Experiment Open Badges

Last week I gave a keynote on Open Badges at the #JFMH2016 at TU Darmstadt. The title of my keynote was:

Experiment “Open Badges” – potentials and challenges of digital verification of competences in higher education.

Based on the concept of “experiment with a society as a lab” from the field of media sociology, the starting point for my keynote was the thesis that Open Badges like many other novel, digital technologies, are applied directly in educational contexts without prior examination of their potentials and risks. Most of the times digital learning technologies and concepts, such as Open Badges, cannot be validated in controlled settings of a research lab, but are first applied in real-life educational settings and validated only later through experimentation which takes place in a regular course of affairs, within existing organisational structures and processes and involving students, teachers and other subjects.  Also, following the idea of mode 2 of knowledge production by Gibbons et al. (1994), the knowledge about the potentials and risks of novel technologies emerges as a result of an interdisciplinary, connected, open and cross-context interactions of persons involved in such experiments. This is also the case with Open Badges and the knowledge about the possibilities as well as effects of their application being created not only within one (educational) organisation but across diverse and globally distributed communities.

While applying novel technologies and concepts, such as Open Badges, it is important to keep in mind that the effects of experimentation are not always predictable and may have both positive and/or negative effects on the subjects involved. Reflecting the knowledge created following the principles of mode 2 by Gibbons at al. (1994) and taking responsibility for the design and implementation of Open Badges and other novel technologies in (higher) education is connected to a number of ethical and legal questions, some of which have been addressed by Willis, Quick & Hickey (2015).

Here is the link to my slides on SlideShare (slides are in German):


Mobile Learning 2.0

Mobile Learning 2.0 has been the topic of my paper and presentation at the IADIS Mobile Learning Conference 2012 in Berlin. The paper explores the potential and challenges of collaborative mobile learning as a foundation for participatory curriculum development based on insights from a pilot phase of the iCollaborate project (#iCollab12 on Twitter). iCollaborate is an international collaboration project between university students and lecturers from four different countries & universities: AUT University in New Zealand (architecture students in Auckland), Beuth University Germany (sociology of technology students in Berlin),  Salford University in UK (design students in Sheffield and Salford) and Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain (educational technology students in Tarragona).

Our project builds upon a number of theoretical and pedagogical approaches, including:

  • Mobile learning as socio-cultural process (Vygotsky, 1987),
  • Mobile learning in communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991),
  • Mobile learning as participatory culture (Jenkins, 2006),
  • Mobile learning as digital augmentation (Cook, 2010),
  • Mobile learning as enabler for rhizomatic learning (Cormier, 2010),
  • Mobile learning as heutagogical approach   (Cochrane & Rhodes, 2011)
  • Mobile learning as serendipitous learning (Buchem, 2011).

The focus of the iCollaborate project is on pedagogical strategies for cross-boundary, collaborative uses of mobile web for learning through the development of personal learning networks, personal learning environments and user generated content.

The paper reflects upon the potential and challenges of such a  collaboration and will be published soon. You can view the presentation on SlideShare or even watch my presentation on QIK  (Thanx @Thomas Cochrane for live streaming!).