Thursday, November 7, 2013

Digital Badges Document Professional Learning

Badges are used by many organizations like the military or scouts to recognize accomplishments by their members. Physical badges are hundreds of years old but digital badges are a recent development. A new phenomenon, digital badges, is emerging as one way for educators to document their learning and qualifications. A digital badge is received after completing a learning module with established performance requirements. Upon completion individuals are awarded a "badge" that allows them to showcase their accomplishment. Proponents of badges identify four benefits.

  • Badges promote active, engaged learning because virtually all badge programs are collaborative.
  • Participating in a badges program allows you to connect with other professionals concerned with the same issues and interested in the same learning.
  • Badges are becoming another form of credentialing, of sharing the things you've learned.
  • Badges are a way to recognize people for the knowledge they have, the skills they've developed and the interests they hold.

Sites, such as Open Badges, are now available where you can aggregate your badges. This article from Purdue University describes their use of badges. Education Week recently showed how K-12 students might use badges to illustrate their skills. 2012 Digital Principal of the Year Eric Sheninger's website includes a page of the badges he's accumulated.

Digital badges are an emerging trend and an alternative to traditional professional development. I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts about "badges" and the use by educators.

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