Our first wave of interactive digital merit badge pamphlets has been getting great traction lately, with more than 2,000 sold since we introduced this new Scouting technology in mid-May.
Right now, there are four merit badges with interactive digital pamphlets available, including Animation, Cooking, First Aid and Robotics. And so far, First Aid is the top seller, according to Pat Wellen, department manager for BSA’s Design and Development Center.
“We tested these with youth before our launch, and they were excited to have these digital videos, simulations, Q&A and search functions available on their mobile devices and interact with what they saw,” Pat said. “We based these on what youth told us they wanted. They wanted a digital book, and they wanted to be able to watch things from it to understand how to master the skills they’ll need in the real world. They’re so used to getting information virtually now, and shifting to digital versions of our merit badge pamphlets is really catching on.”
The digital functionality provides a new level of convenience and interactivity to which young people have grown accustomed. Complete with search capabilities and visual directives, the new digital format brings the merit badge to life with live examples to further engage and educate Scouts.
You will soon hear more about how this evolution from paper merit badge pamphlets to digital is progressing. This month, another four interactive digital merit badge pamphlets will go on sale: Communications, Digital Technology, Family Life and Personal Fitness.
By the end of the year, 21 digital merit badge pamphlets are expected to be available, with the goal of eventually having all 136 current merit badges — and any future badges — available.
These new digital applications are available for purchase at the same price of paper merit badge pamphlets at scoutstuff.org. Stay tuned for surveys that will let you share your feedback on how this move to digital is working.
Digital technology opens up a whole new world of learning for our Scouts, and it’s encouraging to see our digital merit badge instruction resonating with Scouts. Let’s make sure our Scouts take advantage of these new opportunities for digital learning wherever possible.