Kiwi Connexion is a spirituality project and outreach of the eLearning Centre, Trinity@Waiake, and it is funded by a grant from East Coast Bays Methodist Parish, Auckland, New Zealand. Different institutions from Australia and New Zealand are taking part in the project. Kiwi Connexion is a personal learning space and it’s open to wisdom seekers and lifelong learners of theology and spirituality. It offers users extensive resources, a possibility to create new ones, browse micro-moocs and social learning projects. The kiwiconnexion.nz ePortfolio/website was officially launched in January 2016.
Rev Dr David Bell, founder and director of kiwiconnexion.nz, tells how some participants had been using an ePortfolio based on Mahara for their formal studies and wanted to continue using it for informal personal development and include wider church resources development to the ePortfolio. “Our need was to carry forward any badges they had already earned, and develop our own criteria for new badging opportunities better suited to a voluntary professional development organisation.”
Kiwi Connexion chose Open Badge Factory as their badge designing and issuing platform. With OBF, a tight integration between the badge platform and their Mahara instance was also possible. David says they value OBF’s features because as a cloud-service, it is simple in design and easy to operate.
David Bell, reverend and doctor,
“There is initially surprise and then a sense of delight that acknowledgement has been made.”
Kiwi Connexion’s Open Badge strategy is quite straightforward; it’s simple, open-ended and flexible. “We design badges to meet the emergent needs of the faith-communities we serve,” David explains. They have several projects they issue badges for and some of the badges are called for example Community Volunteer, Church Ambassador, Church Muso (musician), Community Theologian and Live-on-Air presenter. More information can be found here.
Present and Future
Kiwi Connexion’s badge earners like the concept of Open Badges and are naturally pleased to receive acknowledgment for the work they do. Most of the Kiwi Connexion badge earners belong to the 55+ age group and sharing their Open Badges to Open Badge Passport or elsewhere online hasn’t been a priority but this will hopefully change during time. “Digitally produced recognition is a perfect fit for the whole Kiwi Connexion experience and ethos,” David says.
David tells that they are planning on releasing a new Open Badge in the next few months for participants to earn and the future of Open Badges as a part of kiwiconnexion.nz looks very bright as they are doing a lot of Mahara content creation.