If you’re a teacher and earning CEUs to renew your license, there are a lot of terrific inservice opportunities. Many districts offer their own packages and provide in-school workshops. As a longtime National Board Certified educator, I am really pumped about microcredentials. These are additional credit options which allow you to extend and personalize your online learning experience.
My experiences are based on the Friday Institute through the North Carolina State University’s College of Education. Their MOOC courses are FREE premium offerings for folks worldwide. I am still in the process of completing some microcredentials for a fantastic course called Problem Solving in the Digital Age.
How do microcredentials work? They provide the option of going beyond the basic course requirements, while earning more CEUs, of course. In my case, I am taking the skills I learned and applying them to a real world teaching problem. I took this course to solve a particularly perplexing problem and I emerged inspired and equipped. Now I am demonstrating my learning while continuing to address my complex problem.
Earning microcredentials is a lot like the National Board process, with an emphasis on best practices, applying research, and lots of reflection and processing. It’s a data-driven process, but meaningful- not just plugging numbers into boxes. What’s better than the pure application of learning to your current practice?
Some of my past experiences with staff development were awesome. But other “opportunities” left me wishing I could have gone swimming instead. As I glanced around the room, I could see teachers struggling to stay awake, doing lesson plans, passing notes, and keeping a neutral expression while desperately wishing they could use their time productively. Online learning (at the Friday Institute level), in conjunction with microcredentials, provides authentic learning experiences which can be tailored to suit my individual situation. Isn’t that what we want for our students? Lauren Acree has written a comprehensive evaluation of microcredentials, in case I haven’t convinced you!