The rise of "Bring Your Own Device" programs, the emergence of wearables and interactive electronics, and the growing presence of the "Internet of Things" in the workplace, all present new challenges to members of the IT profession. To prepare students for this ever-changing landscape, we propose the use of low-cost, wearable badges to introduce learners to central IT concepts in an innovative, engaging, and social way. In this paper, we introduce the CCL-Parallax Programmable Badge - an open-hardware communicative device that uniquely brings together various components of the IT curriculum. Along with introducing the badges and situating them within almost two decades of research on the use of similar devices in educational contexts, we present both theoretical and practical justifications for the use of programmable badges in IT classrooms. The badges highlight the collaborative, social aspects of IT while grounding the learning experience in authentic, motivating, and hands-on activities.