A Focus on Real World Connections

Working Group
My Badge System

Forming a community of practice around badges. Initial focus on STEAM.

Working Group
Common App 2.0*

Incorporate digital badging into the Common App, an online college application used by more than 400 institutions.

Working Group
Educational Dim Sum

Digital collaboration in and out of school. A compass not a map. Connecting curiosity to learning partners.

Working Group
Connecting High Schools & Students to Real-World Work Experiences

Agile, open system that bridges learning across schools, the workplace and higher education.

Road Map to a Career

Youth who are struggling to see the relevance of school may soon be able to map out real-life pathways to success through Dream See Do, a prototype platform that took the top prize at an October hackathon sponsored by The Feast. Dream See Do is designed to help young people connect their interests to real-life professions by exposing them to possible career paths; breaking those paths down into basic challenges; and tapping into the LinkedIn professional networking website to create a community of peers and mentors pursing similar challenges. Dream See Do is designed to help students make a visual map of how their talents and passions can lead to a professional career.

Together for Tomorrow

After participating in Reimagining Education, senior Department of Education officials who are working with the Together for Tomorrow initiative took a road trip to visit summer learning initiatives in the South Bronx, Pittsburgh and Chicago. The initiative led community discussions to share promising practices and to provide feedback to shape the DOE’s community and family engagement efforts. Michael Robbins, a DOE senior advisor for nonprofit partnerships, wrote about the summer effort in this blog post.

Vacation = Learning Time

Students in New York and Pittsburgh spent the 2013 summer months sampling learning opportunities at schools, museums, art spaces and labs through the Hive Learning Network. From a Maker Party in Pittsburgh that drew more than 200 participants to weekly KickFlip workshops in New York where youth invented and designed skateboarding apps, HIVE worked to connect students’ passions to real-world applications.

YOUmedia Chicago as a Laboratory for Connected Learning

The Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center serves as the location for an ongoing design experiment that addresses issues of digital literacy, connected learning and equity through the design, establishment and ongoing development of a youth media center. The YOUmedia learning lab was designed to support three forms of digital media participation: hanging out, messing around and geeking out. Click here for a case study on the YOUmedia learning lab.

Badging Takes Off in Chicago

Digital badges – an innovative tool that can credential real-world experiences – were a key component of the Chicago Summer of Learning. More than 30,000 Chicago Public Schools students earned more than 100,000 badges for participating in real-world experiences throughout the summer – both in-person and online. The success of the program drew interest from cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Tucson, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. These municipalities are exploring whether a similar effort could work in their city to advance learning and connect it to improved college readiness and jobs. A sampling of the programs offered – which ranged from fashion design to creating solar-powered model cars to collecting invertebrates for water quality assessment –  is available on the CSOL YouTube channel.

Teaching with the Sims

A small cadre of teachers and students spent their summer vacation hanging with the Sims. Teachers facilitated youth playtesters for the forthcoming SimCityEDU. Students worked with a prototype of the game, which teaches complex problem solving skills and is aligned with the Common Core. Assessment experts are working to develop new and better assessment tools to measure student learning using SimCItyEDU.

Badges for Better Futures

By 2016, we envision a badge ecosystem that at least 10 million workers and students can access to create unique learning pathways toward college and career success. That’s the promise of 10 Million Better Futures, a Clinton Global Initiative led by the MacArthur Foundation, HASTAC and Mozilla. CGI America is challenging K-12 schools, colleges and universities, high-tech industries, and professional organizations to use or accept digital badges. DePaul University in Chicago, which has made a commitment to incorporate badges into its admissions process, is among more than 160 educational institutions and employers that have expressed interest in badging. These early adopters see badges as a potential way to find qualified non-traditional job candidates and to identify college applicants whose talents and skills aren’t easily captured by today’s assessment processes. Because badges ensure that all learning counts – whether it is acquired in school, in the community, online or on the job – badging will likely play a key role in reshaping the future design of high schools.

Mozilla Offers Badges MOOC

Want to know more about badges or want to help your stakeholders understand their potential? Last fall Mozilla — in collaboration with Sage Road Solutions LLC, Blackboard Inc. and WCET — began offering a Massive Open Online Course on badges. The course is open to the public. Sign up for the MOOC here.

Badging Connected Educators

Innovative educators now have a way to credential their new knowledge and skills. Last October, Digital Promise designed a set of badges to facilitate and highlight connections between educators and the new knowledge they are acquiring. The Digital Promise badging initiative launched during Connected Educator Month 2013 and was carried out in partnership with the National Writing Project’s Educator Innovator Initiative.

Cities of Learning 2014: National Launch

The Cities of Learning movement, supported by the MacArthur Foundation and powered by the Digital Youth Network and Badge Alliance, launched in Chicago last year with free summer courses for youth, online and in the community. This summer, a number of cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. are taking part, offering myriad courses and activities online and in libraries and community centers. To learn more or to get involved, click here.

White House Maker Faire 2014

To celebrate America’s students and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future with these new technologies and techniques, the President hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire on June 18, 2014. The event featured Makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of all ages who are using cutting-edge tools to bring their ideas to life. Communities across America are sharing and celebrating their involvement in the Maker Movement, using #NationOfMakers on Twitter to share their amazing work and connect with other Makers like you. For ideas on how to join in on the fun, click here. Find a City of Learning near you and participate in Maker classes.

Teach, Learn & Make with Maker Party

Maker Party is Mozilla‘s global campaign to teach the web. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic web users with hands-on learning and making. Join Maker Party from July 15 – September 15, 2014 and help teach the web with online and offline play, exploration and learning through making. To learn more, click here.