Learning Designer Licensure

I’ve been working with a few other educators lately. We’re undergoing training to receive our principal licensure in the State of Wisconsin. We’ve been throwing around radical ideas.

In a field where innovation is stressed; in fact, it is rewarded with half million dollar federal grants to start new schools- licensure remains stagnant. I’m in the early design stage, I’m toying with the idea of a new licensure for school teachers. The licensure is called Learning Designer. In small schools, and in big systems, innovative teachers have various titles: generalist, lead teacher, advisor, facilitator, tech implementor, learning coach, and on and on. These people provide services to students, often outside of the traditional realm. Google, “Innovation Synonym”. Words like deviation and permutation pop up. In my mind,  I connect innovation with a disruption to a larger system. My definition has been shaped by Clayton Christensen’s Disrupting Class. With the need for creatives to provide disruption, shouldn’t that innovation have a licensure?

Many of these ideas in this post are not my own. They come from my colleagues in my cohort at Silver Lake College. Ryan, Tom, Kim, Tim, and myself; we are doing project-based learning to gain our principal licensure. This is a radical shift from traditional adult ed. This is something I crave. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. During one of our first weekends together, Kim stated, “We should just create our own licensure.” The idea struck me.

I’m thinking about pursuing the concept of a new licensure a bit further. I’m hesitant to proceed for one reason though. It’s not the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. I think they need another licensure. With 200+ charter schools in the state, and thousands of teachers working in roles outside of their licensed area, the Learning Designer licensure makes sense and fills many needs. I’m hesitant because I don’t think colleges and universities would adapt to fulfill the license.

Initial concepts of Learning Designer licensure:

  1. A Learning Designer is a facilitator of learning rather than an instructor of specific curriculum.
  2. The license has milestones and is lifelong – initial teaching all the way through EdS. A person getting into the education field as a teacher could add additional competencies and qualifications (badges) as they make their way to administrative positions, possibly leading to a superintendency.
  3.  Various specialties exist within and off of this licensure. Examples include, but are not limited to: Project-Based Learning, Montessori, Experiential, Brain-Based, problem based/Inquiry, Service-Learning, Environmental, Waldorf, Constructivist, Connectivist, Entrepreneurial, Multiple Intelligence, Innovation, etc. Education has so many various specialties and pedagogies doing incredible things for learners of all ages. Why not provide these people with a licensure to communicate their specialties and skill sets?

What are other states/nations doing for licensing innovative educators? What other ideas  do people have to professionalize the educators? How can this idea become a reality; finally, is this even a real need and a good idea? Would having an innovative license create greater learning opportunities for students or does this just add another layer to the bureaucracy? If you are interested in seeing this idea pursued further, please let me know. Comment, tweet, email, let’s get this thing going…here’s the link to a document started back in July. Please make it your own sandbox.

About Michael

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