I got an email from the Google Education team last week informing me that I had successfully recertified as a Google Trainer for 2016. I was glad to see the email, since it had been over a year since I became a Google Certified Trainer. Was I starting to worry?
Not really. Okay, maybe a little.
This, along with questions people have asked got me reflecting on the journey that got me to being a (newly recertified) Google Certified Trainer. I tried to think back on the day I started, and honestly, I can’t remember it. I do remember completing the application and recording a video of me leading a training session (mine was recorded on an iPad- so you definitely don’t have to use specialized equipment), and I definitely can recall the lead up to taking the tests. I remember thinking that I knew a lot about Google and that I wouldn’t need to study…until I started looking through the ‘Advanced’ set of study guides…wooee- there were some items in there I had never heard of. I was glad that I had seen it to know that I didn’t know enough.
Armed with my newfound appreciation of test preparation, I allotted about two days of preparation for each topic, followed by an afternoon to take the exam.
I seem to remember that I had about two hours (maybe a little less) to complete each exam. I think I used about half that time (judging by my scores, I likely would have benefitted from using a bit more of the time). Many of the questions were quick to answers and they seemed pretty straightforward. Some of them, however, were more difficult and dealt with specific details of each component. I was surprised at the specifics in the questions- but I was glad that it was…I learned a lot from the questions on the test. I’m not attempting to post question topics for two reasons: 1) I don’t remember any of them and 2) the tests have all changed, so I doubt it would be useful to you, anyway.
Things that are important to know:
- The Certified Trainer exams aren’t free. When I took them, each one was $15 and my district (at the time) wasn’t paying for things like that. So if yours won’t cover the cost, it will fall on you. I spent some time looking for promo/voucher codes (I love a promo code). I didn’t find one.
- Don’t purchase the tests until you’re ready to take it. Once you buy it, you only have a certain amount of time to complete the test- so don’t spend money for nothing-purchase the test when you’re ready to pass it.
- If you can, take the test at work after school (or a library, in your car)…basically someplace quiet with no distractions. Most of the questions require thinking, which can be hard to do if the TV is on, or your dog is nosing your leg.
Once you’ve become a certified trainer, you have to recertify each year. There is a lot of misinformation flying around out there that you have to retake tests. This was not the case. I did have to:
- Submit an original training resource (presentat, document, etc) to the Trainer Resource bank (which is a great place to find resources you can use in your training sessions).
- Complete 12 trainings each year (that I I lead). If you’re a coach/trainer, this likely will not be an issues, but you do have to submit details about these training sessions to the Google Education Team.
- Starting in 2016 there is a product update exam that we’ll have to take in order to recertify. Basically ensuring that you’re continuing to learn about new products/features.
All told, the benefits (My favorite benefit was the free SnagIt & Camtasia that the wonderful people at TechSmith offered us!) definitely outweigh the work/expense in becoming a Certified Trainer. I’ve been very happy being a trainer- I’m definitely interested in becoming a Google Certified Teacher & attending Google Teacher Academy.
Feel free to reach out with questions you might have and areas you want support with.