GK Badging

Digital badging systems offer a new way to credential informal and interest-driven learning. Since 2008, Global Kids has worked with partners in New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City to develop and implement digital badging systems in classrooms, after school programs, and informal learning settings. Global Kids currently has a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to develop a system for members of the Hive Learning Networks in NYC & Chicago, and from the Covenant Foundation to create systems for Jewish Day Schools.

Global Kids and Hive NYC Badge Design Reflection 

This is a cross-post from Hive NYC's blog.


Global Kids has experimented with digital badging in various contexts for the past few years. From badging an afterschool program four years ago at the New York Public Library, to badging the Urban Biodiversity Network program at the American Museum of Natural History, Global Kids has used digital assessment to support youth to recognize, talk about, and demonstrate essential digital literacy skills. Currently, we are consulting with three schools as they develop badging systems for their students, developing our own badging system for all Global Kids youth programs, and supporting Hive NYC and Hive Chicago to build their digital badging systems and infrastructures.


Global Kids Summer Badge Beta Report 

In the summer of 2012, Global Kids, Inc. launched a beta test of its planned digital badging system. The test was designed to provide feedback on the system to support a Fall launch throughout the entire organization. This Global Kids’ Badging System is built on top of Learning Times’ BadgeStack, and is part of a broader badging network within the Hive NYC Learning Network (funded by the MacArthur Foundation).


What we learned, in summary, was that the badges played a positive role in the development of our summer programs, engaged the youth, and offered them different learning pathways. It provided them with valuable opportunities to name, reflect upon, value, and share what they learned in the program; offered us unusually rich examples of their perceived learning; created a new and useful assessment relationship between us; and collected measurable data about their learning outcomes.


The testing was not long enough to demonstrate if it was an effective social networking space, if it effectively utilized games-based learning design, or supported the democratization of learning. It was also not an ideal setting to explore if the badges promote a DML praxis.


You may download the report here.



VVP Wrap-Up on Badges 

Last week, our first group of GK Youth leaders earned badges that we’ve been developing over the past few months.  It was exciting to come out of the development phase and actually see our youth beta test GK’s BadgeStack page.  These youth were part of a 2-week intensive summer program called the Virtual Video Project (VVP), where they made a short machinima film about global health effects due to climate change.


The Global Kids U.S. in the World International Law and Foreign Policy Program is an intensive three-week academic summer program held at the New York headquarters of the Council on Foreign Relations. It brings together a diverse group of 25 - 30 high school students for an institute exploring the dynamics of international law and foreign policy making and the role of the U.S. in addressing some of the most pressing global challenges. Students explore relevant topics in international relations, analyze policy and assess what action they can take to have an impact on these issues.


This year the program will be participating in the Global Kids and Hive NYC Badging System summer beta program. Below are the badges that will be offered to the youth participants.



Race to the White House Badge Ecology 

Race to the White House is a Global Kids summer program where youth will develop a digital scavenger hunt with gps-enabled devices (geocaching) to create a public activity about the upcoming presidential election and its impact on issues of importance to our community and our country. The program will be used a one of the early beta sites for the Global Kids and the Hive NYC Learning Network badging systems.



The original file can be viewed here in a variety of sizes.


Back and Forth Badging!  

Badge mania is in full swing here at Global Kids, and I've been in the midst of all the action! For the past few weeks, I have been working on developing badges for the Virtual Video Project and Race to the White House, getting accustomed to the Hive NYC Badge Stack website, and learning how to create the best possible badges. During the process, I have been sitting in on BadgeStack workshops and meetings held by the OLP team to teach their peers about the badging system, which has given me tremendous insight into the system as well. Through these meetings, many of my own questions about badging have been answered, in addition to increasing my knowledge of the system as a whole. 


Global Kids Virtual Video Project Youth Start Badging!  

Youth personalizing their profile pages on BadgeStack.


Yesterday fiteen Global Kids Leaders came for our first day of the summer Virtual Video Project. The day was jam packed with introductions to Machinima, Second Life,  and BadgeStack. Check out photos below of the first group of students to start the Global Kids summer beta digital badges program! 


Youth sigining up for BadgeStack accounts.



Global Kids Leaders draw what their ideal avatars would look like.


Kiva earns the very first community badge by accepting three friend requests.



Summer Beta for Hive NYC Badging System Launches 

Yesterday we were delighted to formally launch the summer beta period for the Hive NYC Badging System. Partnering with Learning Times, we have developed a fantastic badging system for use across the Hive NYC Learning Network. Four brave organizations met this week to get up to speed on how to use the new system, define and refine their scope of work and plans for the summer, and coordinate our efforts.



The four organizations are The Lamp CDC, The New York Public Library, the YMCA of Greater New York, and Global Kids.


Each organization has very different plans over the next two months, but all activities will be located within the same site.

The Point CDC will beta test a badge system as part of their SYEP (Student Youth Employment Program) PowerPOINT Camp 2012. Their initial Badge System goal is to have young people actively document their learning experience and transformation leading to the establishment of individual-group and collective badges. There are three things The Point aims to learn over the course of the beta:


1) Learn how to coordinate across the different programs within The Point

2) Learn how to exemplify the accomplishments and progress of students at The Point

3) Learn how to improve the badge system in the long run to fit the needs of The Point


Franklin Wants a Badge: A Crowdsourced Critique of Badge Anxiety 

This is a reading and commentary of the book Franklin Wants a Badge, a book released in 2003 from an un-used script to a cancelled children's show.


While not directly about digital badges, its focus on interest-driven learning, informal learning spaces, and the role of physical badges raises many issues related to our current conversation (and concerns) about digital badging systems. The possibilities for unpacking this cultural document proved irrisistable. And it seemed too rich to do it on my own.


Using the tool VoiceThread I have created a page by page reading of the book. Each page reading is followed by commentary from both myself and others regarding the hopes and fears about badges displayed in the book and how it helps us understand our current efforts to launch digital badging systesms to support life-long learning.


As you enjoy the book and our commentary, please consider adding your own.