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.