In the world of education, students aren’t the only people learning. According to one study, teachers spend around 24 hours per year at professional-development workshops. Many educators looking for ways to personalize their professional development are considering micro-credentialing. Teachers can choose a specific classroom skill they wish to learn, then submit evidence they have mastered the skill to a micro-credentialing program—usually found online—where their work is verified against a rubric. A passing score results in a micro-credential “badge.” There are multiple benefits to these programs, including low costs and the fact that skills must be demonstrated in order to be certified. Are you ready to help your teachers earn some micro-credentials? We’ve got tips for getting started, as well as training giveaways to inspire educators as they pursue their new credentials.
Because micro-credentialing is still a new process, the U.S.-based organization AIR® (American Institutes for Research) (PDF) lays out a few steps for school districts and schools that want to try micro-credentialing for the first time.
Pick your purpose
Micro-credentials exist for a variety of educational areas, from using wait time effectively in the classroom to goal setting to making technological changes. By selecting a smaller educational subset, you will be better able to track how the courses are helping your staff and what kind of support they need as they work on their credentials.
As you pilot your program, working with a handful of teachers instead of all educators can make it easier to see which classes are most helpful and most popular. It’ll also help you verify the courses are helping teachers grow. As you look for volunteers, consider offering a training giveaway, like a note clip or a coffee mug that can be decorated with chalk, as an incentive for trying out a new process.
Offer choices (but only so much)
While micro-credentials are designed to allow educators to pursue their interests and needs, the full range of educational selections might make it hard to evaluate whether the courses are helping professional development. Put together a poll to see which courses or course stacks are most interesting to your educators. Offer giveaways for teachers, like this travel tumbler, to encourage participation.
Keep an eye on the score
To receive a micro-credential, educators must provide evidence of mastery, which is then scored against a rubric. Understanding those rubrics will help you, the district and the province better understand what your teachers are learning and whether that learning is effective.
As you pilot your program, it’s important that everyone stays on the same page. Encourage your educators to talk to each other about their challenges and wins. You’ll also want to work with teachers and talk to provincial educational leaders to discuss if and how micro-credentialing can be used for annual professional-development credit. Show your gratitude to everyone involved in the process with giveaways for teachers, like a tote bag with lots of organizing features or a mug that lets them press fresh coffee wherever they go.
A little training goes a long way
With a new micro-credentialing program and some training giveaways, your educators will be better able to prepare themselves for future educational challenges. Good luck!