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Are Microcredentials the Future of Professional Development?

Are Microcredentials the Future of Professional Development?

It’s a well-known fact that professional development could use a re-boot to provide teachers with effective ways to receive meaningful training, but could microcredentials be the answer?

For those unfamiliar, microcredentials are "digital badges that teachers earn by learning a skill and demonstrating mastery through student results—offer a PD pathway designed to be highly differentiated and engaging,” said the District Administration this month.

After choosing a desired skill to learn, teachers take an online course and work towards mastering the skill. Rather than trying to meet a certain number of hours, teachers work towards a goal and do not move on until they are successful.

"The rise of microcredentials also demonstrates the popularity of informal learning opportunities, which many teachers engage in via Twitter, YouTube and PLCs,” The District Administration said.

According to the article, examples of skills learned through microcredentials include computer science, coding and design thinking. Seeing as bolstering computer science education is becoming a national priority (most recently discussed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton), this is particularly attention-catching.

While many districts are still in the process of piloting microcredentials, the District Administration discusses the success of the first district to implement the PD opportunity and actually tie it to salary increases, too. The district says since making the change, half of all teachers have completed at least one course.

Education Dive's insight agrees that microcredentials are represent promising opportunity.

" With so many teachers complaining about the quality of professional development opportunities through their schools or the lack of good training in specific areas like ed tech, microcredentials could be a path forward for at least some types of professional learning.”

Read the full article.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

7/6/2016

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