Hi, all. I'm Carla Arena, a Brazilian educator.
I've been following the discussions about badges with great interest, and just from the answers here, it is clear to me that the badges system has been much tied to cultural aspects. I can see it a strong feature of the American society, for example, but in Brazil this hasn't been a trend for a long time, except in the military and for scouts (which is not such a huge movement as in other countries). In fact, I have seen this happening much more frequently nowadays, with my kids getting achievement certificates.
In my case, as this was not part of my childhood and teenage years, I can't really recall getting any badges...
However, one interesting experience I've had very recently was in a site http://www.smore.com/u/carlaarena , a platform where you can create very well-designed flyers, invitations, about pages very easily. There, I started earning Interesting badges:
Get visits from 10 different countries.
One month after publishing a flyer, get 50 new visits.
Get 1,000 visits to an event flyer.
Get 100 visits from iPhones, iPads and iPods.
They go straight to my page
I didn't know in advance that I was going to get those badges; they were unlocked as visitors checked my page.
So, one question that springs to my mind is: should the badge criteria be known in advance or is it interesting to have the surprise element, as well? When do participants need to know about it in advance and when does it make sense to keep it as a surprise element in the process?
I've also have gotten badges for participating in online activities and for presenting in webinars. In this case, the badges were available in different formats for us to choose and post in our blogs: I've kept some of them on my blog sidebar, but I tend to take them off after a while, for I don't want to keep it visually polluted, as each badge has a different design approach.
Thanks, Peter, for getting us started and thinking about all this badge issue. I'm really considering adding the badge element to a professional development digital literacies online session I'm designing for Brazilian educators.
Cheers from Brasilia,