It seems to me that there is something vitally important missing from this whole badges concept - the reputation of the teacher. The reputation of the software or human teacher which awards the badge is paramount in determining the value of the badge as a means of showing skills acquired. And the best assessors of the quality of the teacher is the employer, parent and student. There needs to be a badges system for teachers if a badges system is to work at all.
Below is a concept diagram of the inter-relationship between teacher, student and employer in the current credentializing system.
The student is happy with how they have been able to apply their learning to their employment and employment prospects
The employer is happy with skills and knowledge of student
The student is assessed to have aquired skills and knowledge from a teacher
A credential has been given and the teacher's reputation has been enhanced.
I am proposing here a system like the one below:
A "badges for teachers" system would track a person's teachers and then having employers assess the skill set of the employee and then award a badge to that set of teachers and, over time, the teachers of higher quality would acquire more badges and hence a greater reputation amongst employers. Employers would be able to give subject specific badges (eg: math) to indicate that the employee has a good overall knowledge of maths. All of the employee's teachers would receive the collective badge. If an employer sends an employee off to learn something specific then they can award a badge for that skill directly to that teacher. By awarding the badge to the teachers the employer is also reinforcing the credential of the employee.
For school teachers these badges could be awarded by parents up to a certain age, say 16, and then awarded by the students themselves. Parents and students would be able to award badges to individual teachers or to a school of teachers in a given year. For tertiary teachers these badges would be awarded by students only.
The value of the badges awarded by the teacher is related to the number of badges the teacher has received. Earning badges from good teachers becomes more valuable over time as the teacher receives more badges. This would allow for parents to 'invest' in their child's education by selecting teachers they feel would be better for their child in the long run.
Running parallel to this system could be one for teachers awarding badges to teachers to indicate collegiality and professionalism to further enhance the reputation of the teacher.
I'm not sure whether this is a new idea but I am sure there is more work to be done on this idea, so I would appreciate any feedback at all, constructive or otherwise.