As of January 1, 2018, stewardship of Hive Chicago will transition from Mozilla to a new local non-profit, the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX). Hive Chicago will have a temporary home at the Chicago Community Trust until the transition to CLX is complete. The Hive is still the Hive. Read more here.

Community STEM Digital Badge Ecosystem

...and you will know us by the trail of badges

The Community STEM Badge Ecosystem developing a shared, validated, digital badge ecosystem that recognizes out-of-school STEM learning across institutions and bridges the gap between formal and informal learning environments. C-STEMBE is expanding on the Hive-supported work of the Chicago STEM Museum Digital Badge Working Group, which developed and pilot tested an initial set of twelve badges representing four critical cross-disciplinary STEM skills (investigation, building knowledge, building models, and communicating science) at three levels of achievement.

In this new phase of the project the build out of the badge ecosystem will be completed, creating a total of  The work of the group will include completing the build out of the badges and STEM skill areas included in the ecosystem, addressing challenges that became apparent during the development of the pilot badging system, and pilot-testing solutions in a national context, with the end goal of creating a useable, useful, and educationally powerful STEM badge ecosystem. Working groups will focus on four challenge areas.

Challenge Areas

  • Equity Working Group
    • Explore ways to make technology-based badges accessible to all learners.
    • Increase student access to opportunities, helping them create pathways through their areas of interest.
  • Valuing Working Group
    • Understand how to integrate badges into learning activities so that students’ intrinsically value them as representations of their learning.
    • Engage the education and career communities around the value of badging and create a concrete benefits structure (internships, service learning hours, college admissions/job opportunities).
  • Integration Working Group
    • Explore and define the effective relationship between institutional level (content) badges and skills badges like C-STEM.
    • Collaborate with CCOL to integrate C-STEM badges within the CCOL framework.
  • Technology Working Group
    • Use the OBI Standard to support interoperability between badging platforms.
    • Enable organizations to choose the badging product that works best for each circumstance.
    • Work toward providing a seamless experience for organizations and learners.

As work progresses, it will be documented, reported back, and integrated into the process and technology development of the ecosystem as a whole, resulting in a system that is useful to learners, documents learning effectively, and is usable across multiple learning contexts.


Lead Organization:
Chicago Botanic Garden

Partner Organizations:
Project Exploration , Adler Planetarium , Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum , After School Matters , Youtopia , Anti-Cruelty Society , ForAllRubrics , Project SYNCERE , California Academy of Sciences , Iridescent , Voices for Illinois Children , American Museum of Natural History

Project Goal:
The goal of the Community STEM (digital) Badge Ecosystem is to build on the work of the Chicago STEM Museum Digital Badge Working Group -- further developing the ecosystem, expanding the scope nationally, and addressing the critical challenges of equity and access, including how badges can supports student learning, are valued by youth and adults, and can be integrated across institutions.

Project Tags:
2014 Round 1 RFP

Project Portfolio

  • documentation

    Community STEM Badge Ecosystem Blog

    Follow the progress of the C-STEMBE project on our blog

  • documentation


    Follow us on twitter

  • tools

    Youth Science Matrix

    Developed by Project Exploration, this matrix identifies and describes key science skills and competencies. C-STEMBE modified the framework to extend to all STEM and used the result as the basis for our badging ecosystem