The Mozilla Foundation, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, has spent over three years creating “an exciting new online standard to recognize and verify learning.” The result is the Mozilla Badge Backpack, a digital place where students, over the course of their school careers, can store their achievements in a single, easily accessed location as part of their digital resume. Current users of Mozilla’s system include the NYC Department of Education, the City of Chicago and Bill Clinton’s 2 Million Better Futures initiative.
Meridian Stories is piloting an alignment with this system, thereby leveraging the over three million dollar investment by MacArthur to create this “open source system for issuing and sharing badges as a way to recognize, standardize and reward both traditional and informal learning.”
Meridian Stories will be offering Badges in Language Arts, History, Math, Science, Media Literacy and Storytelling. To earn a Meridian Stories Badge a student team must earn a total score of 75% or higher in one of the categories, as based on the evaluation of outside Mentors from both the Education and Media professions. This score is well above the Meridian Stories norm. Each Digital Badge will link to a) metatext that will detail the criteria for earning that badge; and b) the URL of the Badge-winning submission.
And example of the criteria for earning a Language Arts Badge is as follows:
The student has shown mastery in two or more of the following areas:
- Effective Writing;
- Command of Language;
- Collaborative Literary Analysis;
- Understanding of Literature: Literary Genre, Character or Theme; and/or
- Creative Scene (and Character) Development and Performance.
This approach is designed to allow students to develop their own digital portfolio of achievements that represents, to colleges and future employers, a new and provocative window into a student’s capabilities.
The long-term plan is to develop a tiered system around gaming constructs whereby achieving certain levels of mastery (i.e., earning five Mathematics Badges) opens up new learning opportunities. This tiered system would create trajectory-oriented badges – badges that lead to new learning tiers (Level I – Storyteller; Level II – Mentor; Level III – Leader) — that reward the youth for cumulative successes in a series of Challenges.