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Two names you need to know in the field of digital badges

May 14, 2015

As some of the regular readers of this blog are already aware, Wonderlic has recently launched a nationwide initiative in the area of digital competency badges for the job placement of college graduates.

As part of our organization’s continued quest to learn about the many uses and benefits of digital competency badges in the education space, we have identified other pioneers in the badge community and have engaged them in some very fruitful, stimulating discussions about the future of digital badges. As part of this process, we recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dan Hickey and Katie Davis, two movers and shakers in the digital badge community whose work has already contributed significantly to widespread understanding and use of meaningful badging ecosystems. Those of us keeping our finger on the pulse of the use of digital badges in education would be wise to pay attention to both of these badge savants.

Katie Davis is an assistant professor at the University of Washington Information School and recently received the highly competitive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. This award will provide Davis with $759,462 over five years to research the ways that networked technologies can be leveraged to develop learners’ STEM identities and connect their STEM learning across informal and formal contexts. Davis’ project is titled “Digital Badges for STEM Education,” and as part of her work, Davis will develop and implement a digital competency badge system to recognize and reward the skills and achievements of a diverse group of students participating in a science-based program at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. The research findings will be used to develop educational outreach initiatives at other learning institutions in their use of digital badges to support STEM learning.

Dan Hickey is a professor at Indiana University Bloomington and from 2014-2016 will direct the Open Badges for Open edX and Beyond project, which is funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The goal of this project is to massively expand the worthwhile use of open digital badges in higher education by establishing badging technology and an open case library for all of the major learning management systems currently in use in higher education. Hickey is also coming to the close of a two-year grant period as director of the Open Badges Design Principles Documentation Project, which examines 30 projects funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Badges for Lifelong Learning Initiative.

We’re excited about the value that badges hold for educators, students and employers. As we contribute to this movement that is shaping 21st century educational and employment trends, the need for collaboration with experts such as Dr. Davis and Dr. Hickey is imperative. To learn more about how badges are helping students find jobs or about the work of Drs. Davis and Hickey, contact us here.

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