Digital Badges – Virtual Machine

This past week has been an awesome demonstration of the power of collaboration. My previous post Badges in Career Tech Education has seen quite a bit of traffic since it was posted. In working with Laura Fleming, it became clear that others wanted to replicate the site in their environment. Taking Laura’s hard work, I cleaned up the database, made some tweaks, cast my magic wand, and built a virtual machine that you can use for your own environment. Take a look at Laura’s post below. I can’t begin to write anything that better expresses our enthusiasm for this system. It couldn’t have been done without Laura’s hard work and dedication. Laura’s blog is located at She can also be reached on Twitter @NMHS_lms. Laura’s post is below:

Digital Badges: get your virtual machine here!

I am so pleased, and very humbled, by the attention my digital badge platform has received since I set it up just a few short weeks ago.  Although I created it for the staff of New Milford High School, I decided to open it out to see if anyone else would be interested in the concept. It has been wonderful – I have had people far and wide register on the site.

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This tells me that people are eager to push professional learning forward, and perhaps to an extent that is not fully recognized elsewhere. I believe that the amount of interest I have had in this platform shows what educators in the digital age really want out of their professional learning and gives us a big clue about where it’s going and what is possible!

The numbers taking an interest right from the start prompted me to offer a ‘clone’ of the platform to anyone who wanted to take it and use it in their own school or district. In response to my ‘Giving It All Away’ post, I have been astonished by the number of  inquiries I have gotten about replicating the platform. I have copied just a few of the great messages I have received in response to that offer.

And if you read past the lovely messages below, you will see that I am now able, because of a free offer of help from a great professional, to take the offer of a ‘clone’ of the platform a giant step further forward!

I would LOVE access to your badging system files.  You are a rockstar!!!  Thank you for paying it forward :)

I am an educator residing in Columbia, MO. Is it possible for me to access Worlds of Learning or must I be a New Milford faculty member?

I am completely in awe of what you have done at New Milford. I would love to implement a similar program at my school. Any information you are willing to share for how to set up a badge program of my own would be like an early Christmas gift.

I love your badges for professional learning site and would love to implement something similar in our school district.  I read in your blog that you are willing to share the files and database! What a tremendous offer- one we would love to take you up on!


I was super excited to read the article about your Digital Badge system, in the latest School Library Journal.  I see that you offer to help others to create a district system, using your templates and documents.  I’d love to see that material and adapt it to my current situation.  I’ve been looking around to see the best way to create and maintain a system for both staff and students digital badge work.

Currently, I don’t have a WordPress, though I’m using Dreamweaver to maintain a library website.  I notice that BadgeOS is a wordpress plug-in; I’m not too familiar to know if that means the site has to be WordPress based to use.

You’ve created a wonderful system; I look forward to hearing from you.

I am very interested in learning more about your badges for school.  I just recently became the Technology specialist after being in the classroom for 10 years.  I have no true technical education —only what I have taught myself.

I am so excited that you would be willing to share all of your hard work with others.  I am currently working at a high school in NJ where we will be issuing digital badges to our students for their coursework in MOOCs and similar learning environments.  I am also interested in developing a system like your “Worlds of Learning” for our teachers.  It would be great not to have to reinvent the wheel, so if you could allow me to have access to your files/database/etc., I would appreciate it so much!

Trying to get a teacher PD system set up on WordPress – ran across yours and loved it – thanks for trail blazing.

Your platform is far superior to any that I have seen, and much better than anything I could have created on my own.

If you haven’t been inundated with requests since your site was featured in, I would love to request the files and databases for your website as offered on your blog.  I will, of course, send you a link to our iteration of the program and keep anything that I develop open for all to share as well.

Laura, you are my hero. I was just reading your blog post on the digital badge professional learning platform you developed, all the while thinking, “it is going to take me a while to figure all  this out.” Then I read your next blog post, and you are offering to give it all away for free! Please and thank you send me the files and database for your website!

I can’t believe my luck! I’ve been fan-girling over you for a couple of days now for doing what I wanted to do but never got to. I would be thrilled to receive copies of your files. Thanks so much for sharing your work and helping smooth the way!

Although the response to this platform has exceeded my greatest expectations, I also recognize that as much as people want to implement this system in their district, there is still very much a learning curve for many people in getting it up and running.  To get it working, you have to have a site in WordPress, be able to install my files and go into the database to manipulate them.  For many, this has understandably posed quite a challenge.

I am happy to say that I was recently contacted by one of santa’s elves, otherwise known as John Case.  John is the Technology Coordinator for the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and was doing some research about how to get administrators interested in building a PLN using Twitter or some other sort of social media tools. While reading my principal Eric Sheninger’s blog, he came across the article about our digital badge system.  He expressed interest in implementing a digital badge system at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, and he blogged about it on his School Tech Tools blog.   John took it upon himself to clean up my database files that I have been offering but has taken it upon himself to turn my platform into a ‘virtual machine’ that will enable districts to more easily build their own badge infrastructure and get it working on their own school, college or district network.

The files can be downloaded here!

The instructions to take the virtual machines files and convert them to be used to create your own badges environment can be found here. The instructions will probably require the assistance of your network administrator, especially if you wish to use this on the school/corporate network.

Please get permission from your network administrator before beginning, as it may violate user and/or network agreements.

I can’t thank John enough for putting all of this together and for his willingness to share his tech skills.  John has been nominated for  the Technology Coordinator Innovator Award for Ohio’s eTech conference in January. Please consider voting for him here.  John can also be found on Twitter:

It is my hope that, with John’s help, more districts will easily be able to implement our digital badge professional learning platform.


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