Microsoft has recently announced a global partnership with Lamar University, the largest teacher training University in the United States, in order for teachers world-wide to gain post-graduate academic recognition for their participation in continued personal development courses provided by Microsoft. The programme has been developed with the combined efforts of Professors George Saltsman and Steve Molyneux of Lamar University. UK readers will recognise Steve as a long-time advocate of technology enriched education and as CEO of the Tablet Academy, one of the largest platform agnostic Teacher Training organisations in the UK. Whilst a Lamar University programme, Tablet Academy, through it’s office in the UK, South Africa, India, Germany and the Middle East, will assist in supporting teachers who wish to take advantage of this partnership.
‘The killer app in education is the teacher…’
At Microsoft we do not believe that our role within education ceases once a device or operating system is deployed within a classroom. It was recently said that the killer app in education is the teacher. The person teaching with the technology is arguably more important than the technology itself, and they need to have the appropriate skills and competencies to make sure that the learning potential offered by technological advances is being fully exploited. That is why, with the help of a number of partners, such as Lamar and Tablet Academy, we are committed to helping teachers to continue their personal development in a way that helps them to use technology to the best of their ability, and tangibly affect educational transformation within the classroom.
We offer a range of free courses for teachers as part of the Microsoft Educator Network, which can lead towards becoming a Microsoft Certified Educator. One of the most popular courses is Teaching with Technology (based on UNESCO ICT Framework), with 250 teachers in one Welsh council alone undertaking the programme. Upon completing the Teaching with Technology theory and examination, there are a number of further courses that teachers can embark upon, such as 21st Century Learning Design, which adds to a teachers training portfolio and helps them ensure they are at the forefront of teaching transformation.
Now, thanks to the alliance between Microsoft, Lamar University and the Tablet Academy, teachers can obtain a post-graduate basic 'Certificate in Digital Teaching' from Lamar and be awarded 6 US Credit Hours towards further online academic programmes.
The ‘Basic Certificate in Digital Teaching’ programme consists of 2 elements:
Element One: 'The Theory':
Teachers complete the free Microsoft Teaching with Technology course and take the Microsoft Certified Educator Exam.
Teachers prepare a reflective assessment piece in the form of a short video and written paper on how the contents of the course has changed their personal perceptions of teaching, pedagogy, and student engagement.
Teachers submit this reflective assessment to the University for assessment by Lamar Professors
Element Two: ‘Putting It Into Practice'
Teachers put into practice what they have learn from completing element one as well as input from face to face courses offered by Tablet Academy or other providers.
Teachers accumulate a portfolio of evidence of the impact of their technology intervention on teaching & learning in their classes
Teachers submit this portfolio to the University for assessment by Lamar Professors.
The outcome of completing both of these elements is that teachers will receive:
Microsoft Certified Educator Certification
A Post Graduate Certificate in ‘Basic Digital Teaching’ from Lamar University
6 credit-hours which can be used to progress to an Advanced Certificate, Masters (M.Ed) or Doctorate (Ed.D) all delivered online by Lamar University.
For those wanting to embark up on further qualifications, an Advanced Certified Digital Educator certificate can
be obtained after six additional credit-hours have been earned. Beyond this, teachers can extend their 12 existing credit-hours in order to progress their qualification to an M.Ed by completing a total of 36 credit hours.
The Potential Impact on Teachers
Whilst based on a Microsoft course, the content of ’Teaching With Technology’ is platform agnostic allowing for teachers who use non-windows devices to also participate in the programme.
Speaking of the partnership, Steve Molyneux, Professor of Global Education Leadership at Lamar and CEO of the Tablet Academy says:
“This partnership is unique in higher education. For many years industry has provided excellent quality professional development to the teaching profession which until now has not been recognised within a rigorous academic framework. This partnership brings the best of Industry and Academic programmes to the fore which will, we are certain, lead to a growing competency in 21st century teaching skills”.