[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
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. 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.”
[Each year the New Media Group with CoSN publishes the Horizon Report for K-12. The report gathers information from a variety of experts across the globe to look at trends and emerging technologies. Here’s a summary from Mindshift.]
In a fast-moving field like education technology, it’s worth taking a moment to take stock of new developments, persistent trends and the challenges to effective tech implementation in real classrooms. The NMC Horizon 2015 K-12 report offers a snapshot of where ed tech stands now and where it is likely to go in the next five years, according to 56 education and technology experts from 22 countries.
Deeper Learning: The expert panel identified several long-term trends that will greatly influence the adoption of technology in classrooms over the next five years and beyond. They see worldwide educators focusing on “deeper learning” outcomes that try to connect what happens in the classroom to experts and experiences beyond school as an important trend.
Teachers at the cutting edge of this work are asking students to use technology to access and synthesize information in the service of finding solutions to multifaceted, complex problems they might encounter in the real world. The popularity of project-based learning, global collaboration and integrated learning experiences is driving this trend and powerful tech use as an extension of it.
Rethinking Traditions: Educators are also rethinking how school has traditionally worked, questioning everything from school schedules, to how individual disciplines are taught and how success and creativity are measured. This macro trend to shake up typical ways of schooling is opening new opportunities for technology to play an even bigger role in education. Finland took a big step toward reimagining school when it did away with many traditional subjects in favor of interdisciplinary classes that more accurately reflect a world in which disciplines influence one another. Some U.S districts have also tried to reimagine how school would look with movements toward competency-based models that don’t rely on time in class as the constant variable.