If you are anything like I was when I was still in the classroom, right about now, you are looking for some professional development (PD) hours to finish out your required number or start to get ahead on the next count. Finding PD offerings isn’t usually that difficult. Finding them to fit around your schedule is usually the issue. You are probably already aware of webinars as an alternative to the standard face-to-face model as one option, but have you considered digital badging as another method?
Digital badging, or micro-credentialing, has been gaining popularity over the past several years in multiple industries including education. The idea is that, like an inline class, you research on your own and submit some sort of evidence that you learned something. The big difference is that digital badges are smaller chunks of work and, generally, asynchronous. Since any person or institution may issue micro-credentials, another issue that crops up is picking ones that your district will accept. That’s where we come in.
The NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EPDC for short) is a cooperative agreement between NASA, a recognized leader in STEM innovation, and Texas State University, one of the largest producers of educators in the United States. The EPDC Digital Badging System draws on expertise from both to offer quality professional development that gives administrators ample reason to accept the badges earned as value added professional development. Right now there are over twenty different badges with more being added each month. Badges generally require anywhere from five to eight hours of work on your part and are evaluated by education specialists in a rolling format so that you don’t have to wait long to get feedback.
How Do I Get Started?
Creating an account in the system is free and painless. Simply go to https://www.txstate-epdc.net/, scroll down and click on the digital badging tile. This will direct you to the login page where you will click on one of the three authentication methods (Twitter, Google or Facebook).
This will redirect you to a welcome page where you enter some information and confirm your authentication method. After that, you can come back to the site https://nasatxstate-epdc.net/ and click on the same authentication method to get in to your account. It is important to always use the same authentication method each time you enter. Using a different method will create a new account which cannot be linked to the old one.
Go to the Badging site https://nasatxstate-epdc.net/ and enter. You will open to a dashboard showing any badges and missions that you are working on and groups that you have joined.
Click on the explore icon in the upper left side of the screen. Type in keywords or search by badges using filters. Click on a badge title to learn more about it. If you like the description and want to try and earn the badge, you simply click the start this badge button and then click on the title of a step to get instructions.
Sharing Your Progress
You can access a report of all badges that you have earned by clicking on the reports icon on the upper left of the dashboard. Select Learning Profile Brief to see a general view of the badges you have earned or are working on and a breakdown by category.
To see individual badges, click on the Learning Profile Expanded. Click on the title of the badge you earned to see a screen which allows you to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, or Pinterest or export it to your Mozilla Backpack. You may also use this screen to choose whether your evidence is visible to your friends. If you copy the link and send it to an administrator, they can view the badge explanation, hours spent and, if you have selected visible, your evidence to consider for your professional development hours.
Now that you can see how easy it is to find and participate in quality professional development on your own time, I hope that you will consider digital badging with the NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative. See you in the system!
John F. Weis
Educator Professional Development Specialist, NASA STEM EPDC
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center