Category Archives: Google for Education Blog

The official source for information about Google’s education-related efforts

How Sweden’s Oxievång School helps teachers navigate the journey to the “learning island”

Editor’s note: Google has just completed its first-ever Google for Education Study Tour, bringing nearly 100 educators from 12 countries around Europe to Lund, Sweden, to share ideas on innovating within their systems and creating an environment that embraces innovation.. One of the highlights of the two-day event was a visit to Oxievång School in Malmö, where principal Jenny Nyberg has led their adoption of technology in the classroom. Below, Jenny explains how to support teachers during a period of technology adoption.

When we’re introducing new technology for our classrooms, I tell my teachers to imagine the ultimate goal as an island we all have to swim toward. Some of us are very fast swimmers, and we’ll figure out how to get to the island quickly, and even get around any sharks. Some of us are slow swimmers, and may be hesitant to jump in, but the strong swimmers will show us the way (and how to get around the sharks). Eventually, we all have to jump into the water.

Bringing tech-based personalized learning into the classrooms at Oxievång School was our “island” and we’ve all completed the journey, which was particularly important given that our school, like the city of Malmö itself, is a mix of different people with varying needs. We have immigrant students as well as native Swedes; 40 percent of our students speak Swedish as their second language. But all students can  become strong learners when teachers discover what motivates and excites them. When we adopted G Suite for education, our “fast-swimmer” teachers showed their colleagues how they could now customize learning for each and every student.

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Jenny Nyberg during school visit

As school leaders, my vice principals and I served as role models for using G Suite— not just for teaching, but for making our jobs easier too. We showed teachers how to use Google Sites to store information we needed every day, like staff policies and forms. We walked teachers through the Google Docs tools that allow them to comment on student work immediately rather than waiting to receive homework from students, and giving feedback much later. When teachers saw this in action, they understood how adopting G Suite was going to make a big difference for their teaching effectiveness and their productivity.

If you want teachers to become enthusiastic about using new technology, they need to be confident in their use of the new technology. For this, you have to give them support.  So we hired a digital learning educator who works exclusively with teachers to help them build up their technology skills. Every teacher receives a personalized development plan with a list of resources for training.

Our students have become more engaged in their coursework as teachers have become better at using Google technology to personalize learning. If students are curious about a subject, they can use their Chromebooks and G Suite tools to further explore the topic on their own. They also interact with teachers more often, even using Hangouts to meet with teachers outside of the classroom. As teachers become more confident, their enthusiasm spreads to the students.

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One of the stations included students demonstrating robots they programmed with their Chromebooks

Once we give teachers basic training, we keep supporting them so that the transformation spreads throughout the school. When they need extra help with using G Suite, teachers know where to find it: they can schedule a meeting with the digital learning educator. We have team leaders across grades and subjects who help teachers’ follow their development plans. Once a month, we all meet at school sessions called “skrytbyt,” which roughly translates as “boost exchange.” In these sessions teachers trade stories about lessons that went well and ask for advice about how to improve lessons they find challenging. Sharing knowledge is a great way to build confidence.

As leaders in education, we have to be honest with teachers and acknowledge that change isn’t easy, but assure them that we’re here for them. Teachers worry that students know more about technology than they do—students are the digital natives, while teachers are the digital immigrants. We constantly remind teachers that they can find inspiration in each other and in their students’ knowledge, so that we all make it to the island together.

Source: Education


Quill.org: better writing with machine learning

Editor’s note: TensorFlow, our open source machine learning library, is just that—open to anyone. Companies, nonprofits, researchers and developers have used TensorFlow in some pretty cool ways, and we’re sharing those stories here on Keyword. Here’s one of them.

Quill.org was founded by a group of educators and technologists to help students become better writers and critical thinkers. Before beginning development, they researched hundreds of studies on writing education and found a common theme—students had a hard time grasping the difference between a run-on sentence and a fragment. So the Quill team developed a tool to help students identify the different parts of a sentence, with a focus on real-time feedback.

Using the Quill tool, students complete a variety of exercises, including joining sentences, writing complex sentences, and explaining their use and understanding of grammar. The tool relies on a huge depository of sentence fragments, which Quill finds, recognizes and compiles using TensorFlow, Google's open source machine learning library. TensorFlow technology is the backbone of the tool and can accurately detect if a student’s answers are correct. After completing the exercises, each student gets a customized explanation of incorrect responses, and the tool learns from each answer to create an individualized testing plan focused on areas of difficulty. Here's an example of how it works:

More than 200,000 students—62 percent from low-income schools—have used Quill. They’ve collectively answered 20 million exercises, and Quill’s quick, personalized writing instruction has helped them master writing standards across the Common Core curriculum.

Teachers have also benefitted from introducing Quill in their classrooms. Each teacher has access to a customized portal, allowing them to see an individual student’s progress. Plus, by using machine learning, teachers have been spared hundreds of hours of manual grading. Laura, a teacher at Caswell Elementary School in California said, "Quill has been a wonderful tool for my third graders, many of whom are second language learners. We especially love the immediate feedback provided after each practice; it has definitely made us pay closer attention to detail.”

Quill’s most recent update is a “multiplayer” feature, allowing students to interact with each other in the tool. They can see their peers’ responses, which fosters spirited classroom discussions and collaboration, and helps students learn from each other.

While students aren’t using quills (or even pens!) anymore, strong writing skills are as important as ever. And with the help of machine learning, Quill makes it fun and engaging to develop those skills.

Source: Education


Portraits of veteran scholars across America

As Veterans Day approaches, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the military and veterans community. From local artists to community leaders to technology innovators, veterans contribute not only to our workplace, but to our neighborhoods and culture. This dedication to serving the community is what inspired me to enlist in the California Army National Guard four years ago. I was already working at Google, but was inspired by some of the Googlers I met who had served in the military. It's one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’m one of the leaders of the Google Veterans Network, a volunteer employee resource group that strives to make Google one of the best workplaces for veterans and service members. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Google Veterans Network and since 2014, employees have volunteered over 7,300 hours of service with veteran organizations.

As part of our ongoing commitment to veterans, Google works closely with the Student Veterans of America to support the Google SVA scholarship and invites SVA scholars to the company’s annual student veterans summit. This SVA scholarship helps encourage veterans on their path to attaining a computer science or IT-related degree; applications for 2018 are still open.

I’m continuously humbled by the contributions of our service members and their willingness to share their experiences. So as part of the multiple ways we’re recognizing veterans this week, we’re taking the moment to highlight incredible Google SVA scholars that are strengthening their communities and themselves.

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Gabriel De La Cruz, 2014 recipient

In 2005, Gabriel De La Cruz, a newly arrived immigrant from the Philippines, decided to join the Navy. As a Hospital Corpsman with the Marines, Gabriel was deployed on three separate combat missions to Iraq and Afghanistan, which instilled in him a deep sense of mission and passion for helping others.

Back in the Philippines, he’d gone to school for IT, and upon leaving the military, he decided to resume his studies in that area. He searched on Google for “scholarships for veterans,”  and learned about the Google SVA scholarship. He says it changed the way he saw his future in pursuing a degree for computer science.

“It was a humbling opportunity, and allowed me to understand that there’s a potential of changing people’s lives,” he says.

Today, Gabriel is a graduate researcher,  pursuing a Ph.D. at Washington State University. His goal is to build more intelligent robots that accomplish tasks ranging from helping older generations who have cognitive disorders to reducing casualties on the frontlines. He says his time in the Navy and his interest in robotics are coming full circle.

“I’m most satisfied when I’m able to help the people around me,” he says.

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Elizabeth Jones, 2016 recipient

When Elizabeth Jones joined the Marines in 2005, she was confident she’d be in for life. But soon after she enlisted she began experiencing seizures, and left the corps in 2007.

Her transition back to civilian life was jarring. She felt she’d lost the camaraderie of her fellow Marines, and struggled to find a new purpose in life. Ultimately, Elizabeth decided to go back to school at the University of West Florida. There she pursued a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering after a trusted professor told her she’d be “wasting her intelligence” if she didn’t. She applied for the Google SVA scholarship at the urging of a fellow student veteran, and found the experience incredibly rewarding.

“It helped me push through and not give up when it was really hard,” she says. “And Google’s done a lot more for me than just giving me a scholarship.  I feel like it really showed me that there are people like me doing great things with their degrees.”

Elizabeth is putting her electrical engineering degree to work as a systems engineer for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, in Keyport, WA. There, she works on anti-submarine warfare systems to protect American soldiers at sea.

“I think that people take their place in life for granted, and I don’t feel that way,” Elizabeth says. “I feel very grateful that this is where I’m at in life, and it was made easier than it could have been with the Google SVA Scholarship.”

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James Matthew Landis, 2015 recipient

Army Veteran James Matthew (Matt) Landis always knew he’d join the military. His grandfathers and uncles had all served, and he decided to enlist after college. During his 10 years in the Army as an Apache Longbow helicopter pilot, Matt sustained several head injuries that left him disabled. Upon leaving active duty in 2009, he decided to go back to college, first for art, and later for computer engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. There, he was awarded the Google SVA scholarship for his degree, which had a huge impact on his career.

“It was one of the first real affirmations that I was actually talented and worth investing in,” he says. He also met a community of veterans working in tech who he could relate to. “People didn’t just say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ All they cared about was ‘can you code?’ That was so refreshing,” he says.

Today, Matt is an embedded systems engineer for the University of Pittsburgh where he works on software for robotics technology with healthcare applications, including prosthetics and adaptive sports technology.

Matt is also committed to his work at  No One Left Behind, an organization dedicated to saving the lives of America’s Wartime Allies—interpreters and others that assisted U.S. troops—and their families. Already they’ve brought eight families from Iraq and Afghanistan who served as interpreters and helped them acclimate to their new lives. In addition, he’s running programs to bring STEM education to these same communities. He says, “When I start to imagine what it’ll be like when these families have their children and children's children in 50 years … I’m incredibly proud.“

Source: Education


Connecting students across space and time with Google Cloud

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2017, an important gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, devices like Jamboard and virtual reality and augmented reality tools. If you want to be a part of the action from home follow at #EDU17 and our @GoogleForEdu account. If you want to connect with our team but cannot make it to the event contact us.

Yesterday we shared some of the inspiring ways we’ve seen researchers, faculty and students in higher education work with GCP to power their big ideas. But it’s not just researchers that can benefit from the cloud. From virtual reality tools like Jump & Tilt Brush to G Suite for Education to GCP, Google tools are helping educators create new, strong connections amongst students, with faculty, and with new parts of the curriculum.

Brown University connects students with the past with virtual reality

The Gaspee Affair is an important, but largely forgotten moment in U.S. history. And with its “cannon fire and gunshots and boat chases,” it was also a perfect candidate for reconstruction in virtual reality (VR), says Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Reality Artist-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at Brown University.  

With a team of students and a Jump camera from Google, Blumenthal drafted scripts, designed sets and built a detailed virtual world so that students could interact with the past. “One of the things I love about VR is its ability to put people in places that are otherwise impossible, and in this case that’s stepping back in time in these very authentic recreations,” he says. During production the team has used Tilt Brush, Google’s 3D painting tool, to quickly produce storyboards of 3D scenes as well as to create what Blumenthal calls “virtual reality dioramas” that combine Tilt Brush paint with 2D and 3D assets. Today the prototype of their Gaspee Affair project functions like a virtual museum: students can view the spaces from any angle and interact with its objects. Click here to read the full Brown case study.

We want to help more institutions create their own VR experiences for learning. Google’s Daydream team is excited to launch a pilot program to give higher ed institutions the skills and tools to bring these ideas to life. You can get notified about the upcoming 360 video training course, express interest in the Daydream higher education pilot program or learn more about Google’s AR and VR tools.

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Brown University students and faculty create the historic Gaspee Affair in 3D using a Jump camera from Google.

Central Wyoming connects its students and faculty across large distances with G Suite for Education

At Central Wyoming College (CWC), students and staff previously had to be on campus in order to access email and documents—this was especially challenging in a rural region where people commute long distances. Now that CWC uses cloud-based tools through G Suite for Education, it helps them respond to the unique challenges of their campus community.

The school’s 2,000 students are spread across four campuses, and in the case of its Outdoor Education program, remote wilderness. “It’s extremely hard for our students to get together in person,” says CIO John Wood. Now professors and staff can choose to work live or remotely as needed, cutting down on long commutes to CWC campuses. “Their collaboration can now take place in other ways,” Wood says. “Hangouts are becoming popular, since students can use them to meet face-to-face when they’re not on campus.”  Read the Central Wyoming case study and sign up for G Site for Education.

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Taking education higher with Google Cloud Platform

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of higher education technolog...

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Manhattan College powers critical campus IT systems with GCP

Manhattan College began using Google Cloud in 2008, and “in most cases, it has been the best answer,” says Manhattan College Chief Information Officer Jake Holmquist. First came the transition to Gmail; that “was the foot in the door that we in IT needed to show the rest of campus that it was okay to operate in the cloud,” says Holmquist.

Then last July, building on the trust and familiarity they had gained using Google tools, Manhattan College moved to implement “Banner 9,” an upgrade to their prior system, on top of GCP. In the past “a typical deployment in our datacenter meant a six-figure hardware purchase that we were not guaranteed to be delivered and provisioned in time for ample testing,” Holmquist said. “Instead, we took the unprecedented approach of deploying these new Banner 9 components in GCP’s Compute Engine. We were able to quickly and easily spin up various components during the installation and upgrade testing.”

They were able to deploy a production environment with “excellent performance and a level of high-availability that we could not have achieved on campus.” This has freed Holmquist and his team up for important work. “Instead of maintaining servers, replacing failed components, and applying patches, we are now focusing on making our applications run more efficiently which results in a more measurable benefit to our end-users.” Read the Manhattan College case study or express your interest in Google Cloud Platform.

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Source: Education


For #MyFutureMe finalists, a geofilter shows dreams for the future

A better and brighter future. A world that accepts people for who they are. Voicing opinions for those who may not be able to.

These are just a few elements of a future envisioned by five special teenage girls. Along with Snap Inc., we created the #MyFutureMe contest to challenge teens to design a geofilter based on the future they imagine for themselves. More than 22,000 teens entered the contest, and five finalists—chosen by Snap—are attending TEDWomen in New Orleans this week, where they’ll hear from entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and activists. They’ll receive mentoring sessions from three Google engineers, and each girl will work with the Snap Design team to create her own, unique Snapchat Lens.

These finalists were chosen from 22,000 teens who entered the contest. Here are the geofilters they created, as well as their vision for the future they not only imagine, but are determined to create.

Anna Nesbitt
Pittsburgh, PA

My dream is to bring computer science and robotics to third world countries. I'm taking coding classes right now and I am a part of a FIRST Robotics Team (Girls of Steel 3504) to learn as much as I can about coding and robotics so I can apply it to my aspirations. I started and ran a robotics team at my elementary school last year in 8th grade for a group of third graders. I taught them basic engineering and CS concepts. I hope to expand my program to two more teams this year, focusing on inspiring girls!

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Zoe Lynch
South Orange, NJ

7.5 billion people make up the world’s population; each with their own unique set of skills and talents. My vision for the future is one where innovation is accessible to all. As a multiracial girl, I believe it’s important for everyone to be included. Whether it's tutoring math, volunteering, creating problem-solving applications, or doing something as simple as spreading positivity; I am doing as much as I can to make my vision for the future a reality. Together the possibilities are endless. 7.5 billion people—that’ s a lot of brainpower!

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Aishwarya Rane
Diamond Bar, CA

My vision for the future is to have greater gender, racial, and social equality and increase representation for minorities. I hope to develop interpersonal skills as well as public speaking skills. I believe these skills will allow me to voice my opinions for those who may not be able to. I am a part of Girl Up, a campaign by the UN to empower girls around the world, and Society of Women Engineers at my high school. I actively work to bring awareness about contemporary issues (i.e., human trafficking) and increase female representation in STEM.

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Maria Wangamez
San Francisco, CA

An educated world. A world that accepts people for who they are. A world without barriers to education, whether those be financial, geographical, or social. I want to develop a comprehensive education system that can be instituted across the globe; one that is not standardized, but can be changed and suited to varying levels of different types of intelligence (mathematical, scientific, linguistic, artistic, athletic...). To accomplish this, I will start a company, and gather creative, forward-thinking people around me; ones with unique and fantastic skills in coding, educating, animating, advertising and calculating. Together, we will educate the world.

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Sasha Williams
Danville, CA

The future I envision is a better and brighter one. A future where everyone is equal, and confident in who they are, and not judged or mistreated for that. I am currently trying to make this possible through my skill set around gaming and coding. I advocate for young African American girls and inspire them to become creators of their own future, through technology. I have also made a social justice video game about Black History, that won me a trip to the White House! My future me wants to make a difference. I'm kind of a big deal.

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Source: Education


Taking education higher with Google Cloud Platform

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, Jamboard, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality tools. Or follow the action on our @GoogleForEdu account, using the #EDU17 hashtag. If you want to connect with our team but can’t make it to Philadelphia, contact us.

I’m continually inspired by all the ways that educational institutions use Google Cloud to expand learning for everyone. Today, eleven years after San Jose City College and Arizona State University became the first to adopt G Suite for Education, we’re announcing that more than 80 million students, faculty and staff now use these tools in higher ed and K12.. Meanwhile, Google Cloud’s product portfolio continues to expand, helping us keep up with educators’ and students’ limitless ideas. Below are a few recent highlights of what institutions have been doing with the help of Google Cloud.

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Northeastern researchers understand the spread of Zika using GCP

Amidst the spread of the Zika virus, the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems (MoBS) lab at Northeastern University, created a model to better understand the deadly virus. Using a mathematical and computational approach powered by GCP, the team studied different scenarios under which Zika could spread, projecting its impact on affected populations. The model is based on the initial spread of Zika in Brazil, and allows researchers to predict the impact of new infections in other locations by introducing additional data layers, including temperature, number of mosquitoes, population size and people’s travel patterns.

With Google Compute Engine and Preemptible Virtual Machines, MoBS has run more than 10 million simulations and drastically reduced the time needed to analyze data.

“Time is vital when confronting disease outbreaks,” says Matteo Chinazzi, Associate Research Scientist at Northeastern University, “and GCP gives us the tools we need to move quickly at scale.” To read more about MoBS Lab’s  Zika research and analysis, check out “Spread of Zika virus in the Americas” and our full Northeastern case study.

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This incidence map of Zika infections, created in December 2016 by the MoBS lab simulation model, is a spatial projection of the median number of infections by February 28, 2017. The inset maps provide detailed projections for the areas of Recife and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

MIT professor pushes computing limits

Andrew V. Sutherland, a computational number theorist and Principal at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is part of the team behind L-Functions and Modular Forms Database (LMFDB), a detailed atlas of mathematical objects and the connections among them. This database is used by physics, computer science and mathematics communities around the world.

The calculations to create the objects in LMFDB are complex, time-consuming and expensive to perform. Sutherland uses Compute Engine and Persistent Disk to calculate some of those objects. One tabulation required 580,000 cores of preemptible VMs to compute—the largest known high-performance compute cluster to ever run in the public cloud.

LMFDB also uses Google Cloud to host its web servers, as well as GCP tools like Google Stackdriver, Google Cloud Console and Google Cloud Load Balancing. Running on GCP supports countless daily searches, and allows people in multiple countries to easily administer the system.

We’re excited to see how the team behind LMFDB continues to push the limits of what is possible. See the full MIT LMFDB case study.

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City College of New York and Howard West use GCP Education Grants to equip students with hands-on learning

GCP Education Grants are putting the cloud in the hands of future researchers and computer scientists at more than 500 higher education institutions.

At City College of New York (CCNY), GCP Education Grants provide computer science (CS) students with hands-on experience with virtualization, containers and other cloud technologies. Peter Barnett, Adjunct Associate Computer Science professor, uses GCP Education Grants for students in his Senior Project capstone course, whose software projects have great scientific, social and entrepreneurial potential.  

His teams’ projects include:


  • using machine learning to advance the optical character recognition of handwriting

  • assisting trainers, physical therapists and their clients to develop and maintain correct form in exercise

  • enhancing patent search using content analytics combined with machine learning

  • interior mapping of subway stations and other public places to assist visually impaired people

  • generating quasi-random music with AI that changes in response to user feedback

These students think big, and the GCP grants can help them move from big ideas to new creations.

Across the country, Gloria Washington, a computer science professor from Howard University, helped students in her summer course at Howard West in Mountain View tackle machine learning problems using Cloud Datalab and TensorFlow. These tools allowed Gloria to design a course that was hands-on and project-based, helping students focus on machine learning rather than spending all their time setting up the technology.

“For us, [saving time] was really crucial because we only had five weeks for this course. If you spend a week trying to get them to download the libraries and then make sure that they have the right commands to be able to run it from the shell, that just creates a whole level of complexity that we didn't want to deal with. The complexity was really cut down.”

Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields can apply for free GCP Education Grants. Learn more about eligibility and apply for grants and see the full case studies about the experiences of Howard West and CCNY.

Source: Education


A tech slam dunk: helping students discover code with The Hidden Genius Project

Coding is evolving and influencing how we think about all industries, including fashion, music and art.  But even as CS becomes more important across a wide variety of fields, millions of Black, Hispanic and female youth aren't unlocking its benefits.

One reason behind a lack of representation is perception; according to our research with Gallup, students are five times more likely to take an interest in computer science if they often see people who look like them in that field. As we often say, “you have to see it to be it.”

Today we're announcing a $1 million Google.org grant to The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland, CA-based organization that is working to increase the representation of black male youth in tech. By mentoring Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills, The Hidden Genius Project aims to shift perceptions of computer scientists and inspire the next generation of technologists.  These funds will help the organization grow into new cities, train more staff, and expand their work to inspire more young people to pursue careers at the intersection of tech and their passions. 

I first met The Hidden Genius Project when they were finalists and then winners in our 2015 Google Impact Challenge.  Since our initial $500,000 grant, they’ve reached more than 1,700 Bay Area students through their 15-month intensive CS and entrepreneurship bootcamp program, as well as events and workshops exposing young black men to mentors, basic computer programming and various careers in tech, like sports analytics and video game design. 

We presented the grant to The Hidden Genius Project this evening at Tech Slam—the fourth event in our “CS+X” event series, dedicated to exposing kids to activities and guests that combine computer science and their passions; from music to fashion to, in tonight’s case‚ sports. Two hundred and fifty students from Oakland, San Jose and Sunnyvale completed sports-themed coding projects with Google’s CS First, The Hidden Genius Project and TEAM, Inc., designed a pair of kicks using 3D rendering software, had front row seats for interviews with NBA players in virtual reality, tried on the interactive Levi’s® Jacquard jacket, and more. Students also heard from two Golden State Warriors, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee as well as California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, about how technology can help athletes become better players and how coding is for every student.

This work builds on over $35 million in Google.org grants focused on providing opportunities for underrepresented students to become pioneers of technology, and we’re excited to see how The Hidden Genius Project uses this new grant. While we don’t expect all students to pursue a career in tech, we know the skills they learn will serve them well no matter what job ignites their passion.

Source: Education


Experiment with updates to Science Journal, now on iOS

When we released the Science Journal app last year, our goal was to turn Android phones and tablets into scientific tools. Using the app, both kids and adults could measure light, sound, motion and more, right on their devices. But we heard from teachers that it would be even more useful if the app could take notes and make observations for science experiments. So we've redesigned Science Journal as a digital science notebook, and it’s available today on Android and iOS.

With this new version of Science Journal, each experiment is a blank page that you can fill with notes and photos as you observe the world around you. Over time, we’ll be adding new note-taking tools to enhance the types of observations you can record. For science lovers who have already used the app, measuring real-world data with sensors remains core to the new Science Journal experience. We've added three new sensors for you to play with along with the ability to take a ”snapshot” of your sensor data at a single moment in time.

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And there’s more: our partners, including the California Academy of Sciences, the New York Hall of Science, and Science Buddies, have released more than 20 new activities that you can do with the app—try attaching your phone to a spring, or measuring the motion of a bicycle wheel. In the coming months, look forward to additional features and updates. We’re excited about this new chapter in our mission to inspire scientists and makers everywhere. Download the app today and let us know what you think.

Source: Education


Chromebooks are at the head of the class in Canada’s K-12 schools

Around the world, education has undergone a technological revolution. Cloud-connected devices and learning applications are shaping new ways of teaching and learning. Across Canada, school districts are using Chromebooks and G Suite for Education to expand learning opportunities for students from diverse communities and backgrounds. And now, Futuresource has reported that Chromebooks are the number-one-selling educational device for Canadian K12 schools.

With this news, Canada joins the U.S., Sweden, and New Zealand, where Chromebooks are also the top devices used in classrooms. Futuresource Associate Director Mike Fisher says that the offering of Chromebooks, combined with productivity tools and a management console for IT staff, means that “a growing number of schools are turning to Google when bringing technology into the classroom.”

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Here are a few examples of how districts across Canada are using Google’s educational tools:

Giving schools more choice and flexibility

Toronto District School Board, the largest district in Canada, leaves technology purchases up to individual schools. Chromebook usage has soared across the district to 20,000 devices since the first pilot purchases in early 2015. “Hundreds of schools are purchasing Chromebooks out of local school technology budgets,” says Kevin Bradbeer, the school board’s senior manager of client relations. “We're seeing grassroots decisions to choose this platform over three or four other choices.”

Both students and teachers appreciate the quickness of Chromebooks. Bradbeer says students power up their Chromebooks in seconds, so they can get right to work in class.

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Students collaborating on Chromebooks at an elementary-junior high school in Edmonton.

Affordable devices that bring powerful computing to all students

The Upper Grand School District Board, in Guelph, Ontario, purchased 4,000 Chromebooks in 2013 for special-education students, but found that other students consistently borrowed the Chromebooks to bring into their classrooms. Bill Mackenzie, an Upper Grand information and communication technology consultant says that special-needs students are the “tip of the spear for technology, because if it helps them, it will help everybody.” The district now has 15,000 Chromebooks, about one for every two students, and the number continues to increase.

Edmonton Public Schools has nearly 100,000 students. About 25% of students are immigrants or refugees and part of the district’s diverse English Language Learner population. “Equity of access to technology is a challenge, for sure,” says Terry Korte, a supervisor in District Technology. “We try to avoid the fads and stick with the things that make the biggest difference for teachers and their students.” Chromebooks have helped to make that difference in Edmonton since 2012.

The large Alberta district now has over 46,000 Chromebooks, which was the school’s catalyst for moving into the cloud and using G Suite for Education. “Our goal is to have technology in the hands of students when and where they need it,” Korte adds.

Easy access to a world of apps and content

From a teacher’s perspective, Chromebooks help students learn more effectively by giving them access to a world of educational content. “Chromebooks are inherently networked, so students can find their own way to learn specific concepts online,” says Lance Pedersen, a computer and technology studies teacher at Alberta’s McNally School.

At Edmonton’s Queen Elizabeth School, educators take advantage of the myriad of learning opportunities that Chromebooks and G Suite for Education provide, whether they’re teaching French or guitar.

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Students at an Edmonton elementary-junior high school code with Makey Makey on Chromebooks

These Canadian districts all cite the similar advantages that make Chromebooks and G Suite for Education the top choice for classrooms across the country. “When it comes to cost, performance, and reliability,” Toronto’s Bradbeer says, “Chromebooks really are in the sweet spot of all three.”

Source: Education


Helping NASA and JPL bring the surface of Mars to your browser

On August 6, 2012, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Ever since, it’s been searching for evidence that Mars has ever been suitable for life. It’s also been photographing the Martian terrain in great detail. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab use these photos to create a 3D model of Mars. It’s a one-of-a-kind scientific tool for planning future missions.


Today, we’re putting that same 3D model into an immersive experience for everyone to explore. We call it Access Mars, and it lets you see what the scientists see. Get a real look at Curiosity’s landing site and other mission sites like Pahrump Hills and Murray Buttes. Plus, JPL will continuously update the data so you can see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks. All along the way, JPL scientist Katie Stack Morgan will be your guide, explaining key points about the rover, the mission, and some of the early findings.


The experience is built using WebVR, a technology that lets you see virtual reality right in your browser, without installing any apps. You can try it on a virtual reality headset, phone, or laptop.


Check it out at g.co/accessmars.


And if you’re an educator, we’ve updated our Mars tour in Google Expeditions with highlights from this experience. To try it with your class or in self-guided mode, download the Expeditions app from Google Play or the App Store.

Source: Education