There's an all new Google certification available, and of course educators want to know all about it, so here is your definitive guide to the program and what (if anything) it has to do with YOU and your students!
Q: What is the certification called, exactly?
A: There are actually FIVE new certifications available. The one most applicable to K-12 education and our discussion is called "Google Cloud Certified: G Suite." You can see all of the new certifications listed here.
Q: Who is the new certification for?
A: According to Google's website for the Google Cloud Certified program, "a Google Cloud certification in G Suite signals to employers your readiness to operate in today's modern work environment. By earning the G Suite certification, you prove your ability to use cloud-based tools to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and files. You demonstrate that you can communicate effectively with email and online meeting solutions."
BUT, we know what you're really asking, and the answer is going to surprise you. The latest certification is actually most applicable to STUDENTS who want to enter the workforce with proof that they have displayed competency in using a wide array of G Suite tools.
Q: Can teachers apply for this certification?
A: Yes, anyone in the United States who is over 13 and can pay the registration fees ($75) can take the exam and apply for the certification. (EU residents must be over 16.) HOWEVER, this certification is not focused around the skills teachers need to successfully use G Suite for Education to do their work. Those skills are much better tested and exemplified by the existing Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 exams. Further, this test is based on business scenarios versus educational scenarios provided for Level 1 and Level 2.
Throughout our time working with teachers to achieve Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications, we've received the question many times, "Can my students take these tests?" The answer has always been, "Yes, BUT . . ." and the "but" is that the scenarios and skills are very education specific. It never really made sense for K-12 students to take the exams unless they were planning to be educators. This new test makes a lot more sense if you want your students to be able to show the world they are "Google Certified." We're wondering if CTE (Career Technology Education) teachers are going to want to start classes where students earn these new certifications?
Q: How hard is the exam?
A: Depending on your knowledge and skills, parts of this test might be hard for the average educator. While we won't give away any proprietary testing information, suffice it to say that extensive preparation is advised before attempting this exam. The Sheets portion in particular would give pause to many an unprepared test taker. Also, this test is proctored by a real live person who will watch you the entire time through your webcam. NO GOOGLING ALLOWED. If you are not taking the test in a certified testing center, you will need to show your proctor around your testing space so that s/he can verify there are no other people or devices around which could help you with the test. (Interesting side note: One of our friEdTech Learning Guides was even asked to let the proctor look under her desk AND told to remove her smart watch before beginning the test!) The exam takes two hours, and you can see an overview of what will be on it here.
Q: How do I prepare myself or my students for this certification?
A: Lucky for you, there is a perfect way to prepare yourself or your students for this certification, the Applied Digital Skills program, read more about it here. This program is provided free by Google and is open to everyone. Teachers can register themselves and create class groups so that they can assign lessons and monitor progress, or users can register independently as students and progress at their own pace. The program is self-contained, that is, teachers do not need to know the skills that the program teaches because all of the directions are included within the program itself which is chock full of videos and templates to help learners master every skill, from creating hyperlinks within slides to coding in Docs and everything in between (including those elusive Google Sheets skills that can be so intimidating).
If your school would like more information about Applied Digital Skills or any aspect of getting started with the program, we hope you'll contact us through any of our channels. If we still have spots available, we can even come to your school and train your staff on the program to get you started. All you have to do is ask!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Applied Digital Skills and we'll be in touch!