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Badge_pictureThe AdEO badge – Adult Educator Online

The holder of this badge has illustrated or discussed lifelong learning online. The badge is based on five individual inputs using various social media and a brief reflection.

Read more and fins a link to the badge application here!

The AdEO ecosystem

What is a badge ecosystem? Wikipedia defines an ecosystem as

”a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system…/…/” (read June, 30th 2016).

An ecosystem of badges consists of people, technical prerequisites and ideas. The people involved are badge issuers, earners and recognisers. On the technical side, we need tools to create, earn and accept, store, issue and display badges, e.g. an issuing platform, a backpack or portfolio, websites and social media. The ideas behind a badge, for example its purpose and the criteria for earning it, are essential for the value that earners and recognisers may attribute to it.

For a badge to thrive all components and the interaction between them are equally important.

Ecosystem of the AdEO badge

The Nordplus project Open Badges for adult educators has developed and launched a basic ecosystem around one badge, the AdEO – Adult Educators Online badge

The people around AdEO:
  • Issuers are adult education organisations in the Nordic countries, the partners of the Nordplus Adult project Open Badges for adult educators.
  • Earners are teachers, trainers and educators in adult learning and volunteering who wish to earn credentials for being active online in their professional roles.
  • (Potential) recognisers are Nordic adult education organisations, i.e. earners’ employers.
The technical prerequisites for AdEO
  • Issuing platform: Open Badge Factory
  • Platform for earners to store their badges: Open Badge Passport and Mozilla Backpack
  • Sites for displaying (permanently): Websites, LinkedIn, Blogs. For sharing momentarily: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. or via links to the backpack/passport.
The ideas behind AdEO
  • What the badge stands for: The holder of this badge has illustrated or discussed lifelong learning online. The badge is based on five individual inputs using various social media and a brief reflection.
  • Purposes: To provide credentials for adult educators who engage in online contexts and make visible their competence, skills and contributions. To encourage adult educators to become (even more) active in online contexts.
  • Criteria and evidence: Award criteria: 5 acceptable contributions online and a written reflection. The contributions are added as screenshots or as links. The contributions must include:
    • At least 2 different tools or applications (for example Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
    • At least 1 advanced-level contribution
    • No more than 1 contribution featuring a closed environment (such as learning platforms where a login key is required)
      Advanced-level contributions could include, for example, publishing an article/podcast/video/blog post or initiating and moderating an online discussion (Twitter chat, webinar etc.). Regular contributions could include for example commenting on a blog entry or actively participating in an online discussion.

Other badges in the AdEO ecosystem

Often there will be a number of related badges in an ecosystem.

In AdEO there is just one more, the “AdEO baby badge” which has been awarded to participants in the project’s webinars and dissemination events:

AdEO baby badgeThe “AdEO baby badge” for an Introduction to Open Badges. The owner of this badge knows the basics about Open Badges.

How could the AdEO ecosystem be developed further?

N.B. The following proposal should be seen as examples illustrating how an ecosystem could be improved, developed and expanded. It is not anything that will be realized within the AdEO project.

Example 1: A family of badges

The AdEO badge requires earners to provide 5 contributions online. One might want to offer micro credentials, smaller steps on the way, for educators who find the AdEO too demanding.
An answer to this would be to create ‘child badge’” to the AdEO, each covering one contribution. Having earned 5 minor badges an educator could claim the AdEO badge without any further evidence.

Possible child badges could include:
AdEO mini TweeterAdEO mini – Tweeting adult educator: The holder of this badge has participated in discussions about lifelong learning on Twitter.

AdEO mini viralAdEO mini – Viral adult educator: The holder’s online contributions about lifelong learning have been shared on social networks or communities.

AdEO mini involverAdEO mini – Involving adult educator: The holder of this badge has initiated and involved others in an online discussion

Example 2: More recognisers

More effort could be spent on informing potential recognisers, such as adult education organisations, what badges stand for and how they could be used for an organisation’s own staff development. Recognition from employers would raise the value of badges for the earners and attract more earners.

Example 3: Connecting with other ecosystems

Together we are stronger. Linking a small badge system to one that is more widely recognised could be beneficial for both.

  • There are various possible approaches:
  • Mutual recognition of similar badges, e.g. regional badges or organisations’ own badges.
  • Integration in another badge ecosystem, e.g. as an adult learning strand in existing teacher training badge systems.
  • Creating a new ‘umbrella ecosystem’ or ‘hub ecosystem’ that existing small badge ecosystems could cluster under or around.

What will happen with the AdEO ecosystem after the project?

The Nordplus project Open Badges for adult educators has finished.

The ecosystem is maintained through the period of a Nordplus project that builds on the findings and results from the AdEO project. The new project will rum from August 2016 to August 2018.