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Ron Daley: KCEV hosts educators from across country at K-12 Micro-Credentials Summit

Over 120 K-12 educators from Maine to California attended the National Summit on Micro-Credentials in Hazard May 23. The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) hosted the summit with national speakers on the emerging field of micro-credentials for personalized professional learning for teachers and educational leaders.

Crowd of educators at National Summit on Micro-credentials in Hazard (Photo provided)

The goals of the summit which was live-streamed throughout the nation were to promote understanding the direction of professional learning and educator licensure in various states, gathering information from states regarding the success and lessons learned using micro-credentials, and developing a sense of need for micro-credentials as a personalized professional learning pathway for in-service educators.

Kentucky is on the cutting edge of this innovative way to enhance skills of K-12 educators. Micro-credentials allow teachers and other educators to have “choice and voice” in their professional learning so they can focus on areas they wish to improve while going at their own pace in a digital format.

“Micro-credentials are a digital form of certification indicating that a professional has demonstrated competency in a specific skill, such as data literacy, formative assessment, or growth mindset,” explains Jennifer Carroll, the professional learning lead at KVEC. “Rather than learning by watching, reading, or listening alone, micro-credentials promote learning by doing. Educators apply their learnings in their practice and collect and reflect on the evidence, thereby demonstrating their competence and earn digital badges.”

Organizer Robert Brown speaks to summit attendees (Photo provided)

The micro-credential process is effective because research demonstrates that teachers’ greatest challenge is actually putting what they’ve learned in traditional sit and get professional development into practice in the classroom, explains Robert Brown, the coordinator for the summit. Brown, the Professional Learning Lead for Micro-credential Policy at KVEC, explains that micro-credentials encourage teachers to apply skills to classroom practice, scaffold teachers to engage at an increased level of rigor and allow teachers to demonstrate competency/mastery in a variety of ways.

Digital Promise has built an ecosystem of micro-credentials in partnership with a variety of educational organizations with expertise in online professional learning delivery. Digital Promise, also known as the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, is a non-profit organization originated by the U.S. Congress as part of the 2008 re-authorization of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Its mission is to spur innovation in education and improve the opportunity to learn for all through technology and research.

Nearly 300 micro-credentials have been developed by practitioners, vetted by Digital Promise and hosted on their platform. KVEC has developed four micro-credentials with Digital Promise.

The summit expert speakers included Matt Dunleavy of the IMPACT Lab at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, Machel Mills, the director of Professional Learning Systems with the Tennessee Department of Education, Gary Chapin of Maine who is the senior associate with the Center for Collaborative Education based in Boston, Massachusetts, Jennifer Kabaker, the director of educator micro-credentials with Digital Promise from San Francisco, California, and Jennifer Carroll, personalized professional learning lead at KVEC. A practitioner panel also provide an enthusiastic account the success in that micro-credentialing had on classroom instruction and student learning. School districts represented on the panel were Breathitt, Floyd, Lawrence, and Owsley counties.

Gene Wilhoit, a former Kentucky Department of Education commissioner and executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, praised the event adding he was excited to see KVEC being an early leader in micro-credentials. Wilhoit is the director of The National Center for Innovation in Education, which focuses on national education reform, at the University Of Kentucky College Of Education.

The Micro-Credential Summit’s sessions and interviews with several participants can be viewed on the KVEC digital platform at The Holler www.theholler.org.

Ron Daley is the strategic partner lead for the KY Valley Educational Cooperative, a consortium of 21 school districts located in 16 counties in southeastern Kentucky.

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