Digital Badges for 21st Century Learning

Over the past few years, a new approach to signaling individual skills and competencies has emerged the cutting edge of the education sector. Badges, already used successfully in games, social networking sites and youth development groups such as the Girl Scouts and 4-H, are now being developed in digital form to represent the wide range of non-traditional learning experiences critical to success in a global society.

Digital badges can showcase learning that takes place outside of traditional school structures, such as that of a high school student studying physics via MIT’s OpenCourseWare or a middle school student that has taught himself how to design and program educational games. What’s more, so many of the skills that we rely upon for success in our global knowledge economy are not captured well by a traditional resume.

As Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently said, “Today's technology-enabled, information-rich, deeply interconnected world means learning not only can – but should – happen anywhere, anytime. We need to recognize these experiences, whether the environments are physical or online, and whether learning takes place in schools, colleges or adult education centers, or in afterschool, workplace, military or community settings.”

The MacArthur Foundation and its partners are looking for new digital badge ideas in the fourth Digital Media and Learning Competition. All interested individuals and organizations can submit proposals for digital badge content, programs and activities until Monday, November 14, 2011 at 5pm PST.

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