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Imagine if you went to the doctor with an ailment and they told you that they hadn’t had their knowledge about medicine and their skills updated since they left university. You’d be horrified, right?

Continuing professional development is key to ensuring that all professionals are able to make the most of cutting-edge research, knowledge and skills in their various disciplines. As education professionals, the same is true for us as teachers. Given the nature of our work, we have a moral imperative to ensure that we do the best we can by our learners and part of that is updating our skills in aspects of our professional work.

When it comes to professional learning opportunities for teachers, the courses we undertake to update our skills aren’t always accredited; not with Microsoft though! The Microsoft Educator Community (MEC) is a fantastic place where you can explore lots of different types of learning activity to support your innovative practice as a teacher where you can gain accreditation for it too!

How do you get started?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to sign up for the Microsoft Educator Community. Many choose to use their school email address to help identify you within the community (should you wish to do that). There are more than a quarter of a million educators on there, not just learning with you but also sharing their ideas and resources, asking and answering questions and much more.

Once you’re signed up to the community all you then have to do is choose which courses you’d like to complete and follow the simple instructions. The community gives you access to rich content to help embed Microsoft solutions into your curriculum and now is a great time to start thinking about doing that as we roll towards the start of the new academic year.

What can I learn?

Access to all of the courses available can be found in the MEC. You can choose from many different types of learning and different types of classroom activities. There are opportunities exploring project based learning, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, pedagogy, and more. Embedding Microsoft tools in the classroom has never been easier with courses on teaching with technology, teaching with Minecraft in the classroom, and many more.

Each course is rated by its difficulty ranging from Beginner to Advanced, with various Intermediate levels in-between. Each course is also worth a number of points which you are awarded upon your successful completion of the courses.

Once you have achieved a score of 1,000 points or more you will be awarded your Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) badge. A proud achievement and a great way of benchmarking your skills too. Alongside the MIE badge there are lots of other great badges you can earn for undertaking different activities through the MEC.

MIE pathways

For those of you who are really keen to develop your skills further, beyond those shown above, there are lots of other badges you can earn linked to things such as pedagogy, Minecraft, use of OneNote, sharing lesson plans and more. For the full low down on the badges you can earn, check out the badges page on the MEC here.

MIE community

About the author

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is a former teacher and school leader and now award-winning author, blogger, speaker, thought-leader and trainer around all things to do with teaching, learning and effective use of technology in the classroom.

Mark firmly believes that education is a force for good and under his moniker of the ICT Evangelist he strives to demonstrate how technology is something that can help to make the big difference to the lives of learners and teachers alike.

Follow Mark on Twitter, LinkedIn, or check out his blog.