Can you imagine life without Google? How about without your iPad? Both Apple and Google products have become indispensable to many teachers. And both companies have designed programs for educators who want to make the best use of technology in their jobs.
If you feel that you need more technological training, or if you want to take on a leadership role to help push your school into the modern, high-tech age, these programs might be for you. And they aren’t limited to classroom teachers. Librarians often need to be the go-to source for information technology, and principals might want to stay a step ahead of what is happening in the classroom. We’ve gathered the details on the Apple Distinguished Educator program and the Google Educator program. So whether you’re an Apple devotee or a Google aficionado, you’ll know how to take the next step in your educational journey.
Apple Distinguished Educators are selected for their innovative use of technology in education. They work with Apple to develop new uses for technology in the classroom, and they share their insights with educators and policy makers around the world. The selection process is highly competitive.
The opportunity for collaboration draws many educators to the program. If you’ve ever had an innovative idea dismissed by less-than-enthusiastic co-workers, this might be for you. Or if you’ve worked really hard on a new lesson only to have it flop, this might be for you. You can tap into a network of more than 2,000 educators who want to break the educational mold just like you do.
Professional development is also a major component. The Apple Distinguished Educator program sponsors institutes and learning events both online and around the world. If you want a leadership role, you can apply for the chance to present at these events.
You can sign up to be notified when Apple is accepting applications for the program. The application requires that you submit a video showing how you use Apple technology in your work and your life. You will also need to demonstrate that you are:
Google Educators have passed a series of exams proving their competence in the use of Google’s education apps. The exams cover Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sites, and one elective.
The tests help educators hold themselves accountable for learning. Many educators want to become better with technology and figure out its best classroom uses, but there’s a big leap between wanting to do something and actually doing it. Earning the Google certification helps teachers feel competent in their skills and their ability to be technology leaders within their schools.
Another big incentive for completing the exams is the opportunity to become a Google Certified Teacher. Educators can apply to attend a Google Teacher Academy, and after attending, they become Google Certified Teachers.
Google selects 50 educators for each of its academies. These are teachers who show that they have a passion for using innovative technologies in learning and a desire to help spread new ideas. The Google Teacher Academy is an intensive program that provides training in Google tools and instructional ideas, and the chance to connect with other creative educators. Just as with the Apple Distinguished Educator program, these teachers can tap into an online network of leading educational thinkers.
Each of the Google exams costs $15, and educators have 90 days to pass all five exams. If you fail an exam, you can take it again after waiting seven days and paying another $15. The Google Educator certification expires after eighteen months, although if you become a Google Certified Teacher, you retain that distinction forever.
Educators who have taken the exams suggest connecting with others, either online or in person, who are taking the tests. A study group can provide support and help answer your questions.
If you don’t make it into one of these programs — or even if you choose not to apply — you can still reap benefits. Many Apple Distinguished Educators post their lessons and courses on iTunes for free. You can also watch presentations from the ADE institutes to learn about the newest ways to merge education and technology. And both Google and Apple educators provide a link between high-tech companies and schools, helping insure that the best products and ideas make it into the classroom.
Editor’s note: This piece was originally written by Katie Lepi and ran on June 26, 2013. A lot has changed since then, so we’ve had author Sarah Muthler update this piece with the latest techniques and innovations.