Friday, 15 January 2016


I have been interested in Mozilla's Open Badges for a long time and want to find  a way to embed the digital, standards-based, open accreditation framework within the Cutlers' 'Made in Sheffield' scheme. I remember how my own children reacted on achieving their first 10m swimming badge, how students I have worked with talked about their scouts, cubs and brownies and guides activities and how young people feel about achieving badges, stamps, certificates and stickers. I worked with the Children's University and again saw how young children valued getting stamps and certificates and how it encouraged them to engage in activities and simply do things. And it isn't restricted to young people, my colleagues in York and Leeds all loved getting a certificate, sticker or letter recognising their achievements.

In its most basic form, an Open Badge is a digital reward which can be stored inside a student's ‘digital backpack'. The badges can be achieved by completing tasks and goals set by a learning provider awarding badges for achieving skills or attributes. The learning provider creates the criteria needed for the student to achieve the badge and the badges recognise the things students learn, online and off. Open Badges use a shared technical standard to help recognise students skills and achievements and increasingly their recognition will make them count towards young peoples education, career and lifelong learning. Working together employers, organisations and schools can create badges to verify young peoples skills, achievements and interests.

Open Badges are free software and an open technical standard. That means any organisation can create, issue and verify digital badges and any user can earn, manage and display them across the web. Open Badges are full of information. Each one has important data baked in that links back to the issuer, the criteria it was issued under, and evidence verifying the credential — a feature unique to Open Badges. Open Badges are designed, built and backed by a broad community of contributors, including NASA, Disney, Intel, and many more.

Watch this space!

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