The Future of Teacher Professional Development
We have all been there, sitting in school libraries and cafeterias, serving the death sentence called professional development. The newest educators sit at the front of the room. More seasoned educators sit at the back to pin ideas on Pinterest or watch sports highlights on their smartphones.
“Professional development is exactly where I want to spend the next ten days instead of preparing lessons, learning about my learners’ needs, and getting my room ready,” said no educator in history.
Why do education administrators feel compelled to frontload the academic calendar with PD that isn’t related or that educators already know?
Here’s a secret: it’s no longer necessary to set aside groups of days for campus professional development. It’s better to offer training through micro-credentialing, especially if you’re looking to improve tech skills among your educators.
Give your faculty education technology devices in whole-group training, and you will observe your educators changing into 8th graders right before your eyes. They joke, distract each other, pull pranks, etc. You will feel like you’re herding cats. No one will accomplish much of anything. Micro-credentialing changes that.
Putting the Professional Back in Educator Training
U.S. schools spend $18 billion a year on PD activities; there’s little to show for the initiative.
Educators have to sign in at professional development sessions to prove they were there and that’s it. Administrators often ask educators to share with their colleagues what they learned, but no certification exists other than that. Educators receive PD credit based on attendance rather than competency.
Your educators would rather spend their valuable time learning skills applicable to their classrooms and the learners they’ll have this year. Micro-learning gives them this chance to learn and practice relevant skills. Educators can access manageable chunks of info that relate to their teaching needs. They take a class comparable to a mini-lesson, apply the skills being taught, and receive a badge that verifies their performance and the date it happened.
Micro-learning and micro-credentialing get educators to take ownership of what, when, and where they access their professional development. Self-scheduling allows educators to arrange their workload in a way that best makes sense to them.
Micro-Credentialing for Tech Training
Micro-learning is especially appropriate for training educators on how to use tech. There’s no longer class instruction that targets many but not all learners. The sequence of lessons can be customized. Administrators and educators take micro-lessons that are pertinent to their specific needs. Like their learners, educators can develop digital literacy, explore cloud computing, and experiment with gamification. As they master skills in each tech area, the educators earn digital badges or micro-credentials that certify competency.
As a result, educators become adept at using the same tech they expect their learners to use. They can model tech skills because they have practiced them. Tech use becomes not only second-nature but also seamless in the classroom led by a micro-credentialed educator.