Last week, BCcampus staffer Michelle Glubke attended the Summit to Reconnect Learning in California’s Silicon Valley. The conference brought together over 250 people to discuss at a high-level how badges could be used in learning. Following is her summary conference report.
The atmosphere of the Summit began with a full slate of morning sessions that suggested building a coalition to combat the challenges within the education system and major socio-economic and environmental issues. The afternoon included a five-hour SWOT-type brain dump exercise – small groups charting advantages and challenges, as well as pathways to realizing a large-scale badging movement. During the Summit, there were many announcements, like Mozilla releasing a Badge Kit to assist with standards for designing, assessing, issuing and sharing badges.
The second day included some break-out time to discover and discuss how to realize personal projects at a high level. I met up with Creative Commons’ Billy Meinke and WCET’s Mollie McGill, as well as, folks from MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, P2PU, industry, philanthropy, private, secondary and post-secondary.
- Connecting informal and formal learning – badging skills, knowledge and experience achieved outside of formal ed system linking that to prior learning credit and/or US common core.
- Providing young people, particularly in lower socio-economic demographic, a way to discover and access more learning – using badges to recognize granular-level learning and the individual, unlock opportunity, and chart pathways (to jobs).
- U.S. cities committing to city-wide partnerships to offer badges for learning and levelling up after success of Chicago Summer of Learning
- Alignment with large-scale employment and education projects – Bill Clinton endorsing badges in this video . The three people highlighted were key speakers at the Summit.
- Connecting war vets to jobs after service by badging/displaying skills achieved during service.
- Competency-based education models, strategic communication and partnerships identified as ways to get the badging movement rolling.
- Large tech employers (i.e. Intel) discussing how badging can assist with identifying qualified job applicants by showcasing skills that aren’t otherwise apparent.
- Recognition that most funders want evidence, but few want to pay for it.
- Recognizing those who have committed to the movement through a pledge
- People on site promoting their flavour of a system/product that would complement badging – usually involving personal pathways.
- Focus on STEM and STEAM projects.
Tools and Resources
- One of my favourite discoveries was that of Nate Otto from Portland. He works on a Indiana U team funded to study the MacArthur Foundation grant winners of the 2012 DML badging project competition. The result so far is a card deck of principles to assist with the badge system design process. Upcoming documentation will be located here.
- Knowledge bank of curated resources
- Newly created Badge Alliance was announced during the Summit.
- A number of commitments from educational and workforce development organizations to adopt Open Badge standards
- Cities of Learning Tech Package
- Designing an Open Badge project – Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
BCcampus & Open Badges?
BCcampus is exploring how Open Badges can apply to our other collaborative projects. Here are only two examples: