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Cities of Learning

Cities of Learning

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Joining up informal learning opportunities in a locality makes a lot of sense to me.

The Cities of Learning programme has its roots in the Chicago summer of learning – which was instrumental in the use and promotion of Open Badges back in 2013. It gathered together over 100 organisations, a lot of them civic institutions, to provide small connected programmes of learning throughout the summer. Open Badges were used to recognise achievement and gather data. It was funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

I recently attended an event hosted by the RSA exploring the possibility of applying some of that methodology in the UK. Watch this space…

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Credentials big and small…

old school vs new school credentials

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Every time I find myself on a beach, I’ll be looking for a pebble that catches my eye. I’ll pick a few contenders, and over the course of a two week holiday will end up with maybe 100 pebbles. At the end of the holiday, I’ll take maybe two or three home. I have attached meaning to them.

I hired our first Rookie at wapisasa because of his ability to solve a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute, amongst other things. To me (as someone who needs somewhat longer than a minute) I saw persistence and a pattern-oriented mind that enjoyed solving problems. The small stuff matters, but is often unnoticed or undervalued.

This illustration originally formed part of some visual bloggery with Dr Doug Belshaw.

Open Badges (P.S. there’s data inside…)

Open Badges seem so simple, don’t they?

But wait – don’t make assumptions – ask questions! They’ve got stuff inside. Data. Authenticated data.
But the big news? – you can take them with you because they’re built on an open standard. They can be connected together to form a learning pathway. The data structure inside the badge can even be extended for a particular purpose.

Curious? There’s loads more information (and pictures) here: OB101

Let’s just badge everything

Let's just badge everything

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This week, the team at the University of Southampton organised an excellent Open Badge conference, which I really enjoyed taking part in. Doug Belshaw (his slides are here) and Carla Casilli were keynoting.

“Let’s just badge everything” is probably not the best strategy in getting up and running with micro-credentials.

Here are two questions worth considering:

  1. What (behaviours, commitment, recognition…) would this badge help us encourage that we struggle to encourage currently? and
  2. Why would an earner of this badge show it to someone else?

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What’s inside an Open Badge

what's inside an Open Badge?

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It’s easy to talk about open badges without really understanding what’s inside (it’s just a digital badge, right?)  There’s actually a whole bunch of stuff inside. The badge class is like the template. All badges issued from a certain badge class will inherit those properties. The assertion relates to the recipient of the badge and all the stuff they did to earn the badge.

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Tests – Big in Education…

Big in education

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A couple of years ago, I completed a MOOC (massive open online course) on the Science of Everyday Thinking. I really enjoyed it. I tried to put my finger on what it was that helped me stay the distance. I liked the bite-sized nature of it. The videos were punchy and conversational. The edX platform was comfortable. Then it dawned on me. This was the first formal learning experience I’d had where I wasn’t doing it for the credential – but out of interest

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Digital Skills Sandwich

Digital Skills Sandwich

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Sandwich anyone? I do love a good sandwich. If potatoes are the king of carbs, then surely bread is its queen? As an Irishman, I am of course very biased. Anyway, I digress…
The Digital Skills Sandwich is an idea that’s been rumbling around in my head for a while now. It’s seed germinates from the fact that it can often take a number of years to craft a vocational qualification. Great. Now, when it comes to Digital Skills, this poses a massive problem as the digital domain is evolving much faster than the qualification can be created. Not great. However, by shifting our focus from long journeys (like qualifications) to small steps of achievement, we can think in terms of a fluid collection of small achievements that are mapped on to a fixed generic standard framework, which could be given a wrapper of “meaning” by a third party such as an Awarding body. The Open Badge standard makes this possible. It’s new endorsement feature would also allow the small steps to be created by anyone, and included as part of a dynamic Sandwich filling. Crazy? Maybe. Hungry? You bet…

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