Today we are really excited to officially announce the release of BadgeKit, a new set of open, foundational tools to support the entire badging process for organizations developing badges for their communities.
While open badges has been gaining momentum - with more than 2,000 organizations issuing badges that align with the Open Badges standard - there are still ways we can make it easier for organizations to join the ecosystem, with free, flexible, open badging tools that support the needs of issuers, learners and consumers. There are too many gaps in the badging experience and many of the existing options are too closed, too expensive or too big. In fact, given the current options for organizations interested in issuing badges, it can be harder to make an open badge than a closed badge!
That’s why Mozilla is happy to launch BadgeKit. BadgeKit will:
- Support key stages in the badging experience including creating, designing, assessing and issuing;
- Include remixable templates and milestone badges allowing for easy customization;
- Provide modular and open options (standards) for the community of badge makers to use and build upon within their existing sites or systems;
- Build our values of openness, interoperability, agency, choice, and connectedness into the core and help shape emerging badge systems.
BadgeKit builds on existing technologies that have evolved out of several years of work and user testing, including the Chicago Summer of Learning. In fact, specific tools within BadgeKit are currently being used by key partners within the badges ecosystem. We anticipate opening up Mozilla BadgeKit access throughout 2014.
We softly released BadgeKit at last year’s MozFest, and we’ve shared our progress along the way through blog posts and Github milestones. We are thrilled to be reaching this milestone today in the release of BadgeKit.
Mozilla BadgeKit will be available in two forms:
- A hosted version of Mozilla BadgeKit is available in private beta for select partner organizations that meet specific technical requirements.
- Anyone can download Mozilla BadgeKit code from GitHub and implement it on their own servers.
What tools are included in BadgeKit?
BadgeKit provides lightweight, modular and open options for the community of badge makers to use and build upon within their existing sites or systems, including:
- Design:A tool for defining all of the metadata, including criteria pages, and finalizing visual design for each badge.
- Templates: Visual and metadata designs that can be remixed by anyone creating a badge.
- Milestones: The ability to have a group of badges level up to a larger, more significant badge.
- Assess: A tool for mentor or peer assessment that includes issuer defining rubrics and criteria for a badge, the ability for learners to apply for a badge by adding information and evidence, as well as access for assessors to manage applications and enable review and scoring.
- Issue: A tool for awarding badges to learners and hosting assertions to enable badges to be pushed to Backpacks.
- Collect: A “Backpack” for collecting badges across various experiences or organizations.
In the coming year, we will be developing additional tools for BadgeKit, as well as minimizing the technology requirements needed for access. Tools coming soon include:
- Discover: A directory of available badges with features for searching, filtering, wish listing and endorsing badges.
- Share: A tool to enable easy sharing of badge on various sites across the web (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.).
- Collect: Backpacks will become “federated”, meaning that different instances still plug into the broader ecosystem and can share data across.
The tools are open source and have common interfaces to make it easy to build additional tools or customizations on top of the standard core, or to plug in other tools or systems.
Who is BadgeKit for?
BadgeKit is currently in private beta and can be used by any issuing organization that meets specific technical requirements. It is aimed at organizations that are building full badge systems and want to leverage their own sites and systems on the front end, as well as have access to technology resources. Tool providers might also be interested in leveraging BadgeKit to extend their own tools, or build additional customizations on top of BadgeKit.
Initial technical requirements:
- You have a front-end website or the resources to develop one
- You have technical resources on staff to integrate the BadgeKit APIs into your experience
- You intend to build or roll out a badge system for your community and organization in 2014
We are exploring ways to create a lighter weight version of BadgeKit that could be used by for individuals and small organizations in 2014, but in the meantime, you can check out the additional community driven issuing platforms at http://bit.ly/platform-chart to help you get started.
How do you get started?
We have a hosted version of Mozilla BadgeKit available in private beta for select partner organizations that meet specific technical requirements. And anyone can download the code from GitHub and implement it on their own servers.
BadgeKit can be accessed in two ways:
- Software as a service: At BadgeKit.org, you’ll be able to access a hosted version of the tools to build out badges, remix badge templates, create badge levels, issue badges, etc. APIs will make it easy to then pull the badges and end user interfaces into your own website. All of the backend pieces are hosted, supported and updated by Mozilla, and you’ll have complete control over the experience of your end users through your own sites.
- Download: Easily download the code from https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges-badgekit and install the tools on your own server.
What’s the difference between these two options? Well, if you choose to download the code, you will be in charge of the backend and hosting of BadgeKit, and will be able to customize and extend the tools as much as you need. For the fully hosted version of BadgeKit, all the backend pieces are hosted, supported and updated by Mozilla while you still have complete control over the experience of your end users on your own sites through our APIs.
We will be hosting a series of webinar trainings in the coming weeks to further dive into how BadgeKit works. Stay tuned for more details!