Thanks to the conference I suddenly became aware of a whole range of options for professional development and different levels and types of certification, and I decided to see what I could do to extend my own knowledge and also give me some extra tools and skills to share with the school.
So, this week I decided to get my Google Educator Level 1 certification: for me, that involved paying $10 for the exam so that I couldn’t change my mind, and then starting the studying!
What is it for?
Well, Level 1 is aimed at educators who have a fundamental knowledge of the Google Apps For Education (GAFE), like Drive, Gmail, Sheets, Youtube etc. It isn’t really a beginners course: you do need to have some familiarity with the tools, and maybe be using them already to some extent.
How do you prepare?
Before you take the test, there are 13 Units to study, which cover topics like using GAFE to make your classroom more of a digital environment with Sites, or Docs, increasing efficiency by having meetings online, and promoting Digital Citizenship. Google also advises practising in context, and taking the opportunity to try out some of the things you are learning in your own class or school.
How do you get certified?
Once you are confident that you know the material, and there are Unit Review tests to help you determine this, you sit the exam at a time that is convenient for you. You do have a time limit of 7 days from the time that you sign up for the exam to take it, and there is a time limit of 3 hours in the exam.
Before you start you have to agree to an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), so I can’t share any specifics, but the exam is in two sections: a multiple choice/drag and drop section testing knowledge, and a practical session where you complete various tasks in GAFE based on given scenarios. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t too hard either! I would say that it would be suitable for everyone at our school due to our use of GAFE on a daily basis.
Is it worth it?
Yes. Aside from the special digital badge and certificate you get which distinguishes you in some small way as a person who has taken their learning to the next level, I did learn quite a bit about the tools I am using every day, even though I consider myself a proficient user. Also, the material is written by educators for educators so it is packed with relevant ideas to use in the classroom.
If you feel like you would like to give it a try, come and talk to me about it, or just head over to the Google Training Centre and give it a go!