Edtech as a Starting Point

As the average teacher’s technology toolkit continues to expand, edtech has become a natural starting point for the introduction of digital badging into school culture. It’s no secret that the success of any rollout or implementation is more dependent on teacher buy-in than almost any other factor. Strong leadership in the administrative ranks can be a difference-maker, but even the most proficient tech departments are turning to vendors for help.

That’s why the e-Learning team at Skyward decided to make digital badging a core element of their online training platform.

Skyward’s decision to adhere to Open Badges (as opposed to taking a more proprietary approach), is indicative of a larger push to provide teachers with a consistent, living portfolio of professional skills, specialties, and achievements. It will increasingly fall on technology companies to support school- and district-wide badging initiatives by moving away from the traditional, classroom or webinar-based training approach in favor of a rich, authenticated learning experience.

As with many other edtech initiatives, interoperability will be critical as badging continues to thrive. In light of the recent announcement that the IMS Global Learning Consortium is now managing the Open Badges Specification, it’s clear that this is one standard with serious staying power.

One of the great benefits of the interoperability of Open Badges is that badges can be shared across multiple platforms. For instance, badges than are earned on the Badge List platform can also be hosted on other platforms such as Badgr. This means that badges are portable and owned by the earner of the badge, not the hosting platform.

Looking Ahead

Badges are on the path to becoming the new standard in professional learning. Some experts have suggested that badges will drastically alter or even replace the traditional resume in the coming decades. The great thing about badges is that they provide so much value beyond the obvious point that paper certificates will soon be irrelevant.

Adoption of a badge-based PD system will put your school or district at the forefront the professional learning movement, inspiring teachers to own and celebrate their developments. Whether you are using badges to help train teachers on software platforms or other skills, digital badges provide a great way to track achievement and recognize success.

To learn more about what it takes to launch a digital badging program, check out the Advancing K12 EdTech Digital Badging Playbook, featuring a four-part video series and downloadable badge resources. To learn how you can develop your own badging program for professional development, check out the Badge List Blog and Badge List YouTube Channel for more.

About the Author:

John Jennings is the managing editor of Advancing K12 EdTech, an online publication covering educational topics at the intersection of culture, leadership, and technology. He is also the digital and social media manager at Skyward.

Ben Roome, PhD, is the Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder of Badge List. He is also an expert in digital credentialing and web-based instruction and assessment.