Digital badges and their paper and sheepskin-based credential ancestors are ways of sharing socially important information that is tied to identity. Open Badges go further in helping people establish their identity by letting them collect together credentials from many issuers. Each Open Badge describes a trust relationship between its issuer and its recipient, in terms of criteria, evidence, and an image. The powerful part is that this relationship is verifiable and sharable with outside audiences. Any person or organization can participate in the ecosystem as any one of these roles. Because of this feature, Open Badges are a great step toward democratizing the credentialing ecosystem.
However, the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) standard constructs these three roles separately, defining identities differently for each. As the credentialing world begins to include more badge-aware applications that can talk to one another, we can build some awesome apps that issue, earn, and consume badges. There are exciting possibilities in learning pathway discovery, e-portfolios, personal learning networks as well as applications that use badges to describe relationships outside of education.
In this moment, there is a chance to elevate both individuals and organizations to simultaneously serve all three roles in the ecosystem, as badge issuers, earners, and consumers without undermining the carefully built reputations of respected issuing institutions that currently occupy that role. How can we extend the OBI standard and construct our badge applications to give people personal access to the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that give them easy access to all three badge ecosystem roles and let them construct their identity as full players in this network? We'll take a look at what might be the killer apps that would justify this effort.
Nate Otto, badges researcher, developer, and founding member of the Badge Alliance standards working group, will showcase possibilities and prototypes for applications that democratize badges. Serge Ravet will contribute theory and practice of building networks of trust relationships with badges and evidence and consequences for the badges ecosystem. The Open Education Conference is the perfect place to celebrate how free and open technology can empower individuals to help shape the networks around them.