Critical Thinking, The Hype Cycle, and The Cult of Instructional Technology

green-badge-1156035I’ve been researching digital badging for several weeks now for one of my master’s courses. I’ve learned a lot about digital badges, but what I’ve really come away with in my research is that criticizing a piece of technology in it’s early stages that companies tell us is the next big thing is like criticizing your coworker’s mom.

I’ve seen very little critical thinking in the articles, videos, and essays I’ve read about digital badges. I’ve seen even less consumer response.

Educause gives a nice, unbiased overview covering what digital badges are, potential problems, and how they might be used in educational and corporate settings.

The lack of debate about badges is something that worries me.  It was difficult to find articles critical of badging.  The one-sidedness also gives the appearance that badging may be another trend in the hype cycle when coupled with the fact that there was little to no representation on the part of the consumer and relatively little interest based upon the number of views received by professional videos about badging posted on YouTube. There are many loud voices, and most of them are people who create badges. There needs to be a  meaningful dialogue where questions of validity, privacy, and usefulness can be adequately debated.

I’m not going to list the problems I see with digital badging, because that’s not what this post is about. This post is a reminder to think critically, and continually test the hype cycle.

If you have any thoughts/opinions/rants, feel free to start the dialogue in the comments section.

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