If you know me personally, follow me on social media, or have spent any amount of time on this website, you probably know that I LOVE Google! We were still on USB Flash drives when I started teaching, which work great, but…
Then…Google Drive Came Out
…and it changed my world! Other than the search engine, Drive was my first taste of all that Google could really do. Google just keeps improving all of their products so much each year. Once I was hooked, and they came out with the Google Certified Educator program, I knew I wanted to be part of it. One of the most frequent questions I get is “why did you become a Google Certified Educator?”. A lot of times, that is alongside the question “aren’t you a band director?”. Let me give you some insight:
Why I Became Google Certified
The Google Certified Educator program was appealing to me because I wanted to use the tools that I already found valuable in a more efficient way.
The process to get certified includes “modules” to work through with plenty of opportunity to practice and identify where to get help. This alone is incredibly valuable! In addition to learning about features of Google apps that I already knew pretty well, I found that there were other Google tools that I had not even heard of. I discovered and learned about Google Keep through this process and I can confidently say that I now use that tool every.single.day.
The Badges. I am also a sucker for badges, ya’ll. Who knows where that comes from, but I have definitely been known to run an extra Disney race because there is a special medal attached to it!
I am happy to display my Google Certified Educator Badges here on my website and in other relevant places because I worked hard for them!
The Certification Process
First important thing is that the training modules are FREE! This is an incredible resource to be offered at zero cost. Just like anything in life, you will gain exactly as much value as you want to out of these modules. There are plenty of opportunities to practice and the modules will direct you to the Google Help resources where you can learn even more.
It is completely possible for you to complete the modules just for your own personal growth and never take the certification tests!
The tests cost a small fee, are timed, and are fairly rigorous. When you register for a test, a special Google account is created for you. Once they create this, you will receive the login info and can begin the testing process. You will be videoed taking the test and, even if you are usually a fast test-taker, you may find that you take the entire amount of allotted time just because there is a lot of material.
Part of the test is a pretty standard question and answer situation. The rest of it is you showing what you know. You may, for example, be asked to open a file that is in your Drive (the special test account one), add to it, connect it to another document or share it somewhere, and then send an email about it. I think it is a pretty good assessment of how well you know about and can manipulate the different Google apps.
Once you are finished with the test, you submit it for scoring and wait for your results via email. If you pass, congrats! You can only become certified if you pass each test. To be clear, there is a test for Level 1 and a different test for Level 2.
Why is this valuable to Music Educators?
I teach because I love sharing music with my students. My favorite times are when I am making music with kids, or JUST teaching. How often do we have a day, in a school setting, full of JUST teaching? Basically never. There are always grades, paperwork, trips to plan, rooms to reserve..the list goes on and on.
Using Google tools makes all of that stuff EASIER! Using these tools gives me more time to be a music teacher! I can save a flyer in Drive and then attach it to my Google Calendar and share it with my Google Classroom in a matter of literal seconds. Each week, I make a “to do” list on Google Keep to share with my colleague and have it open next to my Google Calendar where our weekly lesson plans are. I am all over making a BOSS spreadsheet to track attendance that syncs up with itself…and share it with my colleague who can update it as needed. In my scope and sequence spreadsheet, I can add links to different handouts and worksheets that we will pass out so that I don’t have to hunt them down in Drive.
Ya’ll. CULTIVATE YOUR EFFICIENCY by using these Google tools. The more you do, the better you get, and the more you’ll be able to do in the future.
Why is this valuable to Music Educators? We run PROGRAMS, not just classrooms (though, classroom teachers: get in on this action, too!) We have a lot to do and spin LOTS of plates every day. Save your sanity and learn how to use tools that were DESIGNED for efficiency and seamless connectivity.
Is this right for you?
Okay…I think you can guess that yes, I think this is right for you!
You might want to start with just going through the modules and seeing how quickly you can absorb the information and put it into practice.
Here’s the link to the Google Teacher Center – check it out and see what you think. There are several certification level options that you can find out about there.
Take the tests when you’re ready. There is no timeline to be ready for the tests until you register; at that point you have a limited amount of time. You will learn from taking the tests, as well because you’ll be practicing what you’ve studied!
Certified Educator Certifications are good for 3 years before a re-test is needed. I’ve been through the process twice now. The renewal certification was easier for me than my first certification. I’m sure this is because I USE these tools on a regular basis now. Like I said earlier, Google is constantly updating and improving their tools. That being the case, a quick refresher every 3 years is a good idea!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram (@flippingband) and Facebook (That Flipping Band Director) to see my weekly tech features. I frequently feature GOOGLE tools 🙂
Are you already a Google Certified Music Educator?
Are you ready to take the plunge??