Teacher professional development lies in the heart of developing education. This year teachers around the world have adapted to digital learning.
How would you describe your teaching experience developed over the past year?
Professional development needs to make teachers’ knowledge and skills transparent not only to the teachers themselves, but also to community and future employers. Professional development needs to involve active self-reflection: How have my skills developed, and how could I utilize them in my daily work? Two ways of making skills and knowledge visible are digital badges and portfolios.
Digital badges communicate expertise from field to another
Digital badges show professional development events. Badges include details on how teacher has grown their expertise. For instance, by completing an online course on digital learning facilitation, teachers receive a badge that says to future employers: “This badge ensures that the participant knows how to manage active group activities in the Zoom online environment.” The teacher can add the digital badge as part of their professional CV.
Digital badges must be:
- Open and transparent: Badges need to show clearly what skills they entail. Digital badge can be shared in social media.
- Stackable: Teachers have ways to reach further and develop their skills via multiple courses and badges. The badges could be stacked as “mini degrees” – for instance, counting towards university credits.
- Relevant: Badges need to be timely and necessary.
Digital portfolios personalize learning
What badges often lack is showing the personal aspect of professional development. A badge shows that teacher has increased their digital facilitation skills. What matters in the end is how the teacher implements the skills during their coding, arts or math class.
This is where portfolio work can be used. Portfolios are collections of evidence of teacher’s skills and knowledge.
Digital environments offer creative solutions for how to make these skills transparent. Examples of portfolio work that a teacher could add to their personal portfolio:
- A video clip of their online classroom activity
- A self-designed coding lesson plan that shows both their pedagogical and subject skills
Year 2020 has shown how important teachers’ skills are for our societies. Why not make those skills visible and transparent?