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As you all know, I can’t stop talking about BadgeKit, the product we’re working on for a beta release in early March. As it turns out, folks are starting to line up to get in on the BadgeKit action and many of them are cities who would like to bring the Summer of Learning experience, like the one Mozilla collaborated on with the city of Chicago in 2013, to their respective neighborhoods. 

So with several different cities expressing interest for a summer 2014 rollout, we started to think, what would Cities of Learning 2014 look like built on top of BadgeKit?

Chicago was definitely unique as they were the guinea pig for the tools we’re now evolving and refactoring to form the base of BadgeKit. But as more and more cities line up, we think there’s an opportunity for a shared model among cities in which cities leverage one another’s content through a common technical infrastructure powered by BadgeKit. 

Rather than Milwaukee, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Portland, having their own Summer of Learning sites that are silo-ed and independent, what if we provided cities with the option to leverage one another’s learning content and badging experiences? That would essentially multiply the learning pathways and engagement opportunities for their community of learners. How exciting would that be; for a learner in Milwaukee to check out all the cool things going on in the city of Portland, or LA or Chicago?

Not only that, the shared technical infrastructure could provide multiple benefits for cities such as the following:

  • Through sharing a common framework, cities can reduce complexity and create turnkey badging solutions
  • Cities are provided with an opportunity to connect with multiple organizations and networks, not to mention other cities
  • A shared framework can reduce costs
  • Cities can share resources, diversify content and create more badging experiences for their learners
  • Cities can play a pivotal role in investing in building the foundation for a badging system that can be expanded to more cities and organizations

But Mozilla cannot do this on our own. We must enlist partners within our network that can help coordinate the complex web of working with city governments and the unique needs of each city locality. In addition to providing a sound software infrastructure to support multiple city needs, we need to provide adequate training and support for cities to implement and execute. 

As such we are working closely with the MacArthur foundation and our Chicago Summer of Learning partner in crime, Digital Youth Network, to plan out the details of the BadgeKit for Cities shared infrastructure. Our first BadgeKit for cities guinea pig will be the city of Chicago yet again, this time under the name, Chicago City of Learning (CCOL)

CCOL will be testing out their next evolution of CSOL in April to coincide with Chicago Public School’s spring break. At this point BadgeKit will be plugging in and integrating with the CCOL site and powering its badging experiences.

From there we hope to continue to add additional cities and expand on the shared infrastructure to include several different cities across the US and North America, multiplying the learning and engagement opportunities for learners at a greater scale. 

Details around Cities of Learning are starting to crystalize and we’ll continue to provide updates as we go along. We’re excited for all that’s ahead in 2014 and thrilled to grow and scale our Chicago Summer of Learning 2013 experience. 

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