Discovering Pathways Through Connected Learning

How can digital badges connect our interests & passions both inside and outside formal education, and make lifelong learning pathways more visible?

About The Speaker(s)

  • Craig Watkins studies young people's social and digital media behaviors. He teaches at the University of Texas, Austin, in the departments of Radio-Television-Film, Sociology, and the Center for African and African American Studies. Craig is also a Faculty Fellow for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Craig is also a Principal Investigator on the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN) project, The Digital Edge.
  • Sybil Madison-Boyd ia the Learning Pathways Program Director with the Digital Youth Network at DePaul University and is examining how learning pathways can make transparent "possible futures" in ways that support agency and that can be translated across spaces in ways that "count".
  • Tim Riches is the CEO of DigitalMe, a nonprofit dedicated to designing and delivering high quality international learning projects using social media.
  • Alejandro "Alex" Molina is Deputy Director of the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) and oversees the growth and implementation of PASA's strategies.
  • Marc Lesser is the Education Director at MOUSE, which empowers underserved youth to learn, lead and create with technology, preparing them with skills essential for their academic and career success.

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Resources

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Websites/Articles Mentioned

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Key Questions and Comments

  • (06:22) How, if in any way, do the pathways that we think about in badging...differ from more traditional kinds of learning pathways?
  • (09:00) ...We know that learning is an identity endeavor. For many of our youth, these opportunities outside of school provide them with different identities that they can play out: 'What would it mean to be a photographer in my future?'
  • (10:54) We tell young people a very linear story about what success looks like (based in large part on the K-12 system)...what I think most professionals know is that success is very non-linear...we need to find devices and levers that help young people see a non-linear story as being an empowering thing.
  • (15:47) What makes you hopeful that we're headed in the right direction by building digital badges as part of a lifelong learning culture?
  • (23:30) Going through this experience and earning this badge, this student...was able to build some social capital (by working with peers all over the city), some cultural capital (helps adults at his school view him a little differently) and, ultimately, we think these badges can provide some real academic capital...
  • (27:48) Are there any existing or formal ways to encourage schools to recognize badges, or are we currently relying on young people showing their parents and teachers what they're doing?
  • (30:39) It seems that most of the conversations around badges tends to focus on young people. Are youth an inherent target for badges, or are digital badges potentially useful for adults as well?
  • (35:53) Just imagine if you are someone who manages, supervises, or has created an out-of-school organization and you're interested in badges but you've never assessed out-of-school learning before. What would we say to them in terms of what their options might be for just getting started in this space?
  • (40:18) We don't want to focus so much on the badge and what the badge looks like that we forget that this is really about learning, and about the youths' learning experience and what they gained from that experience.
  • (43:18) As we think about better futures, as we think about expanded opportunities: how can badges and badging systems become tangible, hands-on, deliverable ways of paving new pathways to opportunity in a 21st-century world?
  • (48:41) In terms of the future of digital badges, what frightens you? What fears do you have about how badges might be applied or interpreted?
  • (52:32) For educators, the consumption of badges needs to remain the consumption of experiences, and not the consumption of graphics and the things we're going to tie to them.

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"Pathways" graphic courtesy of Carla Casilli