On the Outside Looking In . . .

photo credit Dmitry Ratushny
photo credit Dmitry Ratushny

I have something to confess, and us being this close I feel I can share this with you without judgement or poking fun. I hope that you don’t think of me any less after, but here it goes.

I am not Google certified. I do not work in a google district, and in fact, I have been told I can’t even get Google Certified, because that wouldn’t “send the right message.” We are a Microsoft District, and being so, I have been MLL trained, and have expressed interest in more certifications for Microsoft, but that is a slow road to hoe now.

Improving my social media presence has opened my eyes to many things, like twitter chats, voxer, CUE, nuzzel and digital badging. But mostly, being out in the scene and looking at EdTech and the people in it, one thing is drastically clear, this is a Google saturated Environment, and I cannot help but feel left out. Take the last CUE conference and look at the offerings for GAFE/Google tools vs. Microsoft Tools. It is not even a comparison. And if conferences are any indication, there seems to be a huge part EdTech that I am missing.

And to be honest, I don’t really even know exactly what I am missing. I cannot sign into Google using my district email, nor can I use Google when doing district business. We work with vendors and trainers who live on google, and so I am somewhat familiar with docs and sheets and sharing, but that’s about it. Every time a vendor tries to share something with me, I have to have that embarrassing moment of “well we are a Microsoft District” and the awkward 5 minutes of conversation that follows. I have to get everything from some vendors who are heavy into google sent to a personal account. It is embarrassing, and I think my credibility takes a hit when my Google ignorance comes out.

I’m not going to lie, it’s mostly the certifications and badges I want. I see them all over, on my edu-friend’s signatures and up on their sites. And it is not just one or two, it is SO many of them. I want that badge, yes, but I also feel that what is behind the badge is important, and I feel that I am missing out. I feel that there is this whole other side of educational technology that I am missing out on. I don’t know the specifics of why “the G word” is banned from the district, and frankly I don’t care. But can 50 million users be wrong?

So I am left with a dilemma. Go at it on my own, take the training and get certified and just keep it hush hush, or ignore what seems to be a huge piece of Educational Technology tools for mysterious and unknown reasons. I have thought about this for months, worrying at it like a rat at some stinky old cheese. Do I get trained on my own and widen my skill set or do I focus more on the Office Environment and the trainings offered there? In my current role, would it serve me to put my time and energy into GAFE/Google training or keep in the sheltered Office365 space?

In the end, and what really swayed the decision were two simple questions: 1. Am I in my forever job, is this the last edu-environment I will ever be in? and 2. Would this knowledge make me better at what I do, no matter the environment I find myself in?

The first question isn’t really a question at all is it? No one knows for sure, and so on just marketability, I think I have to take the plunge. As for question 2, if you are here, then I think that one is obvious. In order to continue to grow, I need to be aware and fluent in the many forms of edu-tech out there. Who knows what doors will be open to me because of this certification and training? What opportunities am I missing?

So despite the infamitá on Google, I need to keep learning and keep opening those doors. I just hope I’m not asked to go for a drive anytime soon . . .

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