Introducing Microsoft Digital Badges in Chicago

 |   MSFT Chicago Staff

In partnership with the Digital Youth Network (DYN), Microsoft Chicago is pleased to announce the creation of 5 Microsoft digital badges in the Chicago City of Learning (CCoL) initiative. These new badge playlists were rolled out by the Digital Youth Network throughout June and are being featured in the CPS Connects June Playlist.

The Chicago City of Learning initiative, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, is an opportunity for Chicago students to participate in major educational programs that support connected learning for youth. Microsoft is excited to participate in this forward-thinking initiative as part of our STEM and STEAM initiatives. This is a great way to boost youth learning and provide an interactive means of connecting more people to our rich training resources. By working to integrate select training resources into the CCOL system, Microsoft is one of the first major corporations to sponsor CCOL badges with existing online programs that are broadly available.

One of the exciting parts of the Digital Badging program is that students can get badges for a variety of programs, beyond the digital scope. Are you on a football team? Volunteering at a nursing home? Taking a ballet class? There’s a badge for that. By getting involved in a multitude of activities, students are broadening their horizons, and that’s great for demonstrating skills for future college and careers. Digital Badges offer students something tangible in return — a type of “digital resume,” so to speak. This program identifies all types of youth learning opportunities in the city, aggregating them into a kid-friendly website used by all public school children. Learners’ achievements are then rewarded by awarding digital badges for successful completion of programs. Digital Badges can then be shared with family, friends, teachers, or future employers.

We’re excited to launch our first Digital Badges as part of our investments in STEM education and community building. YouthSpark’s global initiative has been supporting students in STEM through various partnerships in our communities, from local programs like CCOL to national ones like Girls Who Code. As “V-1” of our digital badging program begins, we look forward to the opportunities presented to Chicago’s students now and in the future.

Students who participate in these Microsoft-sponsored programs can now carry a Digital Badge with them as proof that they have done great work in computer science. Participating programs include:

As an added bonus, Microsoft is working with the Digital Youth Network, inviting students who complete all the computer science badges to tour our Microsoft Technology Center and speak to leaders in the industry directly.

Looking forward, Microsoft is hoping to further this in all Cities of Learning initiatives nationwide, beyond Chicago to Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. We are continually looking for additional programs to add to the CCoL badges and will update you via social media as we bring new programs onboard with CCoL.

To sign up, students and parents can create an account with Chicago City of Learning.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship and @MSFTChicago.

If you have questions, contact our Microsoft Civic Tech Fellow Maira Khwaja at v-makhw@microsoft.com.

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