Earlier this week, IMS Global announced “an initiative to establish Digital Badges as common currency for K-20 and corporate education.” By ‘digital badges’, the post makes clear, they mean Open Badges. Along with the W3C work around OpenCreds and new platforms popping up everywhere it’s exciting times!
You’d be forgiven for needing some definition of terms here. Erin Knight’s post on the significance of the IMS Global announcement is also helpful.
- Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI)– a method to issue, exchange, and display metadata-infused digital credentials based on open technologies and platforms.
- IMS Global – the leading international educational technology standards body.
- K-20 – kindergarten through to graduate degree (in other words, the totality of formal education)
- OpenCreds – a W3C initiative to standardise the exchange and storage of digital credentials. Open Badges is being fast-tracked as an example of this.
- W3C – the World Wide Web Consortium, the international standards body for the web.
The recent explosion of interest in badges is fascinating. Back in 2011 the rhetoric of the nascent Open Badges community was around badges replacing university degrees. This hasn’t happened – much as MOOCs haven’t replaced university courses. Instead of either/or it’s and/and/and. This is the way innovation works.
The initial grant-funding for badges was mainly in the US and has largely come to an end. What we’re seeing now is real organic growth. We’re in the situation where incumbents realise the power of badges. Either through fear of losing market share or through a genuine desire to innovate, they’re working on ways to use badges to support their offer.
We’ll see a lot of interesting work over the next couple of years. There will be some high-value, nuanced, learner-centric badge pathways that come out of this. On the other hand, there may be some organisations that go out of existence. I’m currently working with City & Guilds, an 800-pound gorilla in the world of apprenticeships and work-based learning. They’re exploring badges – as is every awarding and credentialing body I can think of.
Whatever happens, it’s not only a time of disruption to the market, but a time of huge opportunity to learners. Never before have we had an globally-interoperable way of credentialing knowledge, skills, and behaviours that removes the need for traditional gatekeepers.
If you’re interested in getting started with Open Badges, you might be interested in:
Do get in touch if I can help!
* BadgeCub is an extremely straightforward but experimental service that should probably just be used for testing. The ‘assertions’ will disappear after a while so it’s not a long-term solution!
This week I’ve been:
- Hosting the Web Literacy Standard community call. Audio and etherpad here.
- Communicating with the people behind Grimwire and +PeerServer about potentially contributing towards Firecloud.
- Interviewed for a potential upcoming piece in PandoDaily about the Web Literacy Standard.
- Talking to Sara Mörtsell about Open Badges for her upcoming MOOC.
- Presenting at the Learning & Skills Group conference in London. Slides here.
- Moderating a session – and feeding back from it to the EC Digital Agenda Assembly in Dublin.
- Messing about with, and getting used to, my new Geeksphone Keon running Firefox OS. It’s a developer preview but I’ve got it on the expectation that I’ll be ‘dogfooding’ – i.e. using it as my ‘daily driver’.
- Trying (and failing) to set up my new 24″ Dell monitor. The different digital display technologies are confusing (e.g. Thunderbolt and Mini-DisplayPort same physical size but are incompatible?)
- Answering questions from the community about Open Badges and the Web Literacy Standard.
- Talking to Erin Knight about a potential new role for me at Mozilla.
- Tidied up and added questions to the Web Literacy Standard FAQ wiki page.
- Meeting for coffee with someone who is thinking of joining Mozilla and wanted to know what it’s like working inside the belly of the beast.
- Putting together a short slidedeck on Firecloud with Vinay Gupta.
- Enquiring about the possibility of running another Maker Party (as I did last year) at the Centre for Life.
- Meeting up with a teacher at my wife’s school to talk through how they can use Webmaker tools to deliver part of the new Primary Computing curriculum.
- Checking out some books that MIT sent me in their Essential Knowledge series. They’ve asked me to put together a proposal for one on digital/web literacy.
Next week I’ve got a bit of a three-day tour of the UK. I’m in Sheffield to run an Open Badges workshop for the White Rose Learning Technologists’ Forum on Monday. On Tuesday I’m in Glasgow to speak at an SQA event entitled Innovations in Assessment for Schools before an epic train journey to Bath to speak at IWMW13 on Open Badges and the Web Literacy Standard. I’ve another three events the week after next as well…
This week I’ve been:
- Preparing for the session I’m running with Kate Stokes (Nesta) at SXSWedu.
- Calculating my expenses.
- Explaining to quite a few people that Mozilla doesn’t usually ‘partner’ with other organisations on bids (but that I’m happy to be listed as an advisor).
- Playing lots of games as part of the nomination committee for Mozilla’s Game On competition.
- Writing a book chapter overview for Dave White about the philosophical implications of simultaneously inhabiting physical and virtual worlds.
- Adding descriptions to the articles, blog posts and books in the Web Literacy standard ‘library’.
- Collaborating with my colleagues Carla Casilli and Erin Knight on a vision document for the Web Literacy standard work.
- Discovering Firefox tab groups, courtesy of Laura Hilliger.
- Meeting with builders to discuss my shoffice.
- Responding to conference organisers asking for titles for presentation, preferences for food, accommodation, etc.
- Updating my Lanyrd profile and adding conferences I’m attending over the next few months.
- Sorting out my corporation tax for the now-defunct Synechism Ltd.
- Leading a webinar on Open Badges for the Centre for Recording Achievement. Slides here.
- Hosting the inaugural Mozilla Web Literacy standard community call.
- Speaking to people thinking of using Open Badges for various projects.
Next week I’ll be in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2013. I’m flying out on Sunday and arrive back on Friday. So next week’s update is likely to be a bit shorter…
Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:
- Talking to Audrey Watters about web literacies. She’s a very smart person and I was impressed by what she had to say. I tried to capture most of what she said in this blog post.
- As my colleagues are such a talented and productive bunch, an important part of my working day is spent in co-ordination. When you’re not co-located it’s important that you get your thinking out there, which is exactly what Brett Gaylor’s done with his post on New Webmaker Prototypes. Exciting stuff! My response is here.
- I continue to contribute to both the Mozilla Webmaker list and the Open Badges Google Group. I’m looking forward to the latter splitting into two equally-weighted technical/learning groups!
- This week I’ve been invited to over 10 events (including Estonia twice!), which is a little insane. I said no to pretty much all of them, as I’m trying to travel less (and be more strategic when I do travel) in 2013.
- I’m trying to comment on more blog posts, especially when people are sharing the awesome work they’re doing around badges. Most notably, I commented on posts by Chris Sharples, Zoe Ross, Robert Weeks, and Grainne Hamilton. You should go and read them (the posts, not necessarily my comments!)
- Interestingly, the post by Robert Weeks was stimulated by a virtual presentation to the Bristol ‘weelearning’ group on Wednesday. Formerly a badge skeptic, Robert is now a badge enthusiast. Job done. 🙂
- My work around web literacies is going to end up as a ‘learning standard’. I’ve been discussing this with Erin and Carla. More on that soon.
- I spent Thursday in Leicester in the company of Josie Fraser, Lucy Atkins, Richard Hall and David White. I was advising on a new digital literacies framework for teachers in Leicester which should, hopefully, lead to badge-infused CPD. That was a bit of an epic journey: 4.5 hours each way in a day. Except the train was delayed on the way after a suicide on the line. 🙁
- I’ve done lots of reading this week, including the excellent book A Small Matter of Programming, a new DML Connected Learning report, the Peeragogy Handbook, and a new version of the IDEO Design Thinking for Educators resource.
- The ILTA invited me to write up my keynote last year into a journal article. I’m about half-way there, I reckon, and should finish it on Monday. It will have the title Zen and the Art of Digital Literacies.
- Thinking about the way that I and most of the people I know live in the future.
- When I wasn’t doing the above I was clearing the drive of snow, spending time at the gym (no running this week!), and sledging, snowman-making, and generally spending time with my family before…
Next week I’ll be escaping the snowy hinterland of Northumberland and heading to sunny California to meet my colleagues. We’ll be participating in a DML conversation around, you guessed it, Open Badges. On that note, I’m delighted to have been asked to do more work around learning and assessment related to badges – so look out for more posts of that nature in the near future!
Image uploaded originally by Cory Doctorow on Twitter
I was delighted to be asked to participate in a DML Central Connected Learning Google+ hangout about Open Badges yesterday. The recording should be embedded above, but if not try clicking here.
The session featured a presentation by Erin Knight, Senior Director of Learning at the Mozilla Foundation, and was facilitated by Howard Rheingold.
If you like this, you’ll also be interested in the webinar Erin and her colleague Michelle Levesque ran for the JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme last Friday. In that session, they discussed Mozilla’s work around web literacies.
Check that webinar out here, along with Erin’s write-up.