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Nathan1001001

Scouting Advancement App

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51 minutes ago, Nathan1001001 said:

Thanks for the welcome :)

 

Hm it just seems that here: https://www.scouting.org/programs/scouts-bsa/advancement-and-awards/merit-badges/ the way you should complete merit badges are to pick a merit badge, find the counselor, and they are there to help if needed and if you don't need any specific help just to start working on the requirements. Says that when you are ready you should then call the counselor and discuss it with them and get it signed off (In my opinion, this seems very similar to what I was saying). From what I understand, counselors are another resource that you can use for help and the app could go along side what BSA recommends and be another resource for scouts. If I am mistaken, please let me know.

I don't think it says that at all. Says nothing about" they are there to help if needed".  In fact it says to call the mB first. You may be misinterpreting the written process to coincide with your current thinking.

 

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10 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

I don't think it says that at all. Says nothing about" they are there to help if needed".  In fact it says to call the mB first. You may be misinterpreting the written process to coincide with your current thinking.

 

There to help on requirements with their expertise and guidance if you need it. I don't think you have to receive help from a counselor if you are knowledgeable in the topic. This is something else I found:

"A scout decides they would like to earn a specific merit badge. They obtain approval to begin the merit badge from their Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster identifies possible merit badge counselors. The scout identifies another scout, buddy, or family member that will be their partner to attend all meetings with the counselor to follow safe scouting guidelines. The scout then contacts the counselor to begin badge work. The counselor reviews the requirements with the scouts and they decide on projects to complete and a completion schedule. The counselor provides expertise, advice, guidance as needed until the scouts have completed the requirements. The merit badge counselor certifies completion of requirements and the merit badge patch is presented at a court of honor or troop meeting. See this page for more info on merit badges." https://boyscouttrail.com/boy-scouts/merit-badges.asp.

Edited by Nathan1001001

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In my opinion, I think that creating the app would provide an additional aid to the merit badge and rank requirement process. Since I know that you disagree, what would you change about it to help you see that it is something that can become useful to troops and scouts?

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6 hours ago, Nathan1001001 said:

@DuctTape What do you think?

My main concern is that it seems (and I could be misunderstanding your vision) is that the app is an attempt to be a digital mB counselor. My concern is that scouts is already too hyperfocused on advancement to the point it has become the de facto aim in many places. The app, as I see it, would make the problem worse by decreasing time spent with a mB counselor denying the scout the opportunity to grow via the adult association method. 

With any idea presented in scouts I ask myself "Will this help or hinder us in achieving the aims of scouting?"

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2 hours ago, DuctTape said:

My main concern is that it seems (and I could be misunderstanding your vision) is that the app is an attempt to be a digital mB counselor. My concern is that scouts is already too hyperfocused on advancement to the point it has become the de facto aim in many places. The app, as I see it, would make the problem worse by decreasing time spent with a mB counselor denying the scout the opportunity to grow via the adult association method. 

With any idea presented in scouts I ask myself "Will this help or hinder us in achieving the aims of scouting?"

 

I believe I do understand your view on this. However, when I ask myself whether or not this will help or hinder us, my thoughts are that any aid such as this is going to be a help because it can only add to the scout's experience. I definitely do not want to take away from the merit badge counselor because I do know, like you said, that a Scout and the counselor need the one on one experience that they create while learning about the new topics in a merit badge. My goal for this app would be to only aid this experience and allow the Scout to have only another option to learn while keeping the role of a merit badge counselor. I think of it like this: the more a scout can learn, whether this is alone or with the merit badge counselor, the better. This is, after all, one of focuses in scouting- learning new things. Now once the Scout does learn about the topic, (again the more that they take away the better) they can have a better discussion with their merit badge leader if they have more to discuss.

Let's say you have two Scouts. One meets with the merit badge counselor 2 times a week and converses about the topic (we'll go with the first aid merit badge), now this Scout has some pretty good conversations about first aid and takes notes and tries to remember but he just can not. He has a great adult association but he does not learn much about first aid. Well, okay, he has learned something and he does now have a good adult association, however, that was only half of the battle. Now with the other Scout... he meets with the merit badge counselor only once a week and when the other scout would be meeting for his second time, he is using this app to gain additional knowledge and that he may not have before. He does the same as the first Scout who takes notes and converses about the topic when he meets with his counselor. Now, Scout 1 and Scout 2 are still meeting with the counselor but Scout 2 is using this app to gain more experience and learn more about first aid. When Scout 2 goes to meet with his merit badge counselor, he is able to talk more thoroughly and go more in depth with more examples about first aid while also gaining valuable adult association. Scout 2 is able to learn much more about first aid while using both of his resources and also gaining a great counselor-scout relationship, while Scout 1 has only really gained the counselor-scout relationship.

Now,  you might say, well if Scout 1 had such a hard time learning from the merit badge counselor, why not just read the merit badge book or look it up online? Well this is where the app is most important: if given the choice, I think that this app would provide a better learning experience for the scout rather than the scout book or pamphlet. Again, I only see this as an advantage and something to supplement the method and I do not want to see this as a replacement for merit badge counselors. I think that the order of importance for learning about a topic in scouting should be the merit badge counselor first, then this app, then any scout book or merit badge pamphlet. 

 

I'd like to know whether this example is helpful or not and if there is any way you think would make sure that this is only added value to the scout experience.

Thanks :)

Edited by Nathan1001001

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13 hours ago, Nathan1001001 said:

 Well this is where the app is most important: if given the choice, I think that this app would provide a better learning experience for the scout rather than the scout book or pamphlet. 

Hi Nathan.  I'm a teacher.  Sure, I know of many ways, other than merit badge work, to teach a topic.  One could argue that school provides a better learning experience than a merit badge.  But that's school work, not scouting.  

A merit badge pamphlet is deliberately brief.  It's not a textbook.  Yes, we could design an online textbook to teach merit badge topics.  We could even have on-line classes with pre-recorded lectures and labs.  I'm sure there would be some learning value in having a distance education class, but it wouldn't be scouting. 

I have seen merit badge mills that "teach" merit badges in a school-like setting.  We should avoid that.  We should also avoid turning merit badge counseling into an on-line distance education program.  Scouting shouldn't be like school.  

 

Edited by David CO
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13 hours ago, Nathan1001001 said:

I think that this app would provide a better learning experience for the scout rather than the scout book or pamphlet.

How? That seems to be the crux of the app. If you can make that work, inexpensively, then you'll have an impressive app. Heck, put in a module for explaining how to do the patrol method well and there'd be more interest.

However, I think it's a hard problem to solve. To me this is less a software problem than a content problem.  Good content is hard to create.

Rather than talk about it I'd suggest making a prototype for one merit badge, say first aid, and show that to people. The software doesn't really need to be very well written. But the content needs to be engaging.

Good luck.

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

How? That seems to be the crux of the app. If you can make that work, inexpensively, then you'll have an impressive app. Heck, put in a module for explaining how to do the patrol method well and there'd be more interest.

However, I think it's a hard problem to solve. To me this is less a software problem than a content problem.  Good content is hard to create.

Rather than talk about it I'd suggest making a prototype for one merit badge, say first aid, and show that to people. The software doesn't really need to be very well written. But the content needs to be engaging.

Good luck.

For sure! I'll work on making the prototype for the first aid merit badge :) Thanks!

Edited by Nathan1001001

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Also, the dollar cost advantage of MB pamphlets are when they make it to a troop library to be shared with other scouts.

Do you envision that your app for a particular MB could be purchased by one scout (possibly the troop librarian) to be shared with 40 other scouts over the next few years?

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Also, the dollar cost advantage of MB pamphlets are when they make it to a troop library to be shared with other scouts.

Do you envision that your app for a particular MB could be purchased by one scout (possibly the troop librarian) to be shared with 40 other scouts over the next few years?

The hope is that the app will be either free or a very low cost. If it does end up costing a small amount, then there will definitely be a functionality for group logins at a discount for larger troops.

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On 9/9/2020 at 4:31 PM, Owls_are_cool said:

But my concern is that he will be spoon fed information, instead of him having to research/explain/demonstrate the topic himself.

Welcome to Scout camp!  Well...most of them...

On 9/9/2020 at 5:46 PM, DuctTape said:

Advancement with mBs in absence of true adult association denies the scout the opportunity as promised by scouting. 

I have said it before...DuctTape for National Commissioner!!!

On 9/9/2020 at 6:05 PM, Nathan1001001 said:

in my troop, scouts must learn the requirements mainly by themselves.

This is how it is supposed to be...a Scout reads the requirements and begins working on fulfilling them.  When ready (and after a leader consult) , the Scout works with the Counselor to find a way to meet them.  The Counselor can help fill in any knowledge gaps or skill deficiencies, or connects the Scout to other resources to learn.  This process iterates until all requirements are complete...

On 9/9/2020 at 6:05 PM, Nathan1001001 said:

An ideal way, in my opinion, where a Scout completes a merit badge is where an individual scout or group of scouts research, learn, and figure out what the requirements are asking. They familiarize themselves with it, and then they go to their adult leaders to discuss what they learned and the leader can decide if the Scout has learned enough about the topic and are sufficient in it.

See above...

 

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I was thinking what I would like to see that might be possible.  

Many scouts can "google" to find the answers.  Most scouts are very capable online.

The only other thing I can think of is a site that lists the best online resources for specific badges.  We used to have meritbadge.org that showed requirements, etc.  And it was targeting adults.  Maybe something similar that's quick and efficient and finds best-of-brand already existing content that could help a scout.  Essentially the yellow pages book (which you probably have never used.  :)  ... of the best resources. )

Someone doing a computer merit badge, could be routed to the best existing resources that help teach those topics. 

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33 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I was thinking what I would like to see that might be possible.  

Many scouts can "google" to find the answers.  Most scouts are very capable online.

The only other thing I can think of is a site that lists the best online resources for specific badges.  We used to have meritbadge.org that showed requirements, etc.  And it was targeting adults.  Maybe something similar that's quick and efficient and finds best-of-brand already existing content that could help a scout.  Essentially the yellow pages book (which you probably have never used.  :)  ... of the best resources. )

Someone doing a computer merit badge, could be routed to the best existing resources that help teach those topics. 

Hi there! I think that would be a good idea too, but after reading a lot of the comments here about wanting less of an independent google search to find answers, I think something like that may also limit the counselor-scout relationship and a scout may be be more focused on using those websites solely to learn from. I am getting a few mixed responses which makes it seem like a combination between learning independently and with the counselor is best. So, for example, a scout can learn with the counselor and test their skills with the app or use it as a bit of a guide while working with the counselor.

I am working on creating content for the first aid merit badge as an example and should be finished in a week or so.

What do you think. Thanks :)

Edited by Nathan1001001

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