Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE): Is it worth all the hard work?

This blog features contributions from the LTC’s Lisa Schwartz and Holly Kelly

Earning new badges, certifications, and micro-credentials can do wonders for your professional career. Not only do they bolster your career prospects, but they also offer you an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and grow your capacity as an educator. They also offer an opportunity to practice patience, discipline, and dedication as you work through the application process and put what you’ve learned into practice in the classroom.

While there are a lot of self-paced certification options out there, one that many educators overlook is the Mircrosoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) certification. That’s a shame because the program is tailor-made to help educators learn, grow, and connect alongside a community of like-minded professionals, regardless of what platform or apps their district utilizes.

After recently completing our own MIEE journey, we’ve repeatedly been asked the same question – is this Microsoft-centered certification worth it? Again and again, we’ve had the same answer: yes! Even if your school primarily uses Google or Apple products, MIEE has a lot to offer you as a growth-focused educator.

Here are 8 quick reasons you should consider earning an MIEE certification:

8 Reasons You Should Earn MIEE

  1. Grow your professional skill set – MIEE isn’t a Microsoft beginners course. Through it, you’ll learn next-level methods for utilizing Microsoft apps to engage today’s learners.
  2. Challenge yourself – Everyday, we ask our students to challenge themselves so that they can grow intellectually and emotionally. We should do the same for ourselves, and MIEE’s multi-step certification process is a great way to step out of that comfort zone.
  3. Build mentorship capacity – You aren’t the only one who benefits from MIEE. Your fellow teachers can learn a lot from you when you share what you learn during the certification process.
  4. Grow your network – While working toward MIEE, you’ll have the chance to connect with fellow educators from all across the country. Even after completing your certification, you can turn to those connections for advice and support as you work through the latest educational challenge.
  5. Bolster your resume – No matter your career goals, a recognized certification like MIEE can be a major boon to your future prospects. It can even help you advance your career in your current position, including through promotions and new leadership opportunities.
  6. Maintain your learning mindset – After teaching for a few years, educators sometimes get comfortable with their present edtech utilization. MIEE can rekindle your old learning mindset and show you how much potential some of today’s most versatile apps offer.
  7. Access exclusive offers – MIEE status comes with added perks, including access to special offers for partner platforms like Book Creator and Buncee
  8. Attend MIEE annual summit – All MIE Experts also get tickets to the annual MIEE and SCS Summit, both held at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Washington.

Our MIEE Journey – 1 Big Takeaway

We learned a lot during our journey toward earning our MIEE certification, including how to harness Microsoft’s Education Transformation Framework. But above all else, we learned the importance of accountability when striving towards this major certification.

Like many educators, we knew that our time and motivation for earning this certification would be strained by our day-to-day workload. Luckily, we also knew that we would be more motivated to stay on track if we had some accountability built-in to our application process. So, we decided to become accountability buddies, setting aside time on a regular basis to check-in with each other and support one another towards our shared goal.

Accountability can be the key to earning MIEE, in particular. The MIEE journey involves multiple learning paths and a full application process, so it helps a lot to have someone at your back who can encourage you to keep moving forward.

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Q & A

Here’s a few more questions often asked about the MIEE certification and application process. You can also learn more about MIEE on Microsoft’s website.

What is MIEE?

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert or “MIEE” for short is a program that recognizes educators around the world who are using Microsoft technology to enhance student outcomes and change the face of education. After completing certain prerequisites, individuals may nominate themselves for MIEE status, which comes with numerous benefits including access to a massive network of fellow Microsoft experts.

Are there prerequisites for MIEE?

Yes, prospective applicants will need to complete several prerequisites in order to earn MIEE status, including:

  • Become a Microsoft Innovative Educator by completing two hours of coursework from Microsoft’s 205 courses and 32 learning paths.
  • Become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer by implementing what you’ve learned to mentor other educators
  • Apply for MIEE, including completing an exam that tests your knowledge of Microsoft education tools and submitting an artifact of your prior work

Do I need to complete an exam for MIEE?

Yes, MIEE applicants must pass an exam that tests applicants on their understanding and implementation of Microsoft’s learning tools. This exam consists of multiple choice, order sequence, and long answer questions.

When is the deadline for MIEE?

The 2022-2023 MIEE application window opens May 15, 2022 and closes July 15, 2022. More information can be found on Microsoft’s MIEE resource page.

Start on your own MIEE Journey Today!

With this year’s MIEE application window opening in just under a month, now is a great time to grab an accountability buddy and start your own MIEE journey.

The LTC is here to support you along that journey. If you have questions about the MIEE process, feel free to reach out to two of our team’s current MIE Experts – Holly Kelly ( and Lisa Schwartz ( You can also connect with other prospective applicants and fellow Microsoft users over on the LTC Community.

Be Connected: Windows 11-What’s New?

Windows 11 is now available, but doesn’t mean you have to go out and install it on all of your district’s computers immediately. In fact, when it comes to maintaining access to certain pieces of educational software and network compatibility, there may even be a few good reasons for holding off your upgrades until a later, scheduled date.

Whether you’re planning a big leap forward for this summer or are just interested in knowing what’s changed in Microsoft’s latest OS release, this week’s Be Connected is for you. Join host Chris Wherley to learn all about what Windows 11 has to offer your district, including tips and recommendations for deployment in the near term.

Be Connected is a weekly webinar series from the LTC focused on facilitating open discussions about pertinent topics within Illinois’ edtech community. Hosted by the LTC’s Chris Wherley and Eric Muckensturm, each session will focus on a specific topic and provide space for participants to ask and answer questions in a relaxed, supportive environment.

Each week will feature a different core topic and a fresh opportunity to connect with your peers. So, be sure to check the LTC events calendar routinely so that you can join in the discussion and Be Connected.

Digital Classroom Open House with Microsoft and SFHS

Interested in seeing real, live Microsoft school in action? Join us December 7, 2021 at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, IL to see how one institution has made the most of its digital transformation using Microsoft’s suite of education-based apps. Attendees will have a chance to learn about time-saving classroom tools, participate in hands-on demos, and sit in on a Q&A session with several of the school’s educators. This is your chance to see what educational success through Microsoft looks like, so RSVP today to reserve your seat.

Back to School with Microsoft Tools

Ready to make this the year your Microsoft school levels up and utilizes everything Microsoft EDU has to offer? Then get ready for a one-day summit that’ll open your eyes to Microsoft EDU’s renewed potential!

Join Mike Tholfson and extraordinary Microsoft trainers Heather Wenzler, Lisa Schwartz, Ana Moreno, and Nelann Taylor as they cover everything new from Microsoft EDU for the 2021-2022 school year. Along the way, you’ll be able to participate in live demonstrations of new tools and apps as well as ask questions from some of Illinois’ brightest Microsoft educators.

Get energized! Get inspired! This is going to be a great year for your Microsoft school and it all starts here!


9:00-9:50 – What’s New in EDU with Mike Tholfson
10:00-10:50 – Teams Updates for Back to School with Heather Wenzler
11:00-11:50 – Everyone Can Code with Microsoft MakeCode with Lisa Schwartz
12:00-12:50 – Gamifying your Classroom with Office 365 with Ana Moreno
1:00-1:50 – Office 365 – Collaboration with PPT, Word, and Excel. I didn’t know they did that! with Nelann Taylor
1:50-2:00 – Closing remarks


In this session, educators can learn about MakeCode and how it can be utilized to bring computer science to life for all students. With fun projects, immediate results, and both block and text editors for learners at different levels, this is one CS resource you won’t want to miss.

Minecraft: Education Edition

Time to take your classroom’s favorite game to the next level! This session will cover readily available worlds, lessons, and professional development resources for Minecraft: Education Edition. With these resources, you’ll be able to confidently and successfully teach STEM and coding in your classroom.

Microsoft MSIA Overview

Looking to earn a Microsoft certification? Interested in helping your students do the same? This session can help you take the first step! In it, you’ll learn about the curriculum content from Microsoft that can equip teachers and students with the knowledge needed to pass the Microsoft MOS and MTA certification exams.

New Updates for Microsoft for Education and Google Chrome Management Licensing

ILTPP Contract Updates Header Image

As we all look forward to warmer days ahead, the Illinois Learning Technology Purchasing Program (ILTPP) has announced several updates to two of their most popular contracts. These updates will help your school or district blossom into new learning opportunities this spring and budget more effectively for the 21-22 school year.

Imagine Academy Included in Microsoft for Education Contract

First, ILTPP is excited to announce an upgrade to their current Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) Microsoft contract. Specifically, participants in these contracts can now look forward to accessing top-quality technology teaching and professional learning materials through Microsoft’s Imagine Academy program.

That’s because, going forward, all ILTPP ESS contract participants will receive access to Imagine Academy for FREE.

Through Imagine Academy, teachers can find lesson plans and other curricular materials that cover a wide range of subjects, from computer and data science to IT infrastructure and productivity. These materials are all aligned to current, in-demand tech industry certifications, ensuring that students walk away with career-ready skills.

Imagine Academy also provides educators access to Microsoft-specific certifications and other professional development resources that can help them stay at the top of their game. This includes the ability to add certification exam vouchers to an existing licensing agreement, thus reducing the cost of certification for both individuals and teams.

Interested in learning more about how you can utilize Imagine Academy through a new or existing ESS Microsoft contract? Check out ILTPP’s new blog post for more information.

Upcoming Price Increase for Google Chrome Management Licenses

Last year, Google announced that it would be increasing the price of its Chrome Management license. Though this price hike has been delayed until March 9, 2021, ILTPP wants to remind districts to plan ahead when it comes to edtech budgeting for the 21-22 school year.

As before, ILTPP members will continue to receive a discount on these licenses. However, this price increase will result in a noticeable change in per license costs, even with the discount.

New licenses may be purchased prior to this increase, but they must be invoiced before March 9. To learn more about this fee increase, visit ILTPP’s website.

Always Prepared to Meet Your EdTech Purchasing Needs

Whether you’re looking for great pricing on edtech hardware or software, ILTPP has you covered with its vast catalogue of pre-negotiated contracts. Schools and districts across Illinois can save time and money by utilizing ILTPP’s competitive pricing options on everything from Chromebooks and wi-fi hotspots to cybersecurity and LMS software.

Most importantly, ILTPP is FREE to join. To learn more about ILTPP and the benefits of membership, visit their website or contact the ILTPP team at


The Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP) is a statewide cooperative of Illinois educational entities that aggregate buying power and expertise to procure technology products and services from quality vendor partners while providing valued communication and collaboration.

ILTPP is an initiative of the Learning Technology Center (LTC) and contributes to the LTC’s mission of building statewide capacity for educational change through technology-related professional learning, programs, initiatives, and support.

New Online Course: Keep It All Together with OneNote

Are you looking for an innovative way to enhance student note-taking capabilities? If you’re like many educators, remote and hybrid learning has revealed your classroom’s need to change up this important learning activity.

OneNote from Microsoft might be the versatile tool you’ve been searching for. This platform, which is already available to many educators, can create classroom notebooks and student-centered texts that help keep all learners on the right track.

Keep It All Together with OneNote (2.0 PD Credits)

OneNote has a lot to offer, which is why the LTC has created a brand new online course designed to help educators make the most of its potential. In this free, self-paced course, participants will learn how to get started with OneNote, as well as how to apply the program’s built-in tools to a variety of classroom environments.

You can register for “Keep It All Together with OneNote” over on the LTC’s Online Courses page. Participants who complete all of the coursework on time are eligible to receive 2 PD hours. Sign up today so that you’re ready to learn when this course opens on November 23, 2020.