Digital Badges

[Here’s an eSchoolNews article that highlights the work being done in Pittsburgh around Digital Badging. The article also highlights other success stories from Chicago. The work in Pittsburgh is led by the Sprout Fund and the Remake Learning Network. I’ve had a chance to be involved in the project for the past four years, especially for an after-school program administered by a Pittsburgh non-profit, Neighborhood Learning Alliance.]

A community effort is making badges practical in one city

digital-badgesThis summer, as schools let out, thousands of Pittsburgh students streamed into digital media programs, drop-in maker spaces, and paid internships across the city. 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.

“I think what’s really exciting is that as we all know there’s kind of this lack of meaningful ways of showcasing what students have learned, particularly in out-of-school time,” said Cathy Lewis Long, the executive director of the Sprout Fund, the nonprofit anchoring Pittsburgh City of Learning. “We see badges as a great tool for recognizing student achievement and in terms of the competencies that a student has, not just how they performed on a test.”

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