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SSP Issues First Set of Digital Badges for Achievements in Hands-On Research

9:18AM, December 21, 2012

This past summer, Intel and Society for Science & the Public won a joint grant for $150,000 in the fourth Digital Media and Learning Competition, held in conjunction with the Mozilla Foundation and supported by the MacArthur Foundation. This 12-month grant is funding the development of badge systems built around SSP’s premier high school science competitions, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS).

The Open Badges project is intended to help recognize skills and achievements that are gained outside of the official school or work setting with the goal of improving academic achievement, economic opportunity, civic engagement, and opportunities for lifelong learning. These badges, while issued from different organizations and for different achievements, are being designed as part of an interoperable system that will provide verifiable, standard data that is technically compatible across multiple platforms.

In December, the first set of Intel ISEF badges was issued.  A subset of volunteers, judges, and students (high school juniors) who participated in the Intel ISEF 2012 served as a beta test group in preparation for the real-time launch of the program for the Intel STS 2013. Verified entrants, semifinalists, finalists, and top winners of the Intel STS will receive the appropriate digital badge to reward their achievements in independent scientific and engineering research.  

“We believe that badging is an excellent way in which we can recognize and better publicize the learning and skills associated with conducting research as well as the invaluable service of those that volunteer in support of young researchers,” said Michele Glidden, Director of Science Education Programs. “Badging is an exciting new frontier of sharing and validating all levels of learning, service and achievement.  SSP is excited to partner with Intel in leading the way.”

SSP’s future plans for this badging initiative include issuing badges to Intel ISEF 2013 participants this spring, working with SSP-affiliated fairs to determine how they might be able to have their students participate in the program, and expanding categories that are eligible for badging in order to further promote informal modes of education and provide recognition and credentialing for out of class time achievements.

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