In one of my Facebook groups, someone recently posted , “I will be starting the processes to get the Google Educator certification Level 1. Any advice, tips, guidance that any of you can provide will be greatly appreciated.”  As someone who just took and passed a few of the Google certifications, I was interested to see the responses from other educators in this group.

There were a few helpful suggestions, but there was one that really bothered me:

I didn’t comment on that response, but I did quickly chime in and replied to the original post.  I guess I feel strongly enough about this that I felt compelled to share my thoughts here, as well.

     “I am the Edtech Specialist for our schools, so it’s my job to help, coach, and provide professional development for teachers.  Several years ago, I was helping teachers at my elementary schools get certified as Microsoft Innovative Educators (MIEs). There were courses with quizzes, and those who passed earned a badge and certificate from Microsoft. I hosted in-person sessions, made it fun collegial learning for everyone, and celebrated those certified MIE teachers publicly for embracing the learning journey and emerging as experts.  I even had some of those purple satiny OneNote capes that Microsoft is famous for, and I gave them to all of my new district MIEs.
     I had one administrator come to me to tell me that he had earned the certification on his own and he asked for a purple cape.  I was SOOO impressed! An admin took it upon himself to learn and lead by example! Then he told me that he just took the quizzes over & over until he passed and looked up all the answers quickly online.
     He hadn’t LEARNED anything. He couldn’t have helped others in our schools, he didn’t know the content, and he sure as heck wasn’t an “innovative educator”. He was a guy who had a worthless digital badge, which he then used to self-promote.
     I tell this story because I recently became a Google Certified Educator – both Levels 1 & 2, plus the trainer course. I really went through all the courses and put in the work. At the very least, I took all the “end of chapter” quizzes and went back to learn about any of the things that stumped me. Although I knew at least 75% of the things on the Google 1, I STILL learned a few cool new things! It was worth the time and it was a learning journey. I recommend it. Here is the link to the Level 1 Fundamentals course.”
I know that everyone forms opinions based on their own experiences and circumstances, so I hope that this scenario helps to explain why I feel strongly about the title of this post.  My perspective is also that of an edtech coach, so it’s important to me to put in the work and live the learning.  Believe me, I’m all about a good shortcut when it makes sense, but if you’re going to be a learning leader, then learn all the things!
Photo of a quote that says Forget about shortcuts.  Instead, enjoy the wonders of your path.  by Paulo Coelho