To us, the great thing is: Badges can create the story — and even the actuality — of who a person is, and what they can do.
Rather than see badges as something of future benefit, this perspective shift sees them as offering transparency into, and thus freedom to radically expand, what teens are learning right now.
It’s this expansion that’s needed. Not some better way of documenting that you had the more-or-less-standard course in financial literacy or that you also did community theater and CodeSchool on the side.
Those are easy enough for an employer to uncover through a transcript, job app, or simple phone/email interview.
Expanding (radically) the learning available to teens will help undo the tragic realities of current youth unemployment.
When badges become a path toward a high school diploma, they’ll have that reach into everyman’s life that we look for in transformative tech like Facebook, Maps, iPhone, and Netflix.