Education can scratch the surface, or it can go deep – providing students with not just subject knowledge, but the skills required to master that subject.

Skills such as inquiry, critical thinking, and collaborative problem solving equip students with the tools they need to succeed in college and the workforce. Tools that set the foundation for lifelong learning.

In order to move to a competency-based system, we should take advantage of the opportunity to model that approach for those at the head of the classroom: teachers.

Digital Promise CEO Karen Cator, along with Tom Vander Ark and Carri Schneider from Getting Smart, lay out a new approach to teacher professional development in “Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning,” a paper and corresponding infographic.

This approach balances an educator’s goals with those of their district’s leadership, and can be seamlessly integrated with classroom practice.

And, perhaps most importantly, this approach allows teachers to take ownership of their learning by giving them control over when, where, and what their professional development looks like.

Micro-credentials, issued in the form of digital badges, are an exciting and compelling vehicle for delivering personalized, competency-based opportunities for teachers to continuously learn and grow in their practice.

As a founding member of the Badge Alliance, Digital Promise is leading a growing group of individuals and organizations interested in digital badges for teachers. We are also developing a series of micro-credentials to reward competence based on portfolios of artifacts and reflections.

These credentials are granular and the expectations are transparent. Expert and peer reviews will ensure the micro-credentials are rigorous, and ultimately worthwhile endeavors for professional educators within schools, districts, and beyond.



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