The Cooper-Hewitt DesignPrep program  (one of 30 winners of the Digital Media and Learning Competition ) is supporting lifelong learning through the integration of digital badges. The goal of this effort is to construct a digital record of students’ extracurricular learning and providing recognition for the technical and conceptual skills students gain through their involvement with the Cooper-Hewitt programs. The idea is that students will earn digital badges, which are composed of a graphic and accompanying credentials, via an online website as they complete certain preset milestones or activities  at the museum's teen events.

Beginning in October 2012, badges were piloted in a select number of workshops and participating students earned 55+ badges. Some badges require students to log onto our BadgeStack website and complete a short activity such as reflect on an experience in a workshop, write a short description of something that inspires them, or upload a photo of their own work. These badges are then paired with mentor feedback and assessment to award skill based badges for the skills they acquire.

Using insight from this pilot, DesignPrep will begin implementing badges across all the Spring and Summer 2013 youth programs and events, and plan to offer upwards of 100 unique badges by the end of the summer. As badge adoption increases student badge earnings will build upon each other to represent real world learning experiences and translate into real world rewards such as internship opportunities and educational trips.

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