So You Want to Be a Google Certified Teacher? 8 Tips to Get You There! | Shake Up Learning | | #gtaatx #gafe #googleCT #googleEdu #edtech

So it’s official, I am a Google Certified Teacher!

**UPDATE! The Google Certified Teacher Program is now the Google Certified Innovator Program, and I have a brand new post and eBook to help explain it all! Check out this new post: 5 Google Certifications Explained and download the FREE ebook: The Complete Guide to Google Certifications.


The Google Teacher Academy in Austin, Texas was a once in a lifetime experience. I’m struggling to put this into words on a page. Words will not do it justice. In an effort to help others who aspire to this certification, I’ve put together a few tips and ideas to help get your there.

What is a Google Certified Teacher?

Educators who attend a Google Teacher Academy become Google Certified Teachers (GCTs). GCTs are:

  • Outstanding educators with a passion for using innovative technologies and approaches to improve teaching and learning.
  • Creative leaders who understand opportunities and challenges, and have a desire to help empower others in their local community and beyond.
  • Ambassadors for change who model high expectations, life-long learning, collaboration, equity, and innovation.

After the GTA, GCTs are expected to positively impact change in their communities through a personal action plan. Other expectations to be announced.

In addition to two free days of training, GCTs get access to a private online community, opportunities to work closely with Google, a special GCT badge and more.

Learn more about the Google Teacher Academy here.
Learn more about all Google Certifications here.

My Journey to Google Certified Teacher

My journey began long before I was even accepted into the academy. As soon as the dates were released for GTAs this year, I marked my calendar with the dates for Austin. Knowing it was a long shot only made me want it more. I follow many other GCTs on social media, and had scoured YouTube for GTA videos that were accepted. The competition is massive, so I knew I had to really get creative to get noticed. I brainstormed a giant list of ideas, parodies, satire, and more. I finally decided to do a play off of my brand, and basically sell Shake Up Learning in an infomercial. My inspiration: a Sham Wow commercial. I knew it had to be campy and crazy to pull it off. The result is embedded below. What do you think? Would you buy Shake Up Learning?

The acceptance tweets were so exciting. I have Storified them here.

Once the acceptances were out, the #GTAATX cohort immediately began forming a community and collaborating. The hashtag was hot, we joined the GTA ATX Google+ community, a Voxer group was forged, and a group Google Hangout chat. I had a hard time keeping up with all of the conversations, but it was amazing connecting with new and familiar faces.

The 2-Day Google Teacher Academy

Fast forward five weeks to the Google offices in Austin, Texas. Fifty-two educators came together to connect, collaborate, learn and do some serious moon-shot thinking! It was exciting, exhilarating and exhausting–filled with inside jokes, a gift-exchange, Google’s delicious food, inspiring ideas, AMAZING lead learners, critical thinking, games, and of course, learning! I was surrounded by greatness, surrounded by educators I have admired from afar, and surrounded by what became the GTAATX family.

I don’t think the academy can be summed in one blog post. So look for more specific highlights, tips and tricks in the coming weeks. I also Storified the tweets for the academy here. Lots of great resources were shared!

These are just suggestions! Remember the ideal candidate reflects the attributes in the GCT description above. There are no hard and fast rules. They just want great educators! These tips were written for the original Google Certified Teacher program, but is still useful advice for the Google Certified Innovator program as well.

#1 Brainstorm Ideas for Your Two Minute Video Now

If you are not familiar with the application process, there is NOT a lot of time to between the time the applications open and the time they are due. So my advice is to start brainstorming ideas for your video now! Get creative and outside your comfort zone. Be prepared, but don’t record until the applications are open so that you can address any details they may ask for or change. I’ve been told application requirements may vary each time.

#2 Consider Pursuing Other Google Certifications

The video is only one part of the application, but it is the most time-consuming. It’s also a bonus if you are a Google Educator, Google Education Trainer, and/or Google Educator Group Leader. It’s not required, but it helps I think. They will ask about this on the application.

#3 Have an Online Presence

Being active on social media should go without saying, but don’t just be a lurker or retweeter, share original ideas and content. Consider creating a blog or website to share more about who you are as an educator, projects, resources, etc.

#4 Get Involved and Active on Google+

Join your local Google Educator Group and get involved: share and collaborate. Not one in your area? Become a leader and start your own! Google+ is an amazing resource! Be sure to check out this post on 5 Reasons Educators Should Use Google+, or Eric Sheninger’s post, Stop Ignoring Google+.

#5 Connect and Collaborate with Other Google Educators

Follow educators who are already certified to see what they do and share. Be sure to ask questions and get feedback from these amazing educators! Here is a twitter list of the fabulous #GTAATX cohort from Tonia Dousay. (Thanks, Tonia!)

#6 Watch Videos of Those That Have Been Accepted

It helps to see the variety of videos that have been accepted. Some looks like they were directed by Spielberg, others are very normal, but all showcase something great! So don’t be discouraged. You don’t have to be Spielberg! Check out this playlist of the #GTAATX cohort.

#7 “Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get accepted the first time (or two or three!) It’s so worth the heartache.” – Beth Still

Many apply for GTA several times before they are excepted. Don’t give up! Persevere!

#8 “Find blog posts from past GCTs. This one was my bible:” – Tonia Dorsay

My hope is that blog posts like this one will help more educators reach their goals. Here is a list of some of the reflective blog posts from #GTAATX:

If there is anything I can to help you reach your goals, please let me know! I’m happy to help anyone applying for GCT or GET. I also offer workshops to help prepare you for the Google Educator exams, as well as the Google Education Trainer application process. Contact me to find out more.

Have other tips? Please share your ideas and expertise in the comments below!

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