What is a Digital Badge?
A digital badge (micro-credential) is an online representation of a skill someone earned. Mozilla's Open Badges take that concept one step further, allowing a person's skills, interests and achievements to be verified through credible issuers. And since the platform is based on an open standard, a person can combine and collect badges from different organizations to tell the complete story of his/her achievements - both online and off.
Why use Digital Badges?
- Get recognition for the things people learn. Provides a way to capture skills and achievements and helps make them count toward job opportunities and lifelong learning.
- Verify skills. Employers, organizations and schools can explore the data behind every badge issued to verify individuals' skills and competencies.
- Discover and explore different skills and challenges. Provides a way to encourage people to learn new and demanding skills, and then connecting those skills to a learning pathway or career.
"Digital badges are making anytime, anywhere learning a reality for learners of all ages who want to pursue their interests with tangible results in real time. Badges bridge the divide between formal and informal education, and they have the power to transform competency-based learning and hiring practices."
~Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia.
The Open Badges Platform
In order to use Mozilla's Open Badges, a program or organization will need to have access to the following:
- Online storage of the badges
- Creation and administration of the badges
- Website for badge discovery and applications
- Social media platform (i.e. Facebook) to share badge achievements
For the first item, Mozilla has developed a free online storage system (called Backpack) to store and manage Open Badges from different programs and organizations. For the second item, a web-based software called, Open Badge Factory, allows a organization to define the information and criteria for the badges, establish assessment guidelines, create online applications for the badges, and issue the badges once the criteria are met. The look of the badges will need to be created through a 3rd party software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. For the third item, any website platform (i.e. WordPress) can display the badges and link to the associated applications. For the last item, access to a social media platform like Twitter allows users and administrators to share badges with other institutions and the public in general.
ERC is currently working with non-profits, higher educational institutions, and school districts incorporating the Open Badges platform to give recognition to students for achievements in college readiness, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teaching skills, youth development skills, Common Core, and more.
Click here to see the badges available to college students in the Teacher Track program.
Click here to see the badges available to high school students in the Education Pathway program.