I'm a Google Educator!Thursday, April 09, 2015
It's official! Today I received my certificate as a Google Educator. Having finally met Sylvia Duckworth at the World Congress of Modern Languages Conference last month, I was inspired to pursue this venture. You see, not only is she an incredibly talented FSL teacher and a winner of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence, she is also a Google Certified Teacher whom I admire greatly. While I'm not quite ready to obtain the special certification of GCT, I felt the Google Educator certificate was the next best thing. This qualification is for educators who understand how to use Google for Education tools and have successfully completed five Google Educator exams. As a long-time Google user, I was very familiar with most of these tools in general and felt confident that my experience could be easily applied to Google Apps for Education. I began my first exam exactly a week ago and am happy to report I passed all five on my first try. Don't believe me? Check out my Google test records. Read on to learn more how you can become a Google Educator, too.
What is a Google Educator Certificate?
A Google Educator certificate is given to those who successfully complete five online exams. Four of these exams are mandatory: Gmail, Calendar, Sites, and Google Docs/Drive. The fifth exam is an elective which you can choose from the following: Chrome Browser, Chromebooks, Google Play for Education and Android Tablets for Education.
How Long Does it Take?
The length of time required to complete all five exams really depends on the user. The Google for Educator site offers free tutorials for basic training which will require some reading. For example, Google Calendar Basics contains ten lessons that will generally require 10 to 25 minutes each to complete. These ten lessons would thus total approximately 170 minutes. If you already know the basics, then you can skip to the advanced training. Once you feel confident with a particular tool, you can head to the Google Testing Centre and either purchase each exam individually or you can buy the four mandatory exams as a bundle and the elective individually. As soon as you begin the first exam, you will have 90 minutes to complete 60 multiple choice questions. All five exams must be taken within 90 days of completion of the first exam and can be taken in any order. Please note:
The Google Educator exams will be unavailable for purchase from April 8 through June 28 while the Google for Education certification programs are undergoing a small update to better serve our users. Please note that this does NOT affect exams that have already been purchased.
How Much Does it Cost?
Each exam costs $15 USD and so, providing you pass each exam, the Google Educator certification will amount to $75 USD in total. Of course, if you do not pass an exam, you will have to wait seven days and purchase that exam again. Online purchases will require a credit card, such as VISA, Mastercard or American Express.
Why Should I Become a Google Educator?
If you plan on using Google Apps for Education in the classroom, the free online training tools are very useful and will help you to maximize the benefits of GAFE. You're going to invest the time practicing these tools anyway, so why not take the next step in getting certified? Plus, completion of these proof-of-proficiency exams will help to showcase your Google knowledge and experience should you wish to apply for Google Certified Teacher or Google Education Trainer later on.
In this ever-changing world of education, a knowledge of educational tech tools is proving to be more and more essential. While it is impossible to keep up with the latest gadget or the newest app, I feel strongly that, as an educator with an innate desire to explore technology, it is important to start somewhere and model to our students that learning is a life-long journey, not a destination.
For French teachers who live in and around the Toronto area, you may want to consider attending Sylvia Duckworth's hands-on workshop Using Google Apps for Education in the FSL Class. It will be taking place on Saturday, May 23 from 9 am to 3 pm at Crescent School on Bayview Avenue and is limited to 20 participants. The price of this workshop is $159.99 and includes continental breakfast and lunch. To register, please visit bit.ly/GAFEfslForm. Hope to see you there!