Bloomboard—the same tool known for its competency-based professional development platform and resource library—is now getting into the micro-credentials business.
Today, the company announced a new offering that helps teachers access curated materials around the competencies or problems of practice that are most interesting to them, and then earn micro-credentials through nonprofit Digital Promise that can be translated into credit hours.
The new offering is twofold. First, Bloomboard has released “Collections,” assorted packages of resources organized around themes like Minecraft, teaching students with disabilities, and project-based learning (shown in the header image above). Similar to Pinterest, teachers can search for collections with keywords, and save or share their favorites. Each collection has been compiled by one of Bloomboard’s “master teachers.” Here's a small sampling of what teachers can find amongst the collections:
- Dig Into Math with Minecraft
- Snow Day!
- Keep Calm and Teach On! Incorporating Calming Techniques in the Classroom
- Checking for Understanding Using Gestures
Additionally, as part of a partnership with Digital Promise, the new BloomBoard site enables users to earn micro-credentials for skills like “wait time” and “aligning standards and assessments.” The micro-credentials can then be translated to a professional development credit hours; as of now, they are approved for statewide credit hour equivalency in Texas, Illinois, and North Carolina.
Bloomboard presented the Collections and micro-credentials improvements in beta form during EdSurge’s first-ever virtual Shark Tank in early December of 2015. The four Sharks, all educators from across the country, expressed curiosity over how Bloomboard vets the “master teachers” who make decisions on what kinds of PD are relevant and improve practice. One Baltimore educator, Jenna Shaw, also pushed the needle around the question of “micro-credentials,” asking, “These are not small tasks, so what evidence do you have that taking one of those mini-credential courses actually changes learning?”
Bloomboard CEO Jason Lange responded, “You’re right, these micro-credentials are non-trivial in terms of engagement, but demonstrating mastery of a craft as complicated as teaching is not a trivial task. All the artifacts required [for a micro-credential] are around things that demonstrate mastery of student outcomes. For example, what student work demonstrates that you can achieve that skill and how do you know there was a change in practice.”
The site is free for educators, who can sign up at next.bloomboard.com. As for district offerings, administrators are asked to contact the Bloomboard team to discuss needs and pricing.