And so I continue to think aloud Badges and Web Makers.
If you look at the badges at p2pu which is pilot project for the open badges stuff at Mozilla one thing stands out. They’re just text, and frankly, kinda boring. This might be enough for people who are used to static badges like those on StackOverflow but I think it completely fails to capture the attention of the next generation of Web Makers.
I have no information to back up that claim other than what I observe around ‘real’ badges at Cubs with the kids looking at them, guessing what they are, etc.
Two years ago, George Dinwiddle awarded me an ‘Agile Merit Badge’ at the Agile Conference. While cleaning up the basement from a partial flood I found it again and it clicked a few more things in place in my brain.
First, the they need to be image driven, not text based. Not the least bit because the world does not communicate in only one language. (Hurray for the arrogance of the English speaking world!) Secondly, through the use of steganography the information about issuer, what was done to earn, repudiation authority (thinking something like OCSP — OBSP?) and such could be embedded in it.
But more importantly, an image can be turned into something tangible; like a real badge. Something that could be stitched onto a physical backback or blanket.
Of course this badge thinking also lines up well with one of Mozilla’s goals around the Web Maker stuff I think. How do we get the next generation to learn about how the Internet is built so they can make it their own? Well, there is a global organization for youth that already has an established tradition of badges; Scouting.
One thing I would like to see MoFo do is work with Scouting to create a ‘World Wide Web’ badge. Here is the requirements for the closest thing that Scouts Canada has to this; the Computer Badge. It is very dated and desperately needs a refresh. Or better still, replacement by something else that is relevant to the kids in the program now and in the next decade or so.
I realize the Internet is more than just the web, but let’s face it, that is the mechanism for 90% of people’s interaction with it.
Off the top of my head, the requirements could be something like
- Explain what the following HTML elements do: …
- Explain the role of HTML, CSS, JS
- What are the dangers around Phishing, Pharming, Spam?
- Something about privacy
- Something about online bullying
- Create a simple homepage for yourself or your pack
That would give the basics of both Web Safety and Web Makerism to kids earning the badge. (It would also be an easy badge to complete in an evening at the local library or similar with lots of computers and X-Ray Goggles).
Badges for Scouts and Venturers could require higher levels of sophistication; CSS, Canvas, Video, etc.
There is actually precedent for organizations working with Scouts (well Canada at least) with the new Scuba badge (Scouts, Venturers) that was done in conjunction with PADI. That organization for that badge makes perfect sense. I think Mozilla makes perfect sense for something about the Web. And how awesome would a Mozilla head badge be?!?!
They know how to contact me; in the meanwhile I need to figure out who to contact in Scouts Canada about this. This idea could have legs.