Using micro-credentialing, teachers are continuing their education by focusing on helping students by increasing their teaching capacity one skill at a time.
To sharpen skills and ensure their teaching methods fit within district education missions, teachers are opting out of continuing education courses in favor of micro-credentialing. Through this method, teachers outline how study in a specific area will benefit student educational goals. If necessary, once a teacher’s proposal is approved by district leaders, they will continue his or her education through completing the appropriate program. Evidence of understanding is uploaded and vetted by the organization that provides the coursework. Teachers earn badges upon successful completion of program materials.
Advantages of Micro-Credentialing
Compared with many teacher conferences and workshops, micro-credentialing allows educators to choose the areas they can pursue. Through completion of a stack, or a collection of lessons aimed at mastery of one topic, teachers are able to gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular area of study. In Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine School District, teachers were offered a $100-$600 increase in base salary if there is evidence of how the teacher’s micro-credentialing benefited students.
Through a partnership with BloomBoard, Digital Promise provides micro-credentialing options, including courses in applying a growth mindset, project-based learning, and game-based learning, in addition to academic subject-specific classes. There is no charge for pursuing these micro-credentials. Once earned, teachers are given a digital badge that can be added to their profiles on sites like LinkedIn to show their competencies.
During an interview regarding Kettle Moraine’s program, history teacher Katie Hoff reveals “In specific classrooms we need to have tools and professional development that helps us on our day-to-day things, so my professional development would look different from what our math teacher might need and micro-credentialing provides an opportunity for us to get that specific personalized help in becoming better teachers in our specific content.”
Allowing teachers to focus on topics that reflect their educational specialty also increases their interest in pursuing coursework. By relating to all components of micro-credentialing lessons, compared to only a small portion of material covered during a workshop, teachers will be more engaged while learning.
What Micro-Credentialing Is Not
This new trend cannot take the place of a strong foundation through undergraduate work, nor should it be viewed as an alternative to the higher learning necessary to prepare for a career in education. Undergraduate coursework to become a teacher provides the basic building blocks from which educators will evolve during their careers. Micro-credentialing is an invaluable tool to aid in this evolution of becoming a strong teacher who is constantly learning throughout the duration of an enriching career.
By aligning their goals with the mission of their school districts, teachers are choosing micro-credentialing for continuing education in order to best serve the needs of students. Using the tools provided by micro-credentialing services, teachers increase their knowledge of a subject by working through lessons that best address their needs.