Google Provides Free Professional Development Online for Educators

Google Certified Educator Badge

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.

Gamer Vs. Educator Semiotic Domains a la J. P. Gee

My Google Apps for Education Blog Posts

This week, I was asked to share my knowledge on Google Drive with colleagues at work.  I figured it was time to resurrect a couple of useful blog posts! Here’s my collection on the various educational uses of Google  apps for education (referred to as #GAFE).

  1. Basic Tech Tools: Google Drive,  Maps, Google+, and Translations (blog)
  2. Create a Google Site from a Gmail Account (video)

  3.  I Love Google Scholar Alerts! (blog)

  4. What are Google Drawings? (infographic)

  5. Google Classroom video tutorial on how to locate the app, create a class, and post an announcement.

Sandra Rogers

I love Google’s Scholar Alerts!

Icon of game consul

If you’re not using Google alert’s yet, you need to sign up to receive them. You can set one up on any topic. I’m using it to keep up-to-date with the latest research on educational gaming. It saves time. Plus, the periodic updates keep me actively reviewing articles.

Here’s an example from my inbox:

Date: Sat, Mar 8, 2014 at 12:24 AM
Subject: Scholar Alert – [ “educational gaming” “traditional learning” ]
Scholar Alert: [ “educational gaming” “traditional learning” ]

An Approach to Utilize Ubiquitous Devices for a Game-Based Learning Environment

T Tachino, K Yokota, A Madden – The Journal of Information and Systems in …, 2013
 These data were summarized for the practical design of educational gaming applications played
on smartphones and mobile phones. Smartphone and mobile phone approaches were important
methods in assessing individual performance and during the debriefing phase. 

This Google Scholar Alert is brought to you by Google.

 [Note: That’s not my real gmail address. The email I use for the genral public on the Internet is Feel free to contact me.]

Your blogger,

Sandra Rogers


Google Drive, Maps, and Google+: Basic Tech Tool #5 Blog Series

Visual Resume for Sandra Rogers
I used Google Drawings to create this visual resume

Google, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: Google Drive (cloud storage for all types of media and word processing documents including access to your Google Apps such as Docs,  Drawings, Slides, and Forms. For example, Google Docs is a great word processing app for collaboration with colleagues or for use on student projects. Google Drawings are a fun way to create a resume or poster. Google Slides are like PowerPoint presentations except you can’t add voice, you’ll need an app for that. The advantage of Google Slides is that you can update them virtually with those persons or websites with the link.  Google Forms are a way to conduct surveys and otherwise get feedback. Google recently added quizzing capability to Forms.

I love Google Drive for the following reasons: ease of access from anywhere via my Gmail account, ability to share links or HTML code for embed, and I can correct errors quickly.  The days of putting something out on the web with an error and then spending hours trying to retrace your steps to make corrections on each website is over. With Google Drive products, you only need to log in to the original creation via your Gmail and correct it. Instantly, it’s  corrected on the Web—of course, the viewer would need to refresh the page to see the update.

Additionally, if you don’t see what you need, you can add an app to your Google Drive that integrates nicely (many of which are free): For instance, I just added the SlideRocket app to make better presentations. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Next, Google Maps, I know they’ve been around for a while, but I really like them. I’m collaborating on a community project of mapping various service providers listed in a printed guide for persons re-entering society after incarceration.  Navigating the myriad of starting fresh and obtaining the necessary resources at the right time will help the previously incarcerated and also reduce recidivism. This Re-entry Google Map can also be printed as a PDF and shared with those who do not have access to the Internet.  Additionally, you can keep the map private, if necessary, and share the link with identified participants.

Lastly, Google+ provides Hangouts, Events, an online profile, and the opportunity to provide updates akin to a Facebook status. Now that Google+ Hangouts has the ability to use live air streaming of your Hangout, many educators are using them. For example, the group of teachers I mentor during the professional development session for the Electronic Village Online will use a Hangout as part of their kick-off party this January. Moreover, the recording will serve as a way to meet the needs of participants who were unable to attend. The Google Events would be a great way to promote it.  Google Events provides an invitation platform and reminder.

How do you use Google? Do you love it or hate it?  Leave a comment and let me know.

P. S. I  just thought of one more.  Many of you are familiar with Google Translation, but have you tried it lately? If you type a complete sentence, it does a fairly good job in translating now. This is much better than word-for-word. The software can determine the context of the words in a sentence.  Moreover, it will pronounce it for you!  Just click on the microphone icon.

What are Google Drawings?