Open Badges Brouhaha


Open Badges Brouhaha via Chris Lott of Ruminate: 

I am surprised that those who so often rail against the standardized recognition of the institution in the form of diplomas and certificates are immediately hostile toward what I see as essentially a blank space in which to experiment with something that is far more flexible in terms of recognizing a learner’s achievement and skill. I’m surprised that so many who self-identify as part of groups that have (or might as well have) badges or t-shirts or some other emblem of their membership would object to a project that is effectively capturing the same spirit.

Like pretty much any representation of this kind, it can be abused. Some object to badges because they aren’t “enough” or are too lightweight in the face of real institutional problems, saying things like “But if we actually want to implement institutional change, big, lasting, meaningful change, we need to think deeper. Think harder. Think braver.” Fair enough. IF you believe that the kind of deeper institutional change is possible. I don’t think it is. Many others agree. I think institutions are endemically resistant to the kind of innovation needed for change and that the only hope for that innovation to occur lies outside of those institutions (which doesn’t necessarily mean tearing them down, for various reasons). If you feel that way, then criticizing a mechanism that could at least work to supplement those institutional activities by recognizing activities beyond their bounds is actually the shallow, cowardly, foolhardy thinking.

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