Monday, September 19, 2016

Google Certified Trainer Program

Google recently revamped its Google Certified Trainer program.  The program, in my opinion, is much more streamlined, it costs less to complete, and is more relevant to the skills needed to be recognized as a Google trainer.  I decided about a year ago to complete the process, but the decision to pursue it was put off until now because of the changes that were promised.

About a year ago, I had made it a goal of mine to start the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer.  At the time, the requirements of the process included:

  1. Complete a series of 5 exams on various Google products, including Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and others, and optional items such as Chromebooks, Google Play, and Android tablets. Each of the tests cost $15, for a total of $75.  
  2. Complete a training video of 3 minutes that introduced yourself, showcased your style of training, and a short training of a Google product.  
  3. Submitting an application to Google that included all of the above.  
If accepted to the program, to keep your certification, you needed to complete documentation of 12 trainings in a year.  This part of the process did not change.  However, the rest of the process has changed slightly.  

When I first looked into the program, there were hints that the process was going to change.  At the time, I did not have the time on my hands to fully prepare myself for each aspect of the application, especially the five separate tests.  Rather than diving into the program, I decided to hold off until the changes took places and instead get my Google Certified Educator endorsement.  

At the time, the Google Certified Educator program had also recently changed.  It had gone from Google Certified Teacher to Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2.  In basic terms, the level one exam could be described as "I have a GAFE account and I know how to use the Google tools."  The level two exam could be described as "I have a GAFE account, I know how to use the Google tools, and I am very good at using them and sparking innovation."  Based on the descriptions, I decided to skip the Level 1 exam and dive straight into Level 2.  

Two of my coworkers, Brad Leimbach and Jayme Rawson, decided to go through the training and exam
together.  Our principal agreed to pay for the exam (which is $25) and get subs for our classes so we could use the entire day to prepare for the exam and take the test, in which Google gives you up to 3 hours to complete.  I am a person that takes very little time to take tests, especially if I know the material.  I did not expect to use the entire 3 hour time allotted for the test, but I found out that it was going to be very stressful as the time ticked down toward zero.  In all, the exam took my 2 hours and 51 minutes.  I was FREAKING OUT during the last part of the exam, wondering if I was going to finish. The test wasn't hard, per se; the word "tedious" is a better description. Ultimately, I did finish and within minutes, my results of "PASS" were sent to me, along with my certificate and GCE badge.  

The new Google Certified Trainer program eliminated the five separate tests on Google tools.  Now, you must pass the Google Certified Educator, Level 1 and the Level 2 tests.  In addition, you must pass a Google Trainer Skills Assessment exam before you can submit an application with a 3-minute long training video.  I already had the Level 2 exam out of the way, now it was time to complete the other exams.  

I knew that the Level 1 exam was going to be much easier than the Level 2 exam, based on the descriptions
that Google provides.  The format of the exam is similar to Level 2, with a 3-hour window granted to complete the exam.  My principal allowed for me to block out a period of time during a school day to lock my door, turn off my radio, close out my email, and turn off my phone so I could be left alone to complete the exam.  I blocked out a window from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM, cleared my appointments, locked my office door and went incognito for the next 3 and a half hours.  However, I was not going to need the entire window of time.  Of the three hours of the testing window, I only needed to use 1 hour and 21 minutes.  Like the Level 2 test before, I had my results of "PASS" within minutes, knocking out step two of the Google Certified Trainer application process.  

The next step of the process was to complete the skills assessment exam.  On this exam, the description read that you would demonstrate your knowledge and skills of what it takes to be an effective trainer.  There would be some knowledge of Google tools addressed on the exam, but it would be more about knowledge of effective teaching strategies when working with adults of different skill levels and technology expertise.  This exam would be administered over 90 minutes.  My principal again agreed to let me block out some time to complete the exam, but I wanted to complete the training modules on the Google website first.  

I woke up one morning with the intentions of going to the gym before heading to school.  However, after working out for 7 days in a row, my body was screaming for a break.  So rather than going back to bed, I decided to take the skills assessment.  I opened the test at 4:15 AM, knowing that if it took me the entire 90 minutes, I would still have time to get to work on time.  There was never any worries; I was able to complete the exam by 4:36 AM, a whole 21 minutes.  The test requires an 80% to pass, I got a 96%.  So step three of the process was now completed.  

I am now in the process of filming my trainer video.  The first minute of the video requires an introduction, an overview of skills, and a description of the kind of trainer I am.  The following two minutes is a demonstration of a skill; in my case, I am going to demonstrate how to create appointment slots in Google Calendar.  I have until October 12 to get the video done, in time for the application window to open.  Applicants are supposed to be notified in late December.  From here, I already have ideas for the next round of applications for Google Certified Innovator and I am planning a training session and test administration for the staff of my school to get Level 1 certified.  For more information on Google certifications, please see the Google Training Center for more information.  

The new school year is settling in nicely, I am adjusting to my new position, and great things are on my horizon; I hope that you are having a similar experience in the start of the 2016-2017 school year.  
Until next time...   

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