Badging as Lifelong Learning

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Here is a preview of ForAllLearners, a tool to help learners navigate all their learning experiences throughout their lifetime. ForAllLearners will allow learners to:

(1) capture learning artifacts to permanently record evidence of their learning,

(2) reflect on learning experiences to continuously refine their own story of who they are and who they want to be and

(3) plan their next steps in pursuing their passions and interests to construct a path toward the life they want to live and the person they want to be.

Badging as credentialing supports learning from the point of view of employers, schools and others that control opportunities. By specifying what credentials are desirable for a job, school admission or program participation, badges provides a way for these organizations to communicate what skills they believe are valuable.

Badging for learning supports learning from the point of view of teachers. By sharing the teacher’s perspective on a learner’s progress, badges provide learning artifacts and milestones to guide the learner as they participate in a learning activity.

Badging as lifelong learning supports learning from the point of view of learners. By helping learners record, reflect and plan their learning experiences, badges provide a way for learners to take ownership of their own lifelong learning.

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Not Just for Schools Anymore

CSTEMMBE BannerAs more informal learning programs, teacher development programs and other learning organizations are starting to use ForAllRubrics, the labels that we use throughout ForAllRubrics (District, School, Class, Teacher, Student) are not always appropriate.  We’ve added the ability for administrators to customize the labels that are used through out ForAllRubrics to be appropriate for their own organization.

Custom Settings

Once the settings are customized, the new labels are used throughout ForAllRubrics:

Program Participants

In case you didn’t already notice, we love being part of the Community STEM Badging Ecosystem (CSTEMBE) group.  We are so proud to support the amazing work the group is doing.

ForAllRubrics: an Integrated Rubric & Badging Platform

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We are releasing a major update to ForAllRubrics this Sunday, July 13th.  This update will combine all of the capabilities of the current versions of both ForAllRubrics and ForAllBadges into one integrated Rubric & Badging platform.  ForAllBadges will no longer exist as a separate product. Below is the overview of the integration.


We now support competency-based assessment with a choice of 3 types of scoring:  Rubric, Checklist or Basic Badge.

3 types of scoring


No matter what form of scoring you choose, all assessment data collected can be viewed as an open digital badge.

Open Badges


While designing your assessments, you can choose to see an overview of all your assessments by viewing the badge images.

icon view


Or you can choose to view and manage the details of your assessments in list view.

List view


While viewing your class, you can choose to see an overview of how your students are making progress towards reaching competency on all assessments.

badge board


Or you can choose to focus on one assessment, view details of each student’s performance and manage communication with students and their parents.

my class


When a badge is issued, it signifies that a student has achieved competency according to the criteria described in the badge definition. 

score badge


When a list is scored, each checked item signifies that the student has reached competency for that item.  When all items are checked, the student has achieved competency and the corresponding badge is issued to the student.

score list


When a rubric is scored, each score that is in a “green” rating signifies that the student has reached competency for that item.  When all items are scored with “green” ratings, the student has achieved competency and the corresponding badge is issued to the student.

 

score rubric


When students login, no matter what scoring method you have chosen, they first see a badge view that shows them their progress toward reaching competency.  They can click on their badge to see the scoring details.
student my badges


We hope you’re as excited about this new version of ForAllRubrics as we are!  There are lots of other new features as well and we will be following up with more information on the details.

13 Reasons to use ForAllRubrics as Your Badging Platform

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1. Organize your Badges into Meaningful Badge Systems

Manage Badge Systems


2. Share Badge Systems with Others

Badge Library


3. Easily Create Basic Badges

Basic Badge


4. Harness the Power of Advanced Badges.

Create self- and peer- issued badges.  Allow the badge issuer to customize the badge description, criteria or image on the fly.

Advanced


5. Align Badges with Standards

Standards


6. Easily manage learners and their badges

learners


7. System Administration to meet the needs of formal and informal learning programs and all FERPA compliant

Adminstration


8. Generate Paper Badge Claim Codes

Claim codes


9. Customize Email and SMS Notifications

notifications

notification text


10. Mobile Versions of ForAllBadges available on Apple App Store, Google Play and Firefox Marketplace

iOS


11. Score a rubric to issue a badge

Rubric


12. Create your own Community Badging Ecosystem

CSTEMBE

 


13. Power Your Own Badging Platform

P2S

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And also, it is FREE for Teachers!!!

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Badging the C-STEMBE Maker Party

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On Saturday, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Level Up, the Adler Planetarium and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum used an early version of our Maker Party Web App to issue C-STEMBE Maker Party badges at the absolutely amazing event Destination: Chicago.

Here are some stats as of a day or so after the Maker Party.  About 50 participants earned badges at the event and approximately 100 badges were issued.  So far around 15 participants have registered their access codes to retrieve their badges.

In this post, we are going to share:

  • our initial goals
  • our plans for how to achieve those goals
  • our experience and what we learned
  • our future plans and next steps

Our goals going into the event were:

  • Badging should be easy.  The Maker Party is a busy and exciting event, so the actual issuing of badges needs to be quick and easy.
  • Badging shouldn’t require internet access.   Internet access seems to always fail at the least convenient time, so we don’t want to rely on it.
  • Badging should engage learners.  Learners should be actively involved in the badging process and not just badge recipients.
  • Privacy should be respected.  Badge issuers and earners should be able to participate without being required to provide their email address or other identifying information.
  • Badge earners should own their badges.  Earners should be able to retrieve and save their badges, including all evidence and criteria.  Earners should also be able to share their badges with the Mozilla Open Backpack.
  • Badges should highlight achievements at the event.  Badges should include evidence of the learning that happens at the event, so that learners can reflect on what they accomplished and also share their achievements with others.
  • We should learn a lot.  This is an opportunity to learn about badging at an event and for us to figure out ways to improve how well our Maker Party Web App supports learners at a Maker Party.

Our plan for how to achieve all this was:

  • We will give out cards with unique anonymous access codes for each participant.  Below is design of the cards we’re going to give out.  We are keeping the cards small (the size of a business card), to make it easy to carry the card in a pocket and also to force us to keep our instructions simple.

MakerParty_Front_v2                              MakerParty_Back_v2

  • Two types of badges will be issued: Maker Party Badges and Evidence Badges.  Everyone who registers their access code will receive the C-STEMBE Maker Party badge.  All participants can also earn and issue evidence badges.  The evidence badges will be referenced as evidence for the C-STEMBE Maker Party badge.

CSTEMBEMakerPartyBadge           Achievement Badge

  • Issue badges via a mobile web app.   We are adapting the current ForAllBadges mobile web app to create the C-STEMBE Maker Party app.  The images below are designs for the Maker Party app.  All a participant needs to earn a badge, is a card with an access code.  They don’t need to access the app.The first time a participant accesses the app, they will need to register their access code and set a password for their account.  If they choose to register their email address or telephone number, they will receive a notification that they have earned Maker Party badges by email or sms.

1_Login                      2_Register

Participants will be able to view badges they have received and also issue badges.  They can email open badges (baked with the badge meta-data) to the email address of their choosing.  If they tap on an earned badge, they can view the details of the badge and push the badge to their open backpack.

3_MyBadges                       5_AwardDetails

To issue a badge, the earners’ access codes are entered in the comments box.  Participants do not need internet access to issue badges.

4_IssueBadge

This web app will run on pretty much any device and automatically adapts to the screen size (desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet, handheld or smart phone).

 Our experience and what we learned:

  • The Maker Party was amazing!  The experience was so much better than I could have anticipated.  My 8 and 9 y.o. daughters came along and they LOVED everything.  The high quality of the activities and the enthusiasm of the folks from all the various organizations was inspirational.  I don’t know how the organizers from Chicago Hive and Chicago City of Learning had so much energy or managed to make everything go so smoothly.
  • The badging was really easy if you had a smart phone with wireless access.  If you were offline or on an ipad, the badging experience was still good.  If you were trying to use a connection that was slow or unpredictable, things didn’t work all that well.
  • It wasn’t practical to have learners issue badges at this event.  It was nice that people who were issuing badges could also have badges issued to them.
  • The access codes and the cards worked out really well.  Everyone seemed to understand how they worked right away.  Having everyone write “their mark” to identify their card was really helpful.
  • As people came by our table, we told them, “bring cool stuff you make back here and we’ll take a picture and issue you a badge.”  Kids and parents were both excited about it.  The kids also seemed to appreciate the opportunity to tell us about what they made and show it to us.  It seems like having a table like this is a nice addition to the Maker Party, especially since the activity tables can get really busy and also doing badging can get challenging.
  • Right now participants can email their baked badges to themselves and upload them to the Mozilla Open Backpack.  The basic idea of emailing baked badges to participants seems good, but there are still some technical details to work out in order to have this work smoothly with the current standards.  Luckily there is an Open Badges Tech Panel on Wednesday about evidence.  I’m going to write a separate blog post on badge baking and evidence and hopefully get more feedback then.
  • The Maker Party was an amazing learning experience and we’re looking forward to participating in one again!

Our future plans and next steps:

  • We are already starting on our next blog post on Baked Badges and Evidence.  We’re looking forward to the Open Badges Tech Panel in a couple of days and collaborating with others in the badging community.
  • We have a list of improvements that we are going to make to the Maker Party App.  The next version will be awesome.
  • We are going to release the code to our Maker Party App as open source on GitHub.  Right now the app relies on using ForAllBadges as the backend and all communication is done via a simple API.  Others should be able to either tinker with our code and connect with the FAB backend or use the app with their own website.

If you’ve read this far in the post, you deserve a badge!  Please do share your thoughts with us.  We appreciate the feedback.

 

Why are Badges for School-Age Learners Different?

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I just finished watching the video of the fantastic second live session for the MOOC Learning Beyond Letter Grades.  The panelists Sheryl GrantJonathan Finkelstein and Sunny Lee present an excellent introduction to Open Badges and the reasons that we at Forall Systems are so enthusiastic about the Open Badge movement.  The panel got me thinking about some of the ways that badges are different for school-age learners.

For most learners, the main focus of Open Badges is to “Get recognition for skills you learn anywhere.”  Inherent in the idea of getting recognition is the assumption that badges can open up opportunities and the viewer/evaluator of a badge will be a potential employer, a university or colleagues.  In developing ForAllBadges, we have been interested in thinking about badges for kids as a tool for supporting learning.  In a perfect world, learning opportunities are not a limited resource and children don’t have to compete for access.

During the live session, I jotted down some of the ways that thinking about badges as a tool for learning changes how badges are designed, issued and displayed.

  • The most important evaluator of badges for learning is the learner themselves.  Badges can provide the framework for learners to reflect on their learning experiences and plan for future learning activities. Teachers and parents can use the badges to help support learning, but ideally the learner takes ownership of their own learning process.
  • Authentic assessment and the evidence associated with the badge is often more important than the badge itself.  A video of a science fair presentation or an essay often has more value than the badge or evaluation rubric associated with it.
  • Badges for learning are inherently lifelong.  For a seven year old, their third place finish in the 2nd grade science fair at their elementary school is an accomplishment to be proud of.  Ten years later, when they’re applying to university, the badge itself isn’t worth much.  However the evidence associated with the badge provides an opportunity for the young adult, in writing their application essay, to reflect on their lifelong interest in ecology and include a quote or video from their 7 year old self.  In many ways, these authentic assessments become more valuable as life goes on.
  • Badges can provide the structure for effectively reflecting on progress.  Fundamental skills are often a lifelong pursuit.  For example, writing well is something that all of us can always improve on.  By presenting a timeline view of badges that are aligned with the Common Core Anchor Standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1, learners can reflect on their progress over time in learning to write strong arguments.  The badge and the standards alignment provide the structure to display the authentic writing samples in a meaningful way.
  • Badges can provide the structure for discovering learning opportunities.  A badge displayer such as Badgopolis can provide a view of learning opportunities that relate to the learners previous interests and also present information about how to access those opportunities.

Of course this approach of designing badges for learning is not only applicable to school-aged learners and is a perspective that can also be valuable in other circumstances. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading my thoughts!  Please share your you ideas too.  This is a  fascinating topic and is only just starting to be explored.