Veronica With Four Eyes

Becoming A Google Certified Educator Level 1 With Low Vision

Since I write a lot about technology in the classroom on my website, I frequently get questions about all sorts of different products and technologies from all of the major tech companies. In order to better help others who have questions about Google products, I decided to study for and take the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam so that I could better understand how to use Google products in the classroom, and common Google products that are used by teachers to help with managing their classrooms. I’m excited to share that I passed the exam, and today I will be sharing my experience about becoming a Google Certified Educator Level 1 as a college student with low vision.

What is a Google Certified Educator?

The Google Certified Educator program is a professional development program offered through Google For Education that allows people within the education space to learn more about Google products and how they can be integrated into classrooms. Google provides a free comprehensive study guide for the exam and allows users to read through training materials, practice how to use Google software/apps, and complete lesson checks to ensure understanding of material. Once users complete the study guide, they can register to take the Google Certified Educator exam on Kryterion and pay $10 to take the exam. After passing the exam, users will receive a certificate and badge they can add to social media or resumes, and the exam is valid for three years.

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Google Certified Educator Level 1 vs Level 2

There are two different levels for the Google Certified Educator program, though users will need to have their Level 1 certification before they can start their Level 2 certification. The Level 1 exam focuses more on introducing educators to different products and how to incorporate technology in the classroom, while the Level 2 exam goes more in-depth into using Google products in education. However, people who aren’t familiar with Google products can still successfully pass the Level 1 certification, as long as they study and work through the example exercises.

Who can benefit from becoming a Google Certified Educator?

While the Google Certified Educator program is designed for people who teach in a classroom, other people who work with students or in the education space can still benefit from the information shared in this program. Some examples of people who can benefit from becoming a Google Certified Educator at the Level 1 level include:

  • Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs)
  • Assistive technology specialists
  • College students who use Google/G Suite products, especially those in education-related majors
  • School educational technology specialists

Students that are between the ages of 13 and 18 are ineligible for this certification but can take the G Suite certification, which I will talk about in a later post.

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Getting started with the Google Certified Educator program

In order to get started with the Google Certified Educator program, users will need to do the following:

  1. Go to the Teacher Center, which is part of Google for Education (link below)
  2. Sign into a Google account- Google strongly recommends that this be a personal account that someone will not lose access to
  3. Click on the “Certification” tab
  4. Select the option for “Google Certified Educator Level 1”

This is different from actually registering for the test- that process will be outlined in a later section.

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Study guide interface

The study guide for the Google Certified Level 1 exam is divided into the following sections. I completed all of the sections in the study guide in about four hours, though it’s worth noting that I had a basic understanding of G Suite products prior to starting the guide:

  • Get Ready To Use Technology In The Classroom
  • Expand Your Access to Help and Learning
  • Have a (Mostly) Paperless Classroom
  • Save Time Communicating
  • Organize Activities for Yourself and Others
  • Bring Meetings Online
  • Bring Student Work Online
  • Measure, Understand, and Share Student Growth
  • Teach Students Online Skills
  • Build Interactive Lessons
  • Captivate Your Class with Video
  • Facilitate Group Work
  • Promote Digital Citizenship and Positive Online Behavior

Examples of applications that are covered within the study guide are included but not limited to:

  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Calendar
  • Slides
  • Forms
  • Gmail
  • YouTube
  • Hangouts
  • Other mobile apps

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Registering for the exam

Registering for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam is a little bit confusing, as users will need to do it through the Kryterion website, which is linked within the Google Teacher Center. Users will need to provide the email address that they used to access the content in the Teacher center, as well as their legal name, email, address, and other information that helps Google learn about who is taking the test.

After registering and paying the $10 testing fee, users will have eight days to take the test, after which they will automatically lose their registration. I took my exam about one hour after registering for it.

What is the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam like?

People who take the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam are required to sign a NDA, meaning that they are unable to disclose the exact contents of the exam. However, what I can share is that the test consists of a mix of multiple-choice questions and simulation exercises that are done within the incognito window of Google Chrome, and that the training modules prepared me well for the exam. Users will need to have a webcam so that the software can monitor them as they take the test, in order to ensure that the same person is taking the test at all times.

Users will find out if they passed the exam or not on the same day- I found out about an hour after I took the test.  They will receive a copy of their digital badge and personalized certificate in the same email that confirms their test results.

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Accessibility for the Google Certified Educator program

One of the things that I love about the Google Certified Educator exam is that it is taken within the Google Chrome browser, so I can easily use assistive technology such as a screen reader or zoom in on my web browser. I also used Windows Magnifier as needed to zoom in on smaller portions of the screen, and did not need any approval in advance to use these tools. The simulations had the same accessibility settings available as the Google apps normally do, so I didn’t have to worry about not having access to certain settings.

The test itself is 180 minutes long, and users can apply for extra time if needed, as long as they provide medical documentation. I did not apply for extra time as I believed I would not need it since I was testing at a familiar location and had access to all of my accessibility settings, and I ended up finishing before the three hour mark.

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Cool things I learned

Some examples of cool things I learned from the Google Certified Educator Level 1 program include:

  • How to design better forms using Google Forms, something I previously had not given much thought about
  • How to use Google Calendar more effectively
  • Different tips for effective Google searches
  • Information about cool ways to use Google Earth
  • Introduction to apps I hadn’t used before, including Google Sheets and Science Journal

I hope to address all of the interesting things I learned in future posts in the coming months, and continue to share the cool things I learned from other educators as well!

Final thoughts

I’m excited to be a Level 1 Google Certified Educator, and learned a lot from the certification process. As a result, I now feel more confident using Google tools to collaborate with other students as needed for college assignments, and I can easily help others who use Google products use them in creative ways, which is awesome for my readers who are in Google-centered school districts. I highly recommend taking the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam for anyone who is interested in becoming more familiar with Google and how it can be used in a digital classroom.

Becoming A Google Certified Educator Level 1 With Low Vision. How to become a Google Certified Educator Level 1 and learn about Google products, from a college student with low vision.