Civics, digital badges and alternative assessment: Preparing students to be engaged citizens

I have a new working paper on digital badge and civics released today as part of CIRCLE’s working paper series.  The paper explores digital badges and alternative assessments for civic skills, knowledge, and dispositions and is entitled “New and Alternative Assessments, Digital Badges, and Civics: An Overview of Emerging Themes and Promising Directions.” It also considers digital badges as well as ePortfolios, rubrics, games, simulations, and other assessment and learning tools that might expand options for those committed to improving civic education. The working paper is also summarized in an online presentation.


Yochai Benkler

My colleague Hans Klien at Georgia Tech recommended this book and I find that Benkler’s research interests are closely aligned with my own.

Wealth of Networks

Yochai Benkler -  Yale Law School –

Research interests

  • General theoretical problems
    • Commons-based information production and exchange 
      • sustainability and comparative efficiency  
    • Freedom, justice, and the organization of information
      on nonproprietary principles
      • Normative analysis of the implications of commons-based
        and exchange of information and culture

  • Specific problem areas
    • Peer-production of information and culture in the networked

    • Large-scale effective sharing of privately owned goods and

    • Open wireless communications
    • Uses of non-proprietary production models for development and
      global redistribution

    • Free software
    • Free and open science: scientific publication models; open
      science organizational models


A Clash of Values

On Thursday, Russ Newman of Free Press and Susie Lindsay of the Berkman Center presented as part of the UMASS Lowell’sNew Directions luncheon series.  The series is designed to bring thinkers and practitioners in the fields of new media and technology to the Lowell community.  This particular presentation wrapped up the 2005-2006 series.

Both speakers provided great background and activity in the realm of communication’s policy and participants were enaged in disucssing some of the key point  highlighted.

For me, one of the most valauable insights came from Susie Lindsay and how she defined the various ages of “television” (broadcast, cable, Internet) and their varying value priorities.  I’ve misplaced my notebook for the time being and with it the specifics of what the values in each era are.  But the key thought was the idea that current communication battles are reflective of these clash of values (i.e; universal access vs. innovation).

I have thought for a while that the variety of regulatory environments (which I would also include telephony and sattelite) each brought with it a separate set of business practices and public give backs that have been embedded in the ways companies, communities and indivdiuals have come to expect and experience their variety of communication services.

Looking at these battles from a value perspective helped me in attaching language to thoughts I’ve had for some time.  Thanks Susie.