GCT, GTA, GAFE and more: Decoding Google in Education

This article has been updated May 2014 to reflect the recent overhaul of the GTA and Certified Trainer system. Within the last couple of years, Google has been actively playing an ever growing role in K-12 and Higher Education. Along with other companies such as Apple and Adobe, Google has played a large part in the digital shift of classroom pedagogy. But as their influence grew within education beyond just Google Docs, so did the acronyms! GCT, GTA, GAFE…. What do they all mean? Those recently wading into Googly waters may be more than slightly confused as to how these words apply to themselves as educators. Herein lies a brief lexicon of a few of the acronyms you may find about Google in Education:


GTACHI (GTA Chicago) 2013

GTA: Google Teacher Academy 
  • The Google Teacher Academy is a free two-day event held within a Google office at specified locations all over the world. It is produced by CUE in association with Google and is an intensive experience revolving around innovative uses and concepts with Google tools.
  • The GTA selects around 50 educators who are primed to make an impact in their field and community to participate in this event and create a unique cohort of trailblazers that become Google Certified Teachers.
  • On Twitter, you won’t often see just “#gta.” Generally, the “gta” portion is followed by an abbreviation of the city in which the Google Teacher Academy took place. For example, you can search for #gtaswe (Sweden) and #gtauk (United Kingdom), both which recently occurred, and my own cohort, #gtachi (Chicago).
GCT: Google Certified Teacher
  • To become a Google Certified Teacher, you must be accepted and attend a Google Teacher Academy. GTAs are held periodically worldwide throughout the year.
  • The application process includes a series of questions and an applicant-made 1 minute video that must be public and hosted on YouTube that addresses one major overarching topic.
  • After the Google Teacher Academy, the new GCTs are tasked with creating an Action Plan for a project they will complete and are required to lead three professional learning sessions on GAFE, among other requirements.
  • On Twitter, you can find Google Certified Teachers by searching the hashtags #GoogleCT and #GCT.
  • While the GTA itself is free, you still must pay for your own travel and housing if the GTA is not held locally.
GAFE: Google Apps for Education
  • GAFE is the abbreviation for Google Apps for Education. Generally, “GAFE” does not refer to the general usage of Google in education, but rather something within the suite of Google tools that are housed within your school’s domain. Email addresses are “you@yourschool” rather than “you@gmail” and shareable items have the extra level of just being available within the domain rather than the general public.
[No Acronym Yet]: Google Educator
  • Google Educator are educators or those associated within the education industry who take a series of five exams that prove their extensive knowledge of Google Apps for Education and are capable of guiding schools and organizations through Google Apps deployment and integration.
  • There are four required exams [Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Drive, and Sites] and then you have to take one exam from a subsequent choice of four [either Chrome Browser, Chromebooks, Tablets with Google Play for Education, or Implementing Google Apps].
  • Each exam has a thorough course that you should take prior to the exam.
  • Please be aware that tests cost $15.00 USD each.
Formerly “GApps Cert,” No Acronyn Yet: Google Education Trainer
  • Google Education Trainers are educators or those associated with the education industry who have a Google Educator certificate and pass through a secondary qualifying process to earn the new qualification.
  • To earn the Google Education Trainer certificate you must:
    • Have a strong and public background in educating and training others about GAFE
    • Preferably, be a contributor to the larger Ed Tech community
    • Upload a 2-page copy of an updated training resume
    • Provide 3 references for trainings you’ve delivered in the past 12 months
    • Submit a public 2-minute video (screencast preferred) hosted on YouTube showcasing your training skills with GAFE
    • Create a case study on a viewable Google Doc that include sample learning materials and provides a good understanding of your training strategy, including planning, implementation and evaluation. A template for the case study is provided.
    • Apply within a specific time frame open seasonally throughout the year
  • Once you become a Google Education Trainer, you must commit to maintaining your authorization by re-qualifying for Google Educator certification every 18 months and report your training activities to Google among others.
GAFE Southern Summit 2012 with Trey Boden

@CatFlippen and @treyboden at the 2012 GAFE Southern Summit

GAFE Summit: Google in Education Summits
  • GAFE Summits, produced by the EdTechTeam in association with Google in Education, is a two-day event, generally over a weekend, that focuses on the various applications and usages of Google Apps for Education and all Google Tools in education (both K12 and Higher Ed, although most presentations focus on K12).
  • Attendees pay a nominal fee . From personal experience, the event is amazing and worth attending at least once; every school should send a representative as that person will bring back a wealth of information to share with his or her colleagues.  It was at my first GAFE Summit (the Southern Summit) that I learned about the Google Teacher Academy and some other amazing features and tricks in GAFE!

After this primer, you should be able to decode the following sentence: GAFE Summits are great places to learn about deploying GAFE, applying to a GTA to become a GCT, and also attending pre-summit workshops on earning your Google Educator and Education Training certificates. If you have any questions, leave a comment! Happy Googling! Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post or have thoughts to contribute, please subscribe to Ctrl+Alt+Teach and connect with me on Twitter.

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