2012: Mozilla Open Badges update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update about our work on the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure: we have had our heads down working on making it the best possible system for a while. Here’s some insight into what we’ve accomplished thus far and where we’re heading in 2012.

First of all, a thank you to those who have not only expressed interest in our efforts but have worked to help us find ways to make it better. We’ve been lucky enough to have some of you work directly with us; we look forward to having even more of you do so in the future. Your enthusiasm and commitment feeds our work.

Second of all, a hearty thank you to everyone who has started imagining the rewarding possibilities of a future with Open Badges in it. The MacArthur Foundation’s 4th Digital Media and Learning Competition, Badges for Lifelong Learning, has provided us with the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of folks. Through it we’ve discovered nascent badge systems, well-developed badge systems, strategic assessment platforms, deep interest in alternative learning environments, and a variety of long-range goals. Perhaps most importantly, the DML competition has helped to enliven the conversation about alternative assessment and recognition of learning. We are tremendously excited about the three different competitions (Research, Badges, and Teacher Mastery), two of which (Badges and Teacher Mastery) will culminate at the DML conference in the beginning of March. You can see all the winners at the Mozilla Science Fair.

Undertaking something as significant as proposing and building an Open Badge infrastructure—with all of its attendant direct and indirect meanings—continues to prove to be a humbling and rewarding experience. As the Open Badges team engages the public to work with us to test this hypothesis, we’re learning a huge variety of things. Some of these things seem obvious in retrospect, and some seem surprisingly hidden, but this is the learning process, and we’re committed to it. As the Open Badges website states, we’re interested in capturing learning that happens anywhere at any time.

Consequently, we aim to keep on learning, modifying, adjusting, and recalculating as we go. We’re listening to your comments and we’re excited by your enthusiasms. We’re doing this to reimagine what learning can be. What’s nice about the entire experience is that we are stepping through the same process that others will experience themselves. The past few months have been revelatory: we’ve made new alliances, we’ve discovered possibilities for extensions of our work, and we’ve found eager audiences. As we continue to move forward, we run towards, stumble upon, back into, and greet with open arms new opportunities, like improving ease of use for the backpack or reconsidering our website (a full-on redesign is underway).

If you’ve been wondering what else is in store for 2012, please take a look at our newly modified roadmap. The first quarter of this year will see us posting Issuer APIs, Displayer APIs, and a rough cut of an Endorsement API. Looking at the immediate future, members of the team are about to kick off a week-long development sprint in New York City, speak at the Connexions conference in Houston, attend the DML conference in San Francisco, and then attend SxSW Edu in Austin. In addition, we’ll be conducting a webinar for Open Education Week on March 6th (more details to follow). We hope to see you at these events. And if there are other events you think we should know about, please drop us a note.

Two Three last things worth noting:

1) We now have an Open Badges community call every Wednesday at 9:00am PST (-08 UTC). You can learn more about that call, including the local and international dial-in numbers here: https://openbadges.etherpad.mozilla.org/openbadges-community.

2) If you are not already a member of the Open Badges conversation area/google group/mailing list, please join: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/openbadges. There you’ll find a rich history of software questions, notices of documentation efforts, philosophical considerations, and references to github repositories.

3) You can find us on Twitter here: @OpenBadges


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