imageAs most of you know, IT Academy provides a bounty of benefits for teachers, not least of which is access to free Microsoft certification exams. These exams lead to three relevant certifications for teachers:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) for professional development
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification
  • Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) certification – see below

While many staff and instructors take advantage of this benefit, others don’t. Why is that?

The Q&A answers below, compiled in part from last month's webinar on professional development through Microsoft certification, might make you think twice about passing up that exam benefit. Read what these two IT Academy educators have to say—and watch the webinar to view their presentations. Both teachers are Microsoft certified and eager to share their perspectives on the value of certification.

Katherine Schmit, Business & Technology Instructor, Kalama High School in Kalama, WA

ITA: How and why did you pursue Microsoft certification?
KS:  I became a teacher and tried to teach my students these skills. I was teaching digital and computer applications at the time, and I knew that no matter what they learned, it wouldn't matter unless I could quantify it with some type of certifications for an employer.

When I heard about IT Academy and three certification exams, for me as an educator in Washington State, I was all in. It didn't matter what it took. I wanted to lead the way for them by getting myself certified.

ITA: What might hold a teacher back from certification?
KS: For a teacher, probably our biggest concern with certification is time constraint. The second would be fear: What if I take the exam and I fail? I'm supposed to be teaching my students this. Don't let that scare you. I say, get into the exam as soon as you possibly can.

ITA: In your opinion, what’s the greatest value of Microsoft certification for teachers?
KS: When you can tell your students that you are certified and that you know that they can do this, they have so much more confidence in you. Certification is key for an instructor. For me, it's created all the difference in my confidence as an instructor as well as in my students' confidence in me to lead them.

ITA: How does Microsoft certification lend to a teacher’s ability to adhere to Common Core Standards that are being enforced in the United States and numerous countries worldwide?
KS: Currently every single discipline in the United States has a Common Core technology component that should be included with their final exam or with their final classroom-based assessment.

Students need to know how to use PowerPoint, how to integrate a spreadsheet into their PowerPoint, how to integrate Word, how to integrate charts. All of those types of things, how to save your PowerPoint as a movie so that it can be broadcast on the internet. These are just basic skills that students have to know across the disciplines.

You can start your journey to getting certified. Join the Partners in Learning Network www.pil-network.com  and begin your free Teaching with Technology course. This can lead you to a Microsoft Certified Educator qualification .

Ask us more at the Microsoft stand at the BETT show – Jan 22nd – 25th