Designing a Hive Badge Ecosystem – Attributes

Previous posts in this series have discussed the structure and contributors to a Hive digital badge ecosystem. In this post, we will explore the attributes that will define these badges.

A Hive is a beautiful, complex, busy thing. Activity in a Hive, or #hivebuzz, takes many shapes and forms from the serendipitous or programatic connection between two educators at a local Hive meetup, to complex multi-organizational, cross-city partnerships pursuing big-budget funding, to Maker Parties: local community catalytic events with a Global connection. So, how do we focus and narrow down a Hive Global Badges Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for Summer 2014?

What We Value Most

Working within the Community Badge framework allows us to balance those global community attributes with the very unique local activities that express them. Focusing our attention on the professional activities of our practitioners further narrows the playing field. But what specific attributes will we tackle?

In order to test this model and to minimize the need for new design or spin our wheels on badges that are only marginally valuable to our members, we need to identify those connected learning attributes that are already the most clearly Hive-y.

STEP 1: Attribute Strands

We began our conversation at the 2014 Summit to Reconnect Learning (#SRL14) by considering all of the Connected Learning attributes and voting (+1) on those that the Hive delegation at #SRL14 viewed as the most critical to Hive success: 

Learning Principles

    • Interest-powered +1+1+1
    • Peer-supported+1
    • Academically oriented

Design Principles

    • Production-centered +1+1+1
    • Openly networked +1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1
    • Shared purpose +1+1+1+1+1+1

Core Values

    • Equity +1+1+1
    • Social Connection +1+1+1+1+1+1
    • Full Participation +1+1+1

The clear winner was Openly Networked, followed closely by Shared Purpose and Social Connection. Those attributes are not surprising if you’ve ever spent time in a Hive. The established networks have all grown through a process of member mission/vision alignment and relationship building. Hive meetups feel like a friendly gatherings and places where our communities normalize their work with each other. This is done through information sharing in an openly networked fashion, person-to-person and online.

STEP 2: Attribute Expressions

So what does “Openly Networked” mean? Connectedlearning.tv offers the following description:

Connected learning environments are designed around networks that link together institutions and groups across various sectors, including popular culture, educational institutions, home, and interest communities. Learning resources, tools, and materials are abundant, accessible and visible across these settings and available through open, networked platforms and public-interest policies that protect our collective rights to circulate and access knowledge and culture. Learning is most resilient when it is linked and reinforced across settings of home, school, peer culture and community.

So what does this mean for a Hive professional learning community? Well, much the same. We asked our representatives at #SRL14 to contribute how they see this attribute was expressed in their local Hives. The most popular were:

    • Inviting peers to observe programs and practices+1+1+1+1
    • Understanding and communicating partner organization’s functions (what they can do for the Hive and how can we scratch each other’s backs) +1+1
    • Able to identify who is within the network and what their contribution level is+1
    • Intentionally including others / networking with intention / collaboration ecosystem +1+1+1
    • Integrated approach of participating in cross-sector possibilities e.g. digital media, STEM, STEAM, arts, youth development, etc.+1+1
    • Clearly articulating resources your org can share with the network +1+1+1+1
    • Transparency+1+1
    • Sharing your work – outcomes and challenges+1
    • sharing data / creating structured data collection systems +1+1+1
    • Documenting and sharing useful processes – curriculum, brainstorming and design process, outcomes +1+1+1+1

STEP 3: Summer 2014 Attributes

The recurring themes of  linking, sharing, cross-sector collaboration, visibility and preserving the rights of equitable access are reinforced in both descriptions. So while “Openly Networked” is a very broad concept that would be matched by extensively vague criteria, the most popular community attributes above are more concrete:

    1. Inviting peers to observe programs and practices.
    2. Clearly articulating resources your org can share with the network.
    3. Documenting and sharing useful processes – curriculum, brainstorming and design process, outcomes.

These three attributes will become the foundation of the Summer 2014 Hive Global Community Badges. A Community Badge diagram for our top 3 Connected Learning Attribute “Strands”, and our top 3 Openly Networked Attributes is displayed below.

A schematic representation of how local Hive member contributor badges create pathways to Hive Global community badges.
A schematic representation of how local Hive member contributor badges create pathways to Hive Global community badges.

Next Steps

At #SRL14 our team moved on from here to discuss the value of badges to our community, which is detailed in my previous post.  Our next steps here will be to define the criteria of these three community badges, detailing the local contributor badges and resolving the logistical issues of hosting and issuing badges on badgekit.org

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