by Therese Weel -
Number of replies: 3

I've been hovering on the periphery of this discussion as I tend to do. 

Thank you Peter, for laying out for us your knowledge of badges and their current use in education. Enjoying your blog as well -  

The mozilla badges are a bit cumbersome for wide adoption. Something along the lines of the recent linkedin peer endorsements might be a more  practical way forward.   Endorsing someone is easy, and as long as the system is not abused, helpful. 

 Badges, certificates and medals are fine in moderation.  If they are helpful in your situation - great.  A little validation can do wonders  -->

Bron Stukey's  project referencing the Hero's Journey got me thinking.  I recall Joseph Campbell  speaking somewhere about how we should endeavor to stand in our own truth and not justify ourselves or seek approval. Ironically I didn't find this particular quote on google - think it was in the Bill Moyers interview.  I did find some other seniments of his and overall, they didn't give the impression of him being a badge kinda guy. 

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” 

"No one in the world was ever you before, with your particular gifts and abilities and possibilities. It’s a shame to waste those by doing what someone else has done."

“Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?”

Once again thank you for the opportunity to take a look at this idea more closely. 

In reply to Therese Weel

Re: Reflections

by John Dumbrille -

I love this post. Wonderful. I'd hope to ride on your coattails Thesesa, at best...

My worry about a credential based society is that we reject the best of ourselves and each other. IMO conventional badges of most types are often about the (often illigitmate) support we get from class, framed innuendo, privilege and money.  

As I see it, people who work within the boundaries of a set curriculum want value to be conferred upon them. That's what they signed up for. We wait for Peter R ( thanks Peter, I loved the course, and it was fascinating) and other annointed experts to tell us about our level of badgedom; I see we dont take up their challenge to nominate each other (much). You could say that we're wired this way, or that this behavior is our reptilian brain speaking. Whatever.

What I like about the prospect of open badges is that they represent an acknowledgement that we respond to outward signs or matches, and the current signs (I know a guy who recommends you, and it seems you have a degree in this, so you're hired) are limited, and not multi textured enough; not valuable enough. Still, our judgements, especially for work matches, rarely happen this way: a google search will flesh a resume's claims out considerably, along with a facebook search, an google image search, a linked in search.

Badges cut two ways: they allow us to display (ostentatiously, perhaps) tacit or non typical learning in a sypmbolic form - if we think we need it or want it. And, juxtaposed against very expensive, historically important badges ( University Degree, time effort in a structured curriculum and $50,000) they challenge both the texture of these badge's content, and in some cases,  their value. What if I have a PHD from an unacclaimed Open University that is encrypted with its highly relevant curriculum and my standing, cross referneced to the teachers, their area of study and their reputation?  In some cases, these "unofficial" badges might eclipse the value of the higher education system whose main focus is to create more research, and more professors. More important, people might be able to find valuable matches, quicker, and invest their time in adult education that is more apt - for them and their future.

Or not. I dont find badges very poetic, any kind of badge. But I know we tend to like them.

In reply to Therese Weel

Re: Reflections

by Peter Rawsthorne -

Beautiful post Therese! I am touched that this seminar series created such a reflection. I am grateful for the level of participation... thanks everyone!

I am happy you have mentioned Joseph Campbell and I am also a big fan of Margaret Wheatley (walk out, walk on). I believe a self directed learning journey is a hero's journey, particularly if it pushes personal boundaries and becomes transformational. My personal belief is that an important focus for modern educational practices should be meta-cognition. This focus should start in grade 9 (10 to 11 years old). People need to learn how they learn and then take control over their personal learning journeys. I like the work of William Pinar for this reason. I also believe a persons learning will be thier personal hero's journey and will tie us more deeply to our communities.

Where do badges fit into this...???

I believe we now have a world where much of our lives (as professionals, as learners, as hobbiest, as seekers, as who we are) leaves behind a digital online residue. This residue is increasingly being viewed by others. For some (particularly in the professional capacity) it is the modern way of doing a reference check, skills / abilities assessment, etc. Allowing people to earn badges (and create their own badges) that are of interest fits well within directing the residue left by our online and offline learning, activities, skills development, etc. In some situations we will be awarded badges without even requesting the award. We will get them for participation is some event or when we have completed some endeavour (learning or otherwise). Mozilla Webmaker badges are this way... With an open badge standard we can then organize all our badges as we like, showing how we believe our journey relates to ourselves. Again, back to the meta-cognitive. Also nice is that our badges can be clustered within how we personally know our knowing... Add to this the criteria and evidence attributes the badge becomes a powerful personal and self-directed record (or residue). Fold into this that others (CoP, organizations, individuals) will, in the future, be able to endorse a badge. This potentially adds weight to the cultural significance and validity of the badge. And when you put all this into badge clusters that will inevitably be personalized, it becomes a powerful visualization of a persons knowing... all put together as the person wants it displayed.  

Badge Clusters

When it comes to Joseph Campbell and badges I'd like to offer a different perspective. I believe he would be a badge kinda guy, I think he would recognize badges as crossing cultures and time. Whether head dresses, tatoos, special clothing, adornments, etc. These all represented status in the community, accomplishments or completed rituals; these are badges. Even in the end of the first starwars trilogy (where Campbell worked with Lucas in developing the story) the heros were issued medals (or badges) for saving the republic. I think Campbell would have been a badges guy...

Anyhow... all good. What a wonderful thread to be added to our discussion...

Be Well...