Recently, BloomBoard co-founder and President, Jason Lange, was a featured guest on School ZonED, a weekly podcast produced by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resource Center (OPSRC) that discusses all things related to Oklahoma education. In the interview, Jason talks with Jason Midkiff and Jason Mack (yes, there were actually three Jasons in the studio!) about how BloomBoard is helping teachers further their own learning and careers through micro-credentialing.

If you’re curious to learn more about how BloomBoard works with states and districts to empower educator growth via micro-credentialing, we’ve included the interview below. If you’re short on time, we’ve got you covered. Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:

1. BloomBoard and the Oklahoma Public Schools Resource Center (OPSRC) are partnering to bring micro-credentialing to Oklahoma educators!

You won’t have to get too far in the interview to hear the news that we’ve officially partnered with OPSRC. This has been a long time in the works and BloomBoard is excited to be supporting Oklahoma schools and districts who want to move away from ineffective “sit and get” PD and move towards offering a competency-based approach to professional learning and advancement that leverages micro-credentials. A key point Jason Lange hits on in the interview is that micro-credentials are not just an online course—in order to effectively implement them, you need a set of good district support structures in place. OPSRC will be offering this support structure for Oklahoma districts.

If you’re not familiar with micro-credentials, skip to 1:20 to get the quick overview. If you want to learn more about our partnership, fast forward to 3:08.

2. Micro-credentials can be aligned to existing salary schedule credit, enabling educators to advance in their compensation (for half the cost of traditional graduate credit!). 

OPSRC is encouraging districts to align micro-credentials in the program to salary schedules so that educators can accumulate Master’s equivalent semester hours. By requiring educators to demonstrate competency through a portfolio of evidence, micro-credentials provide an effective, relevant, and job-embedded approach to professional development at a much cheaper cost than traditional advanced degrees. As an added incentive, financing options are available so educators can defer the cost of the program until they earn their lane change/salary advancement. Why is this key? With more than 40% of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years, developing and retaining your most effective educators is important. Providing them with career and compensation advancement opportunities is one step districts can take to do this.

If you want to learn more about why districts would want to get on board with this approach and how alignment to lane change works, skip to 5:15 in the interview. If you’re curious to hear about some of the other states and districts BloomBoard works with, fast forward to 28:06.

3. Districts have the opportunity to directly align micro-credentials to their strategic plans, making them more relevant and effective for educators. 

The new continuing education framework offered through OPSRC consists of a set of micro-credentials which enable educators to prove proficiency in specific practice areas (including Social Emotional Learning, Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners, Computer Science Instruction, Personalized Learning, and more).  Districts can customize the program to align micro-credentials with their strategic plans, enabling educators to demonstrate the competencies that matter most for their district. This is key because (as discussed in the interview) research shows that teachers log nearly one hundred million hours of PD each year, however, much of this time has little impact on classroom practice. Teachers aren’t required to demonstrate they’ve implemented what they’ve learned, therefore, they simply go back to doing things the way they were. With “learning by doing” (i.e., competency-based learning) educators get 6x the learning in half the time investment by proving their competencies through portfolios. 

Skip to the 25:38 mark to hear Jason talk about the research and the importance of micro-credentials.

Here is the complete interview, enjoy!