What is Mozilla’s Open Badge Project?
The people behind Firefox, Thunderbird, and other open-source applications, have a neat thing going with the Open Badge Project. This project focuses on a framework for issuing “badges” of achievement that users/learners can take with them, issued by a club, group, or team. Users collect badges, keeping them in a “backpack” that is attached to their email address. This is all free, by the way.
This allows websites that do training or education of any kind to award their members/users with a universally-recognized badge. These badges can then be displayed to prospective employers and educational institutions, showing the skills and training that wouldn’t normally be included on a paper resume. This essentially opens opportunities on both the issuer and user ends of the badge system, with loads of potential. Oh, and it’s open-source so you can tweak the code til your heart’s content (if you’re into that).
There’s a third part of the “Open Badges ecosystem.”
A displayer is a website, organization, group or individual that accesses publicly shared badges from the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) and displays them for a user. Badge display plays a crucial role in the Open Badges ecosystem—part of a badge’s value resides in its usage or social currency. This is a factor that is affected by where and how badges are displayed. Social networking sites, discipline-oriented community portals, and job search sites, as well as personal sites and blogs are all potential badge displayers.
There some real opportunity here for creative graphic design & programming teams to come up with display “cases” and unique user profiles to show off badges that are earned. There are a couple people I have in mind to approach about such a thing. Hint hint.
How did I find out about Open Badges?
I originally heard about Open Badges at the Digital Media and Learning conference at the beginning of March. There was an Open Badge competition where groups of attendees pushed the development of the framework by creating sets of badges. Mozilla also had a table for the Open Badge project “Science Fair” evening event at the conference. I got to talking with one of the project leads about the badge system, mentioning that I was looking for an open-source project to contribute to.
We talked about my interest in quality educational resources and asked if I could help by going over the documentation on OpenBadges.org. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be reviewing the resource available to developers, looking to contribute to the ease-of-use and accessibility of the materials. The folks at Mozilla have put a great deal of time into their work, and my goal is to simply help developers and other interested participants find the information they need. I’ll have a follow-up post about my progress shortly.
If you have a minute, check out OpenBadges.org
You can also follow @OpenBadges on Twitter
While you’re at it, you can follow me too :)