My workgroup encourages teachers in our district to become certified in educational technology tools that our district purchases. We encourage certification in Nearpod, NewsELA, ThingLink, FlipGrid, BrainPop. In fact, we have paid them to be certified in June after school is over – and we want to add more options – we feel that strongly about it!
Many of the teachers in our district are “Certified” or “Brand Ambassadors.” We work with teachers who collect certifications and are brand ambassadors for products that they heavily use and/or just love. So I was taken aback to see a tweet about #edtech brand ambassadors:
— ✨ Mark Anderson ✨ (@ICTEvangelist) November 17, 2019
I know that with social media there needs to be transparency between sincere, un-sponsored endorsements and paid-for endorsements. However, I think educators have some grey area between those two; not only for those who are certified or ambassadors but those who really believe in the product. I promote our certification courses like crazy but have not taken the time to become certified in all these tools, so where does that land my ‘loyalties?’
I do think profit sharing or collecting referral fees are working for the company and are different. However, I do not fault any teachers for doing that; I simply want that disclosed when dealing with those educators.
Sponsored social media posts are easy to comply with the Federal Trade Commission and I see many educators doing that on Twitter and Instagram. While I notice, I still judge the brand or tool on its own merits.
Baked into the field of education is the silent nod we all give toward the lack of income and respect. And I am not threatened by another teacher making some side hustle money. I am not intimidated by certifications, brand ambassadorships, and marketers of all things #edtech; I am happy that they have found someone/thing to honor their efforts and passion!
So, please, go ahead, become a Certified Educator. There is no judgment here.
Suggested Read: What Do K12 Teachers Own?