On February 10, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada will launch the BGCC Badgecentre (badgecentre.ca), an interactive online space where users can demonstrate learning, skills and achievements by using Mozilla’s Open Badges platform. RRTG youth will get the chance to claim, organize and start sharing their badges!
Through a partnership with George Brown College, the first series of eight badges will include three distinct badges focused on preparation for post-secondary education. With topics such as money management, coping with stress and defining learning styles, each badge earner will create an Open Badges “backpack” that will allow them to share their learning achievements with peers, employers and post-secondary institutions via the web and social media platforms. This partnership between BGCC and George Brown College shows the benefits of youth-serving organizations working collaboratively to create innovative and engaging ways to prepare youth for 21st century education, skills and employment. We look forward to expanding our badge offering through similar collaborations in the near future.
So what exactly is a badge?
According to Mozilla, a badge is a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, competency, or interest. Badges can be used to represent achievements, communicate successes, and set goals. They can support learning that happens beyond traditional classrooms. A wide range of organizations and individuals design and issue badges for learners of all ages. By providing a more complete picture of what learners are capable of and passionate about, badges act as signals to potential employers, collaborators, fellow students, and social groups.
What can badges do?
- Illustrate wide sets of skills and achievements;
- Provide concrete evidence and proof of skills, achievements, and interests;
- Help unlock new career and learning opportunities.
Why do we need badges?
Learning today happens anywhere and everywhere. Opportunities for personal growth have expanded to include social, informal, participatory, and creative contexts. Even with these increased opportunities for learning, there’s still an essential piece missing. We need formal recognition for these newly earned and hard-won competencies and skills. One solution is a badge ecosystem that can help bridge this gap. It provides occasions for learners to demonstrate their learnings and proficiencies with earned personal badge collections.
What are the benefits of badges?
- Signal achievement to peers, potential employers, collaborators, educational institutions, and others.
- Recognize informal learning and provide recognition and credit for learning that happens outside the classroom.
- Transfer learning across spaces and contexts to increase portability across jobs and learning environments.
- Capture more specific skills than traditional degrees by allowing for more granular recognition.
- Provide a more complete picture of the learner.
- Support greater specialization and innovation across specialized and emerging fields.
- Allow greater diversity by acknowledging the importance of soft skills, social habits, and motivation.
- Motivate participation and improved learning outcomes by offering feedback, milestones, and rewards throughout a course or learning experience.
- Allow multiple pathways to learning and encourage focus on the development of specific skills.
- Unlock privileges such as requiring students at a school computer lab to earn a “Digital Safety” badge before being allowed to surf the Web.
- Enhance identity and reputation, raising profiles within learning communities and among peers by aggregating identities across other communities.
- Community badges help formalize camaraderie, team synthesis, and communities of practice.
- Capture the learning path and history in ways that are more reflective of knowledge gained than degrees or cumulative grades.
- Recognize new skills and literacies that are critical to success in today’s digital world, such as appropriating information, judging its quality, prioritizing, and networking.
(Source: Mozilla Open Badges, http://www.openbadges.org/about/, 2013)
BGCC is delighted to offer our first badge series to both club members and the general public. Over the coming months, we’ll add more and more badges and we’ll gather feedback to improve the site as the content evolves. With help from users, we’ll work hard to make the BGCC Badgecentre an exciting destination for online learning, exploration and demonstrating personal achievement.
For more information, please visit
Twitter: @raisingthegrade, @BGCCAN, @openbadges