Saturday, April 19, 2014

Google Certification Programs Updated and Open for Business

Many people ask me about Google 'Certifications' ~ the difference between all of them, what it takes to become either a Trainer, Teacher, or Other?    Recently, Google reopened the Google Trainer Application and modified the test taking requirements.  Additionally, several 'Teacher Academies' are planned for this year with an open application now through May 14th for Atlanta and Mountain View.  So what's the difference and what should you know?

First, if you need to learn the Google Apps, start at the EDU Training Site  Here you can learn about the Google Tools and find many resources.  If you are already familiar and are thinking about becoming Google 'certified' then you'll want to visit the  Certification Page to access everything you need for become a Google Educator, Google in Education Trainer, and/or Google Certified Teacher.

Below I will provide key details about each 'certification.'

Google Educator (everyone starts here*) ~ Level 1 & 2 courses & pass 5 exams.

  • You will need to create an exam account here ~
  • Each exam is $15.00
  • You will need to pass 5 exams (Mail, Drive, Calendar, Sites and 1 Other of Choice).
  • Passing is 80% or higher
  • The 5 exams must be completed within a 90 day period in order to receive your Google Educator Certificate/Status.
  • Each exam is 60 Questions/90 Minutes.
*Note:  Becoming a Google Educator prior to applying to Teacher Academy is recommended but not a requirement.  

Google Education Trainer or Google Certified Teacher?  Both?
The application for Google Certified Teacher and Trainer are different as well as the process and requirements after becoming 'certified.'  

Google Education Trainers generally teach beyond the scope of their school.  As a Google Education Trainer you are required to conduct at least three trainings (and report them to Google) per quarter.  As a Google Education Trainer you are listed in the 'directory' so it is likely that organizations will reach out to you for possible training opportunities.  Google Education Trainers are also required to renew the Google Educator Certificate every 18 months to maintain 'Trainer' status.

Many Google Certified Teachers conduct training on a regular basis and renew their Google Educator Certificate every 18 months but neither are required as a GCT.  

Some Google Education Trainers also become Google Certified Teachers and vice versa. 

Application for Teacher Academy
The application for Teacher Academy is not as involved as the Trainer application.  You will need a updated resume in Google Drive and a 1 minute video uploaded to YouTube and shared via URL in the application.    There are questions about your Twitter, blog/site(s), Google Plus accounts as well as a few short answer questions.  You can find the Spring 2014 application here.  Highlights of the teacher application:
  • Updated Resume
  • 1 Minute Video 
  • Short Answer Questions
  • Links to your site(s), blog(s), social media

Application for Trainer
There is a lot of prep that goes into this application as it is a bigger commitment and designation from Google Education.  First, they are looking for people who already have a track record of teaching Google tools to schools.  Therefore, the application prep may take time as you build your training experience.  While doing that you'll want to be planning or documenting your case study. There are countless things that can be a 'case study' for the application and they will want you to include your training resources, planning, implementation and evaluation as well.   The case study requirements can be found here.  You will also need a 2 minute video showcasing your training skills (a screencast on a Google tool).  Those are the biggest areas of the application process for Google Education Trainer.  Trainer application checklist (there is more to the application, but these are the highlights):
  • Google Educator Status (pass 5 exams)
  • Case Study with training resources
  • 2 Minute Video (screencast)
  • Record of training (published resources)
  • Resume
  • 3 References from those you have trained
  • Links to your site(s), blog(s), social media, etc.
  • Professional organizations you belong to
"Do I have to attend a Bootcamp or Training to become a trainer?"
No.  You can build your skills and application on your own and there is no official academy or training requirement to become a Google Education Trainer?  The 'GET' Bootcamps are a great way to learn the course material and share with other inspired educators.  In addition, you really get a jump start on the application process and leave with an arsenal of information and ideas to share with others.  

"Can I /Should I attend a GET Bootcamp or Training if I am not sure about becoming a trainer?"  
Yes!  Absolutely.  You will leave empowered and chock full of new Google Knowledge and certainly be better prepared for the exams.  

Where can I attend a GET Bootcamp or Training?
Apps Events has several scheduled in June ~ Colchester, Vermont, , Kortrijk, Belgiu, Bentincklaan, Rotterdam and Greenwich Connecticut (there are more).  Go to for a full list of events.

Tilton School, NH is hosting a Google Admin Certification Bootcamp and Google in Education Bootcamp on August 20th (also a two day Google in Education Conference on the 18th & 19th with on campus housing option).  I worked with Tim Maki on this event last year and it was truly amazing ~ the program and facilities are top notch.  See the T4IE site for all the details.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Google Apps for Education is Free But Don't Sell it That Way

Schools that 'go Google Apps' often use  'free' as the selling point to persuade their administrators or constituents.  It is true that organizations are saving thousands to millions of dollars moving their local infrastructure to the cloud (the same way companies did back in the early 1900's with power when the power companies came along).  They do it for many reasons just like companies did for power ~ it is economical, reliable, scalable, efficient, etc...

Just remember, that with Google Apps for Education you are getting a sophisticated collaboration and sharing network, access to dozens (hundreds actually) of applications using 1 account, 1 login, 1 password.  Instantly, barriers and challenges are removed for teachers, tech integrators, tech administrators and students.  Everybody wins.

Chrome Apps allow you to 'add on' almost any tool you
need and most of the time the tool is FREE.  Stop
buying and installing local software and take advantage of
the 'Software in the Cloud'
Google Apps for Education removes barriers to using technology in learning environments whether they are virtual or physical.  There is a unique network of educators, organizations and students globally that learn and share together in the GAFE environment.  Nothing has flattened the classroom more than Google Apps for Education.  That is why it is so widely popular.  It is not about a piece of software or an application.  It is about people, transformation... a cultural shift.

So, don't sell it as free.  That would be discounting the product.  You will also find yourself at a disadvantage when you want your administration to approve an add on such as Vault for archiving,  Synergyse for seamless training,  Spanning for backup or Hapara Teacher Dashboard for workflow and feedback in the classroom ~ all great add ons for GAFE!  

GAFE is a premiere solution for every educational organization not because it is FREE because it is brilliant.