As the competition unfolded, I followed the inevitable debate over the consequences of “extrinsic rewards” like badges on student motivation. Thanks in part to Daniel Pink’s widely read book Drive, many worried that badges would trivialize deep learning and leave learners with decreased intrinsic motivation to learn. The debate was played out nicely (and objectively) at the HASTAC blog via posts from Mitch Resnick and Cathy Davidson . I have been arguing in obscure academic journals for years that sociocultural views of learning call for an agnostic stance towards incentives. In particular I believe that the negative impact of rewards and competition says more about the lack of feedback and opportunity to improve in traditional classrooms. There is a brief summary of these issues in a chapter on sociocultural and situative theories of motivation that Education.com commissioned me to write a few years ago. One of the things I tried to do in that article and the other articles it references is show why rewards like badges are fundamentally problematic for constructionists like Mitch, and how newer situative theories of motivation promise to resolve that tension. One of the things that has been overlooked in the debate is that situative theories reveal the value of rewards without resorting to simplistic behaviorist theories of reinforcing and punishing desired behaviors.