Are corporate certifications valuable?
A few weeks ago, I posted a Vlog entry on the value of corporate certifications such as the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program, the Microsoft Innovative Education Expert (MIE) program, and the Google Certified Educator (GCT) program. (ADE, GCE, MIE)
In response to that video, I had a few colleagues suggest that I write a blog post about the value of these programs for schools, focusing more on how EdTech leaders view them.
To summarize the video, I conclude that these programs are mutually beneficial to schools and the organizations that provide despite the potential for product promotion or blind allegiance.
Further, I suggested that they are excellent tools in hiring and professional development of EdTech staff. As an EdTech leader, I often have to look at qualifications of potential resources outside of the school and in evaluating potential new hires. When I see an ADE, GCE, MIE, I have to be honest that it piques my interest in the candidate, but not for the reasons that most would expect. Obviously companies that offer these certifications have a vetting process that has a level of validity in identifying strong instructional technologists and that any similar evaluation I would conduct will likely result in quite a bit common conclusions about said candidates.
However, these corporate evaluations often include a slant towards their products and a requirement for significant outward facing content (such as social media engagement or authorship). Neither of these are priorities in my evaluation. Yet, a person who engaged in corporate certification does show something that is highly valuable for me: passion to improve. By putting yourself out as a GCT you are asking Google to recognize your accomplishments as a means of gaining additional training, access to resources, and connections to other like minded folks in the field. One does that to improve their practice as an EdTech. And as our field is in a constant state of entropy we must constant improve. We have to possess a level of passion for improvement to keep up with this daunting task.
Continuing along those lines, access to these programs provides access to a greater network of people that will help the individual, and by extension our school or district, bring in fresh ideas and help us move forward. As an MIE, you are connect to international expertise from every continent on the planet. If I have a governmental based challenge I know an MIE can find someone who has had a similar experience. If I need to know about international educational technology practices in South America, I can find someone in the network who can help.