Designing a Hive Badge Ecosystem – Contributors

In my previous post on designing a Hive badge ecosystem, I focused on the Community Badge model as a possible structure for badges and pathways. In this post, I will describe the formative work of determining the audience and value of these badges. Given that the attributes of our Community Badges will be drawn from the Connected Learning theory… then who gets them and for what?

In February, a dozen representatives from Hive Networks across North America met at the 2014 Summit to Reconnect Learning to discuss a badge ecosystem that would recognize Hive Global member contributions. The goal was to start modestly: identify a single key attribute of connected learning, as well as 3 of the most essential expressions of that attribute – the elements that make Hives… well, Hive-y? These would become our first badges, but who are they for?

Contributors and Target Audience

A Hive, whether it’s a network, a community or a learning event, generally consists of member organizations: museums, educational non-profits, government agencies, for-profits, foundations, community based organizations, schools, etc. Yet, the individual staff members of these organizations are the people who breathe life into the Hive. Their professional commitment and peer-to-peer learning is what ultimately translates into amazing opportunities and experiences for young people. They are the core audience of the Hive.

Even still, if Hive badges are for adult members – serving as experience designers and mentors for young people – should they be used to assess design practice, recognize facilitation of quality connected learning experiences or evaluate mentoring relationships?

If we expect high quality Connected Learning experiences for young people to emerge from the Hive, then Connected Learning has to be the way that we work in the Hive. By using and modeling these attributes in our peer-professional communities, as part of our peer-professional activity, we can expect that those same attributes will naturally emerge in the learning experiences we design.

Therefore Hive badges will initially focus on Connected Learning as expressed through Hive member engagement as opposed to the emergent results of that engagement. However, the experiences that we craft for young people are the ultimate goal of this work, so though we may begin working with the assumption that form follows function, we cannot ultimately ignore the products of our work; we should keep that layer in mind as we proceed.

Members of Hive Chicago take a "dotmocratic" vote on the network-relevance of challenges their peers voiced in their work.
Members of Hive Chicago take a “dotmocratic” vote on the network-relevance of challenges their peers voiced in their work.

Hive Global Mini-Badge Summit

The 2014 Summit to Reconnect Learning #SRL14 was the perfect place to talk Hive Global badges – because it was all about badges – but most importantly because we had great Hive representation from NYC, PGH, TOR, CHI and SFO! The roster was filled out by:

  • Kathryn Meisner // Hive TOR
  • Leah Gilliam // Hive NYC
  • Marc Lesser, MOUSE // Hive NYC
  • Robert Friedman // Hive CHI
  • Sam Dyson // Hive CHI
  • Chaya Nayak, Sweet Water Foundation // Hive CHI
  • Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water FDN // Hive CHI
  • Rik Panganiban, California Academy of Sciences // Hive SFO
  • Eric Hannan, San Francisco Public Library // Hive SFO
  • Ingrid Dahl, Bay Area Video Coalition // Hive SFO
  • Katie Levedahl, California Academy of Sciences // Hive SFO
  • Jennifer Collins, San Francisco Public Library // Hive SFO

And though they were unable to be seated at our table because they were running the show in Redwood City, most of Hive PGH leadership was around too. This was the team that contributed to the conversation up to this point.

STEP 4: The Value of Community Badges

I started this blog-thread in the last post with a pledge and a precedent, but I should have started with what really matters: why do we need Hive Global badges anyway? What is the value of a badge system for Hive members? This will be at the forefront of our members thoughts when we present this work.

The group had a pretty rich discussion about this, which resulted in the following top-level takeaways: Hive badges will help us to…

  • Define a Hive culture and identity;
  • Facilitate peer recognition;
  • Illuminate new contexts to sharpen our skills;
  • Demonstrate that we are achieving our mission;
  • Facilitate more equitable access, exposure and opportunity;
  • Provide clarity around expectations and requirements;
  • Help members demonstrate the value of Hive externally;
  • Make visible activity deserving recognition;
  • Earn community status for contributions to shaping the Hive;

I could wax poetic about this list, but I think it speaks for itself. Taking a moment to ground ourselves in the value of a badge ecosystem can help us to prioritize what goes into it first.

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