This morning I read the latest news from MIT about their blockchain and badges project. It’s exciting news for those interested in high-stakes credentials such as university degrees. They’ve given this new standard a name: Blockcerts.
Many will think that this puts Blockcerts in competition with Open Badges, but, of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Philipp Schmidt, Director of Learning Innovation at the MIT Media Lab — and author of the post announcing Blockcerts — was one of the originators of Open Badges when he was at P2PU.
Blockcerts provides a decentralized credentialing system. The Bitcoin blockchain acts as the provider of trust, and credentials are tamper-resistant and verifiable. Blockcerts can be used in the context of academic, professional, and workforce credentialing.
Certificates are open badges compliant, which is important, because there is an entire community of open badges issuers that we want to support, and because open badges is becoming an IMS standard.
He’s perhaps let the cat out of the bag with the last sentence. I’ve had conversations over the last few weeks which point to an upcoming Mozilla announcement in this regard.
Any way you look at it, this is a great move for those in the ecosystem. Blockcerts is Open Badges-compliant, and provides a solution for organisations dealing in high-stakes credentialing. I know the BadgeChain group will be pleased!
The thing that attracted me to Open Badges, and which remains my goal, is to explore alternative credentialing. While there’s definitely a need to move high-stakes credentialing into the digital realm, I’m interested in ways in which we can provide a much more holistic view of the learner.
Want to find out more about Open Badges? Check out the OB101 course that Bryan Mathers and I put together!
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…