About Open Badges
Open Badges communicate skills and achievements by providing visual symbols of accomplishments packed with verifiable data and evidence that can be shared across the web. Open Badges empower individuals to take their learning with them, wherever they go, building a rich picture of their lifelong learning journey. Thousands of organizations across the world already issue Open Badges, from non-profits to major employers to educational institutions at all levels.
Badge the World see visual map of adoption from across the world.
Mozilla created Open Badges in 2011 with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and a network of partners committed to developing a new way to recognize learning wherever it happened – in and out of formal education and online. As part of this effort, the Open Badges technical specification which defines the requirements for what a badge must represent for both issuers and earners was created.
A community of contributors has driven the Open Badges movement since then. Through these efforts, badges have gained widespread interest and adoption by policy, technology, and education stakeholders. As a disruptive innovation, Open Badges are reimagining ways to recognize learning beyond formal credentialing systems. Today, Open Badges are an emergent technology and require further development for widespread market development and adoption.
To further this work, effective January 1, 2017, IMS Global Learning Consortium will manage the evolution of the Open Badges Specification. As an open-governance, member-based standards consortium, IMS Global has deep experience with Open Badges and the expertise to lead the evolution of the specification, and also drive the adoption and portability of badges. The aim is to create a global skills currency based on the Open Badges Specification, under the leadership of IMS members with the support of the Open Badges community. The ongoing development and governance of the Mozilla Backpack will be led by Digitalme, to maintain an open source, interoperable option for individuals to securely store and share their badges.
More information on how to contribute to the development of Open Badges can be found on the Community page. And you can keep up to date with the latest News.
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History of Open Badges
Here is a brief history of the Open Badges movement and its key events.
- The concept of Open Badges originated among those working at the Mozilla and MacArthur foundations, and out of the research of Erin Knight, founding director of the Open Badges project at Mozilla. During the 2010 Mozilla Festival (then titled the “Mozilla Drumbeat Festival”) in Barcelona, early Open Badges prototypes were initially developed under the banner “Learning, Freedom, and the Web.” The seminal white paper, “Open Badges for Lifelong Learning,” by Knight and collaborators at Peer2Peer University and the MacArthur Foundation, described the aims and potential of the Open Badges movement.
- The fourth Digital Media and Learning Competition (2011-2013) provided up to $2 million in grants for 30 innovative badge systems and two research projects as part of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition. This work was administered by HASTAC and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, with additional support from the Gates Foundation and in partnership with Mozilla.
- In October 2012, Mozilla released the Public Beta of the Open Badge Infrastructure, making the technical infrastructure supporting Open Badges publicly available for use.
- Mozilla launched Open Badges 1.0 at the 2013 Digital Media and Learning Conference, followed by a full launch of Mozilla Open Badges.
- The first Chicago Summer of Learning provided a constellation of learning programs for youth, offered by dozens of the city’s cultural and educational institutions and connected through the use of Open Badges.
- Clinton Global Initiative- At the CGI in June 2013, President Bill Clinton announced a Commitment to Action to massively expand access to a new method of academic and technical skills assessment known as Open Badges – online representations of earned knowledge and skills – to improve the futures of 2 million of students and U.S. workers. By the following year, this goal was exceeded, and a new commitment was made for 10 Million Better Futures.
- The Open Badges eco-system began to grow across Europe. Digitalme launched the Badge the UK campaign which grew into a network of over 120 organisations issuing 25,000 badges over the next two years.
- The Summit to Reconnect Learning, organized by the Sprout Fund with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, was an event to focus on moving Open Badges from the edges of innovation to the mainstream. At the summit, a wave of business and education partners made public pledges committing to help accelerate the spread and scale of digital badges for learning. Here the Badge Alliance was formed to steward the Open Badges specification and community.
- 14 Badge Alliance working groups kicked off to guide different aspects of the work, from developing the standard itself, to advancing the acceptance of badges in workforce, to technical development of enhancements to the ecosystem, such as endorsement. In the 2014 cycle, these groups produced surveys, white papers, enhancements to the specification, and extensive documentation around how badges function in a broadening ecosystem.
- At Mozfest 2014, Mozilla and Digitalme launch the Badge the World map, a community project designed to map badge projects taking place around the world.
- 2014-15 proved that the demand for verifiable, portable badges is strong. Corporations like IBM, Pearson and Microsoft begin to adopt Open Badges, joining thousands of cross-sector organisations around the world. Supported by the Badge Alliance, more than 650 individuals—educators, technologists, researchers, community leaders and strategists— participate in one or more Working Groups to increase support and collaboration across sectors, including higher education, digital and web literacies, educator professional development, workforce, and citywide badge systems.
- Millions of Open Badges have been awarded to hundreds of thousands of recipients. The Mozilla Backpack alone hosts 967,966 badges on behalf of learners around the globe as of October 2016. The Open Badges community is actively working toward the release of Open Badges 2.0, the most significant upgrade to the specification since its release. This upgrade will make possible dozens of high-priority use cases that were identified by key stakeholders. IMS Global Learning Consortium, the world’s leading open standards consortium for education technology, in partnership with Mozilla Foundation and Collective Shift/LRNG, has agreed to become the organization responsible for managing the effort to advance the development, transferability and market adoption of the Open Badges specification and community effective January 1, 2017. This work will take place under a licence granted by Mozilla. The work of the Badge Alliance Standard Working Group will be taken up by a new working group within IMS. In addition, all existing efforts of Badge Alliance will also transition to IMS. See more about this in the Transition FAQ