Software for mobile assessment, in and out of the classroom.

Archive for May, 2012

ForAllBadges for Hackasaurus

Hackasaurus Supergirl

As a pilot test of ForAllBadges we’ve implemented support for issuing Hackasaurus badges. For folks not already familiar with Hackasaurus, it is a fantastic open source project developed by Mozilla that is part of their effort to build a generation of webmakers. A central component of their project are events called Hack jams that “make hacking and digital literacy accessible, social and fun.” It is a really nice first pilot for us, since it has a small and well-defined badge system included as part of their Hacktivity kit (much thanks to Daniel Hickey for directing me to Hackasaurus as a great resource for experimenting with badges).

As part of a Hack jam participants are able to collect paper badges. As described in the Hacktivity Kit:

At the end of a module, participants will “pledge” or apply for badges to gain specific super powers. They must successfully complete the pledged task in front of a peer mentor or facilitator who will award them the badge to show they’ve earned their superpower.

Our goal is to implement digital badges in a way that enhances the Hack jam experience and also integrates with Mozilla’s Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI). Integrating technology into a live interactive experience so that it doesn’t interfere with the fun, is a lot harder than you might think at first. So we’re hoping to get feedback on our design and improve the implementation over time.

Our implementation of ForAllBadges for Hackasaurus has two components:

  • A mobile app for use by facilitators and peer mentors at the Hack jam while wandering around and interacting with participants. We’re thinking that a BYOT (“Bring-your-own-technology”) approach will be most practical. Currently we support iOS devices (iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads) but we are planning to add support for more platforms.
  • A browser based application for use by participants, facilitators, peer mentors and organizers for managing badges and participants, including publishing badges to the OBI Backpack.

Screenshots of Mobile App

View Participants

Add Participant with Photo

Choose Badge to Award

Add Evidence and Comments

Issue a Custom Badge with Custom Badge Details

Screenshots of Website

For now we have defined three roles for the website:

Participants can view the “Badge Board” with the badges that have been issued to all the participants. They can view the details of badges and send their own badges to their Mozilla Badge Backpack.

Facilitators can view and issue participants’ badges. They can also administer participant information.

Administrators can do every thing a facilitator can do and also can manage information about events, facilitators and participants.

Our Implementation
Both the website and the mobile app are written using HTML5. The mobile app uses the open source PhoneGap platform. The website uses Python/Django/Javascript. For now the mobile app only works online and you need internet access. With our ForAllSchools platform we can provide offline access too, but for a Hack jam it seems better to keep all the information synchronized and internet access has to be available for the Hack jam anyhow.

Feedback

We’re posting this information because we’re interested in getting feedback. Please let us know your thoughts! Also if you’re organizing a Hackasaurus event and want to try out our software, just let us know and we’ll get you set up.

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