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The 2014 Open Badges Summit to Reconnect Learning brought together nearly 300 participants from around the world to work together on setting the course for the next evolution of Open Badges, a new approach to assessing learning and recognizing skills and competencies wherever they are learned—in school, on the job, in the community, or online.
Since emerging through a series of pilot projects like the Chicago Summer of Learning and supported by research initiatives like HASTAC, Open Badges have demonstrated the potential for disruptive innovation in the way we learn in today’s connected, digital world. Held February 12-13, 2014 in Silicon Valley, the Summit to Reconnect Learning was the first event to focus on moving Open Badges from the edges of innovation to the mainstream.
For K-12 schools, out-of-school programs, colleges and universities, as well as businesses and professional organizations, open digital badges are an increasingly popular way to verify and document skills and achievements that are not adequately measured by standardized tests and traditional resumes or diplomas.
“We have incredible learning resources, but they are highly fragmented and disconnected. What we desperately need is to connect the learning resources we have to the most important parts of kids’ world. That’s why badges are important,” said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, speaking during the opening session of the Summit to Reconnect Learning.
In addition to Yowell, speakers at the Summit to Reconnect Learning included David Theo Goldberg of HASTAC, Nichole Pinkard of the Digital Youth Network, Michael Strautmanis of the Walt Disney Company, Jonathan Williams of Intel Corporation, Miguel Salinas of the Adobe Foundation, Cathy Lewis Long of The Sprout Fund, and more. See Livestream video captures of all speakers on the Speakers & Sessions tab.
Throughout the two-day summit, a wave of new business and education partners made public pledges committing to help accelerate the spread and scale of digital badges for learning.
Leading the pack of commitment pledges was the announcement of the formation of the Badge Alliance, a network of organizations and individuals building and enhancing an open badging ecosystem. This new entity will take lead responsibility for stewarding the Open Badges movement as it continues to evolve. Erin Knight, Director of Learning at Mozilla, will lead the Badge Alliance.
Among the other major announcements made at the Summit to Reconnect Learning, several major global education companies including Pearson, Blackboard, edX, workforce.io and others committed to integrating the Open Badges platform into their digital credentialing systems.
For a full list of organizations and initiatives announced at the summit, visit reconnectlearning.org/pledge.
The next evolution of the Open Badges for learning movement commenced immediately following the Summit to Reconnect Learning with the newly formed Badge Alliance recruiting working group members to dig into key issues, unanswered questions and important use cases. Individuals and organizations interested in joining the movement and contributing to the work of the Badge Alliance can become a member by visiting badgealliance.org.
On the ground, extensive badging systems will be deployed in cities throughout the US through the Cities of Learning initiative, an evolution of the successful 2013 Chicago Summer of Learning that used Open Badges to recognize participation and learning achievements in summer learning programs throughout the city.
The Open Badges Summit to Reconnect Learning was hosted by The Sprout Fund, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and sponsored by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). Additional event partners include Mozilla, HASTAC, Digital Promise, and NestGSV.
The 2014 Open Badges Summit to Reconnect Learning featured remarks and presentations by thought leaders representing key stakeholders in the badges for learning movement, as well as announcements from organizations and businesses making new commitments to contribute to the next evolution of badges for learning.
Opening remarks from Karen Cator, Executive Director of the Digital Promise, Kayvan Baroumand, founder of NestGSV, and Cathy Lewis Long, Founding Executive Director of The Sprout Fund.Watch the Livestream Video >
Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, discusses the role of Mozilla in the development and continued evolution of Open Badges.Watch the Livestream Video > View the Slideshare >
Erin Knight, Director of Learning at Mozilla, Nichole Pinkard, founder of Digital Youth Network, and Elizabeth Swanson, Deputy for Education in the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, discuss the use of Open Badges to acknowledge participation and recognize skills learned by children and youth participants in the Chicago Summer of Learning in 2013.Watch the Livestream Video > View the Slideshare >
Connie Yowell and Michael Strautmanis, Vice President of Signature Programs at the Walt Disney Company, discuss the essential role of creativity and imagination in learning, as well as the need to empower a new generation of creative problem solvers.Watch the Livestream Video >
Public officials and government relations specialists discuss badges for learning, featuring Thelma Melendez of the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Jonathan Williams of Intel Corporation, and Geoff Lane of the Information Technology Industry Council; moderated by Connie Yowell of the MacArthur Foundation.Watch the Livestream Video >
Public and private sector funders discussed investment in Open Badges, featuring Janice Earle of the National Science Foundation, Francesca Carpenter of Qatar Foundation International, Miguel Salinas of Adobe Foundation, and Jennifer Humke of the MacArthur Foundation; moderated by Cathy Lewis Long of The Sprout Fund.Watch the Livestream Video >
The Badge Alliance, Mozilla, Digital Youth Network, and Achievery announce a collaborative effort to enable cities across America to capture and recognize learning using Badges.Watch the Livestream Video > View the Slideshare >
Katie Blot, Senior Vice President for Education Services at Blackboard, announces Blackboard’s commitment to badges for learning by integrating Open Badges with MyEdu, a platform that helps college students build professional portfolios.Watch the Livestream Video > View the Slideshare >
Chris Drew, Director of Educator Initiatives at Digital Promise, announces Digital Promise’s commitment to develop a micro-credentialing system for educators.Watch the Livestream Video > View the Slideshare >
Leading learning companies, including Pearson, Educational Testing Service (ETS), edX, the Afterschool Alliance, workforce.io, the Professional Examination Service, and the Council for Aid to Education announce the adoption of Mozilla Open Badges into existing platforms for certifying and acknowledging learning achievement.Watch the Livestream Video > View the Slideshare >
The Summit concluded with closing reflections from Connie Yowell of the MacArthur Foundation, Erin Knight of the Badge Alliance, Jerry Isdale of Spacegambit, Ed Meier of Big Thought, Nate Otto of Indiana University, and other attendees.Watch the Livestream Video >
Working groups were a critical component of the Summit to Reconnect Learning. Composed of a diverse array of participants, 21 groups were assembled to represent a variety of badge audiences, various levels of awareness and experience with badging, and different potential roles within Open Badges (issuers, earners, endorsers, researchers, badge system designers, etc.).
Discussions were facilitated by Sprout Fund-trained moderators who led Working Groups through a process designed to help participants at all levels of the badge awareness spectrum discuss issues related to the conception and implementation of badge projects. One of the ultimate goals of the Working Group process was to enable participants to develop pledges that would commit their organizations to the shared effort to move the Open Badges movement forward.
The facilitation process comprised a series of activities that began by asking each group to assess the 21st century learning landscape and the ways it is evolving, focusing on the people who make up that landscape, including both educators and learners.
Then, the groups drew on the expertise around the table to evaluate the current state of badges and foretell a desired future state of badges.
Next, each group devised pathways that used badges for learning as means to move from where we are to where we need to go.
From there, participants divided into teams to further develop preliminary project ideas into fully fledged concept posters and, in some cases, formal commitments describing ways they can advance the badge movement.
Several common themes emerged from the Working Group process. The most salient points are highlighted below along with selected quotes from Working Group participants:
Participants expressed that the Summit was a great way to galvanize energy and enthusiasm about badges for learning; however, the growing badge ecosystem would benefit from increased collaboration and ongoing conversations – both across contexts and within affinity groups focused on specific topics.
Participants are excited about the potential of badges for learning, but would love to see more examples of ways that badges are currently being employed and ways they can be employed in the future – case studies and the ever-growing knowledge bank are a step in the right direction.
Participants expressed that they would benefit from the use of common language, the development of explicit definitions for badge-related terminology, and well-crafted messages that will help them spread the word about badges – put another way, we need to build the lexicon of badging.
Participants noted that there is an ongoing need to train people how to use the technological resources that will allow digital badges to thrive, especially since the technology is still emerging and it must work across various platforms to be effective.
The following individuals attended all or part of the 2014 Summit to Reconnect Learning. (Click on a column heading to sort the table.)
If you were a summit attendee and would like access to the complete directory of attendees with contact information, please contact email@example.com to request a copy.
|First Name||Last Name||Affiliation||Group|
|Thomas||Akiva||University of Pittsburgh||21|
|Khalif||Ali||Coro Center for Civic Leadership||15|
|Michelle||Aubrecht||Ohio State University||15|
|Oyinlade||Ayandele||Partnerships for Purpose|
|Sandra||Bass||Teach With Africa||3|
|Jennifer||Beagan||Allegheny Intermediate Unit||5|
|Gregg||Behr||Grable Foundation, The||8|
|Alexa||Belajac||Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University||20|
|Stephen||Best||Michigan Department of Education||2|
|Melissa||Biles||New York University||14|
|Lucas||Blair||Little Bird Games||15|
|Timothy||Blevins||Friend of Sprout|
|Paul||Boone||Sarah Heinz House Boys & Girls Club||7|
|Michelle||Boyers||Schusterman Family Foundation||1|
|Bernard||Bull||Concordia University Wisconsin||12|
|Chelsea||Burket||Fourth Economy Consulting||21|
|Christine||Caputo||Free Library of Philadelphia||11|
|Francesca||Carpenter||Qatar Foundation International||4|
|Leesa||Carter||Captain Planet Foundation||7|
|Janet||Coffey||Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation||21|
|Susan||Colby||McKinsey & Company||12|
|Jennifer||Collins||San Francisco Public Library||14|
|Jim||Connor||Sand Hill Angels||3|
|Kate||Cook||TAG / Participant Media||2|
|Ryan||Coon||Sprout Fund, The|
|Elise||Crane||San Francisco Human Services Administration||13|
|David||Crusoe||Boys & Girls Clubs of America||4|
|Ingrid||Dahl||Bay Area Video Coalition||16|
|Jeff||Davis||California AfterSchool Network||4|
|Katie||Davis||University of Washington Information School||8|
|Melissa||Dease||Dallas Public Library||9|
|Teresa||DeFlitch||Winchester Thurston School||19|
|Gigi||Deming||Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Brookline||11|
|Anne||Derryberry||Sage Road Solutions||20|
|Sunny||Deye||National Conference of State Legislatures||19|
|Nicoletta||Di Blas||HOC-LAB, Politecnico di Milano||2|
|James||Diamond||Education Development Center||16|
|Joe||Dillon||Aurora Public Schools||9|
|Mia||Doces||Committee for Children||14|
|Janice||Earle||National Science Foundation||2|
|Kerry||Eberhardt||Randolph High School||1|
|Elyse||Eidman-Aadahl||National Writing Project||9|
|Maya||Enista Smith||Born This Way Foundation||5|
|Amy||Eshleman||Urban Libraries Council||8|
|Abbey||Esposto||Aspire Public Schools||1|
|Gordon||Freedman||National Laboratory for Educational Transformation||18|
|Michelle||Frisque||Chicago Public Library||11|
|Matt||Gee||University of Chicago||11|
|Robert||Gehorsam||Institute of Play||1|
|Vanessa||Gennarelli||Peer 2 Peer University||16|
|John||Glynn||Chicago Public Library||5|
|Eva||Gonda Green||NewSchools Venture Fund||5|
|Danielle||Goonan||Clinton Global Initiative||2|
|Jeff||Hamaoui||FURTHER by Design||13|
|Eric||Hannan||San Francisco Public Library||11|
|Matt||Hannigan||Sprout Fund, The|
|Richard||Hartshorne||University of Central Florida||6|
|Andrew||Heffner||Saxifrage School, The||6|
|Dan||Helenius||Green Dot Public Schools||2|
|Carol||Henton||Information Technology Industry Council|
|Maria||Hibbs||Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning||19|
|Daniel||Hickey||Indiana University Learning Sciences||17|
|Susan||Hildreth||Institute of Museum and Library Services||16|
|Alexis||Howard||YWCA Greater Pittsburgh||18|
|Mac||Howison||Sprout Fund, The||16|
|Seth||Hufford||People Group LLC, The||8|
|Erika||Johnson||Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse||10|
|Halima||Johnson||Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum||15|
|AJ||Jorgenson||Manufacturing Institute, The||1|
|Jeremy||Kamo||FURTHER by Design||18|
|Daniel||Kaufman||Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies||18|
|Charles||Kerchner||Claremont Graduate University||5|
|Ashley||Kincaid||Pi Lambda Theta/PDK International||18|
|Maarten||Koets||World Press Photo Foundation||19|
|Rachel||Kropa||Creative Artists Agency||12|
|Stacy||Kruse||Pragmatic Solutions, Inc.||3|
|Carl||Kurlander||Steeltown Entertainment Project||20|
|Cole||Land||Steeltown Entertainment Project||6|
|Geoff||Lane||Information Technology Industry Council||2|
|Michael||LaRosa||Relay Graduate School of Education||18|
|Akili||Lee||Digital Youth Network||21|
|Anuar Andres||Lequerica||Game. Play. Learn!||21|
|Katie||Levedahl||California Academy of Sciences||15|
|Cathy||Lewis Long||Sprout Fund, The|
|Michael||Luria||Children’s Museum Tucson||11|
|Brian||Madigan||Course Hero, Inc.||3|
|Sybil||Madison-Boyd||Digital Youth Network, DePaul University|
|Mary||Masla||Oregon Afterschool for Kids||4|
|Mary Alice||McCarthy||New America Foundation||2|
|Mollie||McGill||WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET)||12|
|Kathryn||Meisner||Hive Toronto, Mozilla||7|
|Thelma||Melendez||City of Los Angeles||6|
|Lauren||Merker||Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center||5|
|Terry||Miles||Education Growth Advisors||17|
|Bryan||Miller||Foundation for CCC||4|
|Mike||Mills||Society for Science & the Public||9|
|Ellie||Mitchell||Maryland Out of School Time Network||4|
|Tawa||Mitchell||Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel||9|
|Lynn||Melander Moore||Mozilla Foundation||19|
|Luis||Mora||Los Angeles Unified School District||20|
|Michelle||Navarre Cleary||DePaul University||13|
|Chaya||Nayak||Sweet Water Foundation||21|
|Joanna||Normoyle||UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute||14|
|Paul||Oh||National Writing Project||4|
|Mark||Otter||VIF International Education||6|
|Rik||Panganiban||California Academy of Sciences|
|Devin||Parsons||Penn Hill Group||17|
|Alex||Pažuchanics||PA State Representative Erin Molchany||13|
|Kyle||Peck||Penn State University||7|
|Catherine||Penkert||City of Saint Paul||21|
|Danica||Petroshius||Penn Hill Group||19|
|Aaron||Pick||James Irvine Foundation, The||2|
|Curtiss||Porter||City of Pittsburgh||7|
|Carrie||Portis||James Irvine Foundation||8|
|Leah||Potter||American Social History Project (CUNY)||20|
|Emmanuel||Pratt||Sweet Water Foundation||5|
|Michael||Preston||NYC Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Readiness||7|
|Chuck||Przybyl||Chicago Art Department||10|
|Theresa||Ramos||Free Library of Philadelphia||14|
|Lauren||Rapp||Chicago Public Education Fund, The||9|
|John||Rhoades||United Way of Allegheny County||1|
|Kevin||Riebau||Aurora Public Schools||12|
|Martens||Roc||Alliance for Excellent Education||19|
|Bryan||Rogers||U.S. Department of Labor||6|
|David||Roth||Aspire Public Schools||4|
|Hillary||Salmons||Providence After School Alliance||4|
|Cathy||Sandeen||American Council on Education||16|
|Rosanna||Satterfield||NJ Center for Teaching and Learning||12|
|Christian||Schunn||University of Pittsburgh||1|
|Ria||Sengupta Bhatt||Informing Change||7|
|Rachel||Shepherd||Steeltown Entertainment Project||3|
|Adam||Shuck||Pittsburgh City Council, District 4||17|
|Chad||Soleo||Green Dot Public Schools||1|
|Nat||Soti||Chicago Art Department||15|
|Leslie||Spring||Libraries/City of Saint Paul||11|
|Scott||Staub||Friends of the SF Public Library||5|
|K-Fai||Steele||Free Library of Philadelphia||11|
|Constance||Steinkuehler||University of Wisconsin-Madison||20|
|Dustin||Stiver||Sprout Fund, The|
|Michael||Strautmanis||Walt Disney Company, The||19|
|Beth||Swanson||Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel||8|
|D’Ann||Swanson||Grable Foundation, The||2|
|Alex||Taghavian||Linked Learning Alliance||7|
|Stephanie||Teasley||University of Michigan||16|
|Loyd||Thompson||Tech 2000, Inc.||7|
|Blair||Tom||FURTHER by Design||16|
|Van||Ton-Quinlivan||California Community Colleges – System Office||1|
|Beth||Unverzagt||Oregon Afterschool for Kids||4|
|Richard||Varn||Educational Testing Service||18|
|Jessica||Von Schell||Intel Corporation||7|
|David||Washington||Partnerships for Purpose|
|Valora||Washington||CDA Council for Professional Recognition|
|Douglas||Weston||Green Dot Public Schools||9|
|Mila||Yochum||APOST, United Way of Allegheny County||4|
The Open Badges Summit to Reconnect Learning was hosted by The Sprout Fund, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and sponsored by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). Additional event partners included Mozilla, HASTAC, Digital Promise, and NestGSV.
On behalf of all participants, The Sprout Fund gratefully acknowledges the following individuals for their contributions to the success of the Summit.
For the full Summit media kit, please click here.