SSP Digital Badges: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a digital badge?
Digital badges are a way to recognize skills and achievements gained outside of the official school or work setting. Digital badging has gained popularity recently as a key ingredient in online and informal education – it’s a way to inspire learning, certify achievement and validate that you’ve acquired new knowledge or skills. Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and Intel, a longtime SSP sponsor and partner, created this badging platform as part of the Mozilla Open Badges initiative, a new online standard to recognize and verify learning.

What can I do with my digital badge?
Treat it as you would any diploma, stellar report card or sports trophy: Show it off! You can share your badge in the same way you share a webpage – in an email, on a social media network like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or in a resume or college application. Because the badge links back to your own SSP badging profile page, people who see it will recognize it as a valid record of your achievement. SSP badge earners can also display their SSP badges alongside other digital badges they earn outside of SSP by signing up for a Mozilla Backpack. It’s a fun way to collect and display badges from multiple sources around the web.
 
Who is receiving badges from SSP?
SSP is issuing a variety of digital badges to students, teachers, volunteers, judges, evaluators and interpreters for achievement and participation in the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) and International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). During 2014, we plan to begin offering badges for student achievement in local, regional, state, or international SSP-affiliated science fairs.
 
How do I know whether a badge has been issued to me?
SSP notifies badge recipients by email whenever badges are awarded, typically following judging of our competitions. SSP uses the email address it has on file for students, judges and volunteers of our competitions.
 
What should I do when I receive an email notifying me that I’ve earned a badge?
Students should first create a badging account by registering for a complimentary SSP student membership. Non-student participants (volunteers, teachers, judges, etc.) may view their badges by first registering a complimentary account with SSP. Once registered, recipients may view their badges by logging in.
 
Are my badges visible to the public? Can I hide them from public view?
When your badges are issued, and once you are registered in the system, your badges will be available for viewing by and sharing to the public. If you wish, you may use the My Backpack tab on your badging page to create groups for your earned badges and select whether a badge or group of badges is hidden from public view.

How did SSP and Intel get involved in digital badging?
SSP and Intel received a grant in 2012-2013 to develop this badging program from the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, part of a broader Digital Media Learning Competition, following a kick-off meeting at the White House with the MacArthur, Gates and Mozilla Foundations in early 2011. SSP and Intel were selected from more than 500 entrants in this competition to develop a digital badge platform using the Intel ISEF and Intel STS programs to reach competing students and supporting adults with a series of badges.
 
What is the Open Badges project?
Open Badges is a Mozilla Foundation initiative to create a standard online format for digital badges, allowing recipients to collect and display digital badges from various issuers around the web. Open Badges are issued from different organizations and for different achievements, and are designed to be part of an interoperable system that provides verifiable, standard data that is technically compatible across multiple platforms. SSP digital badges are compliant with the Open Badges standard.

What if I have a question not yet answered here?
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