Metaphors for Badging


“sunday afternoon, hands on hips” cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Jack Lord

There are a lot of people on our campus and in our community thinking about badging, the Open Badges project, and badging for learning. On our small faculty hallway, I count four. My colleague Chuck said in the hall today that it’s no one particular badge that defines you or your skill set. It’s the combination of badges.

And that got me thinking about metaphors and parallels we could draw on/from as we talk aboud badges. The other day, I mused here about whether we could draw parallels between the portfolio movement of the 1990s in schools and the badging for learning movement. That can lead us to important past research and practitioner knowledge upon which we can draw about choice in what we display, choosing our most exemplary and relevant work, crafting useful “artist statements” or evidence statements, and more.

Another metaphor would be to say that badges are like dabs of paint. Seen one at a time, each is a dot of a single color. Put them together, and you’ve got pointillism, a Seurat painting — the whole picture.

Finally, one badge is like a single star: pretty but lacking in context. Multiple stars (or badges) create a constellation — another picture of learning.

Pictures have always helped humankind to make sense of the world …

So implicit in the evolving ecosystem of badging will be the need to think about how we engage students in sculpting, sorting, and selecting the badges they will display to various audiences. In Curriculum 21, edited by Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, David Niguidula talked about portfolios involving collecting, selecting, and reflecting. The evidence shown to get a badge is the product, but it rarely includes the reflective practice that accompanies it. What is the role of reflective practice in the badging movement?

Just filing these thoughts away for future thinking. What about you?

PS – Lovely interview with Erin Knight of Mozilla over here.


“M45, the Pleiades (aka Subaru, aka Seven Sisters)”cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by write_adam

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