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Higher Education, Making

Maker Education and Micro-Credentialing

I had the opportunity to talk through the prospect of micro-credentialing at the MakerEd Convening in mid May in San Francisco this year. Here are Maker Education and Micro-credentialing slides if you are interested.

The goal of this talk was to think about some of the key issues related to what counts as learning–what gets recognized and validated in the educational community. After spending some time thinking about these questions and writing a rant that began, “The dominant discourse of schooling that ‘earning a college degree’ is THE predetermined, prescribed, anticipated path for all is unjust and discriminatory,” I decided to turn the lens on myself. “I am an Associate Professor at a university and I am a gatekeeper,” is how I started the talk that day. I wanted to ground the discussion in the issues of access and equity since we, as educators, must do this in order to continually shine a light on what is valued and what is recognized as meaningful and worthy in our profession (and by extension, culture). I went on to use Connie Yowell’s words, “Peer communities matter,” in order to highlight the amazing opportunity for membership, feedback, mentorship, sharing and the interdependency of DIY and DIT within the maker and maker educator communities. There is privilege in being part of a community and NOT needing formal recognition and it is strategic to share forms of recognition with people and gatekeepers outside the maker and maker educator community…and that is why it is essential promote an ecosystem of recognition for maker education.

Peer communities matter: How can we be strategic and aware of our privilege?

Peer communities matter: How can we be strategic and aware of our privilege?

Why micro-credentials? One opportunity is the intersection between interested-driven, peer culture, and academic worlds as educators are able to pursue PD that is relevant and timely for them, not just their administrators or districts or the other gatekeepers. Another opportunity is the diversity of experiences available and the valuing of different forms of success. From my perspective within higher ed, a focus on skills and competencies can force higher ed to be more transparent in what it recognizes and validates as learning–what does a degree entail? We don’t want “THE degree” to just be about seat time…and micro-credentialing could assist with making the degree more transparent.

 

I ended by posing some questions to ask the maker educator community:

  1. Do we value learning for adults (esp. in education)? (Question borrowed from LaVerne Srinivasan of the Carnegie Corporation)
  2. What do we value about making and maker culture? (as this will assist us with determining how to recognize and acknowledge the great work/learning in the educational community)
  3. How do we recognize such values? (first and foremost, be open to diverse and robust forms of recognition as it can force the gatekeepers to open the gateways and recognize nontraditional pathways of learning)
  4. How do we support maker education (for all kinds of educators)? What supports are needed? How can we always keep the issues of access and equity in our sights?

Micro-Credential Resources: 

About Jessica

Associate Prof of Education at Sonoma State University.

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