For the past 4 months we have been working on a new product called BadgeMaker – creating a simple platform for schools to build, earn and display Open Badges.

Mozilla have developed a new online standard called Open Badges to recognise and verify learning. There are already a number of institutions using Open Badges in the UK and throughout the rest of the world. In October the SQA (Scottish Qualification Association) announced their support for Open Badges, being one of the first accreditation authorities in the world to do so.

We see that there is a huge amount of potential for Badges, however unless you have an understanding of code or even design they can still be inaccessible for the people who could benefit from them the most.

Earlier this year we won a bid from the IC Tomorrow programme with the Technology Strategy Board and Mozilla to design a platform to give teachers and learners the tools to create, issue, earn and display Open Badges in a simple and straightforward way.

BadgeMaker enables teachers and learners to digitally recognise the skills and invisible learning that goes on both inside and outside the classroom.

By developing digital badges that acknowledge a certain skill or achievement, we are enabling our young people to display and certify an additional range of skills that build upon traditional qualifications. As educators and businesses devise their own badges we are expanding the ways in which young people can personalise their learning.

These Badges will act as a new digital form of validation; something that can be easily shared with friends and families, educators and future employers. The brilliant thing about Open Badges is the data that sits behind the image. As a Badge is shared and displayed, this data makes the information and evidence that led to someone developing a skill, and gaining the badge, visible.

 The project really took off in October when we were invited to run a drop in space at the Mozilla Festival in London. Over the course of the weekend, around 1,500 web experts, journalists, artists, educators and hackers, and curious members of the public attended the festival.

You can download the project’s offline badge toolkit.

Our trial is kicking off early March with a local school, GraceMount High School in Edinburgh and Arran High School in Arran. We are particularly excited to have the opportunity to test our product with a remote school and an urban school as it will give us a way to  test how our product works in two schools with very different internet capabilities. We will be working five hundred pupils and ten teaching staff over 3 months.

We have big plans and ideas for Badge Maker in 2014. Follow us on twitter and sign up to the newsletter for updates!