A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about tips, tricks, and advice on taking the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Exam. Be sure to check it out first if you are new to Google Certifications.
This summer, I decided to become a guinea pig for micro-credentials. This blog post is Micro-Credential #2, and I’m feeling good about this decision so far.
Now, why am I doing this?
I want to see if these credentials are actually worth it.
First and foremost, I want to test it out myself because I’m curious.
But I’m also curious because I am sick and tired of a sit-and-get model of PD that has no practical application to my job as a teacher. How many webinars or talks or conferences have you attended and left wondering: okay so how does this apply to my day-to-day life as an educator?
So far, after taking both the Google Certified Educator Level 1 and 2 Exams, I’ve decided that this process is worth it so far.
Today’s blog post will cover everything you need to know – advice, reviews, and tips – about the Google Certified Educator Level 2 Training and Exam.
What is a Google Certified Educator?
The Google Certified Educator program gives teachers the opportunity to boost their tech skills with the Google Suite. More specifically, teachers learn effective strategies to implement Google tools in their classrooms.
The Google Certified Educator program has two different levels, fundamentals (Level 1) and advanced (Level 2). In today’s post, I’ll be covering Level 2.
The Level 2 Certification is designed for those who want to “validate [their] expertise and advanced technology integration skills.” If you’re new to Google products, you’ll definitely want to spend some time studying for this exam.
It takes a much deeper dive than Level 1, but let’s be real – once you pass the exam, you’ll have a badge to add to your resume, portfolio, and website, and above all, you’ll have the knowledge you need to integrate the Google Suite into your classroom with ease and effectiveness.
About the Advanced Training
On the Google Certified Educator page, Google provides a training, called the Advanced Training, that teachers can take to prepare for the exam. This training is divided into 11 different units:
Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
- Unit #1: Promote and Model the Effective Use of Digital Tools (45 min)
- Unit #2: Leverage Learning Models to Personalize Learning (48 min)
Increase Efficiency and Save Time
- Unit #3: Use Advanced Features to Optimize Workflow (1 hr)
- Unit #4: Connect with Guardians (1.3 hr)
- Unit #5: Analyze and Interpret Student Data (51 min)
- Unit #6: Organize Your Class and School Materials More Effectively (1.4 hr)
Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
- Unit #7: Design Interactive Curricula (1.3 hr)
- Unit #8: Teach Beyond the Four Walls of Your Classroom (2.1 hr)
- Unit #9: Harness the Power of Google for Research (1.4 hr)
- Unit #10: Give Students a Voice (1.4 hr)
- Unit #11: Student Agency (55 min)
Much like the Level 1 Fundamentals Training, the Level 2 Advanced Training is time-consuming. With an estimated time of 15.1 hours, this training certainly isn’t something you can knock out in a day, especially if you’re still brushing up on your Google skills.
But with time, patience, and commitment, you can work your way through the Google training and leave with the confidence you need to take the exam.
This training consists of reading, watching videos, and completing different activities, but I will say – it’s certainly pretty text heavy.
I liked this training because I thrive in self-paced environments and I do well when I set my own timeline and goals. But, if you’re a learner who prefers to learn with someone, this training isn’t for you.
That being said, above all, I really like the Google training because…
Tons of certified trainers out there – and don’t get me wrong, they are SUPER qualified – charge you to take their course.
I’ve seen some pretty high price tags (several, several hundred dollars even), and in my opinion, it isn’t really worth it. You can pass the Level 2 exam if you take your time, commit to the process, and learn at your own pace.
There’s absolutely no reason you should pay anything more than the exam cost.
Exam Advice and Tips
In this section, I’ll be sharing some advice and tips for the Google Certified Educator Level 2 Exam.
When you decide you are ready to take the exam, you can sign up on the Google Teacher Center. The exam costs $25, and many schools and districts will pay for your exam as part of professional development.
After you sign up, it can a couple of business days to generate an exam for you. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you plan ahead. If you plan to take the exam during a certain time slot, be sure to purchase the exam in advance.
You will receive your exam link via email, along with a set of login directions and credentials. Once you receive your link, you have about a week to take the exam before it expires.
You will have 180 minutes to complete the exam. Just like the Level 1 Exam, it is divided into 2 different sections: multiple choice and application scenario questions.
The exam consists of 26 multiple choice questions (these include drag and drop, select all that apply, etc.) and 11 application scenarios (these include navigating throughout Google Drive.
Each application scenario had anywhere from 1 to 4 tasks.
If you’ve taken the Level 1 Exam, you will know exactly what to expect. The format is the exact same.
If you aren’t familiar with Level 1, the scenario questions are honestly enjoyable (is that nerdy?). I really liked that I was able to practice real-life situations and tech skills that I can implement with my students in the classroom.
Just like Level 1, the test covers the main G Suite products that you use regularly as an educator; however, it also explores some of the products that educators use less frequently (i.e. Blogger, Google Sheets, Maps, Sites, etc.).
Some products on your exam might include (but are not limited to):
- Chrome (and Web Store)
- Earth / Maps / My Maps
- Meet (formerly Hangouts)
Biggest Advice for the Exam
After taking the exam (and passing!), I put together a list of my biggest advice for the Google Certified Educator Level 2 Exam. My advice for Level 1 still applies to the Level 2 test, so be sure to check out that blog post if you haven’t already.
Advice #1: Review advanced features of the tools you use regularly.
The Level 2 exam is more complex than Level 1.
In the Level 2 Exam, you’ll need to know more about the advanced features of the core Google Suite products. For example, you’ll need to know about the advanced features of products like Gmail and Docs.
For the most part, you should be okay if you use these tools regularly, but that being said, it’s a good idea to play around with advanced settings and features to make sure you know about the tools’ capabilities.
I’d highly recommend taking the time to review the advanced features of the tools you already use regularly.
Advice #2: Review the products you rarely use.
Unlike the Level 1 Exam, Level 2 will ask you scenario questions about the tools you use less frequently. While I can’t give specific details about the exam, I was asked to complete challenging scenarios related to tools like Sheets and Blogger.
As an educator, I never use these tools. I have very few reasons to use Sheets or Blogger, especially in an advanced way.
I am very glad I took the time to review these tools when studying for the exam.
Advice #3: If you are asked a question about a tool or feature you aren’t familiar with, take a deep breath.
During the multiple choice section, I was asked a couple of questions about tools / features I had little to no experience using. When this happened, I immediately froze up.
How can you answer a question about a tool you have no experience using?
But then, when I took a breath, paused for a second, and reread the question, I realized I could use my knowledge about other Google tools to answer the question.
Hear me out…
Even though all these tools and products are different, they do have some similarities. And intuitively, the more you use Google products, the more you can start to notice trends across the Google Suite.
And, at the end of the day, Google isn’t trying to trick you on the exam. They want you to succeed. They want you to use their products effectively.
So take your time reading each question carefully. Does it sound logical?
Here’s an example… Now let it be known – this is NOT an example from my exam, but is an example I am coming up with on the spot to draw a comparison for you…
If you’ve never used Google Scholar before, you might panic when you get a question about it on the exam.
But before you panic, take a second to think…
“I haven’t used Google Scholar before, but I do have experience using google.com. What capabilities does Google have that Google Scholar might also have?”
Or, “if the question is asking me to filter for a certain publication date, there’s probably going to be a filter button somewhere on the page.”
Then, you can use your problem-solving skills to find the answer.
Pros and Cons of the Process
In this section, I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of the Google Certified Educator Level 2 Training and Exam.
Con #1: It is a time-consuming process.
I said this for Level 1 and I’ll say it again – this is a time-consuming process.
I chose to do the Google Advanced Training (I didn’t take a paid course or reach out to a certified trainer). While I stand by this decision, it certainly was time-consuming.
The exam itself also takes up a big chunk of time.
Con #2: I’m probably not going to use all the advanced features.
Level 1 felt very practical and applicable to my work as an educator. All the skills and tools I used in Level 1 apply directly to my practice in the classroom.
With Level 2, I don’t feel the same way.
Let’s be honest – I’m never going to use PIVOT tables and radar charts as a teacher. Yes, I understand the ways I can use those. But, I’m just not going to.
I do know that there are some skills I learned and practiced that I will use, but the ones I had to practice the most – like Sheets and Blogger – I don’t foresee there being a need for me to use them as a teacher.
Pro #1: There aren’t too many people out there who are Google Certified Educators, much less Level 2, so that’s pretty cool.
Hey – maybe this isn’t a super practical pro, but I think it’s neat that not too many people are Level 2 Certified. I now have a certification that validates my hard work in learning how to use the advanced features of the Google Suite.
Pro #2: I know how to maximize these tools – even more than I did before.
I learned about features of products I never knew existed and I have increased confidence in using such features.
So was this process worth my time? Definitely. Do I recommend it to other educators? Probably, but I’d say: focus on Level 1 if you’re looking to use Google Suite as a teacher, and focus on Level 2 and beyond if you’re looking to use it as an edtech educator.
I hope you learned a little bit about the Google Certified Educator Level 2 Training and Exam. Join me back here soon where I’ll discuss my thoughts on the next micro-credential on my list!