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Critical Conversation - Digital Badges

Digital badges are a way for a person to signal achievements, successes, and experience to others. Mozilla has developed an Open Badges ecosystem that provides a standard way of presenting badges and the data associated with them. Digital badges can contain data that validates who issued the badge, what was done to earn the badge, when it was earned, etc.

As Extension and, in particular 4-H, begins to experiment with badges, it is important to understand what badges represent and how they may be of value to learners. At the same time, we must critically examine how badges fit in with informal and emergent learning.

Join our panel in a conversation around digital badges, their role in Extension, and lifelong learning in general.

The panel will include:
- Tony Cook, Alabama Cooperative Extension
- Brett Bixler, Ph.D. - Lead Instructional Designer &
Educational Gaming Commons Evangelist, Penn State University
- Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition

This critical conversation will be conducted as a Google+ Hangout On Air. Attendees can view and participate in the conversation on the Google+ Event page (link to be posted) or on the Network Literacy CoP YouTube channel ( For more details on eXtension's use of Hangouts On Air see:

See others in the series:
-- Mobile applications: The Mobile Quandary at
-- BYOD - Smartphones and Tablets in the Workplace at
-- Cultivating a workforce of knowledge workers at
-- Personal vs. professional identities in social media at

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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