Back in January 2019 I quietly set myself a personal goal to apply for the for Education Google Trainer Badge. In March my boss phoned me to say that there was an ‘interesting’ event at Sydney’s Google Headquarters in May and asked me if I would like to attend. His email came through while we were still on the phone and one quick glance stopped me mid sentence. “Starve the lizards!” This ‘event’ was the #SYD19 Google Innovator Academy which is a globally BIG event!
Currently there are just over 1700 Innovators around the world who advocate for innovative technologies and drive school transformation.
After several days of the predictable downward spiral of self doubt, fear and anxiety, I saw that the application process was an excellent learning curve and at the very least, a fantastic opportunity to fine tune my yearly goal. I realised that I was wasting energy into fretting instead of being proactive and just get on with the application. Why do we do this to ourselves? Honestly: don’t fall for the imposter syndrome! If you have read up to this point then you are interested in applying for the next Google Innovator Program.
Beginning the application can be a little daunting but once you start, the momentum can lift you and take you through to the finish. Doubts, fear, and uncertainty will always be present but don’t let it undermine your attempt to join inspiring educators from around the world. Brene Brown perfectly outlines this in her book ‘Dare to Lead’ when she writes: “You can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability. Embrace the suck.” During the ‘rumbling with vulnerability’ stages I have found that my new favourite phrase is: ‘Just Do It’. This has helped me when I lack the courage to take that first step.
Here are a few ‘Just Do It’ tips and I hope it helps you to fine tune your Google Innovators application.
DO complete your Level 2 Google for Education …
It is an essential requirement so it is a good idea to get that task done and dusted before you really get underway with your application.
The real bonus is that you always learn new content each time you achieve these certificates.
DO read the requirements carefully …
The application process is thorough and requires the applicant to reflect on past innovative practices and outline them in blocks of text with a strict word limit of 150 to 200 words.
Being clear and concise in your responses is a little intimidating at first as each section has a word limit. I had to apply the ‘Kondo Maree’ method and focus purely on the essentials that ‘sparked joy’ in my response to each question and then kiss the rest good-bye! You will find that cutting down the volume of words is really quite liberating. A secret little tip if you are stuck with 103 words for a 100 word limit – see which words you can legitimately hyphenate. EG: these two words: ‘good bye’ could become one word:‘good-bye’. Don’t go over board but this tip could come in handy when backed into a corner.
DO watch your video length …
The 60 second video needs to be just that. Check other videos from recent Google Innovators #SYD19. If you are not a confident videographer then look at a simple tutorial outlining Screencastify Chrome Extension. DO show your face at times in your video so your personality can shine through. DO smile during the video clip because you love what you are doing and your energy should be visible.
DO check your online presence …
You will be asked to provide your professional social media link if you have one already. It’s not just a question of how many followers you have, it is more about the educational value you provide to your audience. Look at your Twitter or LinkedIn or Google + feed to see if you merely watch, like or retweet the content. Start finding interesting content and retweet with your own comment then start sharing content from your school activities.
DO keep an open mind …
Give yourself permission to work through your challenge (or problem) without any considering solutions because any hint of a possible solution will affect your application. This journey changes you and your challenge or problem focus may change during your application process. The Academy week is the place to work with your cohort on a variety of solutions.
DO reach out …
Your staff colleagues and Innovators on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are there to support you during your preparation. One thing you learn at the Innovator Academy is that your challenge or problem is not yours alone but shared amongst Innovators. The application link will also give you ways to connect with other Innovators as you prepare your application:
- Connect with past cohorts
- Join the conversation on the #GoogleEI hashtag
- Connect with Innovators via the Directory
DO pace yourself …
Be sure to give yourself a few weeks or even months to work on your application so you can check it after a break with fresh eyes. You can always hit ‘save for later’ at the bottom of the page.
In fact it is a good idea to copy out the application form onto a Google Doc to fill in and edit in a draft environment. The interview process can take time because schedules clash and then your reflection on the material gathered may take a little time as well.
DO you …
Be your uniquely #GoogleEI self! Try to be original. If that is putting pressure on yourself then DO simply ‘you’.
Just DO it – you won’t regret the effort and experiences that await you at the next Google Innovator Academy.
Good Luck and be awesome!