All this week we have been going into more depth on each of the areas of the Microsoft Educator Community, and exploring the ways that people can take value from the wealth of free teacher CPD resources and peer interactions that can be found through the site that is being colloquially known as the 'MEC'.
If you missed our previous post about how to join the MEC, you can find it here:
With six main areas of the site for teachers to immerse themselves in, we're going to look at each of them through the eyes of an educator, and hear from them how they have used materials, courses, tutorials or the network of other members of the MEC to further their own personal development and put the new skills or approaches into practice in the classroom.
This post explores how badges help you find experienced educators in the community, with whom you can showcase your expertise. Below we have guest posts from Sarah Clark and Paul Dredge, both members of our #MIEExpert community, who have shared their experience of earning badges on the Microsoft Educator Community.
By Sarah Clark
So, I joined the Microsoft education community (or network as it was back then) about 2 years ago after hearing about it online. It was a way for me to improve my digital skills so that I could use them more productively in school. Once registered I received my Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) badge and since then I've been hooked.
So far I have earned 10 badges (46 in total) for completing courses on the educator community site. Not as many badges as some, but this comes down to time and what I think will impact my teaching and improve learning in my class.
As a member of the MEC I can access various short videos and work on courses to improve my skills. These range from using office 365, OneDrive, Windows 10 and Sway. I find the courses easy to follow with short videos to watch followed by a brief assessment. At the end of each course an 80% (usually) pass is required to earn the badge. You can watch the videos when it suits you and can come back later to finish one off.
Most courses take about 2 hours to complete in full with some a little longer. I get really excited at the prospect of a new badge, just like the kids in my class do when they earn a sticker for their work! The badges allow me to easily see my professional development progression giving me a log of how my skills are improving. I then go away and reflect on how to integrate what I have learned into my lessons or share with my students to improve their digital skills.
Some badges I feel are not relevant to me and my teaching at the moment. For example we are not using Windows 10 in school yet so I haven't completed this course but intend to in the future.
The screenshot below shows the badges I have earned so far and my progression.
The badges I have achieved so far:
- Teaching with Technology basics
- #HackTheClassroom participant
- Educator Community Contributor
- Teacher Academy: Office 365
- Teacher Academy: OneNote
- Microsoft in Education
- Twitter Promoter
- Teacher Academy Office online and OneDrive
By Paul Dredge
Microsoft have added the fun factor to the MEC with their badge reward scheme. Whenever you pass an exam you are rewarded with a badge.
While writing this blog post I currently have 18 badges out of the 46 that are available. Some of the badges are easy to achieve by sharing a community post via Twitter or Facebook and some involve a lot more time and effort.
The badges look great and are showcased on your MEC profile for all to see. You are able to show off your badge to everyone by sharing them on social media. For me, it brings the same excitement as it did when I was younger, collecting football cards.
The stand out badges that I have achieved so far are the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, MIE Master Trainer, MIE Surface Expert and the Teacher Academy Windows 10. I'm proud to be able to say that I've achieved these badges.
Don't forget that this week we have a number of great Windows tablet devices to give away to some of you who can show us what you have been up to on the MEC. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is tweet a picture of the badges you've earned, including your profile (example below) and the #MECWeek hashtag.