In true nerd fashion, I spent part of my 2016 mid-winter break working on the Google Certified Educator: Level 1 training & exam.
Since then, I’ve been approached by many people asking about the certification process and whether or not it’s worth it to pursue. This post will attempt to address the questions I’m most frequently asked, but I must warn you: Google is my jam, so I may or not be a little biased.
Already passed Level 1? Check out How to Become a Google Certified Educator: Level 2.
Google offers a series of completely free training modules via the Certification Training Center. I recommend this step to ANYONE who uses Google tools in the classroom. You can start the process any time and work through the modules at your own pace. Again, all of this is completely free.
Despite the title Level 1, this certification assumes a comfortable familiarity with many aspects of Google for Education. It is definitely not a beginners course, so make sure not to skip the training.
I’d been using Google for Education for about two years at the time of certification, so I was pretty confident going into the Level 1 training. Though I breezed through many of the sections, I actually did learn quite a few little tricks as well. So even if you feel like you’re a Google ninja, take some time to review the training still; I guarantee you’ll find a little nugget of wisdom somewhere.
Here’s a list of some basic skills you’ll learn in Level 1. This isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it’s a start. You can also preview the modules in the Training Center.
Learn how to…
- Share files and folders in Google Drive
- Add links to comments in Google Docs
- Access revision history in Google Docs
- Organize your inbox with filters in Gmail
- Invite members to a Google Group
- Add videos, links and files in Google Classroom
- Start a video Hangout
- Attach files in Google Calendar
- Create a Google Site
- Navigate the Chrome Web Store
- Use advanced search features in Google
- Create a playlist in YouTube
While I completed the training in what seemed like record time, the exam was a different story. I can’t remember exactly how long it took, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 hours.
There are two parts to the exam: part one consists of multiple choice questions similar to those found in the training, and part two is a practical skills application.
The exam is timed, so make sure to set aside a few uninterrupted hours before getting started. You won’t want to rush through the tasks.
You’ll also need a computer with a web cam, because they get a little creepy while you’re taking the exam. To avoid plagiarism, you’ll need to take a photo of yourself before the exam. Google will periodically take pictures of you throughout the test. It’s a little distracting at first, but you get used to it.
While I can’t give any specific details about the actual contents of the exam (per Google rules), be ready to perform basic-to-intermediate tasks on a variety of Google Apps. They’ll provide a Google Drive folder loaded with mock Docs, Sheets and Slides, and you’ll have to utilize and interact with the files in a variety of specific ways.
After the exam, you’ll be notified of your results. The certification is good for 24 months.
The training is completely free, and the cost of the exam is only $10.
If your district covers outside PD, it’s worth asking them if they’ll cover the costs of the exam. It’s definitely a beneficial PD opportunity, so there’s a chance your district will pick up the tab. Either way, $10 is a reasonable price considering the benefits.
By far, the question I’m most often asked is, “So… what exactly are the benefits of becoming a Google Certified Educator?”
The short, cryptic answer: the benefits are what you make of them.
The longer, more helpful answer: Even though I was confident in my Google skills, I still learned more than enough to make the time and money spent worthwhile.
In addition, I was able to connect with my district tech administrator and we’ve since collaborated on several Google trainings throughout the school year. As a result, I’ve been able to help coworkers and colleagues throughout our entire district maximize the potential of Google for Education, and that’s a pretty big benefit in my book.
So if learning cool new things and helping others learn cool new things sounds like your idea of beneficial, then I recommend pursuing the Google Educator certification.
If not, well… you see where this is headed.
If you’re ready to learn more, head on over to How to Become a Google Certified Educator: Level 2 or visit the Training Center to get started.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to me via email, social media, or comment below.