In the past two weeks, educators all over the world have been notified about their acceptance as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEExperts). In the world of Microsoft Education, this is a high honor. To even be considered, educators must already have earned status as a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) by completing courses in the Microsoft Educator Center and earning 1,000 points. Only MIEs can apply for that next-level status of becoming an #MIEExpert. The application takes time and involves creating a Sway that demonstrates proof of involvement, activity, commitment, interest, learning, and sharing. Educators who apply for MIEExpert status are clearly passionate, and even seasoned #MIEExperts who have been in the program for years do not assume reacceptance…every applicant takes this very seriously and pours their heart and soul into their application. This year, in the United States alone, there were over 1,000 submissions that had to be carefully reviewed.
Once acceptance notifications roll out, the internet explodes! It is a well-earned honor and great source of pride, and people are thrilled to share their new #MIEExpert status! I’ve seen many many posts from people who are first-time #MIEExperts, and I want to sincerely welcome you! One “newbie” asked if there were any recommendations from seasoned #MIEExperts asking for advice, ideas, and suggestions for those who are brand new to this community! I decided to create this list of my favorite tips and things I think might be helpful to the newest members of our family.
- Get involved! Network with other #MIEExperts from all over the world – you’ll soon become friends!
- Follow the hashtag #MIEExpert on Twitter to find even more people to follow and learn with there. I literally (and purposefully) learn something new via Twitter every single day.
- The word “Expert” can be scary, so don’t feel like you have to know every single nuance and update of every app or program. This is my #1 piece of advice. You are now an “expert”, but please allow yourself to know that you are always still building that expertise. You can’t know it all.
- That being said, still actively learn what you can, and know the areas of expertise of other MIEExperts so that you can reach out to them when you need advice.
- Keep hanging out in the MEC (Microsoft Educator Center) – it’s awesome learning and constantly updated. Plus, digital badges are awesome!
- Got Facebook? Join Microsoft-themed groups there too. If you’ve been accepted this year, you should join our private group MIEExperts for 2020-2021. If you’re not yet an #MIEExpert – there are tons of other fabulous MicrosoftEdu groups on Facebook, too. Of course Facebook a great place to hear about updates and things, but I just love that it’s a way to connect with even more members of the community!
- When the world is healthy again, go to edtech conferences and other meet-ups! Those are my absolute favorite! There is nothing like finally meeting your online connections in real life.
- Community calls happen monthly, they’re fun, you get to know new folks, and there’s always cool info shared. Set calendar reminders once you know the dates, because you won’t want to miss any of them.
- Reach out – these days it’s so easy to set up just-for-fun Teams calls with other #MIEExperts. Have scheduled or impromptu meetups. Share cool things you’re learning and trying. Keep it casual & conversational!
- Join webinars. There are plenty of these happening now. Currently there’s a Global EdTech Academy (many presenters, not just MIEExperts) running through September 6 and there are a WEALTH of diverse sessions, masterclasses, and even open office hours! It’s co-organized by Microsoft and CUE. Find information, the schedule, and all recordings at CUE.org/Microsoft.
- Spread your knowledge. Be the expert in your school or district who gets others on board with pursuing MIE status. Show ’em the MEC. Do PD!
- Follow Mike Tholfsen. He posts frequent updates and the BEST short video tutorials. Subscribe to his YouTube channel.
- Shameless plug: I just co-authored Sail the 7 Cs with Microsoft Education with Becky Keene, and I know that this book will TRULY motivate, inform, and inspire MIEExperts! ⛵
To all of the new #MIEExperts, welcome to the family! 🤗 To all of the returning #MIEExperts, congratulations on your reacceptance! It’s wonderful to watch our family of passionate, dedicated, best-of-the-best educators grow and thrive as a community!
To learn more about the process for becoming an MIEExpert, click HERE. The application process will begin again in the spring of 2021, so now is the perfect time to register in the MEC, start taking courses, become an MIE, network, and get ready to be part of the very BEST community of educators!