I have very high expectations for badges in foreign languages. I envision a community of practice in which participants will be proud to share their badges online, and where a sense of fun and friendly competition will motivate language professionals to create their own online personal learning networks (PLNs). By the same token, I hope badges are taken seriously and honored by employers, school administrators and professional language organizations. Achieving this outcome will take increased effort from badge issuers to ensure the badges represent current language teaching skills and that the workshops are of the highest professional quality.
In the long-term, badges for language educators could become an alternative credentialing system that is shared across state lines. However, my immediate aim is to establish badges as a credible, evidence-based, transparent form of documenting and displaying continuing education and professional development efforts by current and prospective K-16 teachers. Once this goal is achieved, the inherent value of badges becomes limitless.
Evan Rubin is Director of Instructional Technology at the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC).