Digital Citizenship is often referred to as not being a jerk on the internet. Simple as that. Teach our students to be good Digital Citizens. Citizens are a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized. It's more than just being chill on the internet. Our students have developed their own culture on it, regardless if we approve or not. I believe to teach being chill on the internet, I need to show proof I understand it. In the digital education world, I see that being done through Certified Educators.
When we were hashing out the idea of EduTryGuys, one of the key tenets we landed on was becoming a "certified educator" on the tool we were going to test, if we were going to use a tool. The reason we put importance on this was to show that we do our due diligence to become familiar with the tool that we are doing research on. If the tool has an option to become certified, we want to put in the effort to earn it prior to doing action research on it. If available, we want to earn the right to do research on these tools.
The certifications I've obtained are Microsoft Innovative Educator, Nearpod Certified Educator, Flipgrid Certified Educator, and Mystery Skype Master. They all have various expectations and requirements to earn their badge.
I wanted to take time to share out what it takes to get each of those.
Microsoft Innovative Educator
Microsoft says that "MIEs use Microsoft tools in the classroom and have learned the fundamentals of applying technology in education. This is the first step on an exciting journey of joining a professional network of enthusiastic educators who come together to learn, share, and grow."
Their path to earning that title and badge is kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. The goal is to get 1,000 points by watching their sometimes interactive videos that are worth various amount of points based on the depth of the video. You can also get points for doing Skype activities or participating in the forums and chats they have, adding a community aspect to becoming a MIE.
Some of the courses offered are different areas of pedagogy using their tools including O365, Skype, OneNote, Sway, Coding, and Minecraft (no joke, it's pretty cool). It can be a bit irritating or even seem like a sales pitch at times for Surface Pro but it's worth checking out especially if you're a Microsoft school.
Skype Mystery Master is similar, take the course and sign up to be available to mystery Skype and your done. Boom.
There are 164 badges that can be earned through Microsoft. Get after it.
Check it out here :)
Nearpod Certified Educator
Nearpod is something new to me. I've only been using it for a few weeks. So far, I think it's pretty awesome. To be honest, Nearpod is what prompted me to write this post detailing how I've gone through the processes of becoming certified. Megan Tolin modeled how this tool and I enjoyed it from the student role. I started exploring it later that week. I did a test run with a simple lesson I created. I tried it with a small group and I feel it went well. They had positive reactions, although I didn't do any type of assessment with it. The Instructional Coach in my building and I were talking about it and she shared that she has used it for a few years. I told her I had just become Certfied and she was like "Whattttttt?! I've been using it for years and I didn't even know it was a thing!" - Direct Quote from her. I created one lesson, used it, and they sent me an email telling me how it could be done. So, for the the sake of others I thought this post would be a good idea.
Nearpod has a few steps, the first being attending a live webinar or self-paced webinar. It's pretty neat because it uses their nearpod platform to model how it can be used. Their are a few options such as Getting Started, Digital Citizenship, Creating a Lesson, Google & Nearpod Integrations, etc.
Once you've done, create your own lesson using Nearpod's "Best Practices" lesson guide. The guide contains expectations such as a Measurable Objective, Appropriate Pacing, and Student Interactivity. Once you've completed your lesson you need to use it in your classroom with at least 15 students. Post the link of your lesson on their application form and your done.
The Nearpod folks will evaluate your lesson to see if it meets their expectations and then email you.
To see the process for yourself, check it out here :)
Flipgrid Certified Educator
Flipgrid is similar to Nearpod. The first thing you need "Use Flipgrid with your students or colleagues and receive at least 10 responses." It's pretty simple. When I did it I created a grid and shared it out on twitter and relied on my PLN to help me out. Mine was on Superheroes because I'm bit of a nerd like that. You'll also need to have your profile completed on the dashboard.
A step that I don't recall doing it is checking out their Discovery Library, find something you like and add it to a grid. Once you've completed that, go to this grid and share how much you have #FlipgridFever (If you don't already have it, you will. Trust me on that, playa).
Next, you have to take a quiz. The answers are easy if you take time to explore the educator dashboard. You can take the quiz as much as many times as you want until you pass it. Don't stress. It's not state testing that will determine if you get a diploma, nothing as ridiculous as that.
All of the above about Flipgrid can be found right here :)
On twitter, you'll see folks showing great pride in earning these certifications. The former modest teacher in me originally thought it was a bit silly. I was wrong. After going through the process on a few it's taught me that these educators are pushing themselves into the 21st century that our students were born into. Students are born into digital citizenship, we have to earn ours. Becoming certified is earning that citizenship. It's a badge of proof that Educators are learning and earning to be in that digital world that our students have a birthright. It's also proof that you've taken the time to learn a tool that you'll use in the classroom, the same you learned pedagogical methods in your teacher preparation program.
See ya, bye!