As schools adopt Google Apps for Education, there is a desire by teachers to learn how to effectively use the GAFE tools in their classrooms.  Google understands this need and provides the Google for Education Online Training Center for educators to explore, polish their skills and expand their knowledge of GAFE.  One of the most exciting aspects of the training center is that the online content is free!  Educators have full access to many different units of study and self-check quizzes for no additional cost.  Should the educator choose to take an exam at the end of the content, Google offers four levels of certification for educators at an additional cost: Google Certified Educator Level 1, Google Certified Educator Level 2, Google for Education Certified Trainer, and Google for Education Certified Innovator.  To get started in the certification journey, everyone must pass the Level 1 exam and become certified.

When I discuss the certifications in my EdTechTeacher workshops, I often receive the question: what is the benefit of going through the training center and taking the exam to get the certification?  To that end, I propose three reasons why educators should take the exams and become Google Certified Educators.

1) The content is focused on classroom integration

For even some of the most seasoned GAFE users, the content in the training center will offer new suggestions and concepts for integrating the Google tools with students and faculty.  The content is not simply focused on the intricacies and specifics of each Google tool., Instead, it helps teachers understand how the tools can enhance student learning.  The training content often provides example scenarios, outside resources, and comments from real teachers using the Google tools in their classrooms.

2) The exam is situation-based and challenging

The previous Google Educator certification exams were very complex,built around specific Google tools, and only involved answering multiple choice questions.  The new exam has been fully rebuilt with only a small portion of the process devoted to multiple choice-type questions.  The rest of the exam focuses on specific situations requiring participants to demonstrate their knowledge of the Google products.  For example, instead of asking the multiple choice question: “What is the function in sheets to calculate an average?”, the exam participant will have the opportunity to be in a demo Google Sheet with fabricated scores.  They will then actually calculate the average by typing in the formula.  This situational learning is extremely powerful, as instead of regurgitating information, the educator is practically applying the skills in a testing environment.

3) The Google Certified Educator Level 1 Badge validates learning

After you have gone through all of the units, perhaps taken a preparation course, and then passed the exams, you should be rewarded for your work.  Google understands this and provides a certificate and digital badge validating your technology implementation skills.  The badge demonstrates to other educators that you understand the fundamentals and have the skills necessary to implement Google tools in the classroom.  The badge can be added to email signatures, blogs, websites, and many other environments.  When you achieve this great success, it is important to follow Google’s Branding Guidelines, as there are restrictions to what you can and can’t do with the badge.

The Google Certified Educator Level 1 designation is a fantastic way for teachers to demonstrate their ability to teach  with the Google tools.  While working through Google’s certification content will prepare you for the exam, if you feel that you need an extra boost to your learning, join EdTechTeacher for a GCE Level 1 prep workshop.  This workshop is designed to help educators master the Google products and skills specific to the Level 1 exam and is sure to greatly advance your knowledge and skill set!  For even more creative ways to use Google in your classroom, learn from Google Certified Educators, Trainers, and Innovators at EdTechTeacher’s Boston Innovation Summit!