Tech coordinatorone of 50 in nation picked for program

An educator from Del Norte County is set to become the first Google Certified Teacher on the North Coast.

Rae Fearing, Del Norte County Unified School District's education technology coordinator, is one of 50 educators from around the globe participating in the Google Teacher Academy in Chicago on July 24. Fearing and other educators, some coming from as far away as Singapore and Zimbabwe, will participate in a two-day program that teaches educators how to create instructional strategies using Google products.

Fearing said she knows of no other Google Certified teacher in Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, Lake or Sonoma counties.

"You're part of a professional learning network," Fearing said. "It connects me to other people for new ideas and we can work together on projects."

Fearing, who has been teaching for 14 years, said this is her third attempt to win a place in the Google Teacher Academy. After communicating online with the other teachers who will be attending this year's academy, Fearing said she found this to be the case with many of her fellow trainees.

Fearing introduced Google Apps as an educational tool to the district in fall 2010, and obtained a $30,000 grant to train teachers in the program. Fearing said she and three other teachers were trained in Google Apps and were qualified to show other teachers how to use the program. She has also trained teachers in Humboldt and Glenn counties.

When she finishes the Google Teacher Academy, Fearing is tasked with providing at least three Google training sessions for the 2013-14 school year, and to deploy the Google Apps program in at least one school. She is also tasked with doing a big technology-related project with students this year.

Fearing said she has already accomplished the second task. Local ninth- through 12th-graders districtwide currently use Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs as part of their classwork, she said. Her goal when school starts back up again is to get sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Crescent Elk Middle School and Smith River School using Google Apps.

"I thought this is great not only for me, for my learning, but also great for the district," said Fearing, who has also introduced the use of Google Chromebooks and iPads in the classroom. "I've been hugely committed to increasing the use of technology in the classroom. When most people get a job, they're assigned a computer. I believe in putting computers in the hands of kids."

Fearing added that Superintendent Don Olson has also been committed to increasing the use of technology in the classroom.

"She does great work," Olson said of Fearing. "We're very proud of her."

The Google Certified Teacher program was launched in 2006. The program has held academies across the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

There are more than 800 Google Certified teachers worldwide.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at