Saturday, February 8, 2014

Digital Badges vs Advanced Degrees

I recently have been looking at the digital badge system, inspired by a recent hangout with Ben Wilkoff, in place of receiving an advanced degree. I have several reservations about this because I feel the current labor system is still stuck in the era of paper demonstrating what a person knows. This is an era where computer programs scan resumes for certain key words before offering anyone an interview. This makes me very wary because I don't have an advanced degree and therefore the system sometimes overlooks me. Would having digital badges change this? Also, I am concerned about the "promise" that badges could offer people. The reason I say this is that I am a first generation college graduate for my family. I have accrued tons of debt but still work in positions that don't even cover my debt. I do not regret my decision to get a bachelors degree but to be told that I need to pay for another degree to move up in the "system" is very frustrating. I feel as though we are creating whole generation of indentured servants because we have to be in enormous amounts of debt just to survive.

So, now that I have expressed some of my concerns I now want to express some of my hopes that a digital badge system could provide. I believe digital badges could give people a chance to move up in a world that blocks them currently. I know a person at the library I volunteer at who can't move up because he doesn't have a master's degree. He is one of the smartest people I know and if a badge system was created that allowed him to move up because of his proven skill set he could implement some real change. I feel the badge system could create truly life long learners. I love the idea of a masters program because it's an opportunity to learn about something I am passionate about. I don't know how much learning could occur because I would have to work full time and probably plus another job to be able to pay for such a program. A digital badge system could allow me to chose what I see as career opportunities and not have to worry about accruing massive debt. Finally, I hope a digital badge system would finally get the right people in the right job. Our current system allows people who say the right thing,get the right degree, and know the right people to advance. It would be nice when applying for a job a person submits their references, a link to their badges, and finally has an interview. This could help potentially curb the corruption that is plaguing our country right now.

So, where do I go from here? Well, I did sign up for the Mozilla badges backpack and received my first badge for completing the short quiz on badges. I would like to explore with district personal about creating badges for people who serve on the Google Governance committee or are Google Champions within DPS. I will continue to learn as much as I can and seek out every opportunity I can to learn something to help out. Finally, I will try to share my knowledge with others. This is one of the main reasons I started this blog so that I can provide another avenue to share my knowledge but to also learn as well.