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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Digital badges find their niche by Stephen Noonoo

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"This summer, as schools let out, thousands of Pittsburgh students streamed into digital media programs, drop-in maker spaces, and paid internships across the city." writes Stephen Noonoo, Editor, eSchool News today.

As they shuffle back to school, or even enter into the workforce, many will be adding shiny new digital badges to their online portfolios as a record of their hard work.

The opportunity comes courtesy of Pittsburgh City of Learning, which is working with major community partners to provide more than a hundred different, mostly free, summer programs to about 5,000 learners. And digital badges play a big part...

Ambitiously, City of Learning has already begun to tackle the challenge. In Pittsburgh, they’ve convened business leaders and workforce development groups together with local employers to sell them on the idea of digital badging. Nationally, they’re working with companies like Bank of America and Best Buy. And recently, Chicago’s DePaul University began accepting badges from the Digital Youth Network in its computer science department and digital media school of design.

The summer programs themselves — often run by nonprofits such as museums or learning camps — don’t need much convincing, as they sometimes struggle to provide learners with traditional types of credit they can use. Getting school districts onboard, even in Pittsburgh, is “a harder nut to crack,” Lewis Long said, but she points to the summer programs as a solid way to introduce district leaders to the concept and open the door for possible future collaborations.

“Learning is not stopping for a young person because the summer started and the bell ended. There just hasn’t been a kind of rubric to both assess as well as recognize that learning,” Lewis Long said. “I don’t think [badging] is limited to the summer, but I think it’s a great place for communities to begin.”

Source: eSchool News

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