About to embark on a new adventure? No, I’m not talking about tagging along with a gaggle of dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland, or depositing the One Ring into the fiery pits of Mount Doom (Hobbit release week…my apologies). I’m actually referring to the epic journey of passing the Google Apps for Education exams and becoming a qualified Google Educator. You won’t receive a chest of gold or a one-way ticket to the Undying Lands, but you WILL receive a Google-branded certificate solidifying your mastery of GAFE skills, as well as the badge of honor that you are a lifelong learner with a passion for innovation and sharing with others.
Even Aragorn and the entire Middle Earth is impressed with Google Educator certificates!
A group of Lake Forest High School students have begun the process of becoming Google Educators (because the real goal is for the student to become the teacher, and the teacher to become the student, right?). As the students take and pass exams (huzzah!), there’s been a few exam-taking strategies that have been working for them. In the spirit of teaching and sharing, I wanted to pass those tips along:
- Use all 90 minutes. Don’t get cocky. If you finish with 40 minutes left give yourself a pat-on-the-back, dance a jig and then review your answers. You need an 80% to pass, and your success could come down to 1 or 2 tricky questions. Dive back in and review your work.
- Use common sense. Think about the Google philosophy of their apps, and ask yourself, “Does it make sense that Google would offer this feature?”
- Know the tool. Yes, file this one next to the shocking revelation that the Pope is Catholic, but knowing the tool will help immensely. If you’ve never used Sites before, make a Site. If you are unfamiliar with more advanced features of Calendar, start using Calendar. Sure, you could go in cold and just look up everything…but remember, you only have 90 minutes per exam. Having a grasp on the tool will help you eliminate answers that don’t seem to work and also allow you to spend more time on the questions you are struggling with.
- Try out the skill. Many of the questions are some variation of (depending on the tool, of course): “You wish to copy an event from a colleague’s Calendar to yours. How do you do this?” The question is followed by multiple choice answers. So, what could be more helpful than simply looking up the answer! Actually try it out! Launch Calendar, and do it…then you’ll know you are answering correctly. Which leads to….
- Look stuff up. This goes without saying, but of course I’ll say it and write more than I need to. Part of the beauty of the Google exams is that they are “open book” – so have another device, tab or browser open to scour the internet for answers. You’re not only being tested on what you know, but also how quickly you can find, interpret and evaluate information online.
- Have two (2) different Google accounts. Google is such a collaborative tool, and SO MANY questions are about sharing, emailing, document permissions, etc. Having two (2) accounts accessible allows you to go back and forth, check out individual permissions, examine the differences between editors and owners, etc. It helps a LOT.
- Use the online Help resources. I strongly recommend support.google.com and the App-specific areas at edutraining.googleapps.com – (check out the table on this Doc with direct links).
- Mark it, and come back. Don’t spend 15 minutes on a head-scratcher question (the clock is ticking!). Give it your best shot, click on the Mark icon, and check back in at the end.
- It’s okay if you suck. Really, it’s okay if you fail a test. You get to take it again (not immediately, but in 7 days). Learning from mistakes is super important (especially for students), and it may be the most important lesson of all. Take it from the Zuck.
So, there you go. You can access the Certification page here, and soon you’ll be off and running. That Google Educator certificate will soon be yours! And if you are feeling unmotivated, you don’t need to do it for yourself: