Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Get Certified: Google Innovator

If you thought you were "all things Google" by being a Google for Education Trainer, then you're "all things Google on steroids" by being an Innovator! Innovators are the rock stars of the Google for Education world -- they're the movers and the shakers, the ones with vision and gigantic amounts of growth mindset. As an Innovator, you get the opportunity to identify a need in the education world and then work with other Innovators to develop a way to address that issue. Becoming an Innovator is not easy. There are a lot of requirements and work involved in just applying -- yes, applying! You might work hard and not get accepted (that happened to me)! I can't speak to what it's like once you actually get accepted into the Innovator program (although I hope someday I WILL!), but our very own Jeremy can tell you as he IS an Innovator!

So, what do you need to do to apply to be an Innovator?

  • Acquire Google for Education Level 2 certification
  • Answer questions about yourself and your experience with innovation
  • Create a 90 second project idea video
It sounds simple, but it is really quite a challenge! But it is fun and you learn a lot along the way! If you have the desire to make your mark in education beyond your classroom and help educators all around the world, maybe taking on the Innovator application process is for you! Who knows, you might get to travel to a new, exciting place (I applied for the cohort in Denmark!), and you will for sure get to meet a great group of global minds all striving for the same things: the improve education for all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Get Certified: Google for Education Trainer

Continuing the highlighting of various certifications available for teachers who want to turn their professional development into something personally meaningful and rewarding, this post will highlight what it means to be a Google for Education Certified Trainer. If you really enjoy sharing with others all the amazing things teachers and students can do with the G Suite for Education Tools, then maybe being a Trainer is something you should do! This is a little different from the Levels 1 and 2 certifications. In order to be a Trainer, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have Levels 1 and 2 certification
  • Complete the online Trainers course
  • Pass the online Trainer Skills Assessment
  • Film a Trainer Video
  • Submit your application (on a rolling basis)
If that sounds daunting, I'll be honest -- it kind of is. Being a Trainer is kind of weighty. People see that certification associated with your name and they know that means you are a go-to person for learning about G Suite tools. But as daunting as the process is, the rewards are equally as heavy. The thing I enjoy the most about being a Trainer is getting the chance to help teachers learn new ways to make Google tools work for themselves and for their students. It is incredibly rewarding to know I have some knowledge that can be of value to other people. I love when I get to sit down with a teacher and show them new things they can do and then get to see it happen in their classroom.

Maintaining certification is not super difficult -- here's what it entails:
  • Conduct 12 trainings per year
  • Share one resource with the rest of the Trainer community
  • Pass an annual product recertification
  • Maintain your Levels 1 and 2 certifications
None of these requirements are back breaking! Most people are scared at the thought of 12 trainings as they think this means they have to go to big conferences and present to large groups of strangers! The good news is you CAN do that if you want! But the better news is that you don't have to do that! A training can be something as simple as being in a department or grade level team meeting and sharing with them how to have students do peer editing using comments in Google Docs or sharing at a faculty meeting how to create appointment slots using Google Calendar for an upcoming school event or presenting at an institute day all the new features that Google Classroom has to offer.

So, if you love Google and love sharing the efficient and creative ways you and your students can use Google tools, maybe being Trainer is for YOU!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Get Certified -- Google Level 2

In my last post, I shared the benefits of becoming a Google Level 1 Certified Educator. Doing that is an accomplishment in itself for sure! But what if you're a Google tools super-user and just can't get enough of all things Google? What if you're really wanting to ramp up the way using all the G Suite for Education tools can really enhance your teaching and all the tasks associated with teaching? Then it sounds like you're a candidate for Google Level 2 certification!

Much like Level 1 certification, you can go through Google's online training modules for free. Once finished, you can then register for the Level 2 exam, which costs a little more than the level 1 exam (level 1 cost is $10; level 2 is $25). The level 2 advanced course will build upon the skills you have already shown you have from level 1 as well as add new skills to your repertoire! You will also learn interesting, practical, and innovative ways to use these tools to really enhance your instruction and improve your day to day tasks, saving you time and helping you be more efficient. We do have a few teachers in the district who are Level 2 certified; let me know if you want to talk to one of them to see what they have to say about the certification personally!

Interested in learning more about Level 2 certification? Check out the certification page! You can also check out the skills checklist that is shared on Eric Curts's blog Control Alt Achieve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Get Certified -- Google Level 1

There was a great deal of interest from teachers across the district about becoming Google Level 1 certified educators, so I thought I'd share some highlights about what the certification is, why it's valuable, and how to do it!

  • Level 1 certification means that you have passed an exam that tested your ability to understand what Google tools are available to you as an educator, that you have sufficient skills in using those tools and their features, and that you understand the practical applications of using those tools in the classroom.
  • It's not easy, but it's worth it!
  • You can prepare on your own using the free modules offered online from Google or you can pursue other ways of preparation for the exam. If you feel confident enough, you can even skip any formal preparation and take the exam anyway! (Eric Curts, at his Control Alt Achieve blog, has a very comprehensive skills checklist you can review to determine where you might have any deficits.)
  • The exam is $10, and must be taken on a machine with a webcam. You also need to have 3 hours of uninterrupted time.
  • Completing the training alone will help you become so much more familiar with all the G Suite for Education tools and will inspire you to find ways to make your teaching more engaging and your workflow more productive. Passing the exam is the cherry on top of the learning, so you can do the training and benefit greatly if you don't want to actually pursue the exam.
  • Certification doesn't last forever, but it does last for 2 years!
I'm including here a slideshow that was used at the February 2018 institute day to share Google Certification information. You can also go directly to their training center to learn more or to start your training! I am hoping to offer 1 or 2 boot camps this school year, too, so be on the lookout for that information!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Certifications -- Pursuing Excellence

At the start of the school year, I sent out a survey asking if any staff had any of the following certifications:

  • Google Certified Educator Level 1
  • Google Certified Educator Level 2
  • Google for Education Trainer
  • Google Certified Innovator
  • Nearpod Pionear
  • Apple Teacher
  • Peardeck Inspearational Teacher
  • Kahoot! Certified (I didn't ask about this one, but I'm adding it to the list)
I didn't ask just to be nosy. I asked because I wanted to find out where our in-district experts are! These certifications are all related to tools that many of us use fairly regularly in our classrooms with our kids. These tools make learning more engaging and meaningful for our students. It makes sense that if you really have a good grasp for how to use a tool successfully that you should get some snaps for that. That's why these certifications exist!

Teachers often wonder why they should bother to pursue these kinds of certifications. The most obvious answer is growth! You grow as an educator which in turn helps your students grow as learners!

Over the next few weeks, I thought I would highlight all the different certifications mentioned above, especially since so many people expressed interest in so many of them on the survey! Maybe by learning about each one you can find a certification that is right for you and the kids in your class! And if there are a bunch of us who want to pursue certifications, we can work together!

Next week: Google Certified Educator Level 1 certification!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Quick Google Classroom Info

If you started a new Google Classroom recently, then you are seeing the great new version of it! It is so much easier to navigate, much more intuitive, don't you think? If you are recycling an old Google Classroom from last year, you might have noticed it looks a little different and you're probably not happy about that.
What you see if you are reusing an old Google Classroom.

What you see if you are using the new Google Classroom.

In the new Google Classroom, the Stream tab is the place for you to make announcements; the Classwork tab is where you can post assignments or questions; and the People tab puts all your students and teachers for that classroom in one spot (which is also where you can find the class code, manually add students, and invite other teachers).

In the old Google Classroom, you can still add an announcement, assignment, or question to the Stream, and you can find all your students and teachers for that classroom under the People tab. But you'll have to go into Settings to get a class code for students to join.

My suggestion for anyone who is interested is to archive your old Google Classrooms and start fresh with the new ones. You can still reuse posts from archived classrooms, so you aren't losing everything you've used previously. Plus kids won't get confused if they are part of more than one classroom and there are two different versions being used.

Need help getting started with Google Classroom? Need a refresher? You know who to call :-)

Got a cool Google Classroom tip to share? Post it in the comments section here and I'll come see you so you can pick a Google sticker or an emoji sticker!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Do You Have #ChannahonPride?

Another year, another bunch of blog posts! I get to combine my two favorite things: education and writing! As I was moving to my new digs at TRS, I realized that it has been a while since I talked about the stickers we still have for teachers here in CSD 17! Maybe you've got loads of them from when we started this a few years ago; maybe you only have a couple. But do you have them all? I invite you to check out the document here to see what stickers we have available for YOU! Maybe you're able to get some of them now that we are in year 2 of being 1:1. Maybe you're new to the district and want to gussy up your Chromebook. If you've worked hard for a sticker, please click here to share the sticker you want and share what you've been doing, too!

Have an idea for another sticker we can offer to teachers? Add it in the comments -- that will get you your choice of a Google or emoji sticker! If we end up using your idea, you'll get ANOTHER Google or emoji sticker!

You're never too old to show off what you learn or what you do. And you're never too old for stickers!