Note: The information provided here refers to past Digital Media and Learning Competitions, and is provided for archival and reference purposes only. If you are seeking the current Digital Media and Learning Competition, please navigate to


supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

[view the press release here]


supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

4-H/USDA Robotics Digital Badges
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
John A. (Tony) Cook, Ed.D., Auburn University
Bradley S. Barker, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Nancy Valentine, Ed.D.,4-H Headquarters, USDA
Jim Kahler, 4-H Headquarters, USDA
Craig H. Wood, Ph.D., eXtension
Ashley Griffin, eXtension

4-H enters the world of electronic credentials with the development and introduction of digital badges in robotics. As part of an e-portfolio of learning, youth will be able to add digital badges that document knowledge, skills, and competencies attained in robotics competitions, platforms, movement, and mechtronics. Robotics badges are the beginning of a new tradition in 4-H.

American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen Badges
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Stacy Kruse, Pragmatic Solutions Inc.
Fiona Macintyre, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Melvin Reeves, StoryCorps
Annie Mais, Roadtrip Nation
Leah Clapman, PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs

Each year over 1 million students drop out of high school. American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is a multi-year public media initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. A cornerstone of the initiative is to provide top-quality, proven digital educational resources that will engage and motivate middle and high-school at-risk youth to stay in school, graduate, and prepare for college and careers. American Graduate Badges provide a pathway to reward and recognize students for their successes and skills attained through participation in key public media youth media digital education programs, including PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, Roadtrip Nation, and StoryCorpsU.

BadgesWork for Vets
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Robert H. Sparkman, Department of Veterans Affairs
Eric Burg, Department of Veterans Affairs

The BadgesWork for Vets program offers a solution to help Veterans leverage their military training and unique skill sets by developing badges that visually represent military training and real world skills acquired while serving in any of branch of the US military. At a glance, prospective employers will be able to verify military training completed and know that the Veteran applying for a position with their company has the training and skills necessary, making him or her the best possible choice for their company.


Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Jean-Philippe Choinière, Scolab Inc.
Jamie Piecora, Scolab Inc

BuzzMath provides students with rigorous and engaging practice that leads them to the ultimate goal of obtaining mastery of concepts outlined in the Common Core Mathematics Standards.  All requirements for badge acquisition by students have been designed in accordance with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). BuzzMath badges convey grade-level mastery of required mathematical concepts as well as acknowledge positive behaviors that lead to mathematical achievement and success.  

Computer Science Student Network Badge System
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Ross Higashi, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy
Robin Shoop, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy
Samuel Abramovich, University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center   
Christian D. Schunn, University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center
Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) is an online learning environment where students, teachers, and hobbyists can earn badges and certifications as they play with, compete in, and learn about computer science and STEM-related topics (CS-STEM). Badges visually document progress to establish concrete curricular trajectories from introductory-level tutorials to industry-recognized certifications.

Design Exchange
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Caroline Payson, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Monica Harriss, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
John Walber, LearningTimes, LLC
Jonathan E. Finkelstein, LearningTimes, LLC

Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt and National Design Museum, in partnership with LearningTimes, has embarked on an initiative to integrate badging into its successful DesignPrep program for underserved NYC high school students. Badges will be awarded at increasing levels for student achievements in design disciplines and/or overall design thinking and competencies for in-person and web-based learning. Some of the highest level of badges will be accredited by professional organizations such as the Council of Fashion Design in America (CFDA) and AIGA, the professional association for design— bolstering resumes and higher learning applications in addition to a high level badge in Design Thinking.

Design for America: A Badge Community for Innovation
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Daniel Rees Lewis, Design for America
Anya Shyrokova, University of Michigan
Jonathan Lesser, Northwestern University
Rishu Arora, University of Michigan
Steven Ma
Dr. Elizabeth Gerber, Northwestern University
Sami Nerenberg, Design for America

Design for America: A Badge Community for Innovation will develop a unique online community devised to foster innovation and enable the widespread sharing of knowledge required for a prosperous future. By utilizing the motivational, educational, and connective power of an online badge system, this online community platform will support the professional growth of young innovators and the collaboration of social change makers. Undergraduate designers will be able to track their design projects, share their stories, and learn from each other on the way to solving local problems affecting health, homelessness, the environment, and education.

Disney-Pixar Wilderness Explorers Badges
Stage 1 Application
Lisa Clements, The Walt Disney Company
Cynthia Stipeche, 6Foot

The Disney-Pixar Wilderness Explorers badging system engages youth in nature-based explorations, offering them a way to learn about and become advocates for wildlife and wild places. As these young Wilderness Explorers learn about conservation issues, they become teachers and ambassadors, content producers, and change makers. Badges will provide opportunities for Wilderness Explorers to make real connections in their communities that promote conservation locally and globally.

Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Gregory Daigle, Digital Watershed
Michelle Aubrecht, Ohio State University
Leslie Kratz, Digital Watershed
Christine Ballengee Morris, Ohio State University
Gary Leatherman, Digital Watershed

Ohio State University and Digital Watershed will develop the Earthworks Badge System, accessible gateway to meaningful, engaged learning and mentoring experiences that empower young people and learners of all ages to cultivate a broader understanding of the importance and cultural value of the Earthworks of North America. The vision, voices and multiple perspectives of Native American culture will direct and guide the content developed for this interactive initiative.

Intel and Society for Science and the Public Badges
Stage 1 Application
Carlos Contreras, Intel

Intel and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) Badges will feature SSP’s premier high school science competitions, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), which reward independent scientific and engineering research. A badge system based on the Intel STS and the Intel ISEF will enable and reward independent research and encourage participation in science fairs for middle school and high school student researchers, teachers, mentors, judges, volunteers, and the community at-large. A digital badge system that provides a visual demonstration of achievement will enhance and further elevate accomplishment in the eyes of the students themselves as well as college admissions officers looking for achievements that set these students apart.

Leverage for Digital On-Ramps

Stage 1 Application
Arun Prabhakaran, Urban Affairs Coalition
Stacy Kruse, Pragmatic Solutions
Lisa Nutter, Philadelphia Academies, Inc.
Mary Horstmann, City of Philadelphia
Joanne Ferroni, Drexel University
Stacy Holland, Philadelphia Youth Network
David Gibson, Pragmatic Solutions
The Leverage™ for Digital On-Ramps project will implement the Leverage™ Badging System by Pragmatic Solutions into the infrastructure of the Digital On-Ramps (DOR) project lead by the Urban Affairs Coalition, Philadelphia Academies, Inc. (PAI) and others. DOR aims to create practical solutions to one of Philadelphia’s most formidable challenges: preparing all Philadelphians to work and compete in the 21st century economy by providing a digital framework for delivering comprehensive education and workforce training to youth and adults (ages 14-65). The Leverage™ System will be integrated into PAI’s Post-Secondary and Career Readiness (PSCR) Course, a developmental multi-year DOR course designed to provide 21st century and post-secondary readiness skills for 900 students.

MOUSE Wins! Badge-based Achievement System for National Youth Technology Leadership   
Stage 1 Application
Marc Lesser, MOUSE Inc.
Meredith Summs, MOUSE Inc.
Seth Giammanco, Minds On Design Lab Inc.

MOUSE and collaborators at Minds On Design Lab, Inc. are working to scale an online badging system that supports its national youth network in credentialing computational, digital, and workplace skills and literacies. MOUSE’s badge ecosystem works to establish community participation and peer-to-peer learning as bedrock for program culture. Based in NYC, MOUSE provides young people across more than 300 program sites nationally with authentic situated learning environments that support their school community, increase their experience applying skills, and offer critical exposure to new interests and a growing community of supportive peers and adults who make, dream, and learn with digital media & technology.
My Girl Scout Sash is an App
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Partner
Bryn Reese, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
Charles Perry, MentorMob
Kris Chinosorn, MentorMob
Eileen Sweeney, Motorola Mobility Foundation

My Girl Scout Sash is an App takes the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and career development badge program to a digital media learning platform for girls, ages 5-17, with a focus on middle school and high school. Through collaboration with Motorola Mobility Foundation and MentorMob, girls create apps, demonstrating and sharing the knowledge gained and badge proficiencies.  Upon completion of Girl Scout App Boot Camp 101, 201, and 301, Girl Scouts earn digital badges that appear on their mobile devices and upload content that will be displayed on a private Girl Scout website built by MentorMob.
The National Manufacturing Badge System 
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Jacey Wilkins, The Manufacturing Institute
David Wiley, Brigham Young University
David Blake, Degreed

The National Manufacturing Badge System will recognize the wide range of skills, competencies, and achievements that students and workers need to be competitive in today’s Advanced Manufacturing workplace. The National Manufacturing Badge System will supplement formal learning requirements and pathways, providing individuals with an additional online platform to convey their knowledge and skills to employers.

NatureBadges: Open Source Nature & Science Badge System

Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Partner
Rebecca Bray, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
Jonathan E. Finkelstein, LearningTimes, LLC
John Walbur, LearningTimes

NatureBadges: Open Source Nature & Science Badge System is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and LearningTimes. NatureBadges leverages the fact that NMNH is the second-most visited museum in the world to connect the onsite physical museum experience to digital tools for lifelong learning and engagement. The museum will be a hub for a strong international network of science and nature badges so that the audiences introduced to badging through innovative hands-on digital activities at the museum will have the opportunity to jumpstart their informal learning through badges from dozens of organizations.

Partners in Learning Network Badges
Stage 1 Application
Scott Burmester, Microsoft
Donald Brinkman, Microsoft
Lianne Morgan, Wirestone

The Partners in Learning Network will support educators and school leaders’ active participation in the Partners in Learning Program by instituting a rewards and recognitions badge system. The abundance of knowledge, resources, and accessibility to information available today requires a different approach from the generic one-size fits all engagement models of the past. New tools--like the use of badge systems as a means to reward, recognize, and motivate behavior--will fast become an essential change agent in capturing one’s skills, competencies, and achievements.

Pathways for Lifelong Learning

Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Damian Ewens, Providence After School Alliance (PASA)
Kerri Lemoie, Lemoie Web Consulting
Patrick Duhon, Providence Public School District
Mark Minn, CitySpan YouthServices Data Tracking
Nick Merrill, Embolden Digital Communications
Michael Angst, E-Line Media

The Providence After School Alliance's "Pathways for Lifelong Learning" badge system would recognize, motivate, validate, and connect learning interests and achievements of youth beginning in 6th grade, creating a seamless system of learning pathways that usher youth through middle school, high school, and onward to college, career and life.

Planet Stewards: Personalized Learning in 3D GameLab 

Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Lisa Dawley, Boise State University
Peggy Steffen, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) teamed up with 3D GameLab at Boise State to create Planet Stewards, a personalized high school competency-based curricular experience. Using NOAA’s content and 3D GameLab’s game-based learning platform, students are engaged by choosing among web-based quests, and earning experience points, levels, and badges to demonstrate their achievements in weather, climate, coastal, ocean, and lake science, all aligned to National Science Standards. Whether students are in the field, in the classroom, or engaging in a virtual or game-based experience, Planet Stewards will advance environmental literacy and promote a diverse workforce that encourages stewardship and increasing informed decision making for the Nation.   

Preparing Librarians to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Teens
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Partner
Beth Yoke, YALSA
Kris Duggan, Badgeville
Steve Sims, Badgeville

Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) badges program will fill a knowledge gap in the profession. Recent studies from the MacArthur Foundation and others have called for a re-envisioning of libraries. YALSA's badges program will help librarians develop the skills and knowledge they need in order to meet the needs of 21st century teens.

Robotics and STEM Badges Using NASA Content 

Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Khal Shariff, Project Whitecard Inc.
Dr. Meri Cummings, Center for Educational Technologies
Robert Starr, NASA

The Robotics and Stem Badges Using NASA Content Group will use content from NASA, pedagogical expertise of Center for Educational Technologies, and technical & design prowess of Project Whitecard to provide STEM learning opportunities, spread awareness of STEM disciplines, and enable the expansion of new content through the creation of a unique collection of digital badges for learners of all ages.
S2R Medals
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Tim Riches, DigitalMe
Cliff Manning, Radiowaves
Dr Anthony Archdeacon, Liverpool Hope University Education Department
Karl Royle, School of Education, University of Wolverhampton
Great Britain
Supporter To Reporter (S2R) is a real-life learning program developed by DigitalMe ( that gives young people skills and confidence through taking on the roles of sports journalist, media producer, and mentor. S2R Medals recognize and reward the rich array of technical, teamwork and leadership skills gained through the program. The badges will be endorsed by sports and media industry, making S2R Medals ideal for developing college and employment readiness. S2R is delivered via Makewaves ( a social learning platform used by over 60,000 young people enabling S2R participants to safely connect and collaborate with a global network of peers. Schools, after-school programs and sports organisations can start earning S2R Medals now at

The SA&FS Learner Driven Badges Project
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Thomas P. Tomich, UC Davis - Agricultural Sustainability Institute

UC Davis' Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) will develop a model platform for validating experiential learning within formal institutional contexts at the undergraduate level. In creating a learner-driven, content-rich badge system, ASI will establish a new model for bridging learning in and out of the classroom, and enable learners to better communicate their skills and competencies to a broad audience.

Sweet Water AQUAPONS
Stage 1 Application | Stage 2 Application
Emmanuel Pratt, Milwaukee | Chicago
Jesse Blom, Milwaukee | Chicago
Georgia Bullen
Matt Richardson, Smartwave
Jeff Redman, Snowfall Creative

Sweet Water Foundation aims to expand and deepen the impact of aquaponics and urban agriculture as a learning method by creating a replicable model for urban agriculture education. An enhanced curriculum and digital learning platform will support the requirements of Common Core Learning, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), IMS Interoperability Standards, and Open Standards. This model will meet the growing needs of lifelong learners to help improve their professional, academic and personal endeavors. Ultimately, this system to encourage learning that will help current and future generations address the growing concerns/implications of food sourcing and healthy food availability around the world.    


supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

John Walber, LearningTimes, LLC
Jonathan Finkelstein, LearningTimes, LLC

BadgeStack is a standards-based system designed specifically for badge-empowered, social learning. Learning Times has built the BadgeStack system to be one of the most comprehensive plugins to the open source WordPress software. Their effort will work to extend and develop an easy-to-use, downloadable, wordpress-based, robust open source badge issuing platform.

Moodle as Issuer, Mahara as Displayer
Richard Wyles, Totara Learning Solutions Ltd.
New Zealand

Moodle is an open source learning management system, the most widely used online learning delivery platform in the world. Mahara is a open source eportfolio system. This project focuses on building the Open Badges functionality into Moodle and Mahara for broad-based usage.

Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU)
Philipp Schmidt, Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU)
South Africa

The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. They will be building an adaptable, customizable, open source, fully documented platform that will allow people to create OBI-compliant badge systems. It will enable issuers to create and issue badges into the OBI and easily integrate it into their sites.