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Digital Technology merit badge requirements released

Digital-TechnologyThe latest and greatest in tech isn’t a new smartphone, tablet or game console.

It’s a new merit badge. Today the Boy Scouts of America welcomes Digital Technology merit badge to its ever-growing arsenal of merit badges focused on careers, hobbies and activities Scouts enjoy doing.

Digital Technology MB becomes the BSA’s 135th current merit badge. That list of merit badges will be reduced by one when Computers merit badge is discontinued on Dec. 31, 2014.

(Read more about the phasing-out of Computers here, and know that Scouts may earn and wear both Digital Technology MB and Computers MB, provided they begin work on Computers by the end of 2014.)

But today’s all about Digital Technology merit badge, which covers the Internet, smartphones, content creation on digital devices and much more.

See the full list of requirements and a merit badge workbook after the jump.

Digital Technology merit badge requirements

1. Show your counselor your current, up-to-date Cyber Chip.

Earn the Cyber Chip: Earning the Cyber Chip can help you learn how to stay safe while you are online and using social networks or the latest electronic gadgets. Topics include cell phone use, texting, blogging, gaming, cyberbullying, and identity theft. Find out more about the Cyber Chip at www.scouting.org/cyberchip.

2. Do the following:

a. Give a brief history of the changes in digital technology over time. Discuss with your counselor how digital technology in your lifetime compares with that of your parent’s, grandparent’s, or other adult’s lifetime.

b. Describe the kinds of computers or devices you imagine might be available when you are an adult.

3. Do the following:

a. Explain to your counselor how text, sound, pictures, and videos are digitized for storage.

b. Describe the difference between lossy and lossless data compression, and give an example where each might be used.

c. Describe two digital devices and how they are made more useful by their programming.

d. Discuss the similarities and differences between computers, mobile devices, and gaming consoles.

e. Explain what a computer network is and describe the network’s purpose.

4. Do the following:

a. Explain what a program or software application or “app” is and how it is created.

b. Name four software programs or mobile apps you or your family use, and explain how each one helps you.

c. Describe what malware is, and explain how to protect your digital devices and the information stored on them.

5. Do the following:

a. Describe how digital devices are connected to the Internet.

b. Using an Internet search engine (with your parent’s permission), find ideas about how to conduct a troop court of honor or campfire program. Print out a copy of the ideas from at least three different websites. Share what you found with your counselor, and explain how you used the search engine to find this information.

c. Use a Web browser to connect to an HTTPS (secure) website (with your parent’s permission). Explain to your counselor how to tell whether the site’s security certificate can be trusted, and what it means to use this kind of connection.

6. Do THREE of the following. For each project you complete, copy the files to a backup device and share the finished projects with your counselor.

a. Using a spreadsheet or database program, develop a food budget for a patrol weekend campout OR create a troop roster that includes the name, rank, patrol, and telephone number of each Scout. Show your counselor that you can sort the roster by each of the following categories: rank, patrol, and alphabetically by name.

b. Using a word processor, write a draft letter to the parents of your troop’s Scouts, inviting them to a troop event.

c. Using a graphics program, design and draw a campsite plan for your troop OR create a flier for an upcoming troop event, incorporating text and some type of visual such as a photograph or an illustration.

d. Using a presentation software program, develop a report about a topic approved by your counselor. For your presentation, create at least five slides, with each one incorporating text and some type of visual such as a photograph or an illustration.

e. Using a digital device, take a picture of a troop activity. Send or transfer this image to a device where the picture can be shared with your counselor.

f. Make a digital recording of your voice, transfer the file to a different device, and have your counselor play back the recording.

g. Create a blog and use it as an online journal of your Scouting activities, including group discussions and meetings, campouts, and other events. Include at least five entries and two photographs or illustrations. Share your blog with your counselor. You need not post the blog to the Internet; however, if you choose to go live with your blog, you must first share it with your parents AND counselor AND get their approval.

h. Create a Web page for your troop, patrol, school, or place of worship. Include at least three articles and two photographs or illustrations. Include at least one link to a website of interest to your audience. You need not post the page to the Internet; however, if you decide to do so, you must first share the Web page with your parents AND counselor AND get their approval.

7. Do the following:

a. Explain to your counselor each of these protections and why they exist: copyright, patents, trademarks, trade secrets.

b. Explain when it is permissible to accept a free copy of a program from a friend.

c. Discuss with your counselor an article or a news report about a recent legal case involving an intellectual property dispute.

8. Do TWO of the following:

a. Describe why it is important to properly dispose of digital technology. List at least three dangerous chemicals that could be used to create digital devices or used inside a digital device.

b. Explain to your counselor what is required to become a certified recycler of digital technology hardware or devices.

c. Do an Internet search for an organization that collects discarded digital technology hardware or devices for repurposing or recycling. Find out what happens to that waste. Share with your counselor what you found.

d. Visit a recycling center that disposes of digital technology hardware or devices. Find out what happens to that waste. Share what you learned with your counselor.

e. Find a battery recycling center near you and find out what it does to recycle batteries. Share what you have learned with your counselor about the proper methods for recycling batteries.

9. Do ONE of the following:

a. Investigate three career opportunities that involve digital technology. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

b. Visit a business or an industrial facility that uses digital technology. Describe four ways digital technology is being used there. Share what you learned with your counselor.

Digital Technology merit badge workbook

This document (PDF) from the U.S. Scouting Service Project will help your Scouts as they work on the merit badge.

Calendar of New Merit Badges

I keep this page updated with the newest merit badges and those coming soon.

29 Comments on Digital Technology merit badge requirements released

  1. joselepervanche // April 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    Reblogged this on Scouting Adventures and commented:
    Scouting in the cutting edge of technology.

    • just a curious question: is this a thing now to post that it’s been reblogged? is this out of courtesy to the bryan or a internet courtesy? i see people like yourself do it here all the time and I’m just wondering because I don’t post that it’s been reblogged and I’m wondering if I should. thx.

      • Charles Featherer // April 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm // Reply

        Depending on the circumstance, it can be one of the following:
        1. A simple courtesy
        2. A nice note, suggesting the reach of the story
        3. Backwards credit for the story

        In this case, I think it falls under 1 or maybe 2. It is a nice thing to do, but far from required. Especially since oftentimes people get the update on Bryan’s stories via Facebook and share it there – thus giving credit and helping him track the spread of the story simultaneously.

        • thanks for the “Law #6″ reply. :)

        • Within WordPress, the reblogging feature will display like seen above. I have a WordPress Blog and will do the same. Generally, it’s a good thing to cite your sources, WordPress does it for you.

  2. Charles Featherer // April 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm // Reply

    Does anyone know how this affects Merit Badge instructors for Computers? This is the first time I’ve been an instructor for a MB being phased out, and I’m curious if this means that I need to apply to be an instructor for the replacement course – or if I’ll automatically transfer?

    • brian frey // April 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm // Reply

      Charles, this would be a question for your district. My guess would be you would need to register as a counselor for the new merit badge.

      • I agree with Brian. Especially because Digital Technology is a completely different merit badge, even though it’s officially replacing Computers.

        • Charles Featherer // April 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm //

          Thank you for your answers, I’ll follow up with my District Advancement Chair.

    • I am checking with our counsel, as well. Since (1) Computers and Digital Technology will overlap, and (2) since they can be earned independently and as long as a scout has begun working on Computers this calendar year and will be allowed to finish it as long as it is before his 18th birthday, my best guess is that one will need to be approved for this MB independently.

      • Yes, you’d just add it in addition to the Computers MB, according to our counsel.

  3. Bryan,

    Thanks for posting a link to the workbook, too. As you’ve probably seen, when I created the Digital Technology merit badge workbook, I included workbook pages for the CyberChip as well, since Scouts must earn the CyberChip in order to earn the merit badge.

    We have workbooks available for all 135 current merit badges available on the US Scouting Service Project web site.

    We also have workbooks for the various Nova and SuperNova awards, and for many Cub Scout and other Boy Scout awards and advancements, too.

    • Paul,

      I apologize for not realizing when I was sent the workbook PDF that this was your excellent work! I’ve changed the link to the one hosted on your site and added the name of the U.S. Scouting Service Project to the post. Thanks!

      • Thanks Bryan. No apology was necessary. We have no problem with you having a copy available for download direct from you site, or just a link to the copy on our site. Either is fine. In fact there have been copies of the workbooks for Programming and Game Design on the boyslife.org site since hose badges were released. I assume Janice D. sent you the file. I sent it to her expressly so that it could be reviewed by BSA and so it could be posted on your site if you so desired.

        I make copies available on meritbadge.org, too, in order to reduce the load on our server, but no other site should post copies of our workbooks. They should ONLY post links to the original copies on usscouts.org. That way, if and when I make any changes to correct or improve the document, I can assure that the most current version is the only one available to Scouts.

  4. Regarding requirement 6g and 6h, our Troop website is a wordpress hosted blog. Would serving as Troop webmaster/scribe and posting to the site during term of office count? They didn’t create the site, but they are responsible to maintain it during their term of office (6 months). By the way, it is troop26greatfalls.com

    • Aaron,

      For g: It doesn’t say to use an existing blog, it says to create one. The learning is in the process of the creation, not the management of a resource that is already created. Places like WordPress will let them start their own blog for free. Seeing as it’s a requirement and free and they learn how to do it…they should do it.

      For h: It doesn’t say take an existing web page, manage it, or update it, etc. Instead it says to create a webpage. Again, the learning is in the process. There are also lots of free tools out there that can be used.

      So the long and the short of it… just go with what is written. No need to try to figure out what counts, what doesn’t. Both requirements are pretty simple. Neither one requires any coding knowledge and a quick internet search and you can find lots of free resources. Most of the modern resources have WYSIWYG editors, and modern kids…they seem to be pretty savvy when it comes to stuff like this. Plus, each Scout is unique, let them be creative and come up with their designs. You never know… could have Gates/Zuckerburg/Jobs in your unit, or you might just inspire one!

      Happy Scouting my friend!

  5. The list of merit badges you refer to has not been updated yet with the new merit badge info.

    • The page now has a link to the requirements

  6. H. David Pendleton // April 17, 2014 at 10:35 am // Reply

    I got a copy of the 2014 Boy Scout Requirements last month at the Scout Shop. The Digital Technology requirements were in there. I just compared them and the requirements are the same. The only difference is the book showed the old Computers Merit Badge instead of the actual Digital Technology Merit Badge.

    It may not be important, but how can the requirements just be released today? Or is it that the Merit Badge Pamphlet is being released today that has the requirements and the background reading for the Merit Badge?

    • You’re right. The requirements were included in the 2014 Boy Scout Requirements booklet, with the wrong badge image. (That happened a couple of years ago, in 2012, with Welding, too.) Although they were available in print, they were not published on-line until the official release yesterday, and Scouts could not get credit for earning the badge until then.

      It also couldn’t be entered into Internet Advancement or Scoutnet until the badge was added to those systems (and I don’t believe those systems will recognize badges earned earlier than yesterday, either).

      Now that the pamphlet is being shipped by National Supply and available for Scouts, they will have the background information they need to earn the badge.

  7. This is exciting our Council’s Mobile App (iOS and Android) goes into beta on May 21st, perfect compliment to our launch!

    • Bill Nelson // April 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm // Reply

      What moble app is this?

      • We’ve contracted locally to design a full mobile app for our council including calendar, events, advancement, camp and all

        • Is this going to for your council or will be adaptable for other councils/districts as well?

        • both, it will have council and district information

        • and it can be replicated

  8. This is great news. Congratulations to Janice, Celeste, and the rest of the Digital Technology team.

  9. Nate Kidwell // April 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm // Reply

    I like it. Better than the Computers MB, in both name and requirements.

  10. Meritbadgecouncilor // June 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm // Reply

    So, for the scouts that want to earn both Computers and Digital Technology, will they need to complete some of the requirements twice, since the MBs have the same requirements in some cases?

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