What are Badges/Micro Credits?

Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for informal learning in the form of micro-credits. A key aspect of gamification is to build in easy to reach incentives, and badges are an simple way to bring that idea to learning. The concept behind badging draws on longstanding ways learning has been documented in other settings, such as the personal skills and achievement when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. The approach is being used in learning environments like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has published an open specification for badging — the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — that enables providers and users alike to easily display their achievements on the web. Badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be more authentic signs of knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition than standard tests, grades, or course credits.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I was skeptical about badges...then I changed my mind...but it seems not too many others have..yet. I teach a MOOC, I get a badge, I complete a course, I get a badge...but they don't mean much. If college degrees are hard to accredit, how do you rate badges? If we can come up with some kind of universally-recognized system of recognition for badges...if I can get an edge for a job, for example...then we'll know badges have finally arrived. It's possible on a smaller scale now. I've been proposing a badge system, leading up to an internal certification, for our PD. But I can't get admin to attach any kind of meaning to anything...they're afraid people will expect raises, I think! Same goes for kids. I've tried awarding badges in the past...unless there's a connection to grades students just don't care. Again, once there is some tangible benefit, badges will be the greatest thing to hit education since the invention of the printing press. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015
  • I teach and use badges in four University courses, both graduate and undergrad. I find that teachers don't yet value them, although my business/industry/medical students get it. I try to make the badges job and competency relevant, portable, and career-relevant. This brings greater value to educators, when they can place them in their website, Master's or undergrad performance portfolio, or digital resume.- len.scrogan len.scrogan Feb 16, 2015 - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 20, 2015- apowell apowell Feb 20, 2015
  • i think badges have a place in younger grades. instead of a micro credential for adults what if they supported interest areas for kids that may or may not be covered in traditional curricula. [- mnagler mnagler Feb 19, 2015mnagler]
  • Badges can be and asset in differentiation, getting kids to achieve to a certain level and then bonuses for going further. We need to stop thinking about them as a replacement for grades and use them as a way to encourage learning. Badges can assist in teaching the concepts of ongoing learning and certification. I earn my level 1 math badge when I can do basic addition and subtraction but can add on badges for all kinds of additional learning, such as add by 5, 10, etc - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 23, 2015alex.podchaski

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • How do we get companies/schools/institutions fully honor and require courses offered online. Apple and Google certificates have made impact...how can other courses do the same. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 7, 2015- apowell apowell Feb 20, 2015
  • Yes, like Michael says, there needs to be some kind of tangible result. My Google Certified Teacher certificate will mean something (or at least I hope so) for the next job search. What will my Mozilla badges mean? Gamification is great as a concept, but sooner or later you have to WIN something or you get tired of playing the games! ;) - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015 Totally agree - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 22, 2015
  • expand the idea to support student interest. [- mnagler mnagler Feb 19, 2015mnagler]
  • The win in this area comes from not making it a global badge by a hyper-local one. This is a game changer for a class or district. Imaging the competitions you can have between similar schools and promote learning. Badges do not need to be globally portable to have an impact - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 23, 2015alex.podchaski

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Impact is strong but like games/gamification....it seems very little traction has gained over the years. Certificates can be added to one's LinkedIn account but recognition of the badge has played little significance. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 7, 2015
  • Covered already. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015
  • allows students to explore and be recognized for subjects they are passionate about and or capitalize on specific interest areas to cover required content [- mnagler mnagler Feb 19, 2015mnagler]
  • If we keep focused on the local and not the global, badging can make a significant impact in motivation and learning in a district.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • I want to start using badges as part of our 21st Century (sorry, there I go again) Teacher Certification Program. With students, I know I can interest them in badges if it impacts their grades. What impact can these badges have for teachers? Need to get Admin to agree on some kind of reward, tangible or intangible. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015
  • Me.- len.scrogan len.scrogan Feb 16, 2015
  • My district is creating a web interface that will allow students and teachers suggest possible badge topics. Our first badge with be a 'lego master builder'. students will be assigned tasks to build using bricks that are checked out of the school library. the tasks will cover various engineering concepts. Students will demonstrate understanding via video submissions. [- mnagler mnagler Feb 19, 2015mnagler]
  • Laura Fleming at New Milford High School, has a good working model for PD, http://www.worlds-of-learning-nmhs.com/blog/ - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 23, 2015alex.podchaski
  • A very special approach to Badges in form of collaborative filtering to focus on credits in form of passport http://vmpass.eu/ - tszmarta tszmarta Feb 23, 2015

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