The article discusses the use of digital badges, or open badges, in higher education as common currency and documentation of educational outcomes. Topics include the development of the Mozilla Foundation's Mozilla Open Badges infrastructure in 2011, the mobile device application Passport, developed in 2012 by Purdue University, and the benefits of digital badges for career prospects. Commentary from Mozilla senior director of learning Erin Knight is provided.
For teachers, badges make classroom goals visible to students. Badges show the criteria that students must meet to earn them. This helps motivate students, because they are able to see what they need to do to reach a goal or master a skill.
Gold stars, Girl Scout badges, and Boy Scout badges—when we think about motivating our students to assist them in their learning and development, using badges in the classroom have a similar function as many of the rewards we were offered as young learners in primary schools (Ash, 2012). As a motivational tool, badges can be added to your college classroom using a fairly streamlined process, and with little or no cost to you at an individual level, or at an institutional level.
K-12 educators, particularly at the secondary level, are considering these questions and asking if today’s scoring metrics are able to provide a robust picture of who our students are and what they can do. Do those scores represent what you are teaching? What skills and dispositions do your students gain outside the classroom that go unmeasured or unnoticed? What knowledge, positive learning behaviors, or habits of the mind or heart would you like to measure, acknowledge and validate but cannot within current frameworks?
What is it?
Digital badges—awarded by institutions, organizations, groups, or individuals—recognize a particular experience or signify accomplishments, such as completion of a project or mastery of a skill. Today’s economy necessitates a workforce that educates itself beyond formal degrees. Badging documents skills gained through various learning and engagement opportunities via professional organizations and communities in a way that was not possible before. These digital credentials recognize a model of ongoing learning that can include service, leadership, and subjectmatter