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Blog: Rethinking the Teacher Candidate Experience with Micro-credentials

September 08, 2017


by Lee-Anne Spalding

Micro-credentials Support Novice Teachers’ Readiness

The College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida strives to be at the forefront of innovation in teacher training and development. We know a key component of that is constant collaboration with our many district partners. After several visits to local schools to learn more about the technology they’re using to develop 21st-century learners, the idea of micro-credentials being a valuable part of a teacher candidate’s training at UCF became clear.

Traditionally, colleges of education prescribe a fixed set of courses for their teacher candidates to complete. If successful, they all earn the same degree. Grades and assignments may differ, of course, but how can a teacher candidate show that they have gone beyond the required curriculum to hone certain skills in their chosen profession that are recognized nationally for better classroom practice and potential candidate marketability? Micro-credentials provided a way.

Micro-credentials were included in the Elementary Education program at UCF to provide students with an opportunity to engage in personalized learning opportunities in multiple ways. We specifically selected the Educators Rising “Beginning to Teach” micro-credentials since they so beautifully aligned to course objectives in our program and to Florida’s Educator Accomplished Practices framework. Throughout several core courses in the program, students are given the choice to complete one of the five micro-credentials.

Some of the “Beginning to Teach” micro-credentials’ submission requirements call for artifacts from classroom teaching, such as teaching videos. Gaining access to students and coordinating permission in local schools to record students teaching can be challenging. Luckily, our innovative, mixed-reality simulation, TeachLivE, fit the bill. TeachLivE offers teacher candidates an opportunity to hone their skills with avatars. With close to 90 global partners taking advantage of this “flight simulator” for teachers, TeachLivE is allowing more and more students to pause, reflect, and change course to best support student learning. By pairing micro-credentials with TeachLivE, UCF is equipping its students to harness the power of technology to personalize their own professional development.

The “Beginning to Teach” micro-credential stack is only one of the efforts UCF is undertaking to create opportunities for personalized learning. We will continue to research and implement new ways for students and educators alike to show what they know, while pursuing personal areas of interest to meet their professional learning needs and goals.

Lee-Anne Spalding is an assistant lecturer at the University of Central Florida.