An important part of the S2R design was for the badges to be valuable for the students who would earn them. From the beginning, Makewaves and DigitalME hoped to build a network of sports and journalism organizations, as well as higher education institutions and other employers who would recognize the badges officially to ensure that students would be able to present the badges to gain opportunities in later education and jobs. Their partners have told them this would be valuable: “Both students and teachers have said that endorsement by industry and media representatives would make the badges more appealing and provide more perceived weight in terms of credentials.” (HASTAC Q&A)
S2R encountered a problem when talking to sports and journalistic stakeholders that will likely become familiar to badge projects in the early years of using the technology:
It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.. in that the partners we’ve spoken to, media organizations as an example of who would be ideal to endorse the badges, want to see young people going through the program and earning the badges before they would endorse it, but similarly the schools want that endorsement piece in place before they would often times engage with the project.” (DPD Follow-up Interview)
In short, they found that industry partners hoped for a proof of the value of the badge system before committing to endorsement. The other partners in the system, the schools, didn’t want to dedicate limited time and resources to programs with uncertain value. Additionally, schools that did participate found it difficult to arrange the actual reporting experiences for students on their own.
S2R came across a path to move through this roadblock by engaging with education centers based in smaller local sports clubs. A new grant program is funding the application of the S2R program in these clubs, to provide young people with local hubs that help them access reporting opportunities. In some cases, the sports clubs are big names in their local communities that their student audience already cared for greatly.
One example partner is the Oval, a venerated cricket ground in south London. The Oval will run the badge program, culminating in a reporting opportunity using student journalists at a professional cricket test. The local events still promise high stakes action between sports clubs young people cared about, adding value to the program. These local organizations had more freedom to provide opportunities for students and cooperate with their neighborhood schools, so S2R could gain greater headway with them than with national organizations at an early stage.
HASTAC. (n.d.). Project Q&A With: S2R Medals Project.Retrieved September 10, 2014 from http://www.hastac.org/wiki/project-qa-s2r-medals
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