Certified Educator Here

Education

There are three main tech-related companies that school districts tend to lean on: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.  Depending on your personal preference, you may prefer one over the other.  I personally am an “Apple-guy” followed by a “Google-guy”.  I use Microsoft for certain things, but that’s mostly a district level mandate than a personal preference.  Each of these companies also has an educator wing that hopes to train teaches and district personnel about how to implement their software/hardware in the classroom.  I’m knee deep in evaluating these programs and I’m not sure how much further I’ll continue.

A little background on me first, I’m an Eagle Scout and I love checking tasks off of lists.  When my district offered digital “badges” for using certain technologies I tried to get them all.  When I hear that technology companies want me to get a badge/certificate from them, I automatically have an impulse to get these them done whether I need to or not.

I originally started the quest for educator cadges with Google.  Google Certified Educator is a title I’ve held for the past few years.  Basically it means you have a good working knowledge of the Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.) and have a good working knowledge of using them in the classroom.  I’ve gone through both iterations of this process and if technology is your thing as a teacher there’s no reason you shouldn’t do this.  It will cost you $30 total to become a Level 1 & 2 certified educator and about 10 hours total.  This is all assuming you have a decent knowledge of all these products (your mileage may vary).

I’m not preparing to take the Google Certified Trainer course to take this to the next level.  It’s another $15 and some more training courses.  I’m already doing a lot of district level training for the social studies department, so this seems natural to me.  There’s another level that seems more nebulous to me (Google Certified Innovator) that I might look into some time, but not right now.

I’ve always been aware of the Apple Certified Educator program, but the process seemed too daunting when I used Apple products in the classroom, so I passed on it.  I’m going to look it up soon.  Yesterday, I looked at the Microsoft Program and I’m intrigued and frustrated at the same time.  It’s a badge based system (which I like), but it seems to just drop you into the program without much help (which I don’t like).  I’ll mess around with it some more, but if I can’t figure it out after a few sittings I’ll probably pass.

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Train Like a Rockstar

Education

Training is one of those things in life that you either love or hate.  I have always found that I’d rather be over-trained compared to under-trained, but that’s just me.  The question I’ve run up against a few times is whether I’d rather travel for outside training or be trained in house and I think I have an answer.

Inside training is easy for a number of logistical reasons.  They are usually closer to you and you might know other people getting trained.  There is a chance that the person conducting the training knows your specific circumstance and more about the kids you’re teaching on a day-to-day basis.  The downside is that I rarely come away with as many “aha” moments when I attend a local training.  I feel like I see people utilizing things in a slightly different way or teaching something in a slightly different way.

Outside training is difficult from a travel perspective (usually).  For instance, when I taught US History, very little content from before the Civil War happens anywhere near Texas so I had to travel at least a little bit to see actual historical sites for training.  The thing that outside training offer is the potential for world class teachers who have spent years on their particular topic and hands on experiences.  I got the opportunity to live and be trained on the grounds at Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington) and the hands on experience was invaluable to a beginning US History teacher.  I also got to listen to a number of scholars with huge experience when it comes to US History, Mount Vernon, and George Washington.

Again, I’m pro-training in any form.  That being said, take a look at some training outside of your locale and see if you can figure out the logistics to get you there.  You’ll be glad you did.