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This project was submitted by an applicant to the Digital Media and Learning Competition.

Digital Watershed Badge System


A. Content Alignment


Digital Watershed is excited to have the opportunity to submit a proposal to participate in the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, Stage Two. 


Our team’s extensive background developing:

>  New Media 

>  e-learning 

>  Emmy-award winning national television programming  and teaching guides

>  interactive learning products

>  virtual worlds

>  animation

>  interface design

>  software 

>  media elements for museum exhibits


as well as our teaching and mentoring experience position our team to be indispensable collaborators with a wide range of finalists identified in Stage One of your learning competition. 


Simply put, Digital Watershed is passionate about learning. We have committed our professional careers to discovering new ways to create opportunities that inspire people of all ages to expand their understanding and connection to the world around them. 


Our collective knowledge and expertise positions us as an ideal partner for all of the science - oriented final projects identified by your competition.  But the depth of our experience as new media creators and collaborators who have already successfully designed, developed and produced an award-winning ecosystem of interactive Badges positions us as collaborators who can successfully accomplish the project goals of a wider range of projects identified and described in the Badges Competition Stage 1 documents.  It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is: astronomy, robotics, biology, art or the environment... New media is providing tools that inspire people of all ages and cultures to partner with organizations to build powerful learning experiences that engage and educate people.  


Everyone on our team at Digital Watershed knows that it is rarely the content or lack of creative ideas that diminishes the effectiveness of a new media project.  The primary factor that compromises the effectiveness of any new media learning project is the lack of a viable, formalized production process.  Over the last three decades, we have developed a creative and technological production process and the communication systems that enable us to successfully collaborate with national television networks, museums, major corporations, universities and schools. 




B. Badges


The universal objectives of our Badge Development will focus on providing people with tools that empower them to become better self-directed learners.


The Badge Development Approach we propose to design and develop will be an end-to-end system that is compatible with the Mozilla Open Badges infrastructure.   


We intend to create a Badge System that modifies and transforms a Badge System we developed for the highly successful and award-winning STEM software seriesWhat’s the Secret?”  In this earlier Badge System development, we created a system of interactive  buttons called “patches” investigated by users that could be collected in a backpack called a “patch pak.”  



New media technology enables people from many different cultures and background to share their interests, opinions and expertise.  The Badges and Badge System we propose to design will be highly interactive.  The Badges will be developed to allow a recipient to instantly access and collect more information about the subject matter they are exploring. The Badges and Badge System we envision will allow recipients to self-select the information they receive and explore. The Badges we develop will enable recipients to customize and create interactions that align with their specific learning styles, age and subject interest.



The intuitive, easy-to-use Badges will enable recipients to:


>  Explore Content 

>  Create Content

>  Share their personal experience

>  Ask questions and make recommendations

>  Communicate and collaborate with content experts

>  Interact with peers and friends 


The Badge System we design and develop will be facilitated and supported through the use of computers, mobile phones, IM systems and the Internet.  Our proposed Badge System will be viewable across many browsers, platforms and easily shareable. 


The innovative Badge System we design and develop and will allow recipients to:


Enrich personal learning experiences by allowing them to invent or customize activities as well as participate in activities that are the same for all users.


Empower decision making skills by giving them the ability to decide which content and activities they will explore.


Validate their individual creative process by providing them with feedback that provides recognition for extending personal effort and taking creative risks.


Develop their social communication skills by creating the ability to form self-selected groups to share learning experiences. 


Evaluate their individual learning process with interactive tools that allow them to examine their individual experience.


Direct their own learning process by connecting them with tools and activities that encourage them to work at their own pace. 


Because a higher level of interactivity will be a pivotal focus of this innovative Badges and Badge System, this submission may be considered as a Badge System that complements the existing project or our proposal could be considered as a pilot study that facilitates the creation of an innovative new direction in Badge Systems.  




C. Technology. 


The Badge System we propose to develop would consist of three major components: 


>  An Authoring System for creating badges

>  An Embedding System for delivery and sharing of badges

>  A Badge Portal


For the purpose of this submission the Authoring System will need to be compatible with a wide range of operating systems including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and OS X.  Compatible browsers will include IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

The Authoring System for the design and issuance of Badges will require a cloud-based system that allows for the on-going creation, development and testing of a wide range of interactions that can be authored without the need of a professional programmer.  

The Embedding System for display and playing of badges will need to be accessible from desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices.  Mobile platforms should include both Android and iOS tablets and smart phonesBadges should also be easily embedded in Websites and on common social networks such as Facebook and MySpace as well as new tools that may arise.  All Badges will be compatible with JSON metadata as required by Open Badges

We envision the creation and development of a Badge Portal that allows recipients to hide their private badges or choose to display them publicly.  Recipients may organize and feature badges on their portal as they choose.  A coded ID System will allow a unique user to be associated with each Badge.  

For the purpose of this pilot, our authoring and embedding system of choice will be ZebraZapps ( which currently provides nearly all of the above requirements.  A badge sample created in ZebraZapps can be linked to here.


NOTE: Team expertise added to bottom of Process attachment due to FastApps error.





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