Digital Promise: Supporting Deeper Learning in the Classroom (Report)

April 02, 2015
By Educator Innovator

For today’s students to effectively compete in the global workforce, they must develop the skills, understandings, and mindsets necessary to prepare them for the careers and challenges of tomorrow. This means more than learning to read and write—it means being able to master academic content and apply that knowledge across contexts in a meaningful way.

For example, imagine a sixth-grade classroom where students are deeply engaged in building controllers for robots that swim. One group experiments with settings that will allow their robots to sink by filling a bladder with water. Another works to perfect the speed controls on the motor. Yet another tests the design of the robot to ensure it can easily move through the water. Students are engaged and focused as they apply knowledge they learned in math, engineering, and science to inform their work.

These students are using skills articulated through “Deeper Learning,” a framework designed by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and many other education stakeholders. This framework serves as a guide for redesigning teaching and learning to ensure that students are engaged in classroom activities, motivated to persist, and developing key skills.

Developing a System of Micro-credentials: Supporting Deeper Learning in the Classroom (PDF)” is a new report from Digital Promise that explores the Deeper Learning Framework and identifies the specific skills students must master to succeed in college and their careers.

The report outlines the six key categories of skills for Deeper Learning, including:

  • Master academic content
  • Think critically and solve complex problems
  • Work collaboratively
  • Communicate effectively
  • Learn how to learn
  • Develop academic mindsets

Additionally, the report showcases the set of 40 educator micro-credentials Digital Promise designed to recognize educators who have developed the competencies necessary to support Deeper Learning in their classrooms.

Digital Promise is building a coalition of educators and partners to develop a system of micro-credentials that provides teachers with the opportunity to gain recognition for skills they master throughout their careers. Micro-credentials are based on demonstrations of competency in specific areas of teaching practice. Through the Deeper Learning micro-credentials, educators can identify and demonstrate key competencies they can apply in their classrooms, to ensure their students enter college and the workforce ready to tackle complex challenges.

For example, the list of micro-credentials includes:

  • Effective Reasoning—using a time-tested, logical scientific reasoning process to develop and test a hypothesis related to a learning challenge.
  • Productive Teamwork—creating an upfront team agreement to set goals and expectations for how teamwork will happen in a project.
  • Clear Thinking & Writing—having clear goals and using proven strategies to clarify thinking and writing to increase the effectiveness of both written communications and the learning process.

Micro Credentials

As an emerging professional development strategy, educator micro-credentials can enable teachers to continuously identify, capture, recognize, and share their best practices. The Deeper Learning micro-credentials are just the beginning of this promising practice. Digital Promise is seeking new partners to focus on a wide range of competencies. If you are interested in exploring partnership opportunities, please email Digital Promise directly.

Download the Report (PDF)

By Jennifer Kabaker
Original Post/ Digital Promise