Digital Badge Summit: A Think Tank for Success

Digital Badge SummitRemember the days when academic report cards were seen as the foundation to the makeup of a student? Archaic in nature, the report card only told one side of the story. Fortunately for today’s youth there’s Digital Badging, a credentialing mechanism to help students tell a story about what they know and what they can do.  Still quite new and unknown to the world, many of the industry’s top influencers and leaders joined educators recently at the Professional Learning and Conference Center for further exploration at the 2016 Digital Badge Summit.

Thanks to sponsors Credly and The Badge Alliance, the summit brought some of the best and brightest minds together – including representatives from P-12 and higher education and the corporate sector – for a day of thought-provoking conversation and powerful idea exchanges to help raise the profile of Digital Badging and shed light on its capabilities related to student achievement.

More than 150 people took part in the summit, which featured breakout sessions on various topics like Open Badges as well as the connection between Digital Badges and careers. Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn helped kick off the event, describing Digital Badges as a “tool for social and economic justice” and they provide “a chance to open doors that may not open otherwise.” In support of goal 3 of the APS 2020: Shaping the Future strategic plan, the event also served as a professional development opportunity for teachers to enhance their capacity to help every student earn credentials.  

In addition to hearing testimonials and best practices from global leaders, participants worked with expert facilitators to learn how to design and implement their own Badge systems.

For more information on the APS Digital Badge program, visit

Thoughts on why the summit was necessary and what badging will look like in the future:

“You’re talking about transformative things. It’s going to create opportunities for our students or for any adult in the workforce. I’ve got three pages full of notes on how we can do things differently.” – Gideon Geisel, Assistant Principal, George Washington High School (Denver)

“I hope in ten years we’ll be at full adoption. I hope that there will be a more legitimate perspective and use of Badges five to ten years from now.” – Ian O’Byrne Assistant Professor, College of Charleston (South Carolina)

 “Everyone here is from different places. That’s really awesome to have so many different voices from different places is really cool. Badge systems are growing and it’s making it easier for teachers.”– Shelly Sanchez Terrell, Educational Consultant and Global Speaker (Houston)

 “I’d like for us to be talking about Open Badges [down the line]. I’d like for it to be so ubiquitous. I want to get rid of some of the jargon and techy stuff and make it work.” – Doug Belshaw, Ed.D., Open Educational Thinkerer (United Kingdom)

Aurora Public Schools issued nearly 8,500 Digital Badges to more than 6,000 students during the 2015-16 school year.


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