Build Community and Improve Learning with Micro-credentials - Digital Promise

Build Community and Improve Learning with Micro-credentials

Photo of teachers sitting in desks in a circle looking at one another and speaking

December 1, 2020 | By

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S educational system faces change and uncertainty. The roles of educators, students, and families have been recast and will continue to transform throughout this crisis. Still, there are central components of our educational system that will remain constant. They reflect the architecture of the educational environment and create the conditions in which learning occurs. Students must enter an educational environment that fosters motivation and continued academic engagement.

Each classroom is as unique as the individual educator who serves in it, and that uniqueness is demonstrated in the ways in which educators build their learning environment and instruct students. When educators are faced with problems or concerns that stand in the way of learning and student success, they identify solutions.

The beauty of micro-credentials is in their ability to empower educators to develop and implement solutions to problems or concerns seen within schools and classrooms. Micro-credentials are earned online and on-demand, making them an ideal form of professional learning during the pandemic. At the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) in Nevada, we have released three stacks of micro-credentials and created a system to recognize our educators for earning micro-credentials. In this time of uncertainty and change, Clark County educators have used micro-credentials to strengthen practice, build community, and improve learning. As director of strategic policy initiatives for CCEA, I have been witness over the past year to plans and projects that were created by either individual educators or teams of educators to cultivate growth. For example:

  • Micro-credentials were the catalyst for 18 elementary school educators who collaborated to create a school-based program that promoted families as partners in education. Educators helped families understand student achievement data, assisted them in setting academic goals for their children, and offered resources to achieve goals to monitor student success. In a time when the responsibility of learning has shifted to families, students in this school were able to continue their growth because of the partnership program.
  • For many high school seniors, the pursuit of college dreams fell to the wayside during the pandemic. Micro-credentials fueled one high school counselor to create a process that motivated her students to continue pursuing their college dreams, while strengthening her own practice.
  • A first grade teacher created online learning opportunities to support her economically disadvantaged students and implemented global citizenship education to honor the diversity of her student population. In light of the racial unrest in the U.S., micro-credentials sparked this teacher’s motivation to ensure equitable representation in her classroom.

Micro-credentials have been the catalyst that guided educators across Clark County, Nevada. Through these times, educators have strived to create experiences in which students were able to understand the links between their own lives and those of people throughout the world, thus bringing cultures closer together. Educators also endeavored to meet the needs of all learners in their classroom or position, and to establish a partnership between families and schools to ensure each student was supported throughout their educational journey.

Many changes have occurred during 2020, but not all have been negative. Educators across Clark County have rediscovered the art of teaching. They have identified a way to tap into their strengths and apply them to a new context. Micro-credentials are more than professional learning; they bring educators with a common passion together to make the lives of their students better.

Visit dpdev.org/microcredentials to learn how your district can embed micro-credentials into professional learning for educators, and explore the Digital Promise Micro-credential Platform.

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