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Digital Badge Project

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CTECS WRS Assessment Digital BadgeIn 2014, CTECS launched its first digital badge. Virginia students who pass the CTECS Workplace Readiness Skills Assessment now have the option of requesting the CTECS WRS Assessment Digital Badge, which proves that the student has passed the exam with a 75% or better score.

The following includes the steps that outline the process in order to ensure more students are electing the badge option to complement their educational experience and to validate their mastery of the Workplace Readiness Skills. Frequently asked questions appear after the initial instructions.

Receive the badge by direct request:

Beginning with SY2015-16, students were able to optionally request the CTECS WRS Digital Badge at the end of their online CTECS WRS Assessment. A special window will appear only for those students who have passed the exam, upon submission of their exams. If the student elects to receive the digital badge, he/she will be prompted to enter his/her email address. The system will generate an immediate message to the student’s inbox with instructions to acquire the digital badge. Students will be asked to register with the same email on the Credly system (our DB platform). This sets up a free domain on which they can store and easily share their badge on social networks or include on their own sites or digital resumes. Students may also push the badge to Mozilla’s Open Badge system.

  • Click here for an example of the message students should expect to receive from Credly. 

  • Click here for an example of the unpacked CTECS WRS Digital Badge (the information inside the icon).

  • Click here for the student process of claiming and sharing badges.

Receive the badge by retroactive request:

If the student did not select to receive the digital badge directly on the test, he/she can, at any point thereafter, request the WRS Digital Badge from the test site administrator at the school at which the student successfully completed the assessment. Test site administrators will compile the first and last name of the student, the school division, the school year in which the student tested, AND the student’s current email address and will send that information directly to CTECS (dmorris@ctecs.org). CTECS will verify the student’s achievement and issue the instructions for badge acquisition to the student email address. 

Click here for a full video presentation on Digital Badges and the CTECS WRS Digital Badge. 


FAQ

What are digital badges?

Watch the introductory video, "A Short Story About Open Badges," from the Mozilla Open Badges Community.

Watch "Rethinking College" from PBS New Hour. 

Today’s badges are digital credentials that represent skills, interests, and achievements earned by an individual through specific projects, programs, courses, or other activities. There is a learning ecosystem behind the badges that make them powerful and connected credentials. This ecosystem is made up of badge “issuers,” badge “earners,” and badge “consumers.” —Expanding Education and Workforce Opportunities through Digital Badges, All4Ed.org (Alliance for Excellent Education and Mozilla Foundation, 2013)

Watch what business and industry is saying about badges, and how they are using them at https://vimeo.com/31574890, from Badges with Competition, Mobile Digital Arts, 2012.

Why are digital badges an emerging trend in education?

The digital badge ecosystem is an emerging “disruptive technology” and a key element in lifelong learning trends. Digital badges are credible, portable, personalized, online credentials that can be professionally shared with anyone the recipient chooses, including potential employers and postsecondary educators. More importantly, these consumers of badge information can unpack the badges to see deeper, granular detail of the student’s accomplishments adding meaning, value, specificity, and proof of the educational experience. The online infrastructure enables any recipient to easily store and share badges online.

What are the benefits to earning digital badges?

  • Teachers and schools benefit from more students earning credentials and validating programs, and competition among providers could mean improved curriculum resources offered by those employers. Improved credentialing allows new and meaningful career paths to emerge and aids program planning.
  • Students benefit from having an online professional credential system that represents their portfolio in an official, credible manner. The badge system helps them track their achievements and provides new ways for them to combine or stack badges. Sharing is often just a click away. Employers, college recruiters, and other professionals would benefit from this information.
  • Employers/organizations benefit from increasing visibility of their credentials. Increased visibility would lead to more credential earners, and more credential earners would supply more qualified workers and close the skills gap.

Why should teachers encourage students to acquire digital badges?

The success of the digital badge project, which promises to become a standard part of any student’s continuing education, is dependent on participation, and student participation depends, to large degree, on the ability of current educators to properly inform and encourage students to acquire badges. Not only is lifelong learning a human necessity, the value is spelled out on the Workplace Readiness Skills list.  Participation in the ecosystem helps to build it and adds value to any individual badge.


Additional Resources

Examples of Functioning Systems

  • Buzzmath helps teachers award students for Math achievement for different levels and courses
  • 4-H/USDA Robotics Digital Badges document knowledge, skills, and competencies attained in robotics competitions, platforms, movement, and mechatronics.
  • Nature Badges: Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and LearningTimes helps museum visitors understand themselves as science learners for the long term.
  • Badges for Vets documents training earned while serving in the military to engage HR hiring officials.
  • Badges at University of California-Davis: http://dpdproject.info/details/safs/