- Having educators earn tech industry certifications can pay significant dividends for districts, as evidenced by Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools' (OH) efforts to have all 138 of its teachers become Level 1 Google Certified Educators, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Aside from the monetary expenses of providing training, support and exam fees, the district also spent considerable time preparing educators to take the related three-hour test, but Director of Technology and Information Systems Mike Daugherty says there are more pros than cons when every teacher understands how to best utilize the tools being deployed.
- When exploring the option, districts should start by matching potential certifications to educators' classroom environments, designing the related professional development with teachers' input, and creating a formal program that offers teachers incentives to complete it.
As more technology is integrated into classrooms and educators are expected to keep up with the tech their students are using (in addition to being expected to teach them how to use that tech responsibly), having teachers earn certifications offers an opportunity to improve instruction as well as district operations. Educators who can troubleshoot their own technological problems, for example, can alleviate the burden on school and district IT specialists, allowing those staff members to focus on bigger picture strategy concerns. This can also help districts shore up budgets, with fewer IT staff required overall in an environment where teachers themselves can handle various support demands.
In a classroom environment where teachers are specializing in tech ed subjects, these certifications can also help efforts to offer students more learning opportunities in those subjects. Certified educators (depending upon their specific certification) could shift their areas of specialization to expand a school's overall curricular options, or just teach those new STEM subjects on the side of what they typically teach.
Districts will, of course, need to be aware of any additional time demands on teachers related to such an effort, but careful planning can help sidestep potential burnout and leave the district and its schools in a better place.