Thanks to my PLN
I discovered the Google certification through my fantastic global PLN (Professional Learning Network) colleagues on Twitter. Earlier this term I began a conscious effort, inspired by the podcaster Chris Nessi and his show House of Ed Tech to improve my professional development. I've had a Twitter account for years but only in the last few months I've started to use hashtags and follow edu-chats. Prior to this I considered Twitter a 'soapbox' platform, but some time and attention has proved that there is some great learning spaces there. I love seeing what teachers are doing and thinking all over the world, and Twitter has been the vehicle to help me digitally meet other educators who are passionate about the same things as I am.
What you need to know about Google Certified Educator Level 1
A quick Google (ha) will reveal that the test-takers are asked to sign an NDA so I can't tell you the exact details of what the exam was like. I admit that at first I under-estimated the difficulty of the test but after some time I figured out that Google are very thorough! I hugely appreciated the interactive, hands-on elements that you experience. The study material that Google provides is well-written and a great tool for professional development, I highly recommend going through it as it guides you through everything you need for the exam.
You will need a webcam as the exam relies on your live feed for proctoring. They do ask you to take a picture with it right before you start, claiming that it is for your certificate, but mine wasn't used for my certificate. I had brushed my hair and everything!
You will also need a stable internet connection. Despite having pretty good home internet for South Africa (10Mbps), the connectivity was a tad problematic. Once, after the connection dipped, the exam portal gave me the error that I was inputting answers for the wrong question! I solved this by closing the tab (despite the exam page protesting) and quickly opening it again. When the exam resumed I was in the right place with no harm done. Although this made my anxiety levels rise, it turned out to be a minor blip.
Overall, I enjoyed the process of studying for and taking the Google exam. I've had a look at the study materials for level 2 and it looks far more in-depth than level 1. Once I can get more experience using Google Apps for Education in the school setting then I think I'll be equipped to tackle level 2.
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