This year FWSU launched its first micro-credential. Micro-credentials are a new system emerging across the United States that will address new (and continued) learning for educators, as well as the needs for continued professional growth of school systems. Micro-credentialing offers a proficiency-based recognition system for professional development.
The micro-credential system closely mirrors our proficiency-based system for students; both rely on evidence of learning, not just passive participation in learning. Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools (FWSU is one of 93 members) is one of the major movers in this new form of professional learning. They explain the importance of the system below:
- Proficiency-based: Micro-credentials allow educators to focus on a discrete skill related to their practice — for instance, checking for student understanding — and collect the evidence — such as classroom videos or student work — to demonstrate ability in that specific skill. They also allow for educators to model and emulate the current law of Vermont as defined in Act 77 (PBGR).
- On-demand: Through an online platform that clearly identifies micro-credentials’ competency and required evidence, educators can start and continue the process of earning micro-credentials at their own pace, on their own time.
- Personalized: Because educators/districts are able to select the micro-credentials they wish to earn, professional learning journeys can be created that are aligned to their specific student/school needs and school-wide instructional goals.
- Shareable: Once educators earn micro-credentials, they can display their credentials in a Learning Management System (LMS), their LinkedIn profile, or on a blog to signal their demonstrated competence wherever their professional journey might take them.
In addition to the many micro-credentials available through the League of Innovative Schools, FWSU has also developed its very own micro this year. The focus of the first FWSU micro is the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), are a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets between them. The 17 goals cover a broad range of sustainable development issues. The targets fit nicely within the FWSU action plan and they also address issues that our students need to address/understand in our complex world.
FWSU is one of the first systems actively moving in this direction in Vermont, but many others are beginning to shift their professional learning systems as well. Our goal is to take learning to new heights with a system for students and educators that is built for the 21st century.