Sunday, March 17, 2013

Open Badges 1.0 Launch

You may have heard but we launched Open Badges 1.0 on Thursday at the DML Conference. Here are some places to read more:

My version

Here’s what 1.0 means to me, pulled from the talk I gave at the announcement on Thursday:

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A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned.

Open Badges takes that concept further, and allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through a credible organization. 

And because the system is based on an open standard, you can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of your achievements — both online and off.

Badge earners can display their badges wherever they want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.

So what does Open Badges 1.0 mean? 

Mozilla Open Badges is made up of two things: a technical standard that anyone can follow to make their own Open Badges and free, open source software for issuers and users.

How does it work?

Right now, Open Badges gives enables issuers to issue verified, open badges and connect their users into this broader learning ecosystem. 

It also gives users a way to collect, combine, and share their badges.

Finally, every badge is full of information: employers and others can dig into the rich data behind each badge and see who issued it, how it was earned, and even review the projects the user completed to earn the badge. 

Let me walk you through the process of issuing, earning, and sharing a badge.

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This is the badge backpack, where you collect and manage your badges.

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So to begin, users can create a backpack with just an e-mail

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Here’s an image of an empty backpack - eventually we will have links out to possible badges to earn or things to learn here. For now, let’s show you how we earn and collect a badge. We’ll use a Mozilla Webmaker badge as an example.

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Here our user is making a web page with Webmaker. On the upper right you see that they’ve been awarded a badge for the skills they’ve applied while making the project. This is a good place to remind ourselves that badges are just recognizers on top of the learning and assessment - that is the meat behind the badge. In this example, a learner is learning HTML and CSS Basics while they are building a webpage and earning badges in the process.

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The user then sees detail of the badge, and can accept it and add it to their backpack.

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Now the badge has been added to the backpack.

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Earners will be able to organize their badges into different collections

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They can then create a public-facing portfolio page with their badges, and add notes about what they’ve earned

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You can also share your badges on social media. Clicking the Twitter link brings up a box to write and send your tweet.

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And there it is in our user’s twitter timeline.

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A plug-in for Wordpress built by a community member also allows you to display your badges right on your blog. There is much more to come here as well in the next few months.

All of this is powered by free and open source software that anyone can use. And Open Badges sets a technical standard that any issuer can follow, which means their badges can connect to and add up to more substantial recognition and opportunity.

Why does this matter?

We think Open Badges will change how people think about recognition and achievement — from traditional institutions to leading organizations — and connect lifelong learning to real results like jobs and additional opportunities.

On the jobs front, we’ve talked to many employers, and they all say the same thing: undergraduate degrees are a check box, but they tell you very little about the skills that the particular person possesses; resumes are difficult to verify; and it is almost impossible to get an understanding of a candidate’s social or ‘softer’ skills

Open Badges changes that, and gives us a way to tell a more complete story about who a candidate is, and what they bring to the table. 

What’s next

We are formally launching 1.0 but there are already hundreds of organizations working with Open Badges today - there are 600 orgs issuing badges and even more moving in that direction. Potential badge earners can now look for this symbol, which they’ll begin to display on their sites in the coming weeks. 

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And there’s lots more to come with new features, more social integration (Fb), more tools for issuing, new partners, and new ways to earn badges. We’re here to continue the conversation and collaboration, and build the ecosystem around Open Badges.

Thank yous

I want to give a HUGE shout out to the Open Badges team, which is still a pretty small, scrappy team. These folks get up everyday believing in this stuff and trying to change the world and I am so lucky to work with them. This was a herculean effort, and I can’t thank them enough.

I also want to thank our communications team which pulled out all of the stops to add the polish to our work and get the word out broadly. 

Thanks as well go to MacArthur for the funding which is obviously important, but for also being an inspired thought partner on all of this work.

And last but certainly not least, we have to whole heartedly thank our community who works with us side by side to build and iterate on Open Badges. Through community calls, the mailing list and other channels, our community vets everything that we do and contributes to the broader conversation on a daily basis. They are also the ones developing high quality badges - we couldn’t do this or be to this point without them. 

I look forward to your questions and feedback. I hope you’re as excited as we are to challenge our outdated ideas about what should “count” toward education, and empower people to create their own paths to success.

A couple quotes to leave you with

With Open Badges, you don’t have to just tell the world about how awesome you are—-you can prove it. (me :))

The more incidences of an “unaffiliated” (term used loosely) third-party creating web standards for credential sharing…the better off education will be. No two ways about it. (Techcrunch)

-E

Notes

  1. worldofe posted this