Mozilla Open Badges are a digital way to recognise achievement. You can read more about the process I went through setting up and issuing a badge in a previous post I made.
I tested Open Badges with my Y9 GCSE Computing students today. The lads in particular were very keen on the idea of receiving digital badges so I am definitely going to move forward on this in the Computing department and I am definitely not going to use badg.us. I used it again today to get some badges out to them and it is OK as a quick and dirty way of testing things but it is still very buggy and unreliable. I could see it being used to issue badges between themselves if it worked. Last night I set up Moodle 2.5 which has the facility for setting up badges and issuing them to your learners. I’ll probably put a post up about that tomorrow as this is the most sensible way for me to issue them.
I’m not now going to jump to the perspective of a student who has received a badge.
Mozilla Backpack stores all of your badges from various different issuers. You can share these badges over the web, if you wish.
I was initially confused as I couldn’t see any obvious way to share my badges but then stumbled upon the fact that you don’t actually share badges, you share collections of badges. It is pretty straightforward once you have that bit of information so I won’t take you through the process here.
What you end up with it a webpage showing all of the badges in your collection and you share the collection by pointing people to that URL using the social media share buttons at the top of the page or by simply providing them with the URL of your collection. The URL you end up with is a real nasty looking one which you can’t seem to alter to a more human friendly version – in my case the URL was:
You can edit the title and sub-title of your shared collection page and also add a comment regarding the badge, which is a really nice feature, but that is all you get to personalise your page I’m afraid. There are no social connections allowing you to follow your friends’ awards and there isn’t even any indication on how many views your page has received
I tried the Facebook share button and it created a blank status update pointing folk to my collection page. I didn’t want that. I wanted a panel app thing in my Facebook profile which I get with Instragram, Endomondo and the like. These are dynamically updated as the content on the external site is updated. I also want Backpack to ask permission to use Facebook and then push a badge status update every time I get a new badge so I can automatically brag. Actually, that is a lie. I don’t want that at all but I want my students to have that option. Talking to our students it would appear our older students (14 – 16 year olds) aren’t using Facebook much (would you hang out in the same place as your mother and teachers?) and this is reflected globally. They probably, like me, would not want badges pushed to their feed anyway but I can see younger students being happy to automatically publicly display the receipt of a badge over Facebook or Twitter. Thinking about it a Snapchat push to the owner when a new badge is awarded would be very cool indeed. It is technology a lot of the older students are using (in the extremely naive opinion that their images are not being stored on a server somewhere) and it would be a discreet way for them to receive praise – which is why I wanted badg.us to push out an email at the very least!
There are plug-ins outlined on this Open Badges page which allows some sites to display Open Badges, from your backpack for example if your students have their own WordPress blog installation they can have a panel at the side, but I suspect that is an unlikely scenario for most of us.
It looks like Mahara may displays badges from Mozilla Backpack the way I want. It looks a bit fiddly at the moment but a note at the top of this page suggests improvements are on the way. Mahara also integrates with Moodle (version 2.5 and above supports Open Badges). I’m pretty certain now I’ll be using Moodle as our issuing platform and I’ve always wanted an excuse to link these in Moodle and Mahara together in anger so it looks like I may be doing some e-portfolio work in the future too.
BTW the student badge image comes from dullhunk over at flickr