Month: May 2013

on digital badges

Erin Knight and many other innovators have described multiple ways our educational system is transforming in response to other changes in our society.
We have other expectations as learners, workers, and people; simply step back and consider all of the adaptations many of us have accepted in our daily lives.

Education is starting to catch up; digital badges and the interest in MOOC’s are 2 of several examples.

Innovation can either be defined or managed by us, or individuals can be controlled by innovative practices that others have designed and determined as required (technological determinism).

So many desirable skills, useful for participation in the workforce, have yet to be organized into formal degree programs, the model we have used for so many decades. These skill sets are periodically changing due to the rapid evolution of technology or digital tools. Digital badges appear to address the need to formalize individuals’ mastery of such desirable skills.
The paradigm is shifting. Through experimentation, documentation and analysis of these experiments we can design and control innovative practices. We can determine how to structure learning experiences that are responsive to individual interests and meet the needs of societal forces.

Also shared on the Evolllution.com – an online space to share ideas on lifelong learning.

Others’ ideas on digital badges:

http://hastac.org/blogs/slgrant/2012/10/05/asking-questions-about-badges-higher-ed  (Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition)

http://tedaect.blogspot.com/ (Jason Siko, Member of AECT-TED, sharing his experiences using digital badges with pre-service teachers)

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Bridgeland & Bruce – The Missing Piece – importance of social and emotional learning

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-bridgeland/social-and-emotional-learning_b_3274283.html?goback=%2Egde_2102482_member_243891379

Bridgeland and Bruce’s summary of their ideas, based upon their analysis of prior research, supports other educational psychologists’ research on the role of attitudes, habits and traits that enhance academic performance and lifelong or workforce success. I noted that they cited the work of Joseph Zins and his colleagues, on social and emotional learning (SEL), a concept not often explored in teacher education courses or professional development sessions for in-service teachers.
Joseph Zins, a faculty member in the Special Education Department at the University of Cincinnati, died suddenly (spring 2006) while writing additional articles on this very topic. He happened to be a member of my doctoral committee at the time. In the interim, I have also read the research on self-regulation strategies, of Barry Zimmerman (CUNY Graduate Center), Lynn Corno (Teachers College), Dale Schunk, and other Canadian and European researchers. They also provide evidence of how self-regulation strategies enhance students’ academic success and completion of tasks with desirable outcomes.
It would be ideal for more teacher education programs to introduce future teachers to these concepts and strategies, considering how the business community and stakeholders are valuing skills that self-regulation and social and emotional learning nurture (collaboration, problem solving, project management, creativity, communication).