Badging: Not Quite the Next Big Thing
While badging and digital credentialing are gaining acceptance in the business world and, to some extent, higher education, K-12 educators — and even students — are slower to see the value.
By Michael Hart 07/20/16
That’s when the MacArthur Foundation highlighted the winning projects of its Badges for Lifelong Learning competition at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Chicago. The competition, co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation, had attracted nearly 100 competitors a year earlier. The winners shared $2 million worth of development grants.
Evidence of Lifelong Learning
A digital badge or credential is a validation, via technology, that a person has earned an accomplishment, learned a skill or gained command of specific content. Typically, it is an interactive image posted on a web page and connected to a certain body of information that communicates the badge earner’s competency.
Credly is a company that offers off-the-shelf credentialing and badging for organizations, companies and educational institutions. One of its projects, BadgeStack, which has since been renamed BadgeOS, was a winner in the 2013 MacArthur competition. Virtually any individual or organization can use its platform to determine criteria for digital credentials and then award them, often taking advantage of an open-source tool like WordPress. The credential recipient can then use the BadgeOS platform to manage the use of the credential, choosing to display badges on social media profiles or uploading achievements to a digital resume, for instance.
Finkelstein and others see, with the persistently growing interest in competency-based education (CBE), that badging is a way to assess and document competency.
Colorado Education Initiative, (see webinar report in this IMS blog https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2016/06/20/colorados-digital-badging-initiative/)
There are obstacles, though, to universal acceptance of digital credentialing.
For one, not every community, company or organization sees a badge as something of value.
When a player earns points for his or her success in a game, those points have no value outside of the environment in which the game is played. For points, badges, credentials — however you want to define them — to be perceived as evidence of competency, they have to have portability and be viewed with value outside of their own environment.
More on badges in this IMS blog:
Five Types of Quizzes That Deepen Engagement with Course Content
By: Maryellen Weimer, PhD,
Tropman, E., (2014). In defense of reading quizzes. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 26 (1), 140-146.
Brame, C. J. and Biel, R., (2015). Test-enhanced learning: The potential for testing to promote greater learning in undergraduate science courses. Cell Biology Education—Life Sciences Education, 14 (Summer), 1-12.
Quizzing with resources
Quizzing after questioning
Online quizzes completed before class
Top Five Tips for Creating Training Quizzes
More on the use of quizzes as a conversation starter and/or training tool (versus assessment tool) in this IMS blog
Could Rubric-Based Grading Be the Assessment of the Future?
I use rubrics and see the positive sides as well as appreciate the structure they bring in assessment. But this article makes me see also the danger of rubrics being applied as a harness, another debacle no different from NCLB and testings scores, which plague this nation’s education in the last two decades. The same “standardizing” as in Quality Matter, which can bring some clarity and structure, but also can stifle any creativity, which steers “out of the norm.” A walk on such path opens the door to another educational assembly line, where adjunct and hourly for-hire instructors will teach pre-done content and assess with the rubrics in a fast-food manner.
a consortium of 59 universities and community colleges in nine states is working to develop a rubric-based assessment system that would allow them to measure these crucial skills within ongoing coursework that students produce.
written communication, critical thinking and quantitative literacy. The faculty worked together to write rubrics (called Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education or VALUE rubrics) that laid out what a progression of these skills looks like.
“These rubrics are designed to be cross-disciplinary,” explained Bonnie Orcutt
Parents and teachers are pushing back against blunt assessment instruments like standardized tests, and are looking for a way to hold schools accountable that doesn’t mean taking time away from class work.
The Unwritten Rules of College
a grass-roots assessment project of 25,000 students at 27 institutions in seven countries. Results showed that a simple approach can yield big results. Making the process of teaching and learning explicit to students — especially those who don’t know what to expect
Professors who have signed on to the project consider three questions when creating assignments: what, exactly, they’re asking students to do (the “task”); why students have to do it (the “purpose”); and how the work will be evaluated (the “criteria”).
Does social media make room for critical thinking?
social media critical thinking
Sinprakob, S., & Songkram, N. (2015). A Proposed Model of Problem-based Learning on Social Media in Cooperation with Searching Technique to Enhance Critical Thinking of Undergraduate Students. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 174(International Conference on New Horizons in Education, INTE 2014, 25-27 June 2014, Paris, France), 2027-2030. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.871
Bailey, A. (2014). Teaching Alice Walker’s The Color Purple: Using Technology and Social Media To Foster Critical Thinking and Reflection. Virginia English Journal, 64(1), 17.
Eales-Reynolds, L., Gillham, D., Grech, C., Clarke, C., & Cornell, J. (2012). A study of the development of critical thinking skills using an innovative web 2.0 tool. Nurse Education Today, 32(7), 752-756. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2012.05.017
Baldino, S. (2014). The Classroom Blog: Enhancing Critical Thinking, Substantive Discussion, and Appropriate Online Interaction. Voices From The Middle, 22(2), 29.
Ravenscroft, A., Warburton, S., Hatzipanagos, S., & Conole, G. (2012). Designing and evaluating social media for learning: shaping social networking into social learning?. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3), 177-182. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00484.x
finding ways to capture meaningful informal learning experiences by explicitly linking these to formal structures, and providing frameworks within which informal learning can then be validated and accredited (Cedefop Report 2007).
Education is clearly a social process but it is probably much closer to an ongoing discussion or debate than an extended celebration with an ever-expanding network of friends (p. 179, Ravenscroft et al.)
the community of inquiry (COI) model developed by Garrison and Anderson (2003) and social network analysis (SNA). European Commission-funded integrated
project called MATURE (Continuous Social Learning in Knowledge Networks), which is investigating how technology-mediated informal learning leads to improved knowledge practices in the digital workplace
Key to using social media is the ability to stand back and evaluate the credibility of a source of information, apart from the actual content. While developing this critical attitude toward traditional media is important, the attitude is even more crucial in the context of using social media because information didn’t go through the vetting process of formal publication. Can the student corroborate the information from multiple sources? How recent is this information? Are the author’s credentials appropriate? In other words, the ability to step back, to become aware of the metatext or metacontext is more important than ever.
Coad, D. T. (2013). Developing Critical Literacy and Critical Thinking through Facebook. Kairos: A Journal Of Rhetoric, Technology, And Pedagogy, 18(1).
Many instructors believe that writing on social networking sites undermines the rhetorical skills students learn in class because of the slang and abbreviations often used on these sites; such instructors may believe that social networks are the end of students’ critical awareness when they communicate. Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber (2009) contended that electronic writing forms actually require “sophisticated skills of understanding concrete rhetorical situations, analyzing audiences (and their goals and inclinations), and constructing concise, information-laden texts, as a part of a dynamic, unfolding, social process” (p. 18). It is this dynamic process that makes social networking a perfect match for the composition classroom and for teaching rhetorical skills: It helps students see how communication works in real, live rhetorical situations. Many students do not believe that communication in these media requires any kind of valuable literacy skills because they buy into the myth of how the news media portray social networks as valueless forms of communication that are decaying young people’s minds. This is why I introduced students to the passage from Invisible Man: to get them thinking about what kinds of skills they learn on Facebook. I found the text useful for helping them acknowledge the skills they are building in these writing spaces.
Stuart A. Selber (2004) in Multiliteracies for a Digital Age criticized so-called computer literacy classes for having “focused primarily on data representations, numbering systems, operating systems, file formats, and hardware and software components” rather than on the task of teaching students to be “informed questioners of technology” (p. 74). In a time when, as Sheelah M. Sweeny (2010) noted, “the ability to stay connected with others is constant,” it is increasingly important to engage composition students in critical thinking about the spaces they write in (p. 121). It is becoming clearer, as technology giants such as Google® and Apple® introduce new technologies, that critical literacy and critical thinking about technology are necessary for our students’ futures.
Valentini, C. (2015). Is using social media “good” for the public relations profession? A critical reflection. Public Relations Review, 41(2), 170-177. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.11.009
p. 172 there is no doubt that digital technologies and social media have contributed to a major alteration in people’s interpersonal communications and relational practices. Inter- personal communications have substantially altered, at least in Western and developed countries, as a result of the culture of increased connectivity that has emerged from social media’s engineering sociality ( van Dijck, 2013 ), which allows anyone to be online and to connect to others. Physical presence is no longer a precondition for interpersonal communication.
(Jiping) The Pew Research Center ( Smith & Duggan, 2013 , October 21) indicates that one in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or mobile dating app to seek a partner, and that in the last eight years the proportion of Americans who say that they met their current partner online has doubled. Another study conducted by the same organization ( Lenhart & Duggan, 2014 , February 11) shows that 25% of married or partnered adults who text, have texted their partner while they were both home together, that 21% of cell-phone owners or internet users in a committed relationship have felt closer to their spouse or partner because of exchanges they had online or via text message. Another 9% of adults have resolved online or by text message an argument with their partner that they were having difficulty resolving person to person ( Lenhart & Duggan, 2014 , February 11). These results indicate that digital technologies are not simply tools that facilitate communications: they have a substantial impact on the way humans interact and relate to one another. In other words, they affect the dynamics of interpersonal relations
New Teacher Advice – ‘Hold On To Your Optimism & Idealism’
Your job is to grow your students to become independent, self-directed learners not for someday in the distant future, but right now. Students deserve to have clarity on the following questions:
- Why do I have to learn this? What value is it to me?
- How will I be assessed?
- How will I be judged?
- How will I be supported during the learning experience?
Researchers use an app to predict GPA based on smartphone use
Dartmouth College and the University of Texas at Austin have developed an app that tracks smartphone activity to compute a grade point average that’s within 0.17 of a point.
More on Big Data in education in this blog: