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Interactive Merit Badge Pamphlets

Interactive MB Pamphlets?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Good Idea?

    • Yes
      8
    • No
      2
  2. 2. Waste of Resources?

    • Yes
      4
    • No
      6


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As far as I can tell, Inkling's DRM is always-online - so how do you access the electronic MB book if you're out in the brush w/o cell coverage?  Or does it have an offline-cache option?

 

There are certain trees that if you stand next to them they amplify the cell signals,  Red Oak is one of them and Jack Pine the other. 

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As far as I can tell, Inkling's DRM is always-online - so how do you access the electronic MB book if you're out in the brush w/o cell coverage?  Or does it have an offline-cache option?

It appears to be teathered.

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The whole thing is revenue driven.  I'm embarrassed.  Could this have been set up in any way to make it more expensive?

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The whole thing is revenue driven.  I'm embarrassed.  Could this have been set up in any way to make it more expensive?

Yes, but the federal government was not involved in this program. ;)

  • Upvote 1

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I think this is a great concept, but instead of making money on this we should be making this free content to bring boys into Scouting.

 

If the Camping Merit Badge site went through the requirements, had the links to great external  resources (like meritbadge.com has), allowed some curated advertising from REI, Bass Pro Shops, etc. it would be great. Boys could use the site to learn, BSA could get revenue from the ads, and others might start seeing us as a resource for learning on certain topics. The more people go to the BSA for information, the more we get public exposure in a positive fashion. The more traffic we get, the more money we could make on a CPM or CPC basis too.

 

That site could also have the .pdf downloads as well for those that want to read on the go, print their own, etc.

 

This would require hiring some younger, tech savvy talent into the BSA to really drive things in a new way. Not sure the chances of that happening.

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This would require hiring some younger, tech savvy talent into the BSA to really drive things in a new way. Not sure the chances of that happening.

 

Younger? Not necessarily. I know guys (in Scouting) in their 40s and 50s that build stuff like this professionally...and pretty slick stuff. Most of your creative guys in the gaming industry for the big games are over 35.

 

BSA did not do everything they could have with this effort. In fact, many of the official suggestions sent to them about how to create such a product went unaddressed in this effort. 

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Younger? Not necessarily. I know guys (in Scouting) in their 40s and 50s that build stuff like this professionally...and pretty slick stuff. Most of your creative guys in the gaming industry for the big games are over 35.

 

BSA did not do everything they could have with this effort. In fact, many of the official suggestions sent to them about how to create such a product went unaddressed in this effort. 

 

That is fair - bad move on my part re: age. I had read a piece recently on the Republican party's incompetent tech strategy, and how there were some Young Turks who wanted to help and show how it could be done, but were regularly shoved to the side.

 

Older article on the subject here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/the-gop-talent-gap/265333/

Last year the challenge the Republicans have: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/technology/republicans-are-wooing-the-wired.html?ref=us&_r=0

 

I still think that making a BSA site that is full of various resources based around merit badges would be great for us. I have recommended Personal Management to friends with daughters, as a good intro to personal financial management. I have used the Hiking and Backpacking books to teach neighbors how to take their first hikes. We have great Content - lets share it with the world as our Good Turn, and in exchange we will raise our profile and probably attract some new Scouts.

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I thought the demo page for cooking was ok.  Odd to have multiple references to myplate on the pages without a link to the myplate website.  I like the idea of online content.  I like it better as a subscription service that is rolled into the annual fees, a full library of all MB pamphlets, guide books, program guides, etc. and a print PDF option for those that want paper.

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It's the future of education. 

 

The future of education is online with a strong hybrid of proprietary and A LOT OF OPEN CONTENT.  I am pleasantly surprised that MB book price is lower than what I swear it was a few years ago when the new format was published.  But even then, I can't really recommend buying ebooks.  If it was only one scout ever for that badge, just google the topics to fufil the requirements.  If it is a common badge, buy the paper copy.  ... Most every requirement can be successfully learned through google as much as reading a merit badge handbook. 

 

As for ebook, my eleven year old does not do email and I don't want his scouting experience to be walking up to me every few weeks asking for my credit card.  And, I don't want to tie my online accounts to his cheap tablet.  I did that mistake once years ago with an XBox live account.  It took years to delink and somehow my older son can still get associated with my account.  Argh.   ....  I'll go keep with the paper copy or google.   Purchasing ebooks is not where I want my son to go.

 

Sometimes as a scouter, I feel we are more a BSA revenue stream than a valued member of a team.

 

UPDATE - pleasantly surprised that BSA provides useful links on the bottom of the merit badge pages to sources that have answers to the topics.

Edited by fred johnson

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Any update?  Beyond just one or two, has anyone seen anything close to regular use of electronic interactive merit badges?  I've yet to hear anyone buy a single one.

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Any update?  Beyond just one or two, has anyone seen anything close to regular use of electronic interactive merit badges?  I've yet to hear anyone buy a single one.

 

The unofficial word I have heard from guys in the company doing the pamphlets is that BSA plans on doing 4-8 a year, as budget allows. They have 10 more in process...oddly, many of these are NOT the more popular, Eagle-required MBs. One would think they would focus on the most popular and/or Eagle-required MBs. Instead they seem to be, in part, focusing on those MBs that are easier to put in that format.

 

I understand that sales have been "sluggish" (their word) and that most purchases still are hard copy.

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