On being a certified Google Apps trainer

Zoe Ross recently became the first, and until a short time ago the only, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer in the UK. In this post she explains why, and what that means to her.

My enthusiasm for Google Apps, Google’s online suite of collaborative tools, began last January when I began using Google Docs with my GCSE class, simply my own gmail account. The easy, yet impressive, whole-class collaboration allowed me to spice up my lesson activities and create a more interactive learning environment.

As a result of blogging about my experiences, I became one of the lead learners at the Google Teacher Academy  in London last July, leading a session on using Google Docs - a great experience, the chance meet up with 50+ innovative teachers and learn loads about Google.

It was here where I first heard about becoming an Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer, which seemed a natural progression for me from being a Google Apps Certified Teacher as I have been delivering lots of Google Apps training to schools, organisations and businesses since starting my own company. As a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer I would be able to advertise in the Google Marketplace and gain Google’s stamp of approval. As Google say:

‘Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers provide professional development services designed to make the most of your Google Apps implementation. Certified Trainers are carefully vetted by Google and meet rigorous qualification standards.’

There are three steps in becoming a Certified Trainer:

● 6 tests based on the Apps for Education suite

● a 2 minute video

● an application form

Finding the time to focus on the process was a challenge, however, being snowed in at Christmas was the perfect opportunity to revise for and pass the exams, which cost $15 each. I actually learnt a great deal from taking the tests, particularly about the intricacies of what Apps can do. I found that I really needed to know my stuff and the Training Centre was invaluable (it’s also a great point of reference for any teacher or school wanting to know specific details).

My video focused on how to access Gmail offline. Danny Silva’s blog post was of great help to me and, as he advises, I used the Camtasia free trial to record and edit the video and finally, I completed an online application, highlighting the training that I had and was delivering to teachers and schools.

I was very pleased to be accepted quickly as a Certified Trainer and applied to be in the Google marketplace. This cost $100 dollars for my first marketplace listing.. The listing process is relatively straightforward - you need to create yourself a vendor profile and then create your listing. The criteria for acceptance is strict though and it was a relief when I got the email to say I’d been approved.

Becoming a Certified Trainer has, for me, been a positive experience and well worth the time, effort (and money). Not only have I learnt a great deal and am officially recognised by Google, I have access to great resources and a whole community of trainers. Of course, it’s this collaboration that lies at the hear of Google Apps and it’s a bit lonely in the Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer UK contingent at the moment - I hope that will change very soon!

Zoe RossZoe Ross is based in the UK and worked as Head of ICT in secondary education until until August 2010 when she set up the social enterprise, www.dodigital.co.uk which seeks to promote the creative use of technology in education through workshops, training and consultancy.