I have been on a journey (or perhaps it’s been more of a quest?) over the past year. The district in which I work, like many other districts, have been bitten by the Google bug. Therefore, they are (and have been) encouraging all teachers in the district to become Google Certified Educators. So I forged ahead to become a Google Certified Educator and to see what Google Apps might offer.
Although I was not a stranger to Gmail, the rest of the suite was relatively new at first, but I found the transition to be somewhat easier than I initially expected because I had been a fairly serious user of their Microsoft Office counterparts. After diving into the Google Apps and actively using them for several months, I decided that it was time to officially begin my training, so I headed to the Google for Education Training Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found that the Training Center was user-friendly. Thankfully, Google put time and effort to develop a training center whose structure allowed individuals to self-monitor their learning and to move at their own pace. The modules, units, and lessons were organized in a way that seemed logical to me. The lesson checks and unit reviews allowed me to pre-assess (and reassess) my knowledge and skills so that I could target certain concepts or move past other ones as needed. Often the questions on each check or review were more than simple multiple choice questions, and many required application of specific apps in order to come to the correct answer. The inclusion of videos and of links to additional support articles made the training center comprehensive for an individual to learn the fundamentals of the suite of Google Apps and prepare him/her for the level one certification exam.
After using the suite for over a year, there’s a lot about the suite of Google Apps that I love (especially the real-time collaboration that they allow), but perhaps it’s because I grew up using the Microsoft Office Suite that I still favor it for doing work such as emailing, drafting documents, keeping data, and making newsletters. I will keep forging ahead though because I know that my journey with Google and maximizing collaborative learning is not at an end. (I’m working on passing my level two certification exam by the end of the summer!) Let me know about your experience with becoming a Google Certified Educator, your thoughts on using the Google Apps Suite, and how you are using Google Apps to maximize collaborative learning! I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences. After all, I’m not done learning.