Whether you are starting school in the fall in-person, remote or using a hybrid model, one thing is for sure: technology literacy has become a must for all teachers. While special educators know that students benefit from hands-on experiences and interactions with people, being able to use technology as professionals and adapting technology instruction for our students is essential. Google for Education offers the Google Certified Educator program for teachers who want to learn more about using the Google for Education products, tools and apps. When you take and pass the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam, it indicates that you are able to proficiently use and implement the G Suite for Education in order to best teach students and aid them in their learning. Other benefits to becoming a Google Certified Educator include being more marketable for teaching jobs and knowing more about using Google to help students.  Here are five sections of the Google for Education website that will help you get started in becoming a Google Certified Educator (Level 1)…

1. Fundamentals Training

When you go to the Google for Education Teacher Center, you will find the Fundamentals Training.  The Fundamentals Training was designed to prepare educators to take the Google Certified Educator Exam, Level 1. Fundamentals Training includes 13 self-paced units, that Google estimates will take you a total of 12 hours and 54 minutes to complete (you don’t have to do it all at once). Each unit takes about 34-85 minutes (estimated time) to get through. Each unit includes an introduction, the lessons and unit review. There are 3-6 lessons per unit (most units have 4 lessons) and each lesson has a lesson review of questions about the lesson. While the majority of the lessons are pretty reading heavy, some include videos and open ended questions. Check out the video below for a look at one of the units in the Fundamentals Training. 

2. First Day Trainings 

I used the First Day Trainings to supplement the units and lessons in the Fundamentals Training. The First Day Trainings are a sort of “101” for the most used apps in the Google Suite (e.g. Google Docs, Google Slides). I would access these training sessions as they came up in the lessons. For example, in Unit 6, the introduction mentioned that one of the products that would be covered would be Google Docs. During my lessons for Unit 6, I made sure to also access the “First Day of Google Docs”, to watch videos about different topics. There are also First Day Trainings for Google Slides, Classroom, Forms, Expeditions, Meet, Sites and Sheets. To access the First Day training sessions, you can scroll down in the “Training” section or access it from the homepage of the Teacher Center.  Check out the video below for more on First Day Trainings.

3. Tools for Diverse Learners Training

The Tools for Diverse Learners Training primarily focuses on different accessibility options for students with disabilities or other learning challenges. It is separate from the Fundamentals Training, but definitely worth mentioning and exploring. There are 5 lessons in this unit and Google estimates that this unit will take you 35 minutes total to go through. It is very reading heavy, so I think the key to making this unit work for you is giving yourself time to practice with the different accessibility extensions and apps.  I have been using Screen Reader to help me focus during the Fundamentals Training units. Screen Reader will read the content of websites aloud and can be found in the Chrome Web Store.

4. New Google Teacher Center Site

On the homepage for the Teacher Center, there is a button at the top that says, “Visit the new site”. Google is in the process of setting up a new interface for their Teacher Center, but I think the original interface is easier to use. Until they fully roll out the new interface, I plan on using the new site to review the Fundamentals Training. I plan to go back and take all the unit assessments again and review any lessons I need to based off of my unit assessment results. Check out the video below for a quick tour of the new Google Teacher Center site. 

5. Google Certified Educator Exam, Level 1

After Fundamentals Training, you can take the Google Certified Educator Exam (Level 1) when you feel ready. The first step is to sign up for the exam from the “Certification” tab. Click on “Certified Educator Level 1” and find the orange button that says “Register for the Level 1 Exam”.  Make sure that you are signed on to your personal email because you want it attached to your name if you switch schools. The only reason to use your school email when signing up for the exam would be if your school paid for the exam. The cost for the certification exam is $10. 

When you register for the exam, it says it will send you the link within 24 hours to complete, so make sure you are registering for the exam the day before you would be able to take it without distractions.  The exam is 180 minutes (3 hours). Also, make sure you have the most updated version of Google Chrome and you are taking it on a computer with a webcam. You will need to take a picture of yourself before the exam and Google will take pictures during, to ensure that it is the same person taking the exam throughout. 

Full disclosure-I have not yet taken the exam. Even if I had, there is a strict agreement saying that if you have taken the exam, you are not supposed to tell anyone about the specific questions on the exam. One of my teacher friends has taken the exam and assures me that if you do all of the unit reviews and lesson checks, the exam should not be too difficult. For more on where to go on the site to register for the exam, check out the video below and for more on the certification process, visit the Google Certification FAQ page

I hope this post was informative and inspires you to become a Google Certified Educator! Comment below with questions or advice for this process. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe!

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