badge usage in some companies in Finland.

Please feel free to share this, contact me and/or correct any errors in this text!

Posted in News

The pay-off is in the process

ska%cc%88rmavbild-2016-12-01-kl-12-49-22When we talk about badges, we usually focus on the end product, the ready-made badge, and its value for the earner. We stress the demand for quality and recognition. For an organisation that is new in the Badges world this may seem too big a challenge.

I would like to highlight a “pay-off” that comes much earlier in the process, in fact as soon as we start creating a badge. The beneficiaries are the badge developers themselves and their institution and the value is independent from whether or not the badge will become a success with potential earners.
Here comes a brief report from a new-born badge project at Folkuniversitetet in Sweden.

It is amazing how a handful of small images can trigger pedagogical creativity in a group of experienced teacher trainers and ICT resource persons.

The agenda for a 2-days meeting said something like ”Staff training for Moodle: aims, target groups, levels, contents, materials”; severeal pages of course descriptions were attached. In other words: A real energy-killer. And a bit unfair on colleagues who have travelled hundreds of kilometres for the meeting.
What to do?

I made copies of the DigitalMe Badge design canvas, gave a very brief description of what Open Badges are and asked the group to discuss badges for the Moodle/ICT-pedagogical competences we think our colleagues need. After a short while conversations zoomed in on the badge pictures. We found examples (googled Open Badges images) and sketched our own. Doodled and played with design variables – shape, colour, frame, icon, text, logotype, name.

From there, without any effort at all and without a single yawn, we found ourselves discussing and making decisions on all the serious items on the agenda. Here are a few conversation snippets:
“We could have different colours for different levels and staff groups” – “What goes into one level, how many should there be?”

“There could be different icons in the center for different specialisations” – “Like gamification or formative assessment or creative use of the lesson-activity!” – “Once you have collected 5 special badges you get a gold badge for a creative Moodle pedagogue!“

“How do you get a badge anyway? Does one have to take a course or could they show their competence in other ways?” “Yeah, validation, definitely – how would we go about it?”

“We should even give credits for a positive attitude and self-dependance.” “If you go for a higher badge, say a “two-star”, or a “silver”, you have to show that you are willing to solve technincal problems yourself or help others”.

Now, a couple of weeks after the meeting, work is proceeding and the level of interest still high. Discussions about criteria and evidence of competence continue online. More aspects have come up, e.g. expanding the ecosystem to comprise even other staff development or the use of badges with students.
Even if we never got round to implementing the actual badges, I would consider the badge creation process a success that has added depth and width to planning our staff development. And made it much more fun.

So – just give it a try and we would be happy to read about it in the Facebook group Open Badges for adult aducators.

Posted in assessments, News, Project info

Help us – get a badge!

survey_helper

We are now collecting your comments and thoughts on what skills and competences are needed to function as an adult educator. To this end we have made a survey. Please help us by filling it in. As a reward we are offering you an open badge to show your commitment and willingness to share your experience and thoughts on the matter.

The survey (and the badge) is open for a limited time, please act now!

To the survey

Posted in Events, News

Off-roads certification for the digital society

Strenghthen your CV with Open badges or find people with the right skills.

Open Badges are emerging as a way of validating and showcasing competence. They can be designed to acknowledge skills, attitudes, experience and achievements that do not fit in formal grading systems. Open Badges are digital by default and ready to be displayed in online contexts. They are being used in schools, volunteering and companies’ staff training.

How can we – educators, employers, tech experts, 21st century citizens – deploy Open Badges to bridge the competence recognition gap between sectors, for example between the volunteering sector and the labour market?

Join us in a “silent webinar” on Open Badges and meet badge developer Laimonias Ragauskas from the Lithuanian organisation LiNA. Laimonas has worked with Mozilla and Badgecraft and is currently helping youth organisations to promote new ways of showcasing skills and competences for a transformed society. He will present badge systems and digital badges portfolios that have been developed for European validation.

Laimonas will also address challenges and needs for further innovation in Open Badges that connect skills, development work and employers.

Grab a lunch, plug your earphones in and connect to

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Bildningsalliansen.adobeconnect.com/openbadges

Log in as “guest” and write your name.

You can follow the webinar live on Monday, 21 November and Tuesday 22 November at CET 12.55-13.20. If you intend to take part via your mobile phone you will need to install the Adobe Connect app.
Welcome to talk to us at Internetdagarna in the Digidel-stand or in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/openbadges/ or on Twitter using #folkbadge.

Posted in Events

Webinar: Quality in Open Badges

qualityservice

This webinar, organized by the Nordplus project Open Badges for Folkbildning, looks at the thorny issue of quality.  Grainne Hamilton from DigitalMe is the right person to lead us into the world of Open Badges, focusing on current development issues, and especially questions of quality. You will also get to know the project, network with likeminded people, and ask questions about the status, challenges and future of Open Badges. This is 1 hour well spent!

Register here: http://bit.ly/OpenBadgesWebinar2016

Date: 19.10.
Deadline for registration: 17.10.
Language: English
Cost: This webinar is free
Duration: The webinar will last 1 hour. We will start at 14.30 CET

Grainne Hamilton is the Programme Director for Higher Education and Adult Learning with DigitalMe.
Grainne’s varied background includes leading the development of the Jisc Open Badges Toolkit, contributing to the Mozilla Discover project, which involved developing badge-based pathways to employment, as well as founding and facilitating the Open Badges in Scottish Education Group. Most recently, she was Senior Consultant at Blackboard, which involved helping a global range of clients make best use of their teaching and learning systems. At DigitalMe, Grainne contributes her expertise to a range of projects and further develops the Open Badges ecosystem in Scotland.

Webinar participation guide:  http://oersverige.se/taking-part-in-a-webinar/

More about DigitalMe

DigitalMe is re-imagining learning for the 21st Century & equipping young people with the skills and competencies they need to thrive in work and life.

We don’t accept that learning should be dull for children or irrelevant for employers. We have seen that when young people are provided with the right tools, projects and real world opportunities, amazing learning can happen.

We are dedicated to helping educators use technology for the development of authentic learning experiences, which are relevant, challenging, fun and prepare young people for success in life and work.

Using Mozilla Open Badges, we are working together with teachers, charities and employers to create a new digital currency that recognises all young people’s skills and talents.

By embracing open standards and partnership working we aim to transform the learning landscape and increase the life chances of young people.

We are a not-for-profit organisation funded by foundations and through project design and delivery. Any profit we make goes back into the development of our learning programmes to reach the most disadvantaged learners.

Posted in News, Project info

New project – meet old project

Confusing
Yes i know. It can be a bit confusing at times. These pages were previously used for a Nordplus project on Open Badges (2014-2016). Rather than starting a new site for our Nordplus project 2016-2018 we decided to join forces.

It makes sense, if you think about it. The 2014-2016 project produced a lot of good material, results that we are more than happy to use and disseminate. Obviously the transition period can be a bit daunting. For the time being we are keeping the 2014-2016 partner page and presentation live, as that project is just wounding up.

But soon those pages will be archived, and the new ones will be published in their place.

Enjoy!

Posted in News

Vilnius is Learning from Cities of Learning

Vilnius (Lithuania) – a City of Learning…We believe Vilnius is ready to use the potential of technology and get together all the learning spaces in one place. This would provide more opportunities for young people to get involved and recognised for their achievements.

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http://connectedlearning.tv/infographic

In the past years we have been following the rise of Cities of Learning on the other coast of Atlantic Ocean. Vilnius as a city is creating a strong brand as a perfect spot for investment and new enterprises to thrive. Recent developments in Smart Vilnius projects brought the experience of being connected to a totally another level. Yet we believe there is another opportunity to take advantage of digital era to those who strive for a need to discover and learn.

There are several important players that actually do a decent job in their field:

  • educational institutions – that mainly take care of the quality of education for their students and academic communities and provide opportunities for a closed circle of people.
  • private business – that nowadays is looking for more ways to contribute to the society not only by creating products and services but building better conditions.
  • culture, entertainment, history, leisure, sports, recreation industries – that has definitely something to suggest or their every-day activities is pure experience of learning and discovery.
  • young people – who are willing to explore and discover talents, hobbies, professions, cultures and many more beyond the classroom walls.

Vilnius municipality is taking action to deal with the current youth participation situation. Vilnius Youth policy analysis states, that 37% of young people are not involved in non-formal education activities. Students beating the rate by 81%. This is a crucial moment to look for more ways, how those young people can find their passions, level up their abilities and get connected to spaces that matters.

US counts on economical loss for kids and young people having spent their summers for not learning. Chicago summer of Learning in the summer of 2013 introduced the possibilities for young people to join various free and affordable activities and gain new skills in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in non-formal or informal way. All their achievements were recognised with Open digital badges as an integral part of technology based learning. Programme networked with more than 100 organizations and served more than 100,000 young people. After this initial success Chicago evolved into the City of Learning that now promotes various learning all year round. Last year this initiative expanded to Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC! ‘2 Million of Better Futures’ was another initiative launched with an ambitious goal to recognise achievements of 2 million of young people. Now this initiatives aims at 10 Million Better Futures.

Is this only an American dream? Badgecraft team has this dream of connected community, spirit of learning and thousands of better futures of young people in Vilnius!

In 2016 Vilnius municipality launched an online platform to make it a place for non-formal education providers and learner to meet and connect. So far this project comes in terms of a temporary educational reform, where each school kid has a right to choose their extracurricular activity from accredited list of providers.

What if we could find a way to involve those, who can’t find their passion and interest in this list… What if we could provide unlimited opportunities to young people who are out of educational system and striving for other means of learning? Imagine a city, where all the potential institutions are connected directly with their potential learners.

“Connected Learning is when you’re pursuing expertise around something you care deeply about, and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share this common passion that is tuned to the demands and opportunities of the digital age.” (Connected Learning Alliance)

Please have a look at the video that explains the idea of Connected Learning initiative:

Connected Learning: The power of making learning relevant

Still have questions – why Connected Learning?

We believe that Vilnius has much more potential to offer Connected Learning possibilities. Just imagine a young kid, who is passionate about table card games, he is learning and exploring about it online and while playing with friends. But this kind of learning can happen in a game store, where you can actually come and try out the newest games and meet the peer learners. What if you meet your peers there and start a start-up too? Online tools nowadays can connect both sides – the young person and the organisation (whether it is public or private entity). Open digital badges as a digital certificate of achievement can be issued by any organisation to recognise the learning that happens within an activity. So from now on, the learning experience could mean something for the other stakeholders as well – one can show learning outcomes, memberships, participation and mastery in something with digital micro-credentials.

All the city… Museums, theatres, workshops, schools, universities, animators, trainers, clubs, shops, business, municipality, open youth centres, libraries, cinema, online courses, street musicians, cafes, recording studios… unlimited list of spaces to learn across the city. Most of them are free or could be at affordable price. Let’s connect them all together and create new and innovative Vilnius – a City of Learning!

The infrastructure is there (most of the possibilities already exist!). We just need to encourage partnership between all those stakeholders – parents, youngsters and institutions/services. Some of them maybe have not recognised themselves yet. Maybe they do not know what learning opportunities they are actually creating. Let’s help them to do it! One online platform could connect them all. We could start with a summertime period providing opportunities to learn when “learning is officially closed”.

The campaign should meet the main design and learning principles of Connected Learning. The activities provided should be interested-based, peer-supported and academically oriented. The system should be openly networked, production-oriented and share a purpose.

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http://clalliance.org/why-connected-learning/

Who could benefit from this idea?

  1.             YOUNG PEOPLE. The connected experience would open recognition for their achievements and career opportunities. For the very basis – young people could put their interest into practice and level up in it. It is a chance to meet their peers and get better at something meaningful for them.
  2.             BUSINESS. It is chance to find talents. This is an opportunity to close the gap between theory and practice by discovering what students can perform outside formal studies. The connected learning opportunities would help to gain skills and knowledge in various means and young employees will be able to show what one has gained and what she or he can actually perform.  It is an opportunity for the companies to improve their image by contributing to better societies and better future.
  3.             MUNICIPALITY. As having an aim of building an attractive city where their citizens are satisfied, it is time to encourage a learning culture. Supporting learning of those, who cannot afford summer camps will show their care of every single young person in the city. It would provide a solution to the youth policy and solve many challenges for youth involvement and participation. For this reason, municipality should continue networking activities among all stakeholders and openly support initiatives for learning.
  4.             FORMAL EDUCATION. This is a space where things like science, mathematics, IT and many more can be promoted in a practical way. This is a space where young people can get practical skills to be better at an academic subject. This is an opportunity where young people can fall in love with learning as process and at the same time become better learners at school and universities.

 

There is a growing potential in our capital city Vilnius for young people. So shall we join the initiative to develop Vilnius into a City of Learning….?

Are you interested in continuing discussions about it? Contact us and let’s learn from the Cities of Learning together.
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Published firstly at Badgecraft blog