This summer, I attended the Certiport conference in Orlando. It was Certiport’s first annual Certified conference, and it felt like it.
The conference workshops were limited to one track of workshops spread out over two days, and there was even repetition of “workshops” by the second day. That was disappointing. The workshops led by Certiport employees and marketing peeps were, well, not good. For example, in the training for how to test students, we never actually saw the “guts” side of things… just text-based slides– not even screenshots– describing it. I know no more about how to set up by classes or the tests than I did before I left.
The workshops led by actual teachers were much better. It would have also been nice to be organized by our certification areas. There were many Microsoft certification teachers, but I found a whole table of Adobe certification teachers the second day by accident. There wasn’t much back-channeling on Twitter at this conference.
I would like to see more student stories. The videos they shared of particular classrooms (Brooklyn Technical High School, I believe) were inspiring. I would also like more industry evidence and more practical classroom experiences.
The keynotes were solid. I loved the insight provided by a global law firm and why the firm encourages MOS certifications as a part of its professional development. To see evidence of increased efficiency within the workplace was inspiring. I also enjoyed learning about Florida’s certification numbers and the role of certification in general education from Florida’s Rod Duckworth. The concluding keynote was Ron Clark, and his universal message of enthusiasm and high standards loosely applied to certification but certainly applied to the field of teaching.
I learned that GMetrix seems to be the standard test prep software for the actual Certiport exam and nothing else really comes close.
We ate like kings and queens, and I did learn to appreciate certification more. We could definitely do more with certification in Madison City, but the teachers have to be trained and certified themselves before this can work on a bigger scale. We need to network with local industry and figure out the certifications that would most benefit students’ employability.