Bill Simmalavong founded this blog to explore technology in Education.

Google Certification and Why It Works

I recently went through the Level 1 certification from Google for Education Training Center. The training package is quite large and covers the basics on using Google apps in the classroom. I decided to skip all that and go directly into the examination. I will say though that on brief inspection the content seems like it does a good job describing the pedagogical context of the apps and how to integrate them. Obviously, we need to stop looking at technology integration as if it is an afterthought or rather something separate from what we are supposed to be doing. Luckily Google apps are all about replacement – looking at how we can replace current outdated practices with new and more efficient ways of doing similar and better things.

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If you don't know what this is about then let me give you a brief overview. Google for Education Training Center is a free, online training for the classroom that helps educators do what they do best, even better. It provides skills in using Google apps to improve and replace old practices. It allows educators to build their skill sets and adapt to the new landscape of education.

Is It Worth It?

Having said all this, I would recommend this package to anyone who is teaching today and a form of this should be integrated into new teacher training and professional development (PD) for current teachers. The things that you are tested on with this program have great relevance to the shifting landscape of education today. It also provides a good framework for educators to work from. It is with using the technology that teachers will become more confident in it (I will be talking about the confidence gap sometime later in another blog). And with confidence, we’ll be able to better use new methods in the classroom.

The Experience


Disclosure: I didn’t really look too closely at the material and I went straight for the test. You might be thinking, “Madman! What kind of example is that for your students!”. Well, that is the nature of online education. I’ve completed many online classes (Coursera/Udemy/CodeAcademy) and I tend to work backward. Try the assessments out first and if I struggle or don’t get it go back and inspect. Obviously, this isn’t the preferred path for all learners but it works for me and something that I continually need to consider – and you should too – when designing learning or training packages.

The exam itself was well made and is timed for 3 hours, which is plenty of time. It consists of 20 multiple choice (MC) questions which go through the general functionality of Google apps and a practical portion. The MC section was standard and if you have used Google apps before it shouldn’t take you too long to go through. The practical aspect is where the test really takes place. It takes you through 11 different tasks that target different functions in Google apps. This ranges from setting up Parent Teacher interviews in an online calendar to sharing videos with your students in Google Classrooms. The practical really tests your familiarity with the programs and is a good refresher for some of the programs that you may not use that often.

The only thing that really bothered me about the exam was that my webcam was on for the whole test (this is part of the test). This was a pain as I had to continually fight a green light in my eyes while I was trying to focus on the tasks to be completed.

Tips For Acing the Test

Below are 3 tips that may help you when completing your certification:

  1. Make sure you are comfortable. This is a 3 hour long examination and you may need the full 3 hours. Maybe have snacks and water on hand.
  2. Complete the test in incognito mode. I didn't want to have to sign out of my accounts to complete the test (they send you a dummy email to do the test in) so I used an incognito window to log in to their test account. 
  3. Open another browser to look for information. This is just the nature of using the internet to complete tests. If I don't know something I will go ahead and look it up while the test runs. Be warned though that timing is a factor.

Overall, this certificate will benefit new teachers, old teachers, and people who are curious about where education is. I will be completing the Level 2 certification soon enough and will report on it once I do.

You can get your level 1 certification here.

Feel free to message me if you want more information.

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