The spread of a seemingly playful alternative to traditional diplomas, inspired by Boy Scout achievement patches and video-game power-ups, suggests that the standard certification system no longer works in today’s fast-changing job market.
Educational upstarts across the Web are adopting systems of “badges” to certify skills and abilities. If scouting focuses on outdoorsy skills like tying knots, these badges denote areas employers might look for, like mentorship or digital video editing. Many of the new digital badges are easy to attain—intentionally so—to keep students motivated, while others signal mastery of fine-grained skills that are not formally recognized in a traditional classroom.
At the free online-education provider Khan Academy, for instance, students get a “Great Listener” badge for watching 30 minutes of videos from its collection of thousands of short educational clips. With enough of those badges, paired with badges earned for passing standardized tests administered on the site, users can earn the distinction of “Master of Algebra” or other “Challenge Patches.”
Adafruit offers fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. Please visit our badge section to purchase badges or contact us for more information on how educators can participate. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. From the “I CAN USE A LASER CUTTER” or “I CAN SOLDER” to “I LEARNED MICRO-CONTROLLERS” Adafruit has designed open-source badges to reward students, beginners and individuals who are learning with Adafruit products.