These days there seems to be an increasing amount of badges and certificates that educators can acquire, particularly where education technology is concerned, to show they have expertise in using a particular system, piece of software or suchlike.
And I admit I’m a bit of a collector of these things, but only because I find the process of acquiring them (which usually involves some form of self-paced CPD) and the connections that can be made through having them, really useful. And in this day and age, where technology plays a big role in classroom practice, it can’t look bad on your CV, either.
In this post I will write about two certifications you could consider going for if you enjoy using technology in your teaching and are familiar with either the use of Apple technology in the classroom, or Google’s G-Suite for Education.
This came to our UK shores in January ‘17, though it had been available in other regions for some time before that. Through the (free) Apple Teacher Programme you can earn badges for iPad, Mac or Swift Playgrounds, which is Apple’s own learn-to-code app / materials. When you’ve collected all the badges in one of these, you are an Apple Teacher in that category.
Once you have enrolled in the programme, you’ll have access to the Apple Teacher Learning Center. Here, you choose which set of badges you want to work through, and each badge’s section will link you to online guides so you can learn the skills required for each one. When you feel ready, you take a short online ‘quiz’ – 5 questions, which you have to pass in order to acquire that badge. There are 8 badges for iPad, 8 for Mac and 4 for Swift Playgrounds.
The badges concentrate on Apple’s own apps, so if you are taking the iPad badges, for example, you’ll need to be familiar with apps such as Keynote, iMovie, Pages etc. and not 3rd party apps.
The pace is entirely controlled by you, so becoming an Apple Teacher in one of these categories is something you can work towards in your own time – if you’re already a confident user of Apple technology, you might want to dive in and take the quizzes straight away, or you may prefer to work through the guides slowly but surely, when you have the time.
Success in the quizzes leads to gaining the Apple Teacher signature, which you can use in presentations etc. You can sign-up for the programme at http://www.apple.com/uk/education/apple-teacher/ and make sure you carefully read the usage guidelines for the signature before using it (available from the Apple Teacher Learning Center.)
Google Certified Educator – Level 1
Google’s G-Suite for Education, often used with Chromebooks, is becoming increasingly popular in schools I work with, and the Google Certified Educator programme provides online courses and exams. Passing the exams earns you the Level 1, or Level 2 certification and badge.
The level 1 online course (known as Fundamentals Training) is a self-paced programme designed to take approximately 12 hours, and comprises of a number of units to work through. It’s free to enrol on and follow the course so if you want to learn more about using Google tools in teaching and learning, even if you have no desire to sit the exam, it’s worth investigating.
A unit is made up of several lessons, and at the end of each lesson is a Lesson Check – a short quiz for you to take, to check your understanding of what was covered in the lesson. Each unit ends in a Unit Review, to make sure you’re ready to move on to the next unit.
In the Level 1 course you’ll deepen your understanding of how technology can support teaching and learning, you’ll cover some aspects of eSafety and responsible use of technology, as well as the core G-Suite apps and some of the additional services Google offers.
Once you’ve worked through the course, you can enrol for the exam (though there’s nothing stopping you going straight for the exam if you want, there’s no obligation to do the course first.) The level 1 online exam costs $10 to take, and you’ll need a robust internet connection and a webcam, as the system uses the camera to monitor you as you take the exam (a digital invigilator, I suppose!) The first half of the exam consists of questions, and the second half involves working through some practical tasks, using the Google apps, to actually demonstrate you can use them in a simulated school environment. You have 3 hours to take the exam, the results are given immediately on completion and the pass mark is 80%.
If you’re successful you can call yourself a Google Certified Educator – Level 1, and use the badge (though as above, make sure you read the guidelines on usage first.) You can access the Google for Education training materials at https://edutrainingcenter.withgoogle.com/
And if that’s left you hungry for more, you can always work towards becoming a Google Certified Educator – Level 2!