Badges to Micro-credentials

In the 2012 New York Times article Show Me Your Badge, Kevin Carey, director of the education policy program at the New America Foundation, outlined the emergence of digital badges and their role in recognizing skills and accomplishments beyond college degrees and certifications.

This year the Badges Alliance was launched at the Summit to Reconnect Learning. The Open Badges Alliance is “…Built upon the groundbreaking Open Badges work initiated by Mozilla and the MacArthur Foundation, and framed on a constellation model of Working Groups, the members of the Badge Alliance aim to foster and grow the open badges ecosystem in an intelligent, distributed, and sustainable way.” (I recently joined the Badge Alliance and look forward to participating in this groundbreaking work.)

But, what is the impact on K12 educators? Leave it to the forward-thinking folks at Digital Promise to take the lead in micro-credentials. Similar to Open Badges, the micro-credential provides rigor and is based on competencies as teachers build personalized learning portfolios of artifacts and reflections, providing “market worth” of mastery learning and accomplishments.

Last April, the Center for Teaching Quality invited me and other teacher leaders to submit work to Digital Promise in early rounds of discussion outlining micro-credentials. Renee Moore,  in Mississippi, and I, in Florida, partnered on our submission of a collaborative study of Letter from Birmingham Jail that she and I undertook with our students last year. (I learned quite a bit during the submission process, including providing more focus on student reflections during and after learning.)

At the International Society for Technology in Education conference in Atlanta earlier this month, Digital Promise officially opened up applications for its 2014 summer micro-credentialing pilot. According to Digital Promise, “Once earned, teachers can display their micro-credentials as digital badges. Each digital badge is embedded with metadata that identifies who issued the micro-credential, the date it was earned, and the artifacts submitted to earn it.”

Does this emerging professional development strategy appeal to you? Are you interested in earning micro-credentials?