Google for Education did a great thing this year by revamping some of their certification training and exams. The previous “Google Educator” training and exam, while informative and worth while, focused primarily on the “how to” aspects within the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Suite. The course relied heavily on reading and experimenting independently through lengthy tutorials that provided participants with basic to advanced content knowledge of the features in each individual app. There were some scenarios and case studies provided regarding the use of GAFE in an educational setting, however a majority of the content was tool oriented.
The new (and what I consider improved) training and exams have education and the application of Google tools at the forefront. The tutorials and support for the technical components are still ever-present, but Google bumped up the focus on pedagogy. The training is a bit more reflective and contains some audio files of how practicing educators are intentionally integrating with technology, which are helpful in breaking up the still heavy reading elements. Participants are prompted to take notes and share ideas in Google docs, as well as consider teacher predicaments and how one might use GAFE as a means to address them and improve student achievement.
With the new training modules came a new certification procedure and exams. Rather than the previous process of completing numerous tests based specifically on particular Google tools, you now have the opportunity to take 2 separate leveled exams. Google Certified Educator Level 1, indicates an educator who is proficient with Google tools in the classroom, while Level 2 is described as “… an educator who is a super user and enthusiast of Google tools in the classroom, this certification proves your expertise.” The Level 1 exam is not a predecessor for Level 2, it is based on the desire of the user as to which exams are taken. Regardless of which level you take, the testing format is the same for both exams. Upon registering for the exam, it can take 24-48 hours to be issued and ready. I recommend registering a day before or the morning of the day you would like to take the test. Once issued, you have 7 days to take the test in 1 timed session.
As a previous Google Educator, I found the new process more digestible, engaging, and educationally focused. If you are looking for professional development and growth within the Google Apps for Education department, I recommend stopping by the Google for Education Training Center and checking out the different opportunities Google has to offer.