100,000 Badges and climbing — the power of Makewaves

Towards the end of 2016, safe social platform Makewaves reached the milestone of 100,000 digital badges awarded to our community.

Originally funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, badges were launched on Makewaves in 2012 — a collection of sports reporting Open Badges were put together to tie in with the London Olympics.

Open Badges are digital awards that, once earned, can display evidence, issuer and endorsement information, creating a digital portfolio and an online CV all in one. Makewaves members can earn a badge for completing a series of tasks or displaying certain skills.

Since their launch, badges have gone from strength to strength on Makewaves. Partners such as Royal Observatory Greenwich, Oxford University Press, Parliament’s Education Service, British Science Association and the Unlimited Space Agency have all shared their badges for students to earn. In 2015 we launched the first badging app so that our members could share and complete badge missions wherever they are.

2,000 badges were awarded last term, and among the most popular are our Safe resources, teaching young people how to be sensible and secure online. It’s reassuring to see that this remains a popular topic with our members year after year!

A personal favourite is the Mole’s Monthly Question badge. Each month we pitch a different question to our community, and a badge is given out to the best replies. It’s always entertaining to see what unique responses our members come out with!

Another highlight was The Astro Science Challenge, which was a huge success when it launched in October 2015 and followed Tim Peake’s preparations for joining the International Space Station. Over 13,000 badges were awarded and a phenomenal amount of effort was put in by the cadets to earn the badges. You can watch some of the highlights here.

Looking ahead, in 2017 the Shakespeare Birth Trust will be bringing their popular Shakespeare Week activities online to Makewaves, introducing a whole new audience to badges and putting us well on the way to our next big milestone. Roll on 200,000 badges!

Makewaves is part of DigitalMe — a City & Guilds Group business.