Here is my response to the readings from Barry Fishman’s class –
Badges can be a great way to entice and motivate people, as seen with the Boy Scouts and various websites. But it is also a double-edged sword, since it can cause jealousy and people to lose their motivation. When a child sees a peer being rewarded while he/she is not, they may see it as his/her failure rather than the other student’s success. This is why grades are given to students in private. The solution of having the child choose if the badge is visible will be undone by peer-pressure. Students will be coerced into sharing their badges or be seen as failing.
This system of badges works in a voluntary environment, like the Boy Scouts and Mozilla, but would not be as successful in a scholastic and work setting. Imagine going to work one day and finding out your co-worker, whom you know slacks off, receives a badge that you have been working towards and you have do not get that recognition? This will be just as bad as being passed over for a promotion, but without the formal designation.
But if properly designed, badges can allow people to view their growth through approval in a tangible way. Knowing someone recognizes your hard work and success will motivate many people and most likely entice them to work harder. But this is already done in a work setting, by titles and pay, and a scholastic setting, with grades.
The argument that badges are credentials not assessment fails, since you receive the badge after being assessed in that subject. The badge would mean nothing if it just means you spent time doing something, without any growth.
This raises the question of how to properly leverage badges for motivation for students and workers. Perhaps this involves keeping badges private and used for major accomplishments, similar to diplomas, but in more of a focused nature. Or using it as a system for peoples to self-assess their skills. The key to a successful implementation rests in the ability to not alienate others and enhance the interest in a specific subject/s.
Can badges be used without causing jealousy?
Should badges be used as the only system to assess an individual’s success or effort?
Should badges be comparable to grades or diplomas, or stand-alone?
How can we ensure the badges do not become diluted and inundate schools and the workplace with unneeded and unhelpful information?
How do we ensure the badges actually correspond to real skills?
Will badges replace certifications?