Never underestimate the potential outcomes and echoes of a shot from the hip, mostly uninformed blog post. A few clicks back I blogged some thoughts, questions, and over generalizations on Seeking Evidence of Badge Evidence.
To be honest, I looked only at a scant handful of badges, and was a tad dis-appointed in those that, while the specifications for open badges have a place for evidence, in ones I looked it, I found them lacking.
It got picked up some by folks in twitter, and I got a lot of really useful resources and counter examples in the comments to the post (stuff I am still working my way through), but was (as the say in the UK) “chuffed” to be invited by Nate Otto to a Badge Alliance weekly community call.
That link alone, here again, http://bit.ly/CC2016-Mar-9 is rather impressive in regards to the way this group works. Kudos to Nate for leading it. There is an etherpad with extensive notes, a link to the audio archive.
Also in this series of events, I met up with a bunch of folks working in this area I had not connected to before, and internationally, that alone was worth being part of the call.
Okay, there’s a lot more to badges than my cheap shots might have indicated. There is a lot of work on the technical side, and a large amount of experimentation. A whole lotta of badging going on. And a whole lotta groups/outfits offering platforms. Quite a lot.
It may be worth unpacking what “evidence” means. As I said in the call, I saw some of it conflated with badge criteria. But the word itself suggest an idea of irrefutable proof, like crime evidence. That if all these webs of trusts are trusted, we can feel confidence if it’s in the badge, then we can trust it.
And that might work for certain skills, achievements. I remain stuck in my own ideas that a collection of badges, stackable or not, verifiable or not, is not quite enough for a person to demonstrate to the world what they can do. That it should work together (not either/or) with the ways in which we ourselves show the world what we can do.
I was rather struck that even Doug Belshaw in the call mentioned that he has seen little to no good evidence in badges. Others said it was important, but is still maybe something in progress? This is after all, a rather highly evolving space.
Hearing of an implementation in the Houston School District was enlightening
That link is to an Edsurge piece So You Want to Drive Instruction With Digital Badges? Start With the Teachers:
Participating teachers advance through a series of inquiry-based professional development modules. Teachers are awarded a digital badge for the successful completion of each 10-hour module. To accomplish this, they must complete the following steps: 1) study module content, 2) participate in a focused discussion with peers working on the same module, 3) create an original inquiry-based global lesson plan that incorporates new learning, 4) implement the original lesson plan in the classroom, 5) provide evidence of classroom implementation and 6) reflect on and revise the lesson created.
The final product of every module is a tested, global lesson plan that articulates learning objectives, activities, assessments, and resources for each stage of inquiry. Upon completion, teachers may publish finalized lessons in a resource library where they can be accessed by other educators. As designed, the HISD badging system will be a four-year, 16-badge approach that equates to 160 hours of professional learning for teachers.
To me that is quite a lot of evidence. I do not know what what kind of system (proprietary?) provides it?
But what I do walk away with is an appreciation that it’s bot about one technology, or system, or protocol versus another, that badges alone (or portfolio/blogs) where not get us to where we want. What’s more important is the way in which these things are implements, the human design principles in how they are put into play.
Even with a system of trust and issuer assurance, don’t we still rely heavily on reputation? In some ways, these indicators on the Badge Alliance indicate some measure of value based on the earned reputations of the organizations indicated. Not anything in their badges, but what they represent?
This of course is built into the design of open badges, there is a discussion of the value of endorsement in the RFC paper for open badges
I of course am not saying anything that is new. We know endorsements have value, but there are also plenty of meaningless ones (I am remembering LinkedIn where I collected one for “okra folding”) (and I cannot fold okra).
I appreciate being invited to this call, though I am not quite sure if I have much to contribute.
The new project I am working on with Creative Commons is definitely a credential they want to issue, and be able to verify. We are not even close to knowing yet how this will be done, if it will be via a badge or something else. I’m just on my first baby steps in a long term project, and I have a ton to learn first. The wheels are just starting to turn…
Top / Featured Image: I did some preliminary image searches (google, with filter on for licensed to reuse) on “alliance” and found some potential images of logos and word clouds. But then I scrolled a bit and noticed this old time post card for the Farmers Alliance Insurance Company. Given my interest in westerns, and the juxtaposition of old and new modes of transport, I thought it might be fun (as I start to think about what I might write) to Photoshop in some new text.
The original image is By Boston Public Library [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; my remix is in terms also licensed the same. Why the heck not?