For those new to badges, here’s a simple definition I wrote in an earlier post. To access additional introductory, intermediate, and advanced resources I’ve curated on digital badges, see this slideshow.
In a nutshell, badges are digital ways of recognizing accomplishments or skills. Open badges are tied to evidence of learning and designed to be shared, so recipients can showcase their skills across digital platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Currently, my students are thinking about what kinds of badges could showcase skills that college admissions officers and potential employers might value.
Here are four options for sharing their badges online that I’ll tell them are worth considering:
Mozilla announced they’ve be encouraging Backpack users to migrate over to Concentric Sky’s (@ConcentricSky) Badgr (@Badgrteam) platform. After creating a free account, I found the platform to be very easy to use.
Badgr’s features for sharing/displaying badges:
- upload badges to store on their site with three options (via image, link, or JSON)
- clean, professional interface
- several, one-click options for sharing individual badges via link, through embedding, or on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Pinterest)
The embed feature provides options for embedding the badge itself, or a badge card that creates a square-shaped box. The badge embed did not display correctly in this post (which could be an issue with my WordPress theme), but the embedded card option works well:
Access my entire Badgr collection directly here, or embedded, below.
Unfortunately, these embedding options are not compatible with the free version of WordPress, WordPress.com. I was able to link to my Badgr page (like so), but I was unable to embed the badge or badge card. One workaround could be to include an image of the badge with a link to the badge’s page (hosted elsewhere) in a caption, though this is not ideal. [Update: I contacted Badgr regarding this WordPress.com error, and they promptly shared my question with their support desk.]
Badgr also offers integration with Canvas Learning Management System. This guide allowed me to do some preliminary tinkering. However, it seems that the only option currently is to award badges automatically to students upon their completion of a module.
In addition to displaying badges, Badgr has free options for issuing badges designed elsewhere. However, their current free version allows the issuer to upload evidence, but does not allow the badge earner to upload their own evidence.
There’s not much information right now about the migration from the Mozilla Backpack to Badgr, but Concentric Sky did share an update in response to my tweet. (In the meantime, I used Open Badge Passport’s import feature–described below–to migrate all of my badges over from Mozilla Backpack.)
Open Badge Passport’s features for sharing/displaying badges:
- upload badges via file, assertion URL, or migrate over directly from a Mozilla Backpack *Note: Users of Mozilla Backpack should take advantage of this batch migration feature before the Backpack disappears.
- sort badges by name, issuer, date modified, or expiration date
- share individual badges via link, embed code, or social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and/or WordPress); for instructions for sharing via LinkedIn, see this video.
I did notice a few drawbacks to the platform.
First, similar to Badgr, Open Badge Passport’s embed code does not function properly on a free WordPress.com site. The embed code created an image of the badge, but the image was not clickable (or tied to any earner-specific information).
As far as I can tell, there are no options to create collections of badges, and there are no options to share multiple badges at once.
The importing badge options run slowly on my computer, but most my badges were available after about thirty seconds.
Lastly, my badges imported as private by default, so I had to click on each badge to individually change the settings (under “share: badge visibility”).
After viewing Doug Belshaw’s video (below) on sharing badges to LinkedIn, I added badges directly from my Badgr collections to my “Licenses & Certifications” category. Not all of my students use LinkedIn, but I anticipate many of them will create profiles in the future.
To add badges to my own profile, I clicked the plus sign (+) next to the Licenses & Certifications category, and completed the form (below) manually. Rather than sharing all my badges as one entry, I decided to create one entry for each issuing organization. I left the “Credential ID” field blank, but made sure to link to my Badgr collection under “Credential URL.”
One professional feature is that LinkedIn prompts users to add an “Issuing Organization,” and then automatically adds the organization’s thumbnail logo for any recognized organizations (see below).
One significant drawback of this display method is that LinkedIn does not allow users to reorganize or sort the entries in this section manually; instead, it sorts them automatically by date.
4. Display on A Personal Website and/or Social Media
To reach a wide audience, badge earners can share badges on social media or on a personal website. Options range from sharing a one-time post on social media (e.g., a tweet, a status update), or creating a more permanent link to a badge (e.g., Twitter profile, Facebook bio, “About Me” page).
Both Badgr and Open Badge Passport (described above) provide easy and attractive embedding options for websites that I think will appeal to my students. The former is the best option I’ve found for sharing multiple badges at once.
The platform I’ll be using to issue badges in class, Badgelist (@Badgelist), also provides convenient options for sharing individual badges. We’ll be creating a new set of badges this year, but you can access previously issued badges I co-developed with 9th and 10th grade students here.
I imagined that the “Get HTML embed code” option would be the most popular among my students since they have individual blogs; however, like the other embedding options I’ve explored, this one does not currently function properly on WordPress.com. When I added the HTML code to my WordPress.com site, the preview looked great (see below), but when I applied the changes, they did not carry over.
5. OpenBadges.me (Bonus option to explore!)
In a recent tweet, OpenBadges.me (@openbadgesme) informed me that they have a badge backpack and kindly offered to walk me through its features. At first glance, they seem to have a place to import badges and an option to create collections. I look forward to working with them to learn more about these options.
If you haven’t heard of OpenBadges.me, be sure to check out their classic badge designer tool, available here. It’s my preferred platform for designing professional-looking badges–it’s free, intuitive, and my students love it!
How do you share your badges? Has anyone come up with an a workaround for embedding on a free WordPress.com site? Please share your suggestions in the comments!
Special thanks to Ben Roome, Doug Belshaw, Greg McVerry, Troy Hicks, Badgr, Badgelist, Concentric Sky, OpenBadges.me, and Open Badge Passport for your support and responsiveness to my recent queries about badges.