Google offers individuals a chance to become Individually Qualified in Google Apps for Education (and for some of their other products). They give you training modules, and time frames for working through them. Each test is $15, with a total of 6 tests to pass. The passing score is 80%, you have 90 minutes for each exam, and 90 days to pass all 6 exams to get the certificate. The certification is valid for 1 year from completion. You also have the option of completing other activities to become a Google Certified Trainer.
When I set out this summer (along with my fellow district librarians) to become Google Apps for Education Individually Qualified, I had no idea what I was in for. I have been using Google Apps personally for years, and thought I had it pretty much down. I printed out all of the learning modules anyway, and skimmed through them. As suspected, I knew most of it, so I challenged myself with the Mail test.
Yikes! For a company who thinks they are changing the face of education, Google certainly has a lot to learn about creating assessments to actually check for comprehension! What I learned was that the exams they give test your photographic memory of the phrases used in the training modules, but not your actual ability to use their products. I had envisioned some sort of virtual environment where they asked you to, say, "create an email to John Smith, and add a picture" or "organize the inbox files to be displayed alphabetically," you know, testing my ability to use the product effectively. Instead, I found multiple choice questions where the correct and incorrect answers were just one word different, and almost all of it was taken directly from the training modules.
Alas, I have finally finished all 6 exams, and here you have it, I am officially certifiable! Am I any more qualified to use Google Apps for mLearning this year? No, not really, but I did learn a few nifty things I didn't know before, and I have one thing crossed off of my summer To-Do List.
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