I just completed free professional development offered to educators on Google Apps for Education to become a Google Certified Educator. Level 1 is on the fundamentals of Google Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, & YouTube), Google Classroom, and Google Drive. It’s a competency-based, self-directed learning program.
I’ve been using Google Apps since 2009. This training was a great way to learn about the latest updates to the Google Suite of tools. Additionally, it made me think about different ways that technology can help solve various teaching issues, save resources, communicate more with parents, and increase student collaboration.
Initially, I thought I’d be able to complete the 13 units for Level 1 in a few months. However, my work, service, and research took priority, and I ended up doing this training a little bit over time. It took me a year! The self-tests are challenging even for a more advanced user like myself. The exam is performance-based, so make sure you review all the units carefully.
I plan to continue through the training levels to become a certified trainer. I’m a trainer at my College on a wide range of technology and pedagogy, and can’t wait to start sharing what I learned with the faculty and staff. I’ve already emailed the librarians several tech tips that they might use. My two biggest takeaways would be the powerful potential of Google Groups (e.g. staff-instructor, trainer-staff, or student-teacher interactions) and the advances that have been made in Google Classroom (too numerous to mention).
I encourage you to check out their Training Center. The certifying exams are inexpensive (e.g., $10 for Level 1). They provide a certificate and a digital badge. The certification only lasts three years. I think at the current rate of technology advancement that is fair.