I came across a pilot recently which I find promising in a spirit of professional renewal. The pilot is called “Educator Micro-credentials” (a revisit of the badging idea) and it’s being offered by Digital Promise.
Micro-credentials focus on mastery of a singular competency. To earn a micro-credential, teachers submit artifacts such as classroom videos, student work, or project plans that demonstrate their competence in a particular skill. Expert review ensures micro-credentials are relevant and rigorous, so schools, districts, peer networks, and other evaluators can be confident in recognizing them.
What’s interesting about the idea to me is seeing it as a way to revise and revitalize professional development.
Like anyone faced with a faculty, there are moments where you have to decide what the group needs and moments where you want to get more personal with your teachers. I hate the idea that anyone after spending a day with me would feel like their time was not well spent. So here is how, based on my understanding of the program I can see Micro-credentialing really improving a program:
- Identifying leaders and learners – As our staff grows I often find that I know the most about our squeaky wheels — those who either ask for help or speak up regularly about what they are doing. This accounts for less than 25% of our faculty. So I’m interested in looking at micro-credentials a ways to identify what I don’t know about the skills and struggles of the 75%.
- Practice what you preach – I’m a supporter of the concept of competency based learning for students. This would be a way for educators to get the same courtesy. Don’t waste time teaching a digital native how to IM, and Don’t waste time teaching a discussion pro how to elicit quality responses. Instead leverage the time by focusing in on competencies not yet achieved for the maximum outcome of our time together.
- Recognition – I always want to pay homage to the educators who are the real pros in the room. So often I am given the task of teaching something to people whose experiences far outshine my own. By recognizing them I both provide myself with mentors and I acknowledge the value of what they have done to get where they are
Last summer we did a mini-badging pilot in our teacher resources course. It was more of a gamification paradigm. I’d really love to see this year take that idea to micro-credentialing and making the badges true badges of honor.