How to Get Your District Started with Micro-Credentials
By Adam Geller
As a district leader, it’s important to help educators stay motivated and feel acknowledged, especially after a challenging year like this one. Introducing micro-credentials is one way to do this.
What exactly is a micro-credential? It is a way to recognize teachers’ exemplar teaching skills and for teachers to show their mastery of these skills via a digital badge.
Is a teacher terrific at facilitating productive discourse? Or supporting a sustainable and equitable classroom culture? Micro-credentials acknowledge these proven abilities in a way that’s easily shareable across the district.
So, how do you get started with micro-credentials? As outlined in “Action-Oriented PD: Micro-Credentials Empower Teachers to Earn Credit Using Evidence,” below are three steps for implementing this innovative professional development approach.
Identify the micro-credential must-haves
Before you start ‘doing’ micro-credentials, it is important to have a clear understanding of what it entails, who will be involved in the process, and what each person’s responsibility is in that process.
As such, at the district-level, leaders should make sure they have:
- A keen understanding of who is going to earn the credential
- Defined competencies that can be demonstrated via accompanying evidence
- Someone to validate the educator’s acquisition of skills
- District-defined ways of recognizing the micro-credential
These four components provide the framework of the micro-credentialing process, so it is essential they are decided upon – and in place – from the get-go.
Choose a way to issue micro-credentials
Next, it’s time to decide how your district will manage the micro-credential process and digitally issue the badge. District leaders often think this may be a complex process, but there are technologies available to get districts quickly up and running.
Badgr, for example, is a free platform that districts can use to register their organization, define their badge, and electronically issue it to educators. Credly can also be used to recognize educators’ demonstrated competencies and skills via badges.
Edthena is another platform that has streamlined the micro-credential process. With the platform, district leaders can now define competencies, gather video evidence and non-video artifacts of those skills from teachers, and then issue a micro-credential – and an accompanying badge – to the teacher.
With any education initiative, technology should help facilitate the process and not be a barrier. So, when choosing a platform for micro-credentials, make sure the technology enhances – and can easily be implemented within – your existing professional learning structure.
Publisher’s Note: Knowstory.com also has a badging/sticker platform embedded in the social media structure.
Start recognizing teachers’ exemplar skills
Unlike a certificate of participation, micro-credentials are all about recognizing skill mastery during active professional learning. They represent both the educator’s proficiency in putting a specific skill or theory into practice, as well as the efforts made to obtain the credential.
Picture this: Instead of relying on visiting every classroom to model a new research-based strategy, a coach can record video examples for teachers to watch. As teachers record video of their implementation, they share it back to the coach, who then offers individualized feedback. Then, once the coach determines a teacher has mastered a specific skill, the coach can issue the micro-credential.
The micro-credential can be recognized by the district as a certain amount of credit or progress toward yearly professional learning goals. And, the digital badge, which has all the information about the micro-credential embedded within it, is portable and can easily be transferred to the teacher’s badge backpack or displayed on their LinkedIn profile. If a teacher ever moves to another position or to another district, the micro-credential and badge stays with them.
Micro-credentials are the culmination of successful professional development taking place in the district. They also help teachers feel validated, and recognized by their district, as they continually hone – and master – new skills.
About the author
Adam Geller is the founder of Edthena, a video analysis and online collaboration platform for educators, and author of “Evidence of Practice: Playbook for Video-Powered Professional Learning.” He started his career in education as a science teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2011, Adam has overseen the evolution of Edthena from a paper-based prototype into a research-informed and patented platform used by schools, districts, teacher training programs, and professional development providers.
This article was originally published by The Learning Counsel, a research institute and news media hub focused on providing context for the shift in education to digital curriculum.