After attending the Open Badge Forum last spring with Erin Knight, and learning a lot about the work going on (globally) about badging, and especially about the Open Badge standard for badges, and after working with Ben Wilkoff and others on figuring out what we might want for criteria for a badging platform for this project, I was planning on spending some time reviewing various badge platforms and choosing one for this project (hopefully with some input and collaboration from some of the Distributed PD Team).
But recently, I was talking with a colleague about this work and she kept saying, “Do it in Empower! Do it in Empower!”
Educate/Empower is the learning progress management system we are using to track and monitor student learning and to help make the curriculum and learning opportunities transparent and navigable to students (and parents).
The advantage, of course, is that we could manage our professional learning in the same platform where we manage our student learning (and, of course, do some modeling for our staff).
I wasn’t sure about this… There are aspects of the badge and scouting metaphor that I really like for our PD work and was worried that Empower wouldn’t live up to that vision. My colleague said, “No. It will do it. Do it in Empower.”
So, Scott Bacon, the Empower developer, was around so I met with him. I gave him an overview of the Distributed PD project and said I wanted to see if Empower could meet our needs. He got excited about our PD work (he has been wanting to extend Empower’s reach to professional learning), and started showing me.
Mostly, I was impressed with how easy it would be to navigate our professional learning curriculum (as we develop it and upload it to the system). And how powerful the tools were to create various learning pathways and learning “playlists.” And I was really impressed with how this would model (powerfully) for the adults in our schools how we envision the learning for the students in our schools (ok, I know I just mentioned this in the paragraph above, but this is too big an idea not to repeat!).
Also, I didn’t realize that Empower can now do badges (linked to Pathways). The badges right now are simply badge images (which we can design) linked to fulfilling certain requirements (demonstrating certain proficiencies), and are not currently Open Badge compliant, but Scott is clearly committed to making them Open Badge compliant (so I made sure he had the Open Badge website and standard).
Much more importantly, it is easy to build out a new curriculum, connect people or groups to it, associate tasks/activities, resources, and assessments to targets, etc.
So, no surprise, I chose Empower as the badging platform. (Thanks, Lori!)
We will continue on our curriculum work, and set up an Auburn Professional Academy instance of Educate/Empower.