Digital badges could help measure 21st-century skills

TopCoder, an adviser for the MacArthur Foundation’s competition, currently has a badge system for its community members that validates skills and competencies.

How can schools accurately measure and categorize a student’s 21st-century skills? The MacArthur Foundation hopes to solve this problem with a new competition that calls on participants to create what is known as a “digital badge.”

Digital badges and the digital badge system would, advocates say, help define the skills and knowledge students pick up in an informal way, such as through internships, online courses, open courseware, competitions, and much more.

Mozilla, which is partnering with the MacArthur Foundation to announce the $2 million Digital Media and Learning Competition, said the badge system “will let you gather badges from any site on the internet, combining them into a story about what you know and what you’ve achieved. … This sort of badge collection may eventually become a central part of [one’s] online reputation, helping you get a job, find collaborators, and build prestige.”…Read More

Ten winners snag $1.7M total in digital competition

Ten digital learning projects will be funded through a $1.7M grant program.
Ten digital learning projects will receive a total of $1.7M from the MacArthur Foundation.

A project to show youth-produced videos on 2,200 Los Angeles city buses, the next generation of a graphical programming language that allows young people to create their own interactive features, and an online game that teaches kids the environmental impact of their personal choices are among 10 winning projects that will share $1.7 million in funding to create new “learning labs of the 21st century” through the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition.

The competition winners will use games, mobile phone applications, virtual worlds, and social networks to advance learning in the 21st century, the foundation said.

It is digital technologies such as these that ensure learning evolves with students, said Connie Yowell, the foundation’s director of education.…Read More