If you're like me, you haven't earned a badge since the Brownies (or Cub Scouts) in second grade. But a growing chorus believes that badges are a very special tool for 21st-century learning. They're everything that a standardized test is not: a modular, personal recognition of a specific accomplishment or skill achieved in, or especially out of, school that can be displayed publicly.
As the Girl Scouts approach their 100-year anniversary in March, they are introducing a whole new lineup of badges. Way back in 1913, the organization had badges like Flyer and Electrician to represent those trailblazing professions. Today, girls live in vastly different times and have wider opportunities in business leadership. With that in mind, Jump worked with the Girl Scouts to develop a badge program to expose girls to cutting-edge fields such as web design and social innovation.
INQ's much-touted Facebook phones are now getting a location services layer powered by Foursquare. This move adds all sorts of additional powers to the phone without requiring running an app, and it's a real coup for Foursquare. But it does raise privacy issues.
Ghengis Khan shook up the world in the 12th Century, and now in the 21st Century Neal Stephenson's novel about him may shake up the publishing world: It's partly interactive, partly social media, and wholly digital.