A C2C Badge?

A participant at C2C's 2011Fayetteville workshop made this badge.

A participant at C2C’s 2011 Fayetteville workshop made this badge.

One of the introductory activities we’ve been doing in our “Collections Care Basics” workshops is making badges with small copper sheets, an adhesive pin-back, sharpie pens, and fingerprints. The intended object of this exercise was to send each participant home with a souvenir lesson of the sensitivity of metals to hand oils—a persistent reminder to wear gloves whenever handling metal artifacts.

Badges are currently a hot topic of learning theory and possibly have the potential to challenge standardized learning credentials. Apparently, the C2C badge idea was ahead of its time and could serve, not only as a proper handling reminder, but also as an educational credential.

Recently, the American Alliance of Museums posted a discussion on the potential of badges for museums and described the badge programs of 2 museum organizations—one of which sees value in badges as a means to motivate audience engagement. The AAM post refers to badges both as something 3D, like those participants have produced in our workshops, and as a digital icon that participants receive and could potentially include in a signature (as many professionals now do with degrees or affiliations).

Would a badge from your institution motivate participants to be more engaged with exhibits and programs? Would an actual or digital badge or both be more effective? What types of badges might work? Institutional “Explorer” or local history “Expert” are two possibilities.

Digital badge systems have some demonstrated success as motivators in gaming arenas, in particular, and 3D merit badges have long been a part of activities like scouting. Less certain is the potential use of badges as signifiers of skill or educational credentials. If many organizations (like museums and C2C) offer badges as awards to participants for learning accomplishments, would the available multiplicity allow individual badges to have any meaning or would the quantity a person could accumulate generate the most credit?

Our organization could start offering “Collections Concepts Mastery” badges and “Disaster Preparedness” badges for participation and even distinctive ones for demonstrated skills and achievements in those areas. As a potential or actual C2C participant, would these be motivational? Would seeing this type of digital badge in an acquaintance’s email signature line heighten your respect for that person in any way? In other words, would a digital C2C badge serve as a meaningful professional credential?

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About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on January 8, 2013, in collections care, Connecting to Collections, museums, public programs, workshops and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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