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 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.