The Open Badges team has been sprinting on one thing or another for months now. At this point, it may be more apt to call what we’ve been doing a badge marathon rather than a series of badge sprints. And so, it’s high time for some much needed reflection and introspection. Perhaps some navel-gazing is in order. So, yeah, we’re about to participate in a team badge camp. Did I mention that it’s in Maine? Vacationland? Niiiice.
We probably all have ideas about summer camp: some summer-long sleep-away camps, some day camps, some great experiences, some we’d like to forget. Just like the term badges, the word camp carries a lot of baggage with it, too. (It’s a noun, it’s a verb, it’s an adjective: what can’t it do?) But we digress, let’s talk agenda.
A time for reflection—and swimming
Our badge camp will be the first ever for us as a team: a week long experience packed full of sun, water, food, drink, exercise and, wait for it… badges. Well, really badge thinking. But hey, this is camp and so in addition to the prerequisite navel-gazing, we’ll also be doing some arts and crafts, too. Yes! Arts and crafts! Who doesn’t love that? And that means we’ll be making badges. Markers. Felt. Glue. Bedazzling.
I want to wear it
We’ll be constructing both virtual badges and real, physical badges. Sure, this approach is a bit beyond where we started with badges—as digital representations of experiences, affiliations, learning. But over the last year and a half, our badge exploits and our community’s badge exploits have taught us a thing or two about physical objects. The power of the physical object cannot be overestimated. There’s something about being able to physically interact with an object—to touch it, to subconsciously weigh it, to roll it around in your hands—that turns it into not just a thing but a talisman.
Badges as talismen
So as we’re combing the beach for treasures, we’ll create a few talismen of our own. These badges we create may not translate beyond next week, but the act of creating them should prove informative and will help us consider what makes a badge special and where its power might lie. Our primitive badge making will be transporting us into the world of issuers and earners, soaking us in what it means to actively participate in badge system design.
Open Badges badges
Yes, there’s method behind this felt + marker + bedazzling craft-y madness. Recently our team created a questionnaire for the Open Badges team to complete. Its primary purpose? To unearth all of the hidden, unspoken, barely-floating-at-conscious-level thoughts about badges. What each member of the team thinks of them, what they’d like to see be created and issued, if there is a single badge that might represent them precisely, what excites them about badges and what makes them sad about badges. We’re diving into the unconscious world of our own hopes and dreams for badges. Our goal? To develop a way to acknowledge/recognize/appreciate/reward our badge tribe. In short, we want to make badges for and about Open Badges.
Patterns + pathways
While we’re frolicking in sun and sand, we’ll be sorting through the responses to our badge questionnaire, looking for patterns. Those patterns will reveal some potential next steps—some possible pathways for recognition. But like the sand on the beach, new patterns will arise with each successive wave. So, even after badge camp we’ll keep at it—investigating our values and our community’s values, responding to what’s most meaningful, delving into what constitutes and enhances group participation, enlarging our own understandings of badge systems—so we can create useful, compelling Open Badges badges for all.
Of course, I’ll keep you apprised of what we learn and what’s next. Right now, I wish you glad summer tidings.
Much more soon.
Yes, the pathways posts are still in progress as are the additional CSOL posts! Hang in there with me. :)