Memory Elephants Day 30 December

“The Origami Secretary Bird has declared 30 December to be Memory Elephant Day’ Sprite announced. “It is not going to be on 31 December because everyone wants Memory Elephants to work on New Year’s Eve to make up compilations of all the events of this year”

“That’s nice dear” I mumbled

I was completely engrossed in putting photos of our Christmas into the album with assistance from the Memory Elephant. As I inserted pictures of the cards we had received the Memory Elephant reminded me of the kind people who had sent them and the messages they had written to us.
As I placed the pictures of the decorations the Memory Elephant reminded me who had made them or who had given them to us and where they had been placed for previous Christmas seasons.

And when we came to the 12 Days of Christmas quilt and Rainer’s star the Memory Elephant whispered to me about our homeschooling days when we made the quilt and 3D geometric shape paper craft decorations and the children calculated the cost of the gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas at the current prices.

This year there was a theme of stars, angels, birds and shells and two birds had landed on Rainer’s star.

This year we hung the quilt on the bookshelf but it was not all visible in the photo so the Memory Elephant found an old photo which showed the whole quilt.

“I’m just saying …” said Sprite “…that you better finish doing that by tomorrow because the Memory Elephant has a holiday on 30 December”

“The Origami Secretary Bird says it is in the Memory Elephant Manifesto and should be observed by all owners of Memory Elephants.”

“I found out because I was enjoying being on holiday and going down to the beach at Rosebud” said Sprite. “And I said I love the colour of the sky and the water and I wish I could take home a bottle of sky colour and the smell of the sea.
And the Memory Elephant said in a really huffy tone ‘I suppose you want to remember that! Memory Elephants don’t even get a holiday!’
So I asked the Origami Secretary Bird about it.”

Digital Badges 5

The Memory Elephant   has become quite accustomed to visiting The Pool of Collected Reflections
after conferences, webinars and online courses to help me compose my thoughts, clarify my understanding and gather the reflections of other participants.

Some reflections on the recent Digital Badges course with Peter Rawsthorne
overview at forums at can be read at

My own reflections on the course:
I enjoyed participating in the course very much. I can see interesting possible uses for badges and intend to investigate them further. I also enjoyed using Khan Academy and can imagine undertaking more learning there if time permits and also hope to investigate other providers of free open access online learning.

The beauty of badges is that they can be utilized for recognition of achievements or mastery in varying fields many of which are not covered in regular classroom type learning. The badges would have to be able to be linked to real demonstrated mastery and issued by a respected organization if they were to be used for resumes.

Thank you ETUG, SCoPe and Peter Rawsthorne for a very enjoyable and thought provoking course!

Digital Badges 4

These are the badges I received as a result of the recent Digital Badges course with Peter Rawsthorne
overview at and forums at

The Participant Badge
Participant introduced themselves to the group via the discussion forum and actively contributes to 7 of the 12 primary discussion threads, also participates in one of the two lunch-and-learn sessions.

The Contributor Badge
Contributor does everything the participant does with the addition of contributing;
1. by designing badge images
2. creating a badge system design for another curriculum
3. blogs about their participation in this seminar series
4. other creative endeavours regarding digital badges

“Are you going to display them in the sidebar of the blog?” asked Sprite.

“Maybe, if I can work out how to embed them” I said. “But more likely I will leave them here in this post about Digital Badges.”

“We need a display case” said Sprite “We have the badges for Nomination for the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs in the blog sidebar to remind us of the posts about our campaigns in 2011 and 2012.”

Best Australian Blogs 2012

Best Australian Blogs 2011

“And I think we have other badges that are included with posts but are not in the sidebar. The Memory Elephant would know!”

The Memory Elephant searched through the archives of the blog and found several badges with posts which were part of a blog tour or reflections on global conferences. Tweetil brought his newly earned Little Drummer Boy Badge and Tweetelle brought her Peacock Preening Badge to show us.

Here are the badges the Memory Elephant found

Fine Focus webinars

Calling all Bloggers: Sir Ken Robinson blogathon

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week

International Week of Giftedness 2012/International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 blogtour at

Global Education Conference

Reform Symposium

The Sketchbook Challenge

Digital Badges 3

“I see you are writing a blog post about Digital Badges for your homework assignment” said the Origami Secretary Bird, popping up like the Help File Paper Clip. “Would you like assistance from me?”
Just to see what would happen I answered “Tell me what I am required to do’’

“To answer Part 1: You are required to earn digital badges from at least two sources and write a blog post which critically evaluates the experience” replied the Origami Secretary Bird.

As part of the two week Digital Badges course with Peter Rawsthorne
overview at and forums at
I completed activities to earn badges on Khan Academy  and Open Badges

The badges earned at Khan Academy were all Meteorite badges which are common badges, easy to earn when just getting started. They were gained in the Drawing section in the subject area of Computer Science. Their titles were Mad Scientist, CS Scholar and Tinkerer. The CS Scholar was gained simply by watching the tutorial video and the Tinkerer by altering some code as directed. Gaining the badge was announced by the appearance of a pop-up message and the badges were delivered to my Achievements page without me having to do it. I enjoyed using Khan Academy and will probably return for more learning opportunities as time permits.

Earning the first badge Badges 101 at Mozilla Open Badges was easy – only a matter of answering True or False to three questions – but I had difficulty in transferring the badge to the Mozilla backpack. After trying numerous times and receiving error messages I tried using Firefox rather than Internet Explorer and was successful.
I then gained the Open Badges Hackasaurus badge also. I nearly did not attempt this badge, as when I moused over the link on the word ‘address’ in ‘change your address here’ it appeared to lead to a site which could have caused problems. However after rereading the instructions I just added the words to the address bar and it worked for me. During this challenge there were pop up box rewards for each task incorporated in gaining the badge.

The next part of the course entailed designing, creating and issuing badges.

I decided to create a set of badges for my 10 week Church School program Bird Watching with Biblical Binoculars
The program was conducted face to face but using Internet programs. We had hoped to connect with a group from Queensland; however the aftermath of the floods prevented that from happening.
This program was discussed during one of Jo Hart’s Edublogs Fine Focus webinars at  
I created a set of 10 attendance badges using  – one for each week. At this stage I have not made the attendance badges available for others to nominate themselves for – as it related to IRL attendance. However this did lead me to think that maybe the program could be extended to online without the face to face contact and, if that happened, it would be easy enough to edit the badge accordingly.
I also created a set of Biblical Binoculars Badges which were to certify that the recipient had completed the Bible reference chart activity at the given Blog URL. I left this section open for others to nominate for this badge but at the moment I would not be able to verify that they had actually done the task.
I need to learn a way of stating in the criteria that they must e-mail the answers to me in order to receive the badge.

To design my badges I used clip art pictures available in PowerPoint of a sparrow and a pair of binoculars and adapted them using Paint and then saved them as png files. The sparrow which I used on the attendance badges was the image which represented the Bird watching with Biblical Binoculars program and the image of the binoculars which was included on the Bible reference badges was part of the Biblical binoculars chart.

Some of the traditional badge systems, such as the martial arts belt levels, have a single low level entry badge and badges are awarded sequentially as the skill level of the candidate increases until the ultimate level is reached.
Other traditional badge systems such as the scouting organisations’ badges have multiple starting levels and the badges can be gained in the order desired by the candidate. However some of the badges are at a higher level than others and can only be attained if particular lower level badges have already been gained.

In a similar way some of the digital badge systems are arranged in a linear progression manner with a single low level of entry and sequential task badges leading to a final badge and other systems are more like the scouting model and badges can be attained in many different areas without a rigid predetermined order.

At present the Bird watching with Biblical binoculars badges reward attendance and completion of specific tasks. I would like to design an overall badge for completion of the program but have not yet determined what the criteria for the badge would be.

I notice that the Tweet family have also started to earn some badges Tweetelle has gained the Mona Tweeter badge   for painting and Tweetil has gained the Smelly Science badge.

Digital Badges 2

Since The Tweet Family had made the decision to continue with NEST Ed for educating the Tweetlets Retweet has sometimes found it difficult to motivate the Tweetlets (especially Tweetil) to do the work she set for them.
Retweet had found that Tweetelle responded well to incentives to do the set work such as pretty pebbles but that Tweetil preferred to design his own learning experiences. Sometimes this method produced useful learning but at other times the results were far from useful from Retweet’s point of view and caused her to doubt her decision to continue with NEST Ed.
She consulted the Psych-Owl-Ogist and he gave her a lengthy lecture about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how the greater degree of self determination of the task generally increased the desire to complete it. You can read about the content of his lecture here

News travels very fast among Twitter Birds and so, especially as there is a Twitter hashtag for Digital Badges #digitalbadges, Retweet had heard about them and thought badges may provide the required motivation for the Tweetlets.

The Psych-Owl-Ogist showed the Tweetlets a set of badges and asked if they would like to be able to earn them.

Tweetelle’s eyes lit up and she touched each of the badges softly with her wing tip.
“Which ones would you like to earn?” asked the Psych-Owl-Ogist
“All of them!” said Tweetelle
“Even if you had to work hard to earn them?”

“And what about you, Tweetil? Would you like to earn these badges?” asked the Psych-Owl-Ogist.
“Nah – that’s girl stuff!” replied Tweetil.
“Well, not really…” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist “Look, there are badges for climbing, nest building, worm farming, camping out and for navigating by the stars. Which ones do you think you would like to earn?”

Tweetil pointed to the biggest, shiniest badge at the top of the chart. “That one!”

“You can earn that one when you have collected at least 10 of the badges” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist.

The Psych-Owl-Ogist winked at Retweet “It just might work!” he said.

Digital Badges

“Wow! Do you have homework too?” asked Sprite. “I thought there wouldn’t be any more homework when you grew up and finished with school”

Sprite is a 2E Twice Exceptional student – she is exceptionally gifted but with learning differences and disabilities which make it hard for her to demonstrate her knowledge and make her studies an exhausting experience for her.
She has a great thirst for knowledge and gathers so much by osmosis and intuition. She loves doing the research but hates writing the essay about it!
And she really hates doing homework! She tries pushing her homework sheets or her computer mouse into the mouse house, convoluted arguments about when the work is due and creative minimalization to get out of doing her homework.

“You don’t stop learning when you leave school” I said “I enjoy attending lectures and webinars and online courses and some of them involve homework. (If you click on the picture you can see an enlargement and read what my homework entails.)
And school is not the only place for you to learn – often you can gain knowledge and learn skills through experience and by contact with wise people.
In this course I am learning about digital badges and how they can be used to accredit and acknowledge learning and experience which might not be part of a regular school curriculum.

It is a two week course Digital Badges with Peter Rawsthorne
The Course overview is found at

And there are forums at

There is a Twitter hashtag for discussion at #digitalbadges

Of course the five over excitable Dabrowski Dogs had gathered around to listen to and comment on our conversation.

“I’m very proud of the blue ribbon I won for Dog with the Most Expressive Face!” said Emotional.

“That is an example of a real world badge” I said “We did discuss those as an introduction. But the main emphasis of the course will be on Digital Badges and how to earn them and how to create them.”

“If I book for my Paws for Poise cyber dog grooming parlour appointment online I get a badge after each visit and when I have had five appointments I get a free Lavender Lathers treatment” said Sensual “Is that the sort of thing you mean?”

“And you can go places and record it on Foursquare with your mobile phone and you can get free cups of coffee or become the mayor of the place!” chimed in Psycho Motor between bounces.

Predictably Intellectual was not very impressed with those suggestions.
“More to the point you can earn badges for studying subjects with Purdue University
or Khan Academy
or by contributing to Wikipedia

Have a look at
Mozilla Open badges
You can create a collection of your badges which you can then use in your resume or e-portfolio or on your blog.
You can also read about it at Sandbox
and at Google Groups Open Badges forum!forum/openbadges

“I am hoping to earn some badges by participating in this course and completing the exercises and writing blog posts about it” I said.

Imaginational was quick to see the value of the digital badges and the possibility for receiving credit for studies and experiences not usually part of a regular school curriculum.
“Sprite could get credit for her astronomy experiences and study which she could include in an e-portfolio or resume and could help her get into a course or even help her get a job later.”

“Yes, but what about the things I do that nobody would think of as a subject?” asked Sprite “Could I get a badge for organising marches or for giving lectures about De Bono’s 6 Action shoes?”

“I guess we will find out next week during the second webinar” I said.

“Well you need to go and try to get some badges and write up the experience and write about the data structure of the badge and whether it is in an hierarchy” barked Intellectual ” What you have written so far is all very nice but it doesn’t really fit the exercise criteria as set!”