I’ve been interested by the possibilities of Mozilla’s Open Badges project over the past week or so. Doug Belshaw brought it to my attention and I’ve been engaged with him and a group of educators discussing the possible uses of the badges in schools over at the ‘Peer to Peer University P2PU. Open Badges in a nutshell:
I can think of three obvious places where these badges could be used in my school:
I’ve been working with our Digital Leaders project over the past year in collaboration with Kristian Still, the SSAT, Toshiba and others. More on that here. In a nutshell, students leading teachers and other students in the use of technology for learning. We have had Digital Leaders specialise in different areas such as reporting, VLEs, digital presentations etc.. On a number of occasions over the past year or so we’ve discussed briefly the idea of the DLs receiving official recognition of their efforts. Open Badges would seem to fit the bill perfectly here. Assessed by teachers & peers these could be given out once a pupil has demonstrated mastery of a certain area and helped someone with that skill. This is something I’ll aim to discuss with Kristian & colleagues at the SSAT over the Autumn.
Skills Based Curriculum
We are planning to move our focus towards a more skills based curriculum at our school this year. We have been very successful as a school over recent years but we’re very aware that to move to the next level we need to produce more rounded learners. We’ll be working out exactly which skills & competencies are most important to the young learners in our school, focussing on the development of these and encouraging our learners to record their progress towards them on our excellent Realsmart Learning Environment using the Passport feature. This seems like another fantastic place for badges to be used. We could have different levels of badges for each skill. So maybe a Gold/Silver/Bronze badge for Creativity or Organisation or Presentation skills. One to discuss with staff at my school and with the team at Realsmart.
Teacher Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD is integral to life at my school, and a requirement of all practicing teachers in the UK. Some of this is on recognised courses with certificates at the end of it such as Leadership Pathways, much is done in schools by staff for staff. I think it would be great for staff to be able to collect badges for completion of CPD. Perhaps linked to a reflective piece of writing after putting the CPD training into practice. One to discuss with my leadership team at school this year.
Kevin McLaughlin has added his ideas here.
I really like the idea of these badges. But am a little hesitant to jump right in just yet. Will they take off? Will they get to a point where they are really valued by employers? What about quality control? Lots of potential issues but it’s a great idea and Mozilla have a good record with such things.