09/25/2013 -


Excerpted from her original post on Competency Works, September 25, 2013



Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in the American Youth Policy Forum’s meeting on The Role of Expanded Learning Opportunities in Competency-based Education Systems.  It was a fun meeting for me as I hadn’t sat in a room with the nation’s after school leaders since I was a program officer at the Mott Foundation during the launching of the 21st  Century Community Learning Centers.

To open the meeting, I was asked to share some thoughts about the relationship between expanded learning opportunities (ELO) and competency education.  I like the term ELO as it is so inclusive — think after school, youth program, badging, online learning, community service, sports, arts, career/college exploration and of course jobs.  As there are more and more people involved in ELO that are trying to make sense of where they fit into this expanding world of competency education as well as educators trying to figure out how to effectively use ELO’s I’m sharing my comments. 

Many people describe competency education with the phrase “time is a variable and learning as a constant”. It is not referring to self-paced. In fact it means the exact opposite. Students that are struggling are to get more time on task, more interventions, more support. There is greater concentration of resources so that students can continue on pace and continue to make more progress. We have to eliminate the imagery of moving through a curriculum in order to understand competency education.


09/25/2013 -

Watch former Hub ELO student Bryan Norato chat with the country's leading education and technology thinkers about the benefits and possibilities of digital badges for this White House Google Hangout!

09/10/2013 -
11:00 AM PST/2:00 PM EST

How can digital badges connect our interests & passions both inside and outside formal education, and make lifelong learning pathways more visible?

About The Speaker(s)

  • Craig Watkins studies young people's social and digital media behaviors. He teaches at the University of Texas, Austin, in the departments of Radio-Television-Film, Sociology, and the Center for African and African American Studies. Craig is also a Faculty Fellow for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Craig is also a Principal Investigator on the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN) project, The Digital Edge.
  • Sybil Madison-Boyd ia the Learning Pathways Program Director with the Digital Youth Network at DePaul University and is examining how learning pathways can make transparent "possible futures" in ways that support agency and that can be translated across spaces in ways that "count".
  • Tim Riches is the CEO of DigitalMe, a nonprofit dedicated...
09/10/2013 -

By HOWARD RHEINGOLD September 9, 2013 - 7:55am

Reposted from the Digital Media and Learning blog

Far more important to me than all the venture-capitalized consortia of elite university MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and the hundreds of thousands of students flocking to them is a course taught by an adjunct professor at University of Mary Washington. In my personal learning network, Jim Groom and ds106 are the stuff of legend. I’ve conducted more than 40 interviews for DMLcentral, and without a doubt, Jim Groom is the most excited and exciting educator I’ve talked to. If I had one wish regarding the way online education will happen in the future, it would be for the work of Groom and his colleagues ...

07/17/2013 -

 Hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum

07/22/2013 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM ET

State and district education leaders are thinking about how they can more closely link what is happening in the school day with unique learning experiences that prepare students for college and careers and that take place in project-based, work-based, and real world settings. Communities across the country are pursuing a collective impact approach that integrates school systems, afterschool providers, and other youth serving providers into a student-centered learning strategy.

Some of these approaches are competency-based education systems, in which students are awarded credit not on seat-time, but upon demonstration of mastery in specific competencies, allowing them to move ahead at their own pace. In a competency-based system, there can be more flexibility to gain credit for activities beyond the school day, and increasingly districts and states are starting to allow such flexibility.

There are a few examples of such collaboration between schools systems and ELOs in which students are learning skills in ELOs that count for credit in school. Providence Afterschool Alliance (PASA) has begun to offer coordinated programs to high school students through The HUB, a student-centered initiative which provides high school credit to students for work they do outside of the school day. Activities include video game development, Android App design and development, debate, and environmental science.

This webinar will highlight this unique initiative in Providence,...

07/16/2013 -

The Wallace Foundation released a report on on their Better Together conference to help cities find

resources to build afterschool systems.


Originally posted in the Wallace Foundation's Newsletter

A decade ago, afterschool systems – which coordinate the work of programs, government, funders and other key afterschool players so they can together build more and better programming for kids – were a rarity in American cities.

Not so now, judging by the 57 city teams at a recent conference on afterschool systems.   

Read about what they learned from one another and field pioneers in a report released today: Better Together: Building Local Systems to Improve Afterschool (A Conference Report).

The report captures clear themes about how systems can open the way to strong afterschool programming for more disadvantaged children – by improving program quality, collecting and using data for informed decision-making, getting the mayor on board, and even finding creative...

06/20/2013 -

We the Geeks: Building a 21st Century Resume

Originally posted by Thomas Kalil on

Watch "We the Geeks" on a 21st Century Resume live on Thursday, June 20th, at 2:00 p.m. EDT Join the conversation and ask your questions with the hashtag #WeTheGeeksSign up to get email updates about future hangouts.

In the same way that “merit badges” have been used by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and medals have been used by the military to demonstrate achievement, a growing number of foundations, government agencies, companies and non-profits are exploring “digital badges” as the 21st century equivalent of a resume-builder that students and workers can use to showcase their skills, encourage their peers, and find meaningful educational and employment opportunities. 

With support from the MacArthur Foundationthe Mozilla Foundation, and others, digital badges are being used to:

  • Recognize student accomplishments in technical fields such as computer science and robotics;
  • Help veterans get jobs by demonstrating the valuable real-world skills they’ve acquired in the military;
  • Inspire students as part of a larger effort to reduce the number of high-school dropouts, which today number more than 1 million per year.

While much work is yet to be done to build an evidence base for the value of badges in various contexts, the badges movement is growing. In March, the City of Chicago, Mozilla, MacArthur, and 143 other organizations launched the “Summer of Learning...