Digital On-Ramps among 30 winners of Digital Media Learning competition, to build standardized badging system for digital literacy

March 9, 2012

Digital On-Ramps (DOR), a city-wide collaboration to use technology to improve workforce development led by Lisa Nutter, was one of 30 winners in the Digital Media Learning (DML) Competition held last week.

The winning proposal outlines the creation of a badging system which would signify various levels, or “on ramps,” of digital literacy and technical proficiency.

In the final stage of the DML competition, DOR was partnered with Pragmatic Solutions, a software development company that will help DOR execute the badging concept, according to an email announcement from Lisa Nutter, the mayor’s wife, who discussed the program with Technically Philly last month. The group will receive $200,000 to get them started.

According to the proposal, a standardized system would provide numerous employment advantages:

DOR would have the capacity to capture and preserve the effort that people put forward toward reaching their goals. These permanent, independently maintained, portable badges could be easily shared among prospective schools, programs, or employers. Most importantly, badges would create systemic efficiencies, ensuring that people do not lose valuable time and effort if life-disrupting events cause them to start, stop, and re-start efforts to improve their lives.

DOR also plans to test the badging system on 900 students from two area high schools participating in the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. (PAI) Post-Secondary and Career Readiness (PSCR) Course, which teaches high schools students post-secondary skills.

Organizations contributing to the initiative include the Philadelphia Academies, Inc., Urban Affairs Coalition, Drexel University, the Philadelphia Youth Network, Pragmatic Solutions, and the City of Philadelphia.

The DOR initiative was announced last month alongside an IBM report commissioned by the city of Philadelphia that analyzed the digital literacy in Philadelphia. The report found that by 2030, an estimated 600,000 Philadelphians will lack basic skills needed to work in a technology-inclusive economy, as Technically Philly reported.

Digital On-Ramps with the help of Pragmatic Solutions will get “right to work on this on Monday,” said Nutter in the email. That’s today.

Technically Philly