Micro-Credentials: Taking PD to the next level

Micro-Credentials: Taking PD to the next level

The idea of long-term embedded professional development has always been a passion of mine. In my heart, I truly feel it is the best type of professional development for educators….or anyone for that matter. Time and time again pre-service and beginning teachers will tell you that student teaching was by far the best part of their pre-service teaching program. Why? It is long-term embedded learning with a Master Teacher. Now you can have the same experience online. If we know this is the best type of professional development, and we have research that shows time and time again that the traditional PD model adopted by schools; the one-off PD day, the yearly conference, the after-school two-hour session, do not lead to improved teaching or changes in student performance. Then why do we keep using them? This is the reason when school districts contact us at Eduro Learning to help teachers understand the changing nature of teaching and learning in a connected classroom, the first thing we tell them is: It takes time. There is no quick fix. Research shows that long-term professional development has a positive effect on technology skills of educators and a deeper integration of technology. However, the research also shows that if educators are not held accountable to try out their new skills, reflect on them and share their learning with others, that their technology skills improve but teaching practices stay the same. This is why the embedded model of professional development works. Teachers are doing the things they learn while they are learning them. It’s that embedded approach that allows for the change to happen. This is why we are seeing the rise of the Micro-Credential. In a report recently released by the American Institutes for Research, we find that Micro-Credentials are showing to be a powerful force in changing professional development for educators. Although the research around Micro-Credentials continues, the report points to five lessons learned so far. “The lessons learned offered by these three states fall into the following five categories: ƒ Decide on your purpose Start small Provide choice (but not too much) Keep an eye on the score Communicate, communicate, communicate” (AIR, 2017) As we launch our Micro-Credentials at Eduro Learning on October 15th I wanted to take time to explain and reflect on how we are addressing these lessons as well as other needs we see from our own lessons learned in providing professional development over...

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#EduroChallenge Day 6: Parenting In A Digital Age

#EduroChallenge Day 6: Parenting In A Digital Age

As part of the #EduroChallenge leading up to our Micro-Credential program launch, we wanted to pay tribute to the most important educators in a student’s lives…their Parents. Nobody has more influence over a child in their lives than their parent/guardian does…and raising a child today is different. Digital Parenting is No Longer Optional It’s a hard realization I find for many parents. Understanding there are things your child may be doing online that you don’t know about, or maybe just don’t understand. The following video is from one of the parenting sessions I did last school year for Everett School District.   This was just the first half of the night. At this point, the students left to do other activities and then I got to have some real heart to heart conversations with the parents in the room. We touched on some of the information I reflected on in this blog post, as well as other information on what children are really doing on their devices and why it is so important for schools to work with parents in helping today’s generation understand Digital Literacy. Kim, Chrissy and I are so passionate about this subject of helping schools, PTAs and parents everywhere, that we created six online courses for parents around the top concerns we have heard from parents and schools throughout the years of doing trainings. I truly believe these courses might be some of the best we have created so far and are so needed today.   Each course focuses in on a different aspect of things to consider when being a digi-parent. We have interviewed parents from around the world to hear what strategies they are employing for their own kids, as well as readings. There is a private Facebook group that goes with the courses where all parents can share stories, ideas, and strategies that work for their families. If you are a parent or know a parent these courses are for you. If you are a member of the PTA and would like to have us come and do a PTA presentation or work with you…we’d love to. We can even do a blended learning model where a school or PTA can become a member and we will come to your meeting or school once each course to lead discussions, talk through ideas and help support your community. As part of our Micro-Credential #EduroChallenge...

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#EduroChallenge Day 5: Practice, not Mastery

#EduroChallenge Day 5: Practice, not Mastery

The idea of practice, not mastery has been on my mind a lot these past few days…so it’s only fitting that its part of our #EduroChallenge. I first started really reflecting on this idea of practice, not mastery a few years ago when I started doing yoga. My wife and I had a deal. I would try it five times and after five times if I didn’t like it, I could quit. Well, after the fifth time I just kept going and the more I went the stronger I got, the more flexible I got and the better I felt. I’m now to the point that I can tell when I have not been doing yoga. My body lets me know. What I love about yoga is it’s called your “Yoga Practice”. There is no mastery in yoga everyone in the room is practicing, getting better, pushing themselves and their bodies in ways that fill right to them that day and in that moment. I’m never going to master the perfect downward dog or crow…..but each day I practice I get a little better, a little stronger. Some days are harder than others, but you have to practice if you want to get better. One thing I think we need to get better at is talking to students about practice and the importance of continuing to practice. We all look at our heroes and wish we could be like them. They make their craft, whether it be cooking, baseball, soccer, racing, football, etc look so easy. When we watch our heroes in action we get to watch hours upon hours of practice. None of them became the best at what they were over night…what you don’t see when you watch TV or a sporting event, are the hours of practice it took to get there. I’ll often have people ask me how I went from classroom teacher to consultant to edupreneur. The answer…practice. I forget sometimes how long I have been doing this. Over 1000 blog posts here, over 100 podcasts there. A company here, here and here, and countless conversations, video chats, and trying stuff out in the classroom. I have been practicing this since 2000 and I’m still practicing it today. We call it the “Teaching Practice“. That’s what teaching should be…..we’re never going to master it. We’re always looking for new ways of reaching that child, or that...

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#EduroChallenge Day 4: Enjoying the FAIL process

#EduroChallenge Day 4: Enjoying the FAIL process

There is nothing better to practice FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) then buying a house. Just about a year ago my wife and I moved into a new home here in Seattle. It was built in 1927 and well….it was built in 1927. It’s been a project, to say the least, both inside and out. Below are pictures from a first learning for me. The first picture is of the hot tub deck that was in the back yard when we moved in. I removed the decking and then raised it all up to one level to make it a functioning deck. The added bonus was reusing all the wood and decking to do it. The only thing we purchased for the deck was new railing and new screws. Building a deck from scratch is one thing, having to repurpose a deck from materials you have was a the first attempt for me. The second picture shows the outcome of the deck with the two wrap-around planter boxes that use to be stairs.   Learning something new like this takes time. The process I went through followed the engineering design cycle very closely. I found myself often reflecting on the work and the process and how it applied to what we want to see students doing in school. Authentic Purposeful Work (APLE: See Kim’s post and resources here). The learning wasn’t easy, there were failures along the way and a ton of learning that I applied to the next project…the upper deck. How do we help students to understand that your First Attempt In Learning is that just that…an attempt….and from there you learn, grow, and attempt again. How do we change grading systems to allow attempts at learning instead of mastery of learning? Big questions that we need to start asking if we want to truly embrace FAIL in our...

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#EduroChallenge Day 3: Working in Virtual Teams

#EduroChallenge Day 3: Working in Virtual Teams

Day 3 of the #EduroChallenge is about teams and it’s something I’m personally very passionate about. Not only because we at Eduro Learning are a virtual team. We have no office space, yet we meet and work together all the time. In my opening keynote this year to educators I talk about that collaboration means in 2017 and beyond. We’ve always wanted students to be good team members, to learn to collaborate. However, in 2017 we need to make sure we’re also teaching students how to collaborate across time and space. That is a skill that is highly sought after in companies today. When are we creating learning experiences for students to collaborate across time and space? I have a friend who works for Amazon (everyone in Seattle has a friend that works for Amazon). He is based in Luxembourg because it’s more central to the two teams he manages. On in Seattle, the other in Bangalore, India. A survey by Gallup in 2015 found that 37% of American’s telecommute to work. I wasn’t able to find research newer than that but the trend is definitely heading upwards to 50%. If half the students in our classrooms need to know how to work in virtual teams, when are we giving them the opportunity to practice and understand how to communicate in that form, respectfully and productively. Do you have stories about virtual teams? How do you help students learn to collaborate across time and...

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