I’ve been blogging for a little over two weeks now, and already I am falling down on the job! I could blame it on my ADD or my EFD, or I could blame it on my newest obsession – Digital Badging. Let me back up a bit.
One of my roles on the job is professional development – providing, creating, facilitating, etc. A huge struggle for so many of us in the PD field is whether our participants are not only learning from what we share, but whether they are then implementing what they have learned. Short of stalking everyone who has ever participated in one of my face to face or online trainings over the last seven years, I can only hope they are implementing what they need.
Another one of my frustrations with PD has been the struggle to provide PD that is available when it is convenient to teachers, administrators, paras, interpreters, and other staff members working in the field of deaf education throughout the entire state of Texas. Trying to find a “good” time for everyone… impossible! I started providing eLearning modules that were “just in time,” available 24/7, 365 days of the year, that took about an hour to complete. They have been very well received, but I am back to the problem of not knowing if they are truly helpful. At least with the 80-ish modules we have available, I can be sure that there is at least one module of interest for most deaf ed staff.
Last year, while researching best practices in PD, I came across the concept of micro-credentialing and digital badges. Digital Promise describes four characteristics of micro-credentials as Competency-Based, Personalized, On-Demand, and Shareable. As I started digging deeper, I realized that this might actually be the answer I have been looking for.
In a perfect PD world, I could provide a buffet of micro-courses – trainings that take as little as a few minutes to complete. There would be a wide variety of topics, something for everyone, based on their interests, their students’ needs, school and district initiatives, instructional shifts, and more (personalized). They would be available to choose from during conference periods or soccer practice or even during staff development days (on-demand). They would have follow up tasks that require participants to demonstrate use of their learning (competency-based) in ways that are meaningful to them (personalized). And instead of the file folder of certificates, they would earn digital badges or micro-credentials that can be shared on social media and displayed in email or blogs.
I see nothing wrong with the goal of a perfect PD world – so I have taken up the challenge! Over the past week I have worked on the Canvas course that will be hosting the buffet, designed some of the digital badges that can be earned, and have jumped back and forth between content and design and research. ADD hyper focus at its finest! I am so very excited about my progress though, and I hope the deaf ed staff in Texas will be as well. So I haven’t kept up with my blog, or my email, or my phone calls, or my laundry, or my (fill in the blank). At least I’m making progress on something!