Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Pokémon of Dentistry

I have to be honest: I’m probably one of the least “tech-savvy” new dentists of my generation. I have a Facebook account that my cousins made for me a few years ago, and although I finally learned the password, I still don’t check it. I don’t use Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or Twitter. I feel like I’ve got the email and the Google thing figured out pretty well, though.

When I first learned about AGD’s plans to develop a series of digital badges, I was skeptical. I asked myself: Why would anyone want a digital badge? What would you do with it?

The more I learned, the more I came to understand how digital badges related to the more traditional world I’m used to. I realized the Starbucks app on my phone issues digital badges in the form of gold stars. Each time I buy a coffee, I am awarded gold stars. Eventually, I can collect enough stars and get my next coffee for free!

While AGD doesn’t promote coffee sales, it does promote continuing education. AGD’s ultimate “gold stars” are Fellowship and Mastership awards — and there are badges for those as part of AGD’s digital badging program. Thanks to AGD’s digital badging program, a paper certificate I might receive for earning my AGD Fellowship Award can now be represented digitally. While I can hang the certificate on the wall in my office, I can post the badge to my practice website. My colleagues who use LinkedIn and Facebook can develop a virtual diploma wall on which they can share their accomplishments in dentistry with potential future employers or patients. Free marketing!

As a member of AGD’s Dental Education Council, one of the most exciting parts of AGD’s digital badging program is the potential to help promote the positive aspects of our profession. It’s also great to be able to give each individual member something tangible he or she can use to improve his or her practice. Recognizing dentists who go above and beyond to improve themselves, their profession and the care they provide to patients is going to make us all better practitioners.

I don’t know about you, but I’m much more excited about collecting AGD badges than I am about catching Pokémon!

For more information and to access resources about AGD’s digital badging program, visit

Marcus K. Randall, DMD

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