A micro-credential is like a digital badge displaying new learning and accomplishments. A series of tasks are evaluated by a panel to earn the micro-credentials. Educators are utilizing micro-credentials offerings available online to pursue professional learning that is practical. It is perfect for school librarians who are new to the profession or veteran librarians (like me) because it requires us to look at our instruction and services through a defined lens.
Why Earn a Micro-credential?
There are several reasons to pursue micro-credentials:
- Challenge: A new micro-credential provides an opportunity to be challenged. I have been a librarian for twenty years, so I appreciate finding new opportunities to grow. Some micro-credentials require participants to learn a new tool or analyze an existing practice. Both require a thoughtful approach that strengthens our roles.
- Reflection: We don’t often get moments to reflect on specific areas of our work. Taking time to analyze our practice through specific prompts pushes us to recognize our strengths and needed areas of improvement. We also might be asked to analyze student work and how students met the intended goals.
- Advocacy: Earning a micro-credential provides another opportunity to showcase our instructional role in the school. The digital badge can be posted online, in an e-mail signature, and printed to post in the library. View Ashley Cooksey’s KQ blog post about where to post the digital badges.
Recently, I was fortunate to earn the Empowering Students as Creators micro-credential from Digital Promise. The micro-credential opened in November, and all participants completed the necessary tasks by January 31. Participants needed to apply to be a part of a cohort for this first-time micro-credential.
I was able to examine how the library space and my instruction impacted student creativity. By looking at a specific area of my practice (developing students as creators), I was able to analyze how I collaborate and design lessons with classroom teachers that encourage a creative mindset. For example, I discovered that providing students parameters helps students in the planning process. The parameters did not hinder the creativity of the final products.
As my district integrates unique instructional opportunities that include creative components, this particular challenge helped me recognize areas I could improve in the creative process, including asking myself the following questions:
- Do I provide creative spaces and tools in the library?
- How do I instruct the creative mindset with students?
- How do students demonstrate their creativity–class assignments and personal use?
I was able to look at the library space and reflect on how the space can better serve students in the creation process. Other prompts included reflecting on specific lessons and other opportunities provided by the school library.
How Can I Find Micro-credentials?
Several educational organizations provide micro-credentials. Digital Promise has a website where you can search offerings from different institutions, including PBS, Future Ready Schools, and Maker Ed. The site also includes pricing info for each micro-credential.
What other micro-credentials or digital badges do you recommend for school librarians?
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.