I read this article: The Quiet Revolution in Open Education and then I read this article: We do in fact need some Stinkin Badges in which the author addresses this comment (which I also laughed at):

Dear Mr. Carey,
I sincerely hope you are operated on by a surgeon and cared for by a nurse with a “mozilla open badge” as their source of legitimacy in the field.  When you sue for malpractice I similarly hope your attorney just kind of figured law out on her own. Should be lots of good results.

I had to comment on the comments because I think that people are missing the core idea of badges.

Pete May 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm I see two challenges to this system. 1) Cheating. Badges are fine but I’m sure hackers can get around it and anyone can log in under a users name. 2) Where is the affective learning? It may be great at credentialing certain specific skills and knowledge but what about intangible, hard to measure outcomes that good schools can produce like critical thinking, collaboration skills and so forth.

In response to the “cheating argument”, I would like to point to an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education “The Shadow Scholar” (http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/125329/). Or how about the fact that the German Defense Minister plagiarized his PhD and recently resigned after the scandal that erupted. People cheat at life, they’ll cheat at badges just like they cheat in universities. This is a total NON argument.

As for critical thinking, collaboration skills and so forth, are you kidding? The Online World possess plenty of opportunities to advance exactly those skills. And those skills can be measured as well, as the pilot badge system from Mozilla and P2PU is clearly defining. There are badges for participation, collaboration and the like that multiple peers award you, and if you don’t get multiple peers to assign you a badge (multiple as in more than one), you don’t get the badge.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we (the education activists out here) aren’t looking to disband learning institutions, we’re looking to change the system for the better. The fact is education is changing because of new tools and techniques available to both teachers and learners. The whole ideas of standardized testing and “shut up and listen” learning have proven to be ineffective. It’s just fact.

The idea behind badges is to give people credit for things they learn, even when learning doesn’t happen in a traditional school environment. Badges will potentially be smaller segments of information (ie Badge in CPR as opposed to a Badge in Nursing). So you have a badge in CPR, no, you aren’t a nurse, but you can potentially save someones life and it’s a skill that should be recognized!

Sherman DornMay 18, 2011 at 11:20 am Conceptually, this could be seen as the potential to unbundle course credits (which are supposed to signal accomplishments in an academic program).
It’s a good point that unbundling degrees wasn’t successful (associates degrees mean exactly nothing, as do vocational certificates). The problem is that skills aren’t being recognized and lack of skills still are based on a degree. There are plenty of smart, talented and skilled people out there that didn’t have the benefit of money and thus learned on their own. They don’t have a degree from a higher learning institution and some are not getting jobs that suit their skills because of the lack of degree. Then there are people who had the benefit of wealth, went to a top name school, cheated or scraped by, and they’re earning top dollar.

There are more complicated implications to a program like this. Another comment said:

Will the open education resource become a viable alternative to a faltering, if not failing, educational system for the middle-class and working-class children in our society?  Highly unlikely as many of these students don’t have access to online educational resources, nor do they have a vision of using education to escape their current situation.

Yes, we have an internet literacy problem, an internet access problem, some of us are working on that. And yes it’s scary that, as a society, we’re failing our youth by NOT giving them that vision that education will help them escape their current situation. But this is a problem that badges also seeks to address, in my opinion. Collecting badges is supposed to be FUN. It’s adding a game element to learning, and I don’t see how that can be painted as negative. There isn’t anyone who didn’t play Memory to help them learn something or do quiz games with their friends before a big test. Games engage people, adults and children alike, and they can be used as an incentive to learn.

Education needs an overhaul. Students are graduating without learning how to read and write and we’re letting it happen. To me, badges seems like a pretty good way to catalog your learning, show other people that you’re learning and inspire learning. It’s a good way to showcase your knowledge in an easy to understand form. I’m pretty sure that exactly no one has ever looked at my actual college transcripts. I have a BA in Digital Graphics and am earning a MA in Media and Education. What do you know about those degrees? Did you know that I took Statistics and did well? Or that I have taken 6 different Art History classes? Or what about that I won a debate on Human Sexuality in Primitive Cultures?

With badges, you would know more about my education, I would be apt to collecting as many badges as possible, thereby igniting a passion to learn. It’s a good idea, and I think people need to get on board with the fact that education is changing.

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