Category Archives: Personal Thoughts

Google Certified Educator Level 1

I took the three-hour online Level 1 exam on Friday, May 8th. I did not expect receiving a very prompt response. The Google for Education team must have been working doubly hard these days. In less than 48 hours after a very comprehensive examination experience, I got the results. With God’s mercy and Google’s guidance, I passed.

If teachers are familiar with when, how, and why they use different apps in Google Suite as educators who incorporate the use of information technology in an onsite or blended learning environment, they are more than ready to take the Level 1 test to be Google Certified Educators. The whole examination is a thorough evaluation of a teacher’s use and understanding of applications in Google Suite like (1) Gmail, (2) Drive, (3) Classroom, (4) Calendar, (5) Chrome, (6) Sites, (7) Tasks, (8) Translate, (9) Docs, (10) Sheets, (11) Forms, (12) Slides, (13) Meet, (14) Groups, and (15) YouTube. The exam has questions on the most recent version of these applications; making the three-year certification logical and supportive of professional development. The test has two parts of teaching scenarios: multiple choice and application. Three hours is fair amount of time to work on all given questions.    

Every candidate signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Agreeing or signing it is part of the preliminary questions test takers have to answer right after they open the exam account Google sets. Via Gmail, Google sends relevant information and a quick, helpful overview to be ready for the exam which applicants should take no later than seven days after forwarding payment of US $10 for Level 1. It has been a shared advice not to forward payment if one does not feel confident to complete the exam within a week. Forwarding my payment pushed me to have a go and I am happy I did.

The exam will need to access the web camera. I took time to set my camera before the test schedule. Google needed me to grant them permission to turn it on during the whole duration of the exam. The camera served as my proctor. I linked my phone mobile data to my laptop. I made sure I had credits more than enough to keep the Internet connection running for three hours. I chose non-peak hours. I was online from 2200H to 0100H when the majority goes to bed. I made sure my laptop was fully charged. I locked myself in the bedroom to avoid distractions. I emptied my bladder before the exam started to avoid the need to go to the bathroom (consider doing the same especially when your body responds in such a way whenever you get anxious). I kept myself focused during the whole duration and used the given time wisely. I highly recommend keeping track and budgeting time really well. In fact, I came across a challenging scenario. It was taking me some time to figure it out. So, I skipped and went back to it when I reviewed my output before clicking the final “Submit” button and the page went saying “Validating your exam” which I waited to load for five minutes and closed when it was not showing anything. Well, the page also assured me that my answers were already recorded; that I would only need to wait for Google‘s email for the exam results. 

The examination made me realize that there are still a lot more to learn in Google Suite. The challenge to complete steps accurately and to find the right buttons made me forget about the camera and about the fact that I was taking a test. If you have used Google Suite apps in teaching, consider taking this self-assessment opportunity. It would surely be one of those rare tests you would find enjoyable.

Tips to Memorize a Long Hymn

INC ChoirWhen choir members prepare for big events, there are a lot of factors to consider before they can declare with confidence that they are ready for the big and very special day.  One, that requires time, effort, and serious focus, is to memorize a really long hymn.  Here are tips from choir directors, veteran choir members, and personal experience.  If you have been memorizing long hymns a number of times in a year, for so many years now, most of these tactics must be familiar to you.  Remembering them does not hurt.  Thus, read on.

Master both melody and rhythm.  Your voice projection and articulation will only sound confident when you fully know how the notes move and how fast and/or slow they move.  If you do not play any musical instrument to review the score sheet on your own, ask permission to record the organist playing the piece or ask him/her for a voice guide recording.  Study the piece or hymn in sections.  Depending on your learning style, choose to start with the most challenging part/s or with the easier and repetitive ones.

Internalize the meaning of the lyrics.  Read the lyrics.  Check the dictionary for the definition of any unfamiliar word. Take a closer look at the meaning of every line in every stanza in every section.  Think of the emotion/s the hymn aims to impart.  Reflect on how and what the hymn wants you and the listeners to feel.  Visualize its overall meaning and create a story in your mind.  When images get attached to what the hymn means to you, recalling the lyrics comes more easily.  If possible, associate or summarize every stanza or section with an image that is meaningful to you.  You might want to draw or find photos of these images to reiterate these visual cues in your mind.

Practice. Practice. Practice.  Keep a conscious effort to realize your goal: to memorize a long hymn.  Try singing yourself to sleep.  Sing the whole hymn before you go to bed to send the lyrics to your subconscious mind for better retention.  When you wake up, sing the hymn again to refresh your memory.  If you love writing by hand, write the lyrics again and again.  If you prefer typing, then manually (cut, copy, and paste commands obviously defeat the purpose here) type the lyrics again and again.  If you want something tangible that gives you a quick overview, create your own set of mnemonics or flashcards to remember initial letters or first words of lines per section.  If you are more of an audio person, record yourself singing the whole hymn.  The recording alone will take you several attempts before you will be satisfied with a “final” file.  Use a headset to avoid distractions when you are listening to your own audio output.  Do not become too proud to let the whole neighborhood or office department hear you sing a long hymn.  Play your recording in a loop and use it as your daily OST until that special day.  Listen to it while you work and/or made to wait for whatever reason.  Please do not put your headset or earphones on when you are driving and walking on and/or crossing the streets.  Your safety comes first.  You have an important duty to fulfill and we all want to perform with you.

For other lessons and fun videos, please visit my YouTube channel.

by JellSoL, 2018-06-28