Over the past few years, I have become a huge fan of all things Google, and I’ve seen how their tools for educators have transformed student learning all over the world. Teachers who want to really get the most out of these tools go beyond simply using them—they acquire enough skills and knowledge to become Google Certified Educators, sharing innovative practices online, training other teachers, and helping their students leverage these tools to create, collaborate, and grow as learners.
Google Educator Certifications are offered at four different levels:
- Level 1 certification is based on knowing the fundamentals of Google tools.
- Level 2 certification is for the advanced user, with requirements to implement tools on a deeper level.
- Google Certified Trainers are qualified to provide training to schools and districts.
- Google Certified Innovators are those who go above and beyond, using Google tools to solve problems all over the world.
Why Would You Want to Get Certified?
Although you can use Google tools in your classroom perfectly well without ever getting any kind of certification, pursuing certification has significant professional benefits:
- Get a more complete set of skills. Even if you’re well-versed in a lot of Google tools, chances are you have some weak areas and gaps in your skills. By pursuing certification, you’ll fill those gaps, building your confidence and making your foundation more solid.
- Learn how to leverage the tools better. Working toward certification will equip you with new and better ways to use these tools to boost learning, save time, inspire creativity, and help students become more responsible digital citizens. And once you know better, you’ll be able to pass that knowledge along to your colleagues and improve learning school-wide.
- Become part of a family. Once you earn certification, you’re part of a huge community of Google Certified Educators. These energetic, open-minded educators will serve as a personal learning network that you can draw upon for years to come for advice, ideas, and resources that will keep feeding your growth.
- Boost your earning capacity. Once you’ve reached the trainer level, you have the credentials to offer professional development anywhere. This can become a whole new source of income for you as an education professional.
How Do You Get Certified?
For Level 1 and Level 2, certification is granted after candidates pass an online test. Each test is three hours long and covers a wide range of information about Google tools. The next level, Google Certified Trainer, has more complex requirements, including submitting a video of yourself as a trainer. Those interested in becoming a Google Certified Innovator must attend in-person cohort events and participate in ongoing innovation work.
Option 1: Doing it on Your Own
You CAN work toward certification completely on your own. Google offers training materials that can help you learn what you need for certification. However, these materials are mostly text-based and there’s no support; going this route will feel a bit like you’re just looking things up in Google’s support center. Still, if you’re pretty tech-savvy, you already have some familiarity with Google tools, and you prefer doing things on your own, this may be the right option for you.
Option 2: Google Boot Camps
A number of organizations hold in-person boot camps to train teachers for certification. These are typically 2-day events that focus on one area of certification. One organization that offers these is EdTechTeam, which runs boot camps all over the U.S. and in many places all over the world. If you prefer face-to-face training and can absorb a lot of information in a short period of time, this would be a good way to go.
Option 3: Google Certified Educator Academy
These self-paced, online courses, created by Kasey Bell at Shake Up Learning, teach you everything you need to complete the requirements for Level 1, Level 2, or Trainer-Level Certification. These courses offer some things that make this an excellent option for educators who are serious about getting certified:
- Unlike the materials offered by Google, Kasey’s courses are video-based, which makes the content a lot more accessible to most learners.
- Because the courses are self-paced, you can move through them at a speed that works for you. Face-to-face boot camps move way too quickly for some people.
- The courses include a private community where you can ask questions and get support from hundreds of other educators who are also working on their certification.
The Academy courses are only open twice a year—in May and November, so if you’re interested, you’ll need to plan ahead and make sure you can enroll during these times.
To learn more about each course, click the images below.
Who is Kasey Bell?
A Google Certified Trainer and Innovator, Kasey Bell has done a tremendous job of helping teachers make better use of Google tools over the last few years. Through her popular website, Shake Up Learning, she regularly shares smart, practical ideas that can help teachers use Google apps to improve learning in their classrooms. She is the author of Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic and the co-host of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast with Matt Miller. In the U.S. and internationally, Kasey speaks about innovative learning, trains teachers in the use of Google tools, and has helped thousands of teachers become Google certified.
Kasey is such a sharp person and always puts out incredibly high-quality stuff, so I feel confident in recommending these courses to you. If you’re serious about taking this step in your professional development, the Shake Up Learning Google Academy would be a solid choice.
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Shake Up Learning courses. That means if you sign up for a course after visiting the enrollment page through my link, I will get a small commission for referring you. That’s Kasey’s way of thanking me for letting you know about the courses!