At the end of last year, myself and 7 other student Digital Leaders at Sheffield High School became Level 1 Google Certified Educators. This is an exam for teachers, not students, but we studied, revised and practised (a lot) to become part of this elite global team. This is my journey:
How did I prepare?
I used some practice tasks on the official Google website, but it quickly became clear that would have taken a long time to finish everything. Mr Wiles (TECHNOPOLIS editor-in-chief) helpfully created a checklist for the Digital Leader team and we checked off what we could do. Based on our responses got set tasks with different skills we needed for the exam. We practised making Google Forms, Google Sites and even Google products unfamiliar to use like Groups or Classroom. The Digital Leader team shared their collective knowledge and we could help each other with tools that we were less familiar with. Mr Wiles also produced short videos (see example on this page) which we could watch to help us quickly understand a task.
Did I find the exam easy?
It was quite hard because you had to think about how teachers would think in certain situations. The first section was multiple choice. The questions sometimes had obvious answers, however, the wording was sometimes complicated (or used American educational terminology). The second section was full of tasks which used the skills we had learnt. I think this section was easier because I knew how to apply the skills.
If someone else were to take the exam, I would tell them to consider how various Google products can be applied in a classroom situation. Don’t overthink your answers.
Taking this exam, I learnt about Google Sites and Google Classroom for the first time. I also learnt that Google Forms can be used as quizzes as well as surveys. Teachers can also ‘force’ these quizzes so that they appear on Chromebook screens immediately.
How did I feel when I passed?
My initial reaction was that I was surprised. Then I felt very happy because I was able to apply skills in a way that I hadn’t learnt before.
What happens next?
We are planning on teaching and helping our teachers take the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam. We want to make sure that as many teachers as possible have access to all the Google tools that they can use with their classes. It will be a good way to pass on our new knowledge and develop our communication and teaching skills. I’m also hopeful that I can move on to level 2. I expect this will be very demanding but none of the Digital Leaders are afraid of a tech-challenge!
Have you got any experience of the Google Certified Educator levels? What has your experience been of Google tools in the classroom? We’d love to hear your thoughts; why not leave a comment below?