Digital Badges are gaining wider acceptance. They are clearly here to stay.
I'm a fan of digital badges. I believe they are going to become a widely accepted part of the educational landscape in both K-12 and higher education.
I also believe that for this to happen, the business community needs to embrace them. This has already started to happen, with companies like IBM, Salesforce, and Ernst & Young developing their own badging initiatives. We've seen municipalities embrace them as well.
If you've been paying attention to the evolution of digital badging you know that it has been on a steady upward trajectory for over a decade or so now (explore the history of digital badges here). And thanks to efforts like the Connecting Credentials initiative, the potential for digital badges to be recognized as meaningful credentials continues to evolve as well.
Of course, higher education is also embracing digital badges and many universities have programs, including Stamford University, MIT, and Georgetown University to name just a few. Yet despite this growing acceptance, many educators remain unaware of their potential. Hopefully that will change in the next few years.
Thankfully, the folks at EDUCAUSE and Education Design Labs get badges. In fact, at this year's EDUCAUSE conference, EDL recognized 5 schools for their innovative efforts to utilize digital badging that focus on 21st century skills. Here are couple of the programs that were recognized:
- Lalitha Subramanian, University of Washington Continuum College- “Professional Expertise & 21st Century Skills” will focus on their nontraditional learners and build bridges between the academy and the workplace by designing an innovative process to identify and assess ‘human skills' in conjunction with experts and employers—targeting their nontraditional learners between theory and practice, the academy and the workplace.
- Wilson Garland, Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence- “Project ELEVATE” will take career readiness, 21st century skills and badging to the next level for the entire state's Information Technology and Computer Science Program by tailoring the overall badge experience to reflect real-world IT workplaces and scenarios.
Of course, as with any initiative, there are downsides and mistakes that can be made along the way. If you are just getting started with a digital badge initiative, it is important to be aware of these so that you can work to avoid them.
Well, that about wraps it up for me. I wrote this piece simply because I hope to inspire others to learn more about digital badges and start a conversation at their schools about the potential that these microcredentials have to recognize and reward learning. I encourage you to share this with colleagues online as well. Thanks!