PD Learning Network Launches EdTech Digital Badge Courses for Teachers, Lesson Planet's Jennifer Gibson Named CEO

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New firm offers K-12 educators opportunities to grow relevant skills and demonstrate expertise with micro-credential courses and digital badges

This image shows PD Learning Network's badge that teachers can earn for completing a course in Digital CItizenship, which demonstrates their competence with the topic and their preparation to teach it to students in K-12 learning environments

PD Learning Network's provides teachers the chance to build their edtech skills and earn badges and stackable micro-badges to demonstrate competence

PDLN's stackable micro-badges and badges are portable, so proof and evidence of a specific skill set travels with the teacher who earned it, rather than within any one district or school.

In response to market demand for high quality, professional development (PD) for K-12 teachers, PD Learning Network (PDLN) launched its first micro-credential and badge courses, offering individualized learning on EdTech topics like Google tools, flipped classroom and 1:1 instruction, along with 21st century skills and digital citizenship.

A new company focused solely on creating PD courses to help teachers master the issues and application of rapidly changing educational technology, PDLN was incubated by Lesson Planet, which has been at the forefront of teacher-curated Open Educational Resource (OER) search and curriculum planning since 1999.

Jennifer Gibson serves as CEO of PDLN, building on a foundation of 20+ years in education and four years in leadership at membership-based Lesson Planet.

"I’ve witnessed Jennifer's vision and business acumen as a director and executive at Lesson Planet. I couldn't be more confident about her taking the helm of PD Learning Network," noted Jim Hurley, founder and CEO of the Lesson Planet family of companies.

"Jennifer Gibson is an excellent choice to lead Professional Development Learning Network. Not only does she have the perfect background as Chief Learning Officer for Lesson Planet, but she also brings a fresh perspective for a company that has been leading this space since 1999,” added Kathy Hurley, former EVP for 10 years at the Pearson Foundation, co-author with Priscilla Shumway of the book Real Women Real Leaders and CEO of the new global non-profit Girls Thinking Global.

“I'm personally heartened to see that Jennifer is joining the growing ranks of women CEO and leaders in the technology space."

“As educators ourselves, we understand the vacuum of applicable professional training that exists for teachers,” Gibson explained. “It’s never been more important to offer quality PD so teachers can integrate educational technology in meaningful, effective ways."

"And these days, let’s face it, pedagogical and skills-based training is sporadic at best," said Gibson. "PDLN’S stackable micro-badges and badges are portable, so proof and evidence of a specific skill set travels with the teacher who earned it, rather than within any one district or school site.”

TIME reported that micro-credentials grew out of the “digital badging” movement led primarily by the Mozilla and MacArthur Foundations. These organizations describe digital badges, or micro-credentials, as ‘an online record of achievements’ that track both who issued the credentials as well as the work that was completed to get them. A micro-credential not only represents mastery of a skill, but it is also linked to an online portfolio that shows colleagues and potential employers how mastery was demonstrated.

NMC’s Horizon Report 2015 K-12 Edition forecasted that digital badges will be an important development in educational technology for K-12 education in the next four to five years. In advance of badges being implemented to acknowledge students’ individualized learning, a New Jersey district is putting digital badging into place for its teachers as a way to familiarize teachers with the concept. The District of Columbia Public Schools is piloting a program to “digitize and personalize professional development through online models and stackable digital badges” to satisfy the PD hours required for recertification.

PDLN’s Digital Citizenship course features nine micro-badges that can be attained separately and stacked to demonstrate thorough mastery of the larger topic. Other initial courses include Flipped Classroom and Chromebook Essentials. Shortly forthcoming courses include Google Classroom, 21st Century Skills, Social Media for Educators, 1:1 Implementation, and more.

Participants submit project work for assessment by third party credentialed evaluators and may attach their work to the badges as evidence of professional learning.

About PDLN
PD Learning Network provides K-12 educators, schools and districts with flexible, affordable, skills-based online micro-credential and badge courses in educational technology. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, and founded by innovation-award-winning teachers, EdTech trainers and curriculum experts, PDLN courses build proficiency in Google tools and Chromebooks, 1:1, iPads, flipped instruction, digital citizenship, 21st century skills and more. Teachers complete online lessons, submit classroom-centered work for evaluation, earn stackable credentials in trending edtech topics, and come away with portable, relevant curriculum, digital badges, and online artifacts that signify competence and a unique professional fingerprint. For more information: http://pdln.com/badge-courses/. E-mail MemberSuccess(at)pdln.com or call 888-217-7166, M-F 9am-12noon & 1:30-4pm Pacific time.

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Judith Smith-Meyer
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