What next for developing & showcasing Intercultural Competence through Open Badges?

Testing for School Exchange Programmes

(& some questions for the Open Badge Community/Open Badge Network)

Tell Me More

Digitalme have been working alongside European partner schools as part of an Erasmus+ funded, Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership a.k.a The Go2B Project.

This partnership explores the use of Open Badges to recognise and showcase the intercultural development of students on intercultural exchanges.

Alongside this, there’s a badged Teacher training programme and a resource library that enables exchange coordinators to ‘optimise’ their exchanges for students’ intercultural development.

Why Badge it (in brief)?

Because employers surveyed in the Brainport region in the Netherlands (“Europe’s Leading Innovative Top Technology Region”) expressed that they would highly value students that were developing, and could demonstrate, intercultural competence (amongst other capabilities). International business after all crosses national borders. Evidencing these capabilities through badges was an obvious solution.

What Badges?

The Go2B Open Badges follow an intercultural competence pathway. Watch the video below to see that pathway.

Woah! Slow Down! Intercultural Competence?

To make it easier to understand what intercultural competence is, the partners created a series of ‘Can do’ statements for students & teachers using material from recognised expert sources. These were tested on & modified with students who had been on exchanges (keeping an eye to co-design principles).

If you’re really interested in getting into the ‘nuts & bolts’ of intercultural competence, you can find some free material to download here.

Who is Developing the Badges & Content?

To keep it short and sweet, schools & organisations with significant experience of running Student exchanges in Europe & Internationally (subject matter experts). And of course, students themselves.

Not forgetting us at Digitalme doing tech support & badge training.

You can find out more about the project partners here.

Where are We Up To?

The Go2B badges are currently being tested by students from Belgium & the Netherland, about to go on, already on, or returning from exchanges in India and China.

The schools, taking part in testing…

PiusX-College, Cambreur College, CSW Van de Perre, Jan Van Brabant College and SILA.

Our School Does Exchanges! Is it too late for us to take part?

No. You can still test the badges. Drop an email to kevin.field@digitalme.co.uk. You won’t have time to test the whole Go2B programme with your students but you could certainly test ‘bits’ of it with us.

March of the Modders, Getting Flexible

As part of the testing, the schools have already discovered one of the beautiful facets of badging. That Open Badges and badging can be incredibly flexible. BUT, that there’s an important caveat — any ‘tinkering’ with or ‘modding’ of a larger, structured programme like Go2B still needs to keep the concept of value (to the user, the issuing organisation and the badge beneficiary) central to development.

So we’ve already seen some really good ‘variants’ of intercultural competence badges being developed from the original Go2B concept. Given that for some, a full structured intercultural competence programme might be too much, schools might want to ‘tailor’ it for specific types of exchanges or just ‘dip their toe’ in with a much lighter concept to start off with. For example, we’ve already seen the creation of a much more India focused badge.

What’s Next Post Testing (We Think!)

That Go2B would work as a great ‘model’ for schools to review their exchange programmes and to introduce badging intercultural competence to their schools/students. BUT, that the concept should be open sourced and detached from Go2B as a ‘thing’. Essentially enabling them to make their derivative programmes more responsive to their particular needs.

So once we’ve revised the original programme based on feedback, to make sure everything is in tip top shape for others to use…

We will strip the Go2B logos from the original badges, deactivate them but leave them visible for others to create their own versions for their own organisations (& add the ‘assets’ to do this to GitHub).

Importantly, as part of that, to encourage these organisations to use the Digitalme Badge Design Canvas to keep ‘value’ and ‘co-design’ at the centre of their development.

What Does the Open Badges Community/Open Badge Network Think?

Good plan? Bad Plan? Better Plan? Let us know!