This summer, I decided to further my technology education by becoming a Google Certified Educator (you can see my badge on my homepage). I got the idea from Jennifer Gonzalez’s Cult of Pedagogy podcast episode “Goal-Setting for Teachers: 8 Paths to Self-Improvement”. I found her podcast after it had been published for awhile, so I was listening to old episodes of topics that were of interest to me. I am always looking to improve as a teacher, so when I listened to this in May 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to create a plan for my own personal professional development over the summer.
For the first time, I wasn’t going to work or take class (I had just graduated with my Master’s degree, and this was my graduation present to myself), so I had plenty of time to learn some new things. I had decided that I wanted to learn more about edtech, so Google Educator Training stood out to me. I already used a lot of Google tools, so this seemed like a good way to further my understanding and usage of Google tools in the classroom. Plus, I could put this training on my resume (and my blog!).
I created a schedule for myself and worked my way through the Level 1 lessons. There are a few different certifications you can get through Google Education Training: Level 1 Fundamental Training, Level 2 Advanced Training, Devices Training, Trainer Training, and Innovator Training. Since I was new, I started with Level 1. I have been using Google Drive for over a year, so there was a lot of material that was a review, but I learned something new in every lesson, especially with YouTube and Google Forms. I also created a class website using Google Sites, that I am still using with my students this year. I post pictures, videos, newsletters, homework assignments, and other announcements. While there are skills that I use from this training on a regular basis, my Google Site has been the best takeaway from my Google Education Training.
After I completed my training, I took the certification exam, which cost $10. It was a performance assessment, so I needed to wait for my score. It was very exciting to get the email that I passed and was now a Google Certified Educator. For someone who, a year ago, had no interest in edtech, this seemed like a big deal. I was finally taking edtech seriously. This training, along with some of the other professional development I did over the summer, launched my interest in using technology in the classroom, for both me and my students.
Next summer, I plan on completing Level 2 training, where I hope I will learn even more about how to maximize my teaching using Google tools. I would recommend this training for anyone who wants a self-paced yet organized training schedule to learn more about Google tools and how they can help you as a teacher.