21st century skills are a global standard of skills students will need in a world where technology is prevalent and quickly changing. Research shows that innovative teaching plus access to technology helps students acquire 21st century skills.
The Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) exam is a competency-based professional development and certification offering. Technology-neutral, the MCE assessment enables educators to demonstrate competency as outlined in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Information and Communications Technology, Competency Framework for Teachers (UNESCO ICT-CFT), Technology Literacy Approach. It also offers an opportunity for educators to differentiate themselves in the education field, and enhance their value for current and future employers.
An effective and proven assessment tool, the MCE exam measures the ways ICT integration can be used to improve outcomes in six core content areas which align to the UNESCO ICT-CFT:
- Education Policy
- Curriculum & Assessment
- ICT/Technology Tools
- Organization & Administration
- Professional Development
The Microsoft Partners in Learning Group has a professional development program to help teachers develop the attributes needed for innovative teaching
Demonstrate Understanding of the Technology Literacy Goals Described in the CFT Framework
- Identify the policy goals supported by the CFT framework.
- Identify CFT framework and approaches.
- Identify the target student outcomes that result from implementing a CFT-supported learning experience.
Demonstrate Basic Knowledge of How ICT Resources Can Support Curriculum Outcomes
- Given a curriculum goal or standard, incorporate ICT resources.
- Given a scenario, evaluate and select an ICT instructional resource.
- Given a scenario, evaluate and select an ICT assessment resource.
- Select an appropriate computer-based tool to monitor and share student performance data.
Use Basic Tools to Support Learning Activities
- Given a specific learning activity, identify the hardware requirements and devices necessary to support the activity.
- Use the Internet to support learning activities.
- Use a search engine and search strategies to support learning activities.
- Create and use a Web-based email account.
- Given a scenario, select the most appropriate type of software application.
- Use software to manage and share student and classroom data.
- Use common communication and collaboration technologies to support learning activities.
Organize and Manage a Standard Classroom
- Integrate learning activities into a computer laboratory environment.
- Manage the use of ICT resources with individuals, small, groups, and whole groups in varied environments.
- Manage logistics and social interactions around ICT resources.
Use Digital Literacy Tools to Enhance Professional Performance
- Use ICT resources to enhance teacher productivity.
- Use ICT resources to support teacher professional learning.
- Identify and manage Internet safety issues.
There are generally four groups of people who benefit from certification.
The most obvious group are individuals. They benefit from having a certification credential because the credential proves that they have the skills and knowledge they need to perform the task. In the case of the IC3 certification, that credential proves that they have basic computing skills that are appropriate as a prerequisite to more specialized skills in applications, hardware, and software.
Academia benefits by providing students with a credential that can help them advance their career or their studies. This helps Academic and Vocational programs increase their value to students by providing credentials that can help their employability.
Business and Enterprise benefit a couple of ways. First, they benefit from having more capable employees. Candidates who study for the certification learn a broad range of skills they generally don’t have prior to becoming certified. This makes them more productive and more independent. Secondly, the investment that companies make in their employees through certification increases their retention. Employee training and certification is proven to increase job satisfaction.
Governments benefit from certification by increasing the competency of their citizenry, which increases their competitiveness on the world stage. Economies with skilled labor attract investment and outsourcing opportunities. This is particularly true in countries like India, the Philippines, and some eastern block countries. Strong technical education has led to a big advantage in economic competitiveness for these countries, because they have invested in computing skills training.