I’m excited to share that I’ve joined the team at Mozilla Foundation this month as design and community lead on the organization’s Open Badges efforts. Say that you want prospective employers to know that you have design or programming skills (or are an amazing copywriter or coach to kid creators or…you get the idea). A resume doesn’t do justice to all you’re capable of, nor is it validated by organizations whose credentials you’ve earned. And in an age of anywhere, anytime learning, university degrees don’t adequately capture skills gained outside the classroom.
Like Girl or Boy Scout badges, Open Badges with metadata information coded in serve as digital and visual forms of recognition of skills and literacies. Mozilla Foundation has created the infrastructure that allows issuing organizations to offer their badges to the world via badge earners who meet their requirements. Badges can then be displayed on social network and job search sites, among other places, for discovery by people who might ask about or applaud earners’ efforts. Together, communities of earners, issuers, and displayers of these badges are helping develop a major system of skill sharing (which foundation colleagues Erin Knight, Carla Casilli, Sunny Lee, and Doug Belshaw have written about and discussed in depth).
I’ve long appreciated Mozilla’s focus on transparency and openness, largely because it stands in such stark contrast to my years working in advertising and marketing. (If being a vegetarian yoga instructor who promotes Slim Jim to 15-year-old boys doesn’t cause cognitive dissonance, I’m not sure what does.) The willingness to put an educational experiment into the world, ask for public feedback, and actually listen to it marks a step change–and one I couldn’t be more excited about.
I wrote about the goal of making Open Badges a global standard in education and skills recognition during Master’s research last year. I believe more than ever that traditional institutions have much to offer the badges ecosystem, and Purdue’s leadership in this space is just one example. The variety of inquiries coming from educational, informal, and other peer-to-peer organizations–in addition to interested individuals–makes me think we’re just at the beginning of realizing badges’ potential. Young learners who are issuing one another badges based on new skills gained? That gets me pretty excited too. We’ll be talking about iterating upon these topics at MozFest (under the motto “less yack, more hack”) in London next month, and if you have something to say about them in the meantime, we’d love to hear from you on an upcoming Wednesday community call.