Why Get Google Certified?

What is a Google Certified Educator? 

A Google Certified Educator is a program managed by Google for educators who use G Suite for Education as part of their teaching and student learning.

How will being Certified help you? 

Personally, going through the study and exam process gave me the confidence I needed to intentionally implement GSuite with my teachers and students. Being certified has added to my knowledge of pedagogy, best tech integration practices and how to utilize technology to take the learning outside the four walls of my classrooms. Having the GSuite knowledge along with the knowledge of best practices makes for a powerhouse of skills in my opinion!

In addition, I lead a group of student technology leaders (S.W.A.T)  who become G Suite Edu Level 1 & 2 Certified in order to best serve our campus learners and educators.

Having a certification brings a confidence for a teacher of any age!

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Also, certification:

• Increases student engagement

• Encourages autonomy of learner

• Opportunities for 4 C’s: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking

• Cultivates a culture of life-long learning among administrators, educators and learners

• Immerses learners in practicing self-pacing and time/project management

• Allows “app smashing” between all G Suite Edu applications

• Opportunities to discuss, model and practice digital citizenship and digital literacy

How can I prepare? 

There are many ways to prepare for certification of Level 1, Level 2 or Trainer. I always believe there is a way not the way when it comes to learning. There are several ways to prepare.

On Your Own: Google offers training that allows you to study at your own pace. This option, though, does not offer much support or collaborative study, however.

Academies: One of the best ways is to utilize a trainer program like the one Kasey Bell is offering. I have, personally, taken a course to prepare with Kasey.  It was so beneficial and set me on my way to become a Certified Google Trainer! Kasey has just launched courses for you as you set out on your learning journey. With Kasey’s courses you’re certain to not only find support, but also will have a facilitator helping you along with the material.

You can review all of the courses she is offering here.

In addition you could just sign up for Level 1 or Level 2 only.

Open enrollment on the above courses closes on December 3! 


Please reach out if you have any questions regarding certification, google training or the academy!

I have been a Certified Trainer since 2017 & Level 1 and 2 certified since 2016 and it truly has helped me be a better teacher, learner and digital coach!

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•The links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on them, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Voice and Choice: PD with Educators

This year we have implemented PLC times with our core content areas. What this means for me is that for the first time in the 12 years as a digital learning coach I have specific time set aside to coach and lead my teachers toward technology implementation.

This also means consistency with the information I share and open discussions with teams of teachers to foster a culture of trust and risk taking.

Each year I meet with campus leaders to find out more about their technology campus goals with their teachers. This year we switched from a 1:1 Mac Air environment with our students to a 1:1 iPad environment and because of that our campus leader’s vision was for each teacher to take just one risk with technology integration.

IMG_0225As many of you know for some educators even one risk is big and scary and definitely not comfortable. For the last few months, I have transitioned my teachers from the typical sit-and-get professional development to more of a collaborative, flexible seating and risk taking environment.

I first read The Future of the Classroom in June and found that it aligns with much of what I’ve learned in my UNT Learning Technologies course work about how students learn, how to best implement technology, and pedagogy.

The next article I came upon presented rooms like the one I created as a “teacher’s playground.” I loved reading how this idea began sparking change across the author’s school district. I recommend you read more about the “Spark Lab” here.

One of the biggest challenges I had before as a digital coach is not having enough time to allow the teachers to explore the tools we have on campus, the digital resources they have access to, and the ability to collaborate as a whole team.

Today I decided to take a risk with my own teachers and present them with two choices for their PD time:

  1. Work with a partner through a Choice Board in Google Docs to get better with iPad Navigation and Settings.
  2. Work with a partner using the S. M. A. R. T. goals and applying them to their 1 technology risk.

Both choices were going to meet goals we have set. One goal is to get them more comfortable with the device change and have them see the benefits to student learning using accessibility options. Another goal is to elevate their T-TESS levels as they implement technology into their classrooms. A few weeks ago, we used mentimeter as a quick formative assessment tool to see some of their risk taking goals for the semester/year. So I popped their results back up on the screen as a refresher and then…

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I turned on some Piano Guys and let them begin collaborating!

You see if we want teachers to give students choices in their learning and opportunities to collaborate, we have to be willing to show them how to do this with them as they learn.  We cannot ask our educators to do something in their classrooms that we are not willing to do when they are spending time with us (administrators, coaches, leaders).

Our teachers need choice and voice in their professional development.

They need time to reflect, talk, ask questions and take risks. It is up to us to immerse them in the same learning environment we want them to use with our students. When they see student voice and choice in action and can refer back to their own personal experience with it, they will begin implementing it in their classrooms!

I would love to collaborate with you and share more about how I created this experience for my teachers! Reach out to me and let me know if you would like to schedule an online meeting or email me with any quick questions you might have!

5 Reasons You’ve Gotta Stop To Celebrate

We all love to celebrate, but do we stop and do it as often as we should? 

Too often we are quick to focus on what’s not working or what we aren’t doing enough of and forget to stop and, intentionally, celebrate what is going great.

As educators, we know all too well that there are many things not working, but instead of letting those things overcome you, I’m asking you to stop and CELEBRATE both the small and big things!

Here are 5 reasons why you should stop and celebrate in your classroom, with your co-workers, and with yourself!

 

Learn and Adapt.

When we celebrate what is going well, we {unknowingly at times} take time out to reflect on what’s working well and why. We begin focusing on the positive and in turn create a culture of gratitude. We can see from our feedback and reflection the actions and goals that worked and begin to replicate it. This creates a cycle of success & celebration!

 

Develop a “Success” Mindset.

A large part of success is our state of mind. Of course, vision boards and daily affirmations help us to focus on our future successes, but celebrating also helps change our mindset. Celebrating our successes, no matter how small the win, cultivates a success mindset. On the contrary, by not noticing or downplaying our successes, we may be telling ourselves (and others) that we don’t deserve to celebrate or haven’t done enough for any recognition. I know that I don’t want my students & teachers to downplay their success, so I need to model that for them while they are in my presence.

 

Motivation.

We are all motivated by our successes. We have to continue to give ourselves opportunities to be successful. If we “let the grass grow around our feet,” we let our motivation become stagnant and whether we realize it or not we limit our celebrations. Breaking our goals down into smaller milestones creates a magic momentum and keeps us motivated to continue to press on.

 

Happiness.

Dopamine has been called the “reward chemical” or the “happiness drug.” When we score a goal, hit a target, or accomplish a task our brain receives a dose of dopamine and tells us “good job!” By celebrating, we kick-start that feeling and are in a better mindset to tackle what is before us.

 

Sharing.

We must share and celebrate our own successes so other people will follow our lead.  Sharing is also a chance for us to celebrate others’ successes. Sharing gives everyone a chance to join in on the celebration and creates a sense of community and camaraderie. I know when anyone from my PLN posts of a success, the first thing I want to do is celebrate them and their accomplishment!

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Marianne Williamson and summarizes why I believe “CELEBRATE” is my word of 2018:

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.

 

Now, go out there and CELEBRATE all the things! 

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

 

 

Teaching Digital Citizenship (An Ageless Lesson)

There is one topic that I continue to present on a daily basis, mostly informally:

Digital Citizenship. 

How can we be good digital citizens? 

My colleague, Deborah Zeman, partnered with me to create a Digital Citizenship Academy two years ago. I knew that we needed to address this topic with our students who attend our 1:1 Macbook Air high school.

Previously, I moved around from English class to English class creating a forum for students to address how not to be a good digital citizen and to model for them how to change their online behavior and lead themselves in positive branding.

This DCA allows for a larger group of students but also brings their classroom teachers in on the discussion.

DC1

We start out asking them “What is digital citizenship?” and “How do you promote good digital citizenship?” We use mentimeter.com to gather their answers and use this time to clarify what digital citizenship means. We also go through and spotlight some of the best answers and have students share about their answer more in detail.

Next, we pull out the star act in our presentation:

The DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP SURVIVOR KIT

Digital Survival Kit

We, originally, found Craig Badura’s post from 2013 and loved it so much we decided to use it as the star of our digital citizenship show! We already had our presentation from years before, but this little kit not only makes our points tangible, it also leads the students through collaboration (they are in groups), communication (they have to do a quick 30 second presentation), and critical thinking (linking items directly to DC).

Contents: 

Toothpaste, measuring tape, toothbrush, cotton balls, sharpie, lock

After we completely go through each item and students share how they relate it to digital citizenship, we address simple things NOT to do. We have a very truthful and frank conversation with our students about the dangers of social media. We talk in detail about what is appropriate to share and what is not. We add in several fun videos that have some great examples and get our students thinking.

DC2

After this, we have our students take out their laptops. They have several challenge activities to go through, including googling themselves and one adult family member. We talk about how we can change our online presence in a positive way and then guide them in creating a personal/professional portfolio.

Our school is a GSuite district, but there are lots of great tools out there to help them curate their work and accomplishments.

One of the main points I stress is that Digital Citizenship is not just a “teen lecture.”

No matter our age, we all need to practice good digital citizenship habits and norms.

No matter our age, we can all model and lead others to be kinder, think before posting, and to use our online presence to make a positive impact on those in our circle of influence.

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

 

Why it Pays To Go To #TIA

#TIA is North Texas’ premiere technology conference and is located in Denton, Texas. I’ve been going to the last couple of years, but this year topped them all. Mainly, because our district had 20+ people join, including a few of our assistant superintendents.

It’s not only growing in numbers, but it’s a great local tech conference that is only about 15 minutes away from my house/district. Braswell HS was the new location and that place is gorgeous!

As far as conferences go, TIA is one of the most affordable! I add a note on my calendar every spring to be looking for the registration information. And this year, I took advantage when they sent out the call for presenters. If you don’t believe you have what it takes to present, go read this NOW! Teachers NEED you!

TIA not only had great keynote presentations from Dave Burgess and Eric Sheninger but also many of the teachers I’ve met on my Twitter PLN were there. I got to meet a few of them for the first time, including, Ryan Miller and Claudio Zavala, who are both fellow Flipgrid Ambassadors with me! And, of course, there were some of our closest PLN friends from Prosper, Texas: Miranda Hansen and Michelle Phillips

Why go to #TIA? FOR THE PEOPLE! I’m telling you, it will open up opportunities and ideas for you that you never imagined! I actually plan at least one hour a day for just networking! Relationships is one of my personal life values and so I’m intentional about finding and connecting with others.

On Monday night I was able to join Dave Burgess and Aaron Hogan for the Monday night #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate) twitter chat. THAT was an incredible experience to be there as it was happening live! I also met some great NEW people who I’ve added to my PLN like Lexi  and  Julie, who has the BEST #sketchnotes

Why go to #TIA? FOR THE MESSAGE! It isn’t alway about the sessions or the specific tools you learn about. Those things are GREAT (shoutout FLIPGRID) but the messages I walked away with EMPOWER me and get me ready to go back and empower my Ts and Ss. I, firmly believe, that what you surround yourself with is what you become. That goes for people, books, movies, music, etc. When you surround yourself with educators who do what you do, are challenged by the same things you’re challenged by, and are seeking to be better, you, too will be better.

One of the messages I took away this week was: “DON’T STOP BLOGGING!” I’ve kept a personal blog for almost 10 year and especially blogged our journey with #superJace and his battle with #childhoodcancer. I remember critical voices wondering WHY I would blog about that and reveal so much but this week I realized it was necessarily for THEM. It was for ME.

The same goes for this blog. If an educator is empowered by a post or a presentation I share with them here, then I’m thrilled! But this blog is also for ME to reflect and share and keep myself accountable. Thankfully, I can write a few posts at once and schedule them out with Tweet Deck.

Here’s a great blog on WHY to blog. See what I did there?

Another message I received was: Myths are just Myths! They only reflect our fears not our truths!  I’m just now reading Aaron Hogan’s book “Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth,” but I can tell you he is going to be speaking my language! Sadly, I didn’t make it to his session in time this week. They were standing room only and I ended up standing in the hallway! 🙂

Why go to #TIA? For the Growth! Anytime you get outside your classroom, your school and your district you’re guaranteed to be out of your comfort zone. I often tell my friends and students that when you start feeling uncomfortable you can bet you’re growing and stretching! In order to foster growth in our Ss or our Ts, WE HAVE TO GROW! There’s no other way around it!

This week I grew in the idea that I’m ME and that’s the best super power I can have. I have a 1% that is different from everyone else and if I don’t share that no one else can give it to them! Critics have often said I’m too happy, too excited, too joyous about change  and sometimes I’ve let those voices control me and hold me back. I’ve decided that is NOT how I roll anymore.

Top 2 Takeaways from #TIA17 in video form: https://flipgrid.com/006b89

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

How To Save Yourself From Isolation

Isolation is a choice. 

As a classroom teacher for 8 years, I remember feeling comfortable that I could control what was happening within the 4 walls of my room. I could focus on that and know that it was just about the only thing I could control.

While that is all well and good, hindsight is 20/20.

I waited on my district to provide those few days in August and a day here and there throughout the year to give me what I thought I needed professionally.

The truth is most of what I attended didn’t even apply to me!

(with the exception of things like Teaching with Love and Logic with is AMAZING and helped me parenting, too.)

I attended one content specific conference every summer for a few days and I guess I expected that to keep me inspired for the rest of the year.

Most of you already know the end result: it didn’t. 

Around 2008, I began my career as an instructional technologist. I took what I had learned from my Ss in the classroom and began creating social media accounts for whatever was popular at the time.

Facebook was first and Twitter was next. I was on fire to learn what was so intriguing about these sites according to my Ss and then wanted to figure out a way to make it productive for me.

My superintendent at the time also encouraged me to learn what “twittering” was all about.

Little did I know that would open the door for a type of learning I’d never experienced and the group of people that have changed my life.

I’ve been using Twitter as my personal learning network ever since.

There are several myths when I try to talk to and encourage teachers about using Twitter as a PLN:

  1. I’m Not Good At Technology.
  2. It’s Just One More Thing on my List
  3. I’m Not Here To Make Friends
  4. What I’m Doing Is Working. I Don’t Want to Ask for Help.
  5. I’m Not Experienced Enough to Share!

I’m actually never surprised because in my 9 years as an Instructional Technology coach, I’ve heard it all. I just narrowed my list of myths down to the ones I hear the most. 🙂

I love this video from YouTube because this lady represents so many of us who aren’t ready to change how we learn and who ask, “WHYYYYY?????”

We actually ALWAYS share the WHY of PLN, but many of you reading will already know the “Why?” Just in case here’s a preview: PLN Why (4)This week at #tia17 my fellow educator Deb Zeman and I presented on this topic.

Some of the truths we wanted to stress were things we’ve heard firsthand from those that have found the power of Twitter to empower educators:

  • “It’s a teacher’s GOLD MINE!”
  • “…one of the BEST career choices I’ve made!”
  • “More practical ideas than my Masters class!” 
  • “I’ve learned more in 10 minutes that I have in 5 days of typical PD.” 

We also shared the HOW with this document –> SMART PLN with our attendees so they would have something TANGIBLE to write their S.M.A.R.T. PLN goals on and could refer back to it from time to time.

(I know, I know, but the act of writing it out and hanging it where you can see it daily will help you grow!)

After that we shared some of WHO to follow on Twitter, Facebook. Instagram and some tips on using the widely-debated Snapchat. (I’ve been using it as a PLN tool for the last 6 months)

Because our presentation was all about SHARING what you have and what you know with your PLN, we have linked the presentation down below! Feel free to use this with your fellow teachers and administrators.

But be good digital citizens and GIVE EVERYONE CREDIT! 🙂

Link to “PLN: I Don’t Have Time & Other Myths”

As an added bonus, we’ve added a hidden link that goes to our most popular session to date called “You Shared What?! (Digital Citizenship Academy)” It’s a lesson that you can use WITH your Ss or TS and can be adapted to your grade level needs. We are excited to not only present this with our HS this fall, but also with our 6th grade campus who will be piloting 1:1 Chromebooks in our district!

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)