Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE): Is it worth all the hard work?

This blog features contributions from the LTC’s Lisa Schwartz and Holly Kelly

Earning new badges, certifications, and micro-credentials can do wonders for your professional career. Not only do they bolster your career prospects, but they also offer you an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and grow your capacity as an educator. They also offer an opportunity to practice patience, discipline, and dedication as you work through the application process and put what you’ve learned into practice in the classroom.

While there are a lot of self-paced certification options out there, one that many educators overlook is the Mircrosoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) certification. That’s a shame because the program is tailor-made to help educators learn, grow, and connect alongside a community of like-minded professionals, regardless of what platform or apps their district utilizes.

After recently completing our own MIEE journey, we’ve repeatedly been asked the same question – is this Microsoft-centered certification worth it? Again and again, we’ve had the same answer: yes! Even if your school primarily uses Google or Apple products, MIEE has a lot to offer you as a growth-focused educator.

Here are 8 quick reasons you should consider earning an MIEE certification:

8 Reasons You Should Earn MIEE

  1. Grow your professional skill set – MIEE isn’t a Microsoft beginners course. Through it, you’ll learn next-level methods for utilizing Microsoft apps to engage today’s learners.
  2. Challenge yourself – Everyday, we ask our students to challenge themselves so that they can grow intellectually and emotionally. We should do the same for ourselves, and MIEE’s multi-step certification process is a great way to step out of that comfort zone.
  3. Build mentorship capacity – You aren’t the only one who benefits from MIEE. Your fellow teachers can learn a lot from you when you share what you learn during the certification process.
  4. Grow your network – While working toward MIEE, you’ll have the chance to connect with fellow educators from all across the country. Even after completing your certification, you can turn to those connections for advice and support as you work through the latest educational challenge.
  5. Bolster your resume – No matter your career goals, a recognized certification like MIEE can be a major boon to your future prospects. It can even help you advance your career in your current position, including through promotions and new leadership opportunities.
  6. Maintain your learning mindset – After teaching for a few years, educators sometimes get comfortable with their present edtech utilization. MIEE can rekindle your old learning mindset and show you how much potential some of today’s most versatile apps offer.
  7. Access exclusive offers – MIEE status comes with added perks, including access to special offers for partner platforms like Book Creator and Buncee
  8. Attend MIEE annual summit – All MIE Experts also get tickets to the annual MIEE and SCS Summit, both held at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Washington.

Our MIEE Journey – 1 Big Takeaway

We learned a lot during our journey toward earning our MIEE certification, including how to harness Microsoft’s Education Transformation Framework. But above all else, we learned the importance of accountability when striving towards this major certification.

Like many educators, we knew that our time and motivation for earning this certification would be strained by our day-to-day workload. Luckily, we also knew that we would be more motivated to stay on track if we had some accountability built-in to our application process. So, we decided to become accountability buddies, setting aside time on a regular basis to check-in with each other and support one another towards our shared goal.

Accountability can be the key to earning MIEE, in particular. The MIEE journey involves multiple learning paths and a full application process, so it helps a lot to have someone at your back who can encourage you to keep moving forward.

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Q & A

Here’s a few more questions often asked about the MIEE certification and application process. You can also learn more about MIEE on Microsoft’s website.

What is MIEE?

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert or “MIEE” for short is a program that recognizes educators around the world who are using Microsoft technology to enhance student outcomes and change the face of education. After completing certain prerequisites, individuals may nominate themselves for MIEE status, which comes with numerous benefits including access to a massive network of fellow Microsoft experts.

Are there prerequisites for MIEE?

Yes, prospective applicants will need to complete several prerequisites in order to earn MIEE status, including:

  • Become a Microsoft Innovative Educator by completing two hours of coursework from Microsoft’s 205 courses and 32 learning paths.
  • Become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer by implementing what you’ve learned to mentor other educators
  • Apply for MIEE, including completing an exam that tests your knowledge of Microsoft education tools and submitting an artifact of your prior work

Do I need to complete an exam for MIEE?

Yes, MIEE applicants must pass an exam that tests applicants on their understanding and implementation of Microsoft’s learning tools. This exam consists of multiple choice, order sequence, and long answer questions.

When is the deadline for MIEE?

The 2022-2023 MIEE application window opens May 15, 2022 and closes July 15, 2022. More information can be found on Microsoft’s MIEE resource page.

Start on your own MIEE Journey Today!

With this year’s MIEE application window opening in just under a month, now is a great time to grab an accountability buddy and start your own MIEE journey.

The LTC is here to support you along that journey. If you have questions about the MIEE process, feel free to reach out to two of our team’s current MIE Experts – Holly Kelly ( and Lisa Schwartz ( You can also connect with other prospective applicants and fellow Microsoft users over on the LTC Community.

Microsoft MSIA Overview

Looking to earn a Microsoft certification? Interested in helping your students do the same? This session can help you take the first step! In it, you’ll learn about the curriculum content from Microsoft that can equip teachers and students with the knowledge needed to pass the Microsoft MOS and MTA certification exams.

How to Become a Google Certified Coach

Google Certified Coach Blog 2021

This year, Google is premiering a brand-new certification that is geared toward helping schools and districts build and sustain their edtech integration over the long-term. Known as the Certified Coach program, this latest certification can help existing instructional technology coaches grow their understanding of Google’s services and apply their knowledge while supporting their institution’s teaching goals.

But how do you become a Google Certified Coach? Is there a special curriculum or test you need to take? Do you need Educator certifications to become a Certified Coach? We’ll answer those questions and more in this step-by-step guide to becoming a Google Certified Coach.

What is a Google Certified Coach?

At their core, a Google Certified Coach is an individual who has, through participation in a tailored education program, grown their coaching toolkit and gained a deeper understanding of Google’s educational offerings. Google Certified Coaches are able to more effectively support educators in their school or district in turn, whether they use just a couple Google apps or have fully integrated with Google Workspace for Education.

Who should become a Google Certified Coach?

Google has shaped the curriculum and content of their Certified Coach program with current technology coaches in mind. In other words, individuals who spend the majority of their time supporting edtech integration and working 1:1 with educators will be best suited for this certification program. Those looking to learn research-backed strategies for improving their coaching practices will also be well-served by the Google Certified Coach Program.

How Does a Google Certified Coach Differ from Google’s Other Education Certification?

Currently, Google offers a wide variety of education- and professional development-oriented certification opportunities. Most notable among these are the Google Educator certifications, which focus on classroom implementation of Google’s apps and services. The Google Certified Coach Program differs from these because it focuses on practical coaching strategies, rather than teaching strategies alone.

Along the same lines, the Google Certified Coach Program differs from both the Google Trainer and Google Innovator certification programs. In particular, the Google Certified Coach Program focuses on teaching participants 1:1 coaching strategies, while the Trainer Program teaches experts how to deliver 1:many professional development experiences. Meanwhile, the Google Innovator program does not focus on professional learning at all, and instead centers on teaching participants to lead innovative education projects in their school or district.

Why Become a Google Certified Coach?

Becoming a Google Certified Coach comes with a variety of benefits, both for the individual and the institution they serve.

For example, instructional coaches who participate in this program walk away with a great deal of up-to-date knowledge on Google service utilization best practices. New Google Certified Coaches will also learn about an innovative 5-step coaching system that can help them enhance their 1:1 work with teachers in the near term. Taken together, these new skills and knowledge can help new and veteran coaches alike become more robust in their support role.

Also, current instructional coaches have an opportunity to gain distinction through the Google Certified Coach Program. In particular, this program provides successful candidates with a credential that allows them to communicate specialization within their team or demonstrate their commitment to continuously growing their coaching competency.

Larger institutions, including schools and districts, have a lot to gain through the Google Certified Coach Program as well. With an in-district Google Certified Coach, for example, teachers and administrators gain access to the latest insights from a member of a nationwide coaching community. Through their Certified Coach, districts also gain access to special professional development opportunities and timely updates on all Google for Education topics.

How to Become a Google Certified Coach

Becoming a Google Certified Coach does require some investment of your time. However, the payoff at the end is well worth it if you are looking to take your skills as an instructional coach to the next level.

Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself a newly-minted Google Certified Coach in no time!

Note: These steps are accurate as of March 2021. This certification process, its requirements, and its cost are subject to change in the future.

Step 1 – Complete the Curriculum

First, certification candidates will need to participate in and complete Google’s Coach Certification curriculum. This curriculum is tailor-made with current coaches in mind, providing them with a research-backed 5-step coaching model and other effective coaching strategies that they can actively implement while working through the certification process.

In terms of structure, the Coach Certification curriculum is made up of several modules, each tackling several competencies required for successful implementation of new coaching strategies in the field. Each of these modules is followed by a series of knowledge check questions as well as opportunities to reflect on the personal progress.

In total, Google estimates that this curriculum takes about 20 hours to complete. However, each module is designed to be completed at a different time of year (IE before the start of the fall semester, during spring break, etc.) So, the total number of hours should not be viewed as contiguous.

In any case, this curriculum is entirely self-guided. As a result, candidates may read through and review curricular content at any time, including while they are preparing for their certification assessment.

Step 2 – Earn Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications

If you have not already, Coach certification candidates will next need to obtain Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 certification. These certifications cover the fundamentals of utilizing Google services and apps in the classroom, making them must-know content for folks looking to coach current educators on implementation best practices.

Many Certified Coach candidates already possess these certifications. It is recommended that you double-check these credentials while working through the Certified Coach curriculum so that a current proof of completion can be added to your Coaching portfolio in a later step.

Also, obtaining Educator Level 1 and Level 2 certifications is neither a prerequisite for starting the Certified Coach program, nor a prerequisite for taking the Coach Skills assessment. However, they are highly recommended because they offer a solid foundation of knowledge that the Coach curriculum focuses on and the Coach Skills test assesses. In any case, you will need proof of both certifications when it comes time to submit your final Coaching portfolio.

Step 3 – Pass the Coach Skills Assessment

After completing the Certified Coach curriculum, certification candidates must successfully pass the Coach Skills assessment. This exam is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the Certified Coach curriculum, including its 5-step coaching cycle.

As with most Google certification exams, the precise content of this test can change from instance to instance. However, it is always made up of around 45 questions, which candidates have 45 minutes to complete. Candidates will need to score an 80% or better to pass, with results provided instantly.

At this time, there is no cost to take this exam. As such, candidates are encouraged to retake the exam if they do not successfully pass it on their first attempt.

Step 4 – Submit a Coaching Portfolio

After passing the Coach Skills assessment, certification candidates will be required to submit a Coaching portfolio that provides evidence to implementation of curricular content in the field.

In particular, this portfolio must include a short video and three artifacts that demonstrate the candidate’s implementation of the 5-step coaching cycle and other curricular elements in a real-life coaching scenario. These items must also be accompanied by a letter of reference supplied by an administrator or other advisor that is familiar with the candidate’s coaching work.

After these elements are all compiled, they must be submitted to Google for final approval. Upon review and acceptance, Google will issue all relevant certification credentials, as well as information about maintaining Certified status on an annual basis.

Supporting your Google Certification Journey

Throughout your professional learning journey, the Learning Technology Center (LTC) is here to support you as you strive to make high-quality technology coaching available to more educators. Currently, we offer a variety of webinars and networking meetings that can help you build the knowledge and connections you need to thrive in the field.

As a Google Cloud Partner, we also routinely offer training opportunities centered on Google’s latest products and services. We can even help you or the teachers you work with earn a Google Educator certification.

Schools and districts interested in adding an instructional technology coach to their team can also find support through the LTC. Through a unique cost-sharing model, we are currently offering institutions an opportunity to hire their own embedded instructional technology support through our Instruction Technology Coaching Program.

Looking to Learn More about Becoming a Google Certified Coach?

Several members of the LTC team – myself included – have recently completed the Google Certified Coach Program. If you have questions about the program or you’re interested in learning more about my experience, you can contact me, Elizabeth Byam, at

How to Become a Google Certified Educator

Google Educator Certification Blog Featured Image

Today, educators at all grade levels and across all subject areas have a wide variety of options when it comes to growing their professional skill set. In-person workshops, online courses, micro-credentials, and more are all great ways to acquire fresh, classroom-ready skills in the near term.

However, certifications remain a reliable standard for most teachers. With just a bit of time and effort, a qualified certification can help an educator gain distinction in their career and demonstrate that they are continuously focused on enhancing their capacity to teach effectively.

Without a doubt, Google’s several Educator certifications are among the most popular today, particularly in this era of remote and hybrid learning. These certifications focus on building mastery within Google’s suite of education-centered apps, including Google Classroom, Google Forms, and Google Drive.

But how exactly do you become “Google Educator Certified”? And why should you strive for Google Educator certification in the first place? You’ll find answers to these and other common questions in this handy guide to becoming Google Educator Certified.

Why Earn Google Educator Certifications?

There are plenty of great reasons to seek out Google Educator certifications. First and foremost, there’s inherent value in sharpening your craft. New and veteran teachers alike need to continuously learn to stay at the top of their game, and Google Educator certifications are one way to make that learning both streamlined and productive.

Along the same lines, nearly all educators today incorporate digital technologies into their standard curriculum (even outside the context of remote and hybrid learning). Some platforms, like Google’s suite of education-centered apps, come with a learning curve that must be overcome before full integration can occur. Google Educator certifications help lower that learning curve noticeably by focusing on precisely the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in a Google-connected classroom.

Of course, there are also some more concrete reasons for choosing Google Educator certifications. As with most credentials, successful participants earn a special, level-appropriate badge and the right to call themselves a “Google Certified Educator.” Successful participants also gain a bonafide credential that can help them achieve upward mobility on their career path.

Google Educator certifications aren’t just appealing to individual educators, though. Administrators and department heads can also encourage their faculty to earn these certifications to facilitate more consistent utilization of Google’s apps and services. This, in turn, can help schools and districts achieve their primary tech integration goals – especially if those goals center on fully integrating Google hardware and software.

How to Become a Google Certified Educator

Believe it or not, becoming a Google Certified Educator is a very achievable goal that educators at any grade level and in any subject area can achieve. All it takes is an appetite for learning – not to mention a couple classes and exams.

To start, you’ll want to generally familiarize yourself with each of Google’s education-centered applications. After doing that, you’ll be ready to take a Google Educator Level 1 certification class, which helps you solidify skills for using Google Drive, Google Forms, Google Classroom, and more.

With that course completed, you’ll be prepared to take the Google Educator Level 1 certification exam. This exam is designed to test your broad proficiency with Google’s apps and services in a concise, digital format. This test can be taken as many times as necessary and does not require participants to have taken part in a Google Educator Level 1 certification class prior to completion.

Once you pass that exam, you’ll officially earn the title of “Google Certified Educator,” along with its associated credential and badge. However, your learning journey need not end there. Though optional, educators can choose to deepen their understanding of Google’s apps and services through a Google Educator Level 2 certification.

Like the Level 1 certification, a Level 2 certification involves taking part in a multi-hour class before participating in a proctored online exam. However, the Level 2 certification focuses on more specific use cases for Google’s most popular apps. By participating in and passing the Level 2 certification process, educators can double their level of understanding when it comes to the Google for Education suite.

If you do complete your Level 2 certification, you’ll still be considered a “Google Certified Educator,” without any new title. However, you will receive a second credential and badge that can act as evidence of your ongoing professional development.

What Google Educator Courses Do I Need to Take to Earn Certification?

In order to earn certification, an educator is not required to take any content-specific courses relating to Google’s apps or services. Currently, educators only need to participate in and pass the exam correlated to their level of certification.

That being said, the vast majority of educators do choose to take a relevant certification course prior to sitting for a certification exam. Accordingly, intermediate users tend to take part in a Google Educator Level 1 course while more advanced users opt for a Google Educator Level 2 course.

Who Teaches Google Educator Certification Courses?

In most cases, Google Educator Certification courses are taught by Google Certified Trainers. These are individuals who have taken their own training through Google and learned what it takes to support teachers through the certification process. Often, these Certified Trainers will teach small-to-medium sized groups – either in a workshop or in-service format – to maximize a school or district’s ability to widely implement Google’s platform.

Do I Need to Complete Level 1 Certification to Participate in Level 2 Certification?

No, you do not. Despite their names, Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 certifications are not designed as a ladder for you to climb. Rather, you can participate in either level of certification at your discretion without prerequisites. However, most participants still seek out Level 1 certification before Level 2 certification because the skills in each build off of one another.

How Long Does a Google Educator Certification Last?

Both the Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 certifications last for 36 months (3 years). After that time, certified educators will need to retake the appropriate test to maintain their title.

Will I need to Take any Tests to Earn Google Educator Certification?

Yes, each level of Google Educator certification requires participants to take and pass an exam. Each of these exams evaluate participant’s competency in different skills related to the utilization of Google’s assorted apps and services.

What is the Format for Google Educator Certification Exams?

As far as format is concerned, both the Level 1 and Level 2 exams respectively consist of 20 multiple choice/drag-and-drop questions and 10 “scenario” questions. Scenario questions require participants to demonstrate their ability to complete a certain task satisfactorily using one or more Google apps. All test questions must be completed within a set time limit, which stands at 180 minutes for both the Level 1 and Level 2 exams.

To pass either the Level 1 or Level 2 exam, a participant must earn an 80%. However, if this threshold is not achieved, a participant may retake the exam after waiting 14 days. Meanwhile, a third attempt will require a 60 day wait, and a fourth attempt requires participants to wait a full year.

What Content should I Expect on the Google Educator Certification Exam?

Both the Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 certification exams cover different content, requiring participants to study and practice different material before sitting for each. The specific content on each exam varies as well, with Google requiring all participants to sign an NDA concerning each test’s questions and answers.

However, past test-takers have noticed some trends in what content is covered on each exam. The Google Educator Level 1 certification exam, for example, tends to include more questions about Google Classroom, Google Forms, Google Sheets, and YouTube. However, any and all apps in the G Suite for Education may be covered on the exam, so participants should study as broadly as possible. 

Do I Have to Pay to take the Google Educator Certification Exam?

Yes, Google requires those seeking Google Educator certifications to pay a fee to take the associated exams. Currently, those fees are set at $10 for the Level 1 certification exam and $25 for the Level 2 certification exam.

However, some certification prep classes offer vouchers to participants that can waive these fees. As such, those seeking certification are encouraged to take these classes both to sharpen their skills and save a bit of cash.

What are some Tips or Tricks for taking the Google Educator Certification Exam?

While studying and practicing are the two best ways to prepare for the Google Educator certification exams, we also recommend checking out these tips and tricks for passing your exam on the first try.

Google Educator Certification and the LTC

Regardless of whether you are brand new to the education field or have spent your entire career in the classroom, Google Educator certifications can help you improve the way you teach. The certification process is very manageable as well, as long as you prepare properly and persevere while learning about all of Google’s education-centered apps and services.

However, you don’t need to go it alone when it comes time to seek out Google Educator certifications. The LTC offers schools and districts across Illinois the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge needed to achieve certification through a variety of regional workshops. Those looking for customized in-district professional development centered on Google Educator certification can also find support from the LTC’s team of highly-trained staff.

Start your Professional Learning Journey with the LTC’s New Education Certification Collection

Over the past several years, certifications have become an increasingly popular option for professional learning in the education field. Everyone from teachers and administrators to tech coaches and support staff can acquire new knowledge and expertise through certifications – often without even needing to leave home or sit through an in-service day.

For many educators, certifications also serve as a great motivator when it comes to perfecting their craft. Many certifications offer a badge or other micro-credential that can be proudly displayed upon completion. Just like a shiny gold star for a student, these small, but noteworthy awards can help provide recognition for professionals that continuously strive for success.

The LTC wants to make the best credentials available to Illinois’ education community. To accomplish that goal, our team has scoured the internet and created this list of certifications, badges, and micro-credentials geared towards educators, administrators, support staff, and more.

To make it easy to find a certification that interests you, we’ve divided this list into several broad categories. Each certification includes a description with links to further information so that you can start your self-paced professional learning journey without any hassle.

Here are just a few of the most popular certifications you can choose from:

To check out our new certifications collection, click here.

You can also access the Education Certification Collection at any time. Simply check the “Resources” dropdown menu above and click on “Education Certifications.”

You can also share the above graphic with your peers on social media. Click here for the full image.

Know a certification that we missed?  Email and let us know!