2017 Badge Summit Preview: Interview with Jen Williams
Dr. Jennifer Williams is among the thought leaders joining us at this year’s Badge Summit. Jen is a literacy specialist and professor and serves on the Board of Directors for the International Literacy Association. She is a globally minded educator and is well known for her work with classrooms of the world to connect learning and experience through meaningful uses of technology.
Known to me first by her @JenWilliamsEdu twitter handle, she has long been one of my EDU-heroes and I look forward to learning from her at our conference. She was kind enough to answer a few questions as a preview to this year’s Badge Summit.
What’s exciting for you right now in the Digital Badge Credentials arena?
Today in education, we’re in an extraordinary time where districts and schools are leveraging emerging technologies and high-quality instructional materials and using cooperative forms of teacher learning to create customized paths for professional development. By supporting and recognizing these personalized PD paths with microcredentials and badging, we are able to improve not only the overall learning experience for teachers, but also the quality of the learning. Badging systems that combine formal and informal PD and that prioritize deep-learning through mastery of skills are able to offer sustained cycles of inquiry, collaboration, and reflection for educators. This, in my mind, has inspired a great shift from focus on seat time and arbitrary talk on credit hours to now a concentration on quality, capacity, and evidencing of understanding. For me, it is wonderful to see these educators of today, guided by intention and purpose, taking charge of their professional journeys and using digital badge credentials to propel new learning forward to impact student success in the classroom.
What are you looking forward to learning about at the Badge Summit?
This will be my first Badge Summit! At a high level, I am looking forward to seeing the possibilities in making thinking visible and recognizing learning through digital badges and micro-credentials. I am also interested in hearing from others on how they view highly-collaborative informal learning practices, such as Twitter Chats, Edcamps, mentoring, and procurement/curation of resources/OERs, and thoughts on recognizing growth and impact that comes from these forms of learning. For me too, it is quite exciting to see the Summit place focus on not only K12, but also higher education and industry. I am looking forward to learning and exploring at the Summit on ways these three areas can be bridged through badging systems and through educational systems, in general.
As someone on the cutting edge, what do you foresee as being a game-changer for teaching and learning that others the rest of us should have on our radar?
In my mind, the game changer for teaching and learning is bringing leadership on reimagining the educator experience. With growing concerns for teacher retention in our schools, we need to find ways to come together to actively engage and empower our teachers and support their work in classrooms. It is important for us to examine closely the changing needs of districts and schools and bring in practices, such as digital badging, that are responsive and reflective of shifts in what we are already seeing in student learning. More, with these considerations, we need to create access to flexible, high-quality learning experiences, and we must be mindful on ways we are allowing for a collective exchange of ideas in schools of our world. The Badge Summit, by matching learning activities to an explicit purpose, models this perfectly! I’m very eager to see everyone and ready to make awesome memories with you all!
Join Dr. Williams and many other of the top minds leading the way with micro-credentials at the 2017 Badge Summit on June 24th, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas. Visit the official conference site for more information and to get registered!