10 Tips to Know before becoming a Google Educator
Please Note: Google Educator exams have changed. Please see THIS LINK for more details. I am choosing to leave this post – as is – because some of you have voiced that you are using this as a study guide. Have fun!
If you have any questions please contact me.
Done! Amazing I actually got through the long hours of studying for the Google Educator qualifications. Creating this post was important to me because I wanted to share in detail my experience of the Google Educator journey. I did this journey because this was fun for me. So, yes I am officially a nerd, and yes, this was my summer hobby. I had two problems when I started. The first problem was I couldn’t find a ton of resources or help online. Also, my second problem was that I didn’t know a single Google Educator. If you have one or both of the problems I faced, please come learn about my experience below, and 10 tips that I wish I had before I started. Studying Gmail, Sites, Chrome, Calendar and Drive were the five exams that took me the most of my summer holidays. Chrome was my elective, which I chose out of the list of Chromebooks and Tablets for Google Play for Education.
Challenging and adventurous are two words to describe this seven week journey. Interested in hearing about my journey? Thinking of taking up the challenge yourself?
What is it?
The Google Educator Exam is for really anyone (especially educators) who would like to receive training on Google products that are used a home and used in schools. Please note, this is NOT Google Certified Teacher, as this certificate comes training at the Google Teacher Academy, which you need to apply to and be selected to attend. For more information on becoming a Google Certified Teacher click HERE. This Google Educator certification is purely studying, practicing, and taking online exams. Anyhow, I found most of the study material didn’t focus on integration of Google products into your classroom, but basically how to use it and manipulate it. There were times when I felt I was training to become a Google Apps Technician, than a Google Educator because some of the terminology was very new to me. I believe that some of the study material, may be catered to the technician, rather than the average teacher in public school. Here’s the low down:
- Go to the start page, which will introduce you to this journey HERE.
You are given the following study material via terminology called Lesson 1 and Lesson 2. There is a very short easy quiz at the end of Lesson 1. As of July 1, 2015 – Please note that the following links show errors, as the exam has changed.
- Once you start your first exam through THIS portal, the online exams must be done in 90 days.
- There are 60 questions that are “traditional” fact based questions. So there is no open-ended questions.
- Some of the questions I received on my exams were not in my study material, and it was a matter of just doing a search for the terminology on the Internet – preferably Chrome. 😉
- You must take the following four exams: Gmail, Sites, Calendar and Drive.
- You have one elective exam which you can choose between Chrome, Chromebooks or Tablets for Google Play for Education. I chose Chrome.
- Each exam is $15.
- You must receive 80% on the exam in order to pass. That means if you get 12 wrong you will pass, however if you get 13 wrong you will fail.
- You can take the exam over again after 7 days. I failed Gmail and was able to take it again 7 days later, but I had to pay another $15. Every time you fail you have to wait 7 days. If you keep failing, you keep having to wait 7 days.
- Once complete, the Google Educator certification expires in 18 months. Yes, 18 months! I actually didn’t know this fact, until I was finished the second exam. If you would like to become a Google Certified Teacher then you will need to attend the Google Teacher Academy. You can find information about the Academy HERE. The Google Certified Teacher certification does not expire. If you would like you can become a Google Education Trainer, which you will need certain requirements for your Google Education Trainer application. Also as a Google Education Trainer, your Google Educator certification needs to be renewed every 18 months, plus additional requirements. To learn more click HERE.
- In my journey, I found some forums, like this ONE and some posts like this ONE by Amy Bowker, which helped me understand how others did their journey.
10 Things You Should Know
#1 Googling the word “Simple” is Simple Compared to these Exams!
These are hard exams, not because there is information I don’t know, but the amount of information. Don’t start this process thinking it will be simple and easy. Give yourself weeks. I started studying at the end of June, and took my first exam on July 7th and ended August 12th. My first exam was Gmail and I failed, so I was devastated at the start. Also, there are typos, as well as on the exam you might be lucky enough to get a repeated question. Some of the questions are challenging to understand, and so there is an option to write a comment to help the creators. I wrote comments on every one of my exams, as I felt that some of the questions needed clarity or the grammar was done poorly (if that makes sense). Also, I should note that Blogger is not the same as Google Sites. I had created Blogger websites over a decade ago and assumed because Google took it over that they would be the same thing. They are not! Special thanks to my friend Sherry for helping me with that clarification. 😉
#2 Virtual Failure Always makes you Stronger Physically and Virtually!
You may fail the exam, as you have to receive 80% on the exam to pass. You have 7 days if you fail. Gmail was tough and I’ll explain later in the post way it was for me. Please listen carefully to this part. You will never know which questions you got wrong. So if you fail an exam, you will have to redo it and you will get a different exam because the questions are from a large database. One thing I did to protect myself from the frustration of failing for a second time was to take notes – however which way you do it, I think it is a very smart idea. It normally took me between 45 to 65 minutes to complete the exam. Another 15 to check the exam questions that I marked to review. During the last 10 minutes of the exam I would take time to record the questions, so I could review my answers, as well as if I failed I could review my questions for the 7 days before my next exam. It is important to note, these are personal notes and recordings, so please no one email me asking me for exam questions. And remember it is a database of questions, so you’re going to get a different exam than me.
#3 Be a Google Groupie! Maybe even have T-shirts?
Go group! I encourage you to do it in a group because you can support each other. It was amazing to be supported and encouraged by colleagues/friends along the way. I am in the Langley School District and there were four of us who have started this journey together at the end of June. We have been meeting every two weeks at McDonalds and continuing to support and encourage each other with virtual support and even started a hashtag #google35 (taken from our School District number #35). I would like to thank Tracy Cramer who first asked me to take on the challenge. Also thanks to Kim Anderson and Sherry Hall who came along the journey too. Currently, Sherry has finished the exams. Tracy and Kim are now continuing to move through the exams. I don’t think I could have done it with out their support and advice. Thanks guys!
#4 Expert in Google Cuisine! Oui?
Be the expert in the group. When I failed the first exam, and knowing that the study material was somewhat overwhelming, the four of us chatted and decided to each do a different exam first to start because we could each be an expert in that field. Each expert, would help the others in the group with that particular Google product if we had questions and inquiries on how to do it. This was a smashing idea because each of us gain confidence in this area and became part of the jigsaw piece of support, to help and encourage each other along the way. Kind of like saying, “I studied this material inside and out, and I did the exam first, so have comfort to know you can come to me with questions.”
#5 Revenge of the Nerds!
Study smart not hard. Listen carefully! Study the “this” material intensely. See the slideshow below on the example on Gmail. One of our members spent hours watching over 60 YouTube videos, and then realized that “this” material was what was the key to success. What I mean by “this” is the Advanced section, which can be found at the bottom of the virtual tabs. “This” material is referring to Level 2 and the Advanced Section. This slideshow is an example of how to get to the Advanced Section. It will state: For a deeper understanding of Gmail, take THIS more advanced, self-paced course. This course contains several comprehensive chapters and is a requirement for attaining the Google Educator certification. The “this” part is the material you need to study and if need be write, snap or copy and paste notes from.
#6 Note Worthy
Think about note taking. While you are going through the wack load of information I did different forms of note taking depending on my comfort level on the specific topic. I did it several ways:
- No notes on Gmail and Sites: I didn’t take notes on two exams, failed one and passed one.
- Phone notes on Chrome and Calendar: I took my phone and snapped photos of the parts I didn’t know, and so if I had free time while waiting at an appointment I could easily just review my notes on my phone. I took those photos and then created a virtual review sheet through a website private post, so I could use it on the exam.
- Copied, cut and pasted for Docs: I also did copy, cut and paste from the “this” material and put it on a website private post, so I could use it for the exam. Docs was a huge amount of reading, so I am glad I copied, cut and pasted this material.
#7 Get Unstuck through Study Stack
If you have come this far in my post, you are probably keen on becoming a Google Educator. So come even closer, and listen up. It is important to check out resources online. My absolute favourite was flashcards by StudyStack.com. These virtual study cards will give you a good idea of what will be on the exam. Some of these questions will be on your exams. The exams themselves are from a huge data base, so your exams will be different from my exams. Also, if you fail, you are going to get a different exam than the first one you took. There are StudyStacks for:
- Gmail Study Stack
- Calendar Study Stack
- Sites Study Stack (please note that this Study Stack has Moderator stuff in it too)
- Docs Study Stack
There are other ones too, like Admin, if you are planning to go on to do more extensive exams. These came in super handy this summer, because I was camping and going to parks with my family and when I had some down time, I would just pull these up either on my phone, or I would have printed them out. I also had each StudyStack open when I was doing my exam and I would do a search for keywords to find the question and answer.
#8 Lurch for the Search
Use the Search buttons on your keyboard. Once you are ready to take an exam, then you should have the “this” advanced material infront of you and you should use Control F. Check out THIS link for more info. Also, I want to mention that you can also do extensions to do this search through Firefox browser and Chrome browser. I have used both, but in the end liked the Control F the best. Also, if you do Control F in your Chrome browser you will also see an elevator bar on the right that will highlight where in the document you can find the actual words. This came in super handy!
#9 “Study Place and Study Time”
These wise words from my mother. Test place and test time. Remember you only have 90 minutes, so choose your time and place carefully. I am a teacher, but also a mother of two young children. I could only really study very early in the morning (I won’t share how early, because to some it might be cringe worthy). I also took my exams at this time. I had two laptops open. One which would be where I would do the exam, and the second to do searches. The second also had the StudyStack open, as well as the “this” material, so I could do Control F searches. Using Chrome was the best because then I could save all my open tabs at the end of the exam, so if I failed I could review the searches I did.
#10 It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint
Pace yourself. I tried to make deadlines for myself and I also tried to “cram” for the last two days before I took the exam. I tried to get the Sites done before I went camping for 4 days, so I could study Calendar through StudyStack when I was lounging by the campfire. Also, my thoughts are that the Chrome exam is the shortest, yet Docs is the longest (and I thought the hardest), so perhaps schedule your exams appropriately. I did Gmail first, but I failed partly because I never read the “this” material in Lesson 2 Advanced Learning section, I only did Lesson 1. I soon learned it was important to read the “this” material (i.e. Gmail). I wish I had done Chrome first as a confidence booster and also I find I use Chrome all the time now, which before I didn’t. I also used Chrome for my tests because when I did Ctrl F for search there is an elevator bar (for lack of better terms) that pops up on the right to show you where the words are. See example below, as I did a Ctrl F for the word “sites”:
If you want to learn more about becoming a Google Educator, you can check out another newly Google Educator, Amy Bowker. You can check out her post HERE.
Bonus Tip: Double Certified?
Do you want a second certificate? Think about taking the short 30 test after you finish (or you can do it before), and you don’t need to pay to get your Basics Certificate. I did need to learn Search before I took this little test. Learn more HERE and see the image below
When everything is said and done, I am so glad I went on this adventure. I don’t like exams and I found that doing these tests made me as nervous as many of my students feel when I had out a test. It made me learn; attempt and fail, but most of all gave me skills that I can now impart on you and those that are interested in Google around me. I hope this post helps you on your way, as I wish I had a post like this when I first started. Enjoy the journey!