Category Archives: Google for Education Blog

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

Empowering a new generation of localization professionals

When her grandmother Chadia turned 80, Christina Hayek—an Arabic Language Manager at Google—and her sisters wanted to give their beloved sitto a gift that would bring her closer to them. Chadia lives in Lebanon, but her children and grandchildren are spread across the world. To bridge this geographical gap, Christina and her siblings gave their grandmother an Android smartphone. Much to Chadia’s surprise, she was able to use her phone in Arabic straight out of the box.

This isn’t magic—it’s the work of a dedicated localization team at Google, whose mission is to create a diverse user experience that fits every language and every culture. Spread over more than 30 countries, our team of passionate translators and reviewers makes sure that all Google products are fun and easy to use in 70+ languages—and sound natural to people everywhere. Localization goes beyond translation. For example, while references to baseball and donuts work well in the U.S., these aren’t necessarily popular concepts in other cultures. So for we might change them to football in Italy and croissant in France.

With more and more people from around the world coming online every day, the localization industry keeps growing—and so does the demand for great translators, reviewers, and localization professionals. So, as part of Google’s mission to build products for everyone and make the web globally accessible, no matter where people are, we’re launching a massive open online course (MOOC) called Localization Essentials.

Localization Essentials was developed in collaboration with Udacity, and is free to access. It covers all localization basics needed to develop global products, from the types of software that we use to the jobs available in this industry. By sharing our knowledge, we hope that more culturally relevant products will become available to people everywhere, and provide opportunities to them that they didn’t have before.

Source: Education


Empowering a new generation of localization professionals

When her grandmother Chadia turned 80, Christina Hayek—an Arabic Language Manager at Google—and her sisters wanted to give their beloved sitto a gift that would bring her closer to them. Chadia lives in Lebanon, but her children and grandchildren are spread across the world. To bridge this geographical gap, Christina and her siblings gave their grandmother an Android smartphone. Much to Chadia’s surprise, she was able to use her phone in Arabic straight out of the box.

This isn’t magic—it’s the work of a dedicated localization team at Google, whose mission is to create a diverse user experience that fits every language and every culture. Spread over more than 30 countries, our team of passionate translators and reviewers makes sure that all Google products are fun and easy to use in 70+ languages—and sound natural to people everywhere. Localization goes beyond translation. For example, while references to baseball and donuts work well in the U.S., these aren’t necessarily popular concepts in other cultures. So we might change them to football in Italy and croissant in France.

With more and more people from around the world coming online every day, the localization industry keeps growing—and so does the demand for great translators, reviewers, and localization professionals. So, as part of Google’s mission to build products for everyone and make the web globally accessible, no matter where people are, we’re launching a massive open online course (MOOC) called Localization Essentials.

Localization Essentials was developed in collaboration with Udacity, and is free to access. It covers all localization basics needed to develop global products, from the types of software that we use to the jobs available in this industry. By sharing our knowledge, we hope that more culturally relevant products will become available to people everywhere, and provide opportunities to them that they didn’t have before.

Source: Education


Inspiring the creative problem-solvers of the future

What's coming next in technology will shape our future. And because we can't predict what challenges the future will bring, we need to cultivate a new generation of problem-solvers, storytellers, and creative minds to tackle our next problems at scale. It’s not just about coding and programming computers, it’s about helping students learn skills they’ll need to approach problems in a fundamentally different way across every discipline from business to engineering to the arts.

Today, we hosted our fourth annual I/O Youth, part of a longstanding effort to get more students excited about where technology can take them. Nearly 150 5th-7th graders from schools around the Bay Area descended on Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA to explore activities focused on digital storytelling, inventing, science, and coding.

Ryan Germick, who leads our Doodle team, along with Krysia Olszewska of Technovation, emceed the day as kids delved into four activities:

  • Animating their very own cartoon with Toontastic
  • Building a wind spinner from craft supplies and analyzing its speed with the Science Journal app
  • Creating and programming a hot potato game using littleBits Code Kit, which uses drag-and-drop programming based on Google’s Blockly to help kids code
  • Coding an adventure on the high seas, programming the type of ship, height of waves, characters and dialogue, using Scratch with Google’s CS First curriculum

It wouldn’t be I/O without a Sandbox, so through “Toy Taxidermy,” an activity developed by Wonderful Idea Co, kids tinkered with mechanical toys to see how they work. The MIT Media Lab showed kids how to make their own game controllers with Play-Doh and tinfoil to control the games they created in Scratch. Kids also got to check out a virtual journey with Expeditions, learn about the Google Assistant and its sense of humor, and see examples of artificial intelligence through Google’s Quick, Draw! and Giorgio Cam AI Experiments.

Today was about opening a door to let kids see what’s possible. Mentors from littleBits, Scratch, and Technovation encouraged kids to get involved in local clubs and activities so that anyone who has a passion for technology has an outlet to keep going. And everyone went home with a littleBits Rule Your Room Kit, so they can continue creating and programming at home. We hope kids discover that a bright future isn’t some distant goal—it's something they have the power and skills to create right now.

Source: Education


We’ve reached over 1 million UK students with Google Expeditions

For the past eight months, we’ve been on a mission to bring virtual reality experiences into classrooms all across the UK. Launched in September 2016, the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program set out to bring virtual reality field trips to over 1,000,000 UK pupils and open their eyes to places and environments they are unable to see otherwise. To date, the team has visited 3,000+ schools in more than 430 cities and towns, from Leicester to Edinburgh to Port Talbot.

Twickenham Prep School_students.jpg
Students enjoying one of over 600 expeditions now available in the app.

We also teamed up with Google Arts & Culture and partners like The British Museum, English Heritage and Westminster Abbey to add more than 150 expeditions tailored to the UK curriculum, taking the total number of tours now offer in the app to over 600.

LochNess2.jpg
An underwater world brought to life, where you can explore the depths looking for the famous “Nessie.”

Ongoing feedback from teachers continues to help us improve the product, from building lessons tailored to the curriculum, to running teacher training events on how to incorporate Expeditions into effective lesson planning.

It’s a tool that makes lesson planning easier and engages pupils right from the start. Jon Duffy Computer Science teacher

New content is continually being launched on the app. Starting today, teachers and students can explore 20 new destinations from Loch Ness—taking the time to scour the renowned site for its infamous monster— to Exploring Roman Baths, where students can tour one of the UK’s most interesting landmarks.

The Expeditions Pioneer Program will visit UK schools until the end of May 2017. However, if we're not visiting your school, you can still make the most of these tours by downloading Google Expeditions on iOS or Android and following these simple instructions.

Source: Education


We’ve reached over 1 million UK students with Google Expeditions

For the past eight months, we’ve been on a mission to bring virtual reality experiences into classrooms all across the UK. Launched in September 2016, the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program set out to bring virtual reality field trips to over 1,000,000 UK pupils and open their eyes to places and environments they are unable to see otherwise. To date, the team has visited 3,000+ schools in more than 430 cities and towns, from Leicester to Edinburgh to Port Talbot.

Twickenham Prep School_students.jpg
Students enjoying one of over 600 expeditions now available in the app.

We also teamed up with Google Arts & Culture and partners like The British Museum, English Heritage and Westminster Abbey to add more than 150 expeditions tailored to the UK curriculum, taking the total number of tours now offer in the app to over 600.

LochNess2.jpg
An underwater world brought to life, where you can explore the depths looking for the famous “Nessie.”

Ongoing feedback from teachers continues to help us improve the product, from building lessons tailored to the curriculum, to running teacher training events on how to incorporate Expeditions into effective lesson planning.

It’s a tool that makes lesson planning easier and engages pupils right from the start. Jon Duffy Computer Science teacher

New content is continually being launched on the app. Starting today, teachers and students can explore 20 new destinations from Loch Ness—taking the time to scour the renowned site for its infamous monster— to Exploring Roman Baths, where students can tour one of the UK’s most interesting landmarks.

The Expeditions Pioneer Program will visit UK schools until the end of May 2017. However, if we're not visiting your school, you can still make the most of these tours by downloading Google Expeditions on iOS or Android and following these simple instructions.

Source: Education


Celebrating our teachers

Two weeks ago, a few people on our team were lucky enough to attend the 2017 National Teacher of the Year Recognition Gala in Washington, DC, which we were proud to help sponsor. The Council of Chief State School Officers has organized this program for the last 65 years, and we were so inspired after meeting and celebrating the 55 educators who were recognized as the best in their states and territories.

Teachers_group photo
The 2017 National Teachers of the Year in front of the Washington Monument

But today—on National Teacher Appreciation Day—we acknowledge that the important contribution of our nation’s teachers deserves to be celebrated not just on one day, or one week, but every single day of the year. They are the ones who inspire us to work harder, who motivate us to stay curious, who believe in us when we don’t always believe in ourselves, and who ultimately help shape the people we’ll become and the world we’ll live in tomorrow.

Everyone has his or her own story about that one special teacher. For me, it’s Mr. Aalbers, my 5th grade teacher. His imagination and love for exploration —through books and classroom projects— sparked a curiosity that still drives me today. I can only hope my own children will be as lucky as I was to have a teacher like him. We have gathered more stories like mine, and we hope you might also share your own.

Aalbers-class photo-Bram
Mr. Aalbers with his 5th grade class. I’m in the back row, 5th from the right.

Thanks to close collaboration and ongoing feedback from many great teachers, we’ve been able to build and continue improving many of our own products designed for education like Classroom, Chromebooks and Expeditions. Our goal is to create tools like these that expand the classroom walls while also minimizing administrative burdens to help teachers spend more of their time doing what they do best: teaching.

We also want to make sure that teachers have the support they need to use technology effectively in their classrooms, which is why we’ve created the Training Center. And since we know how important it is for educators to connect with and learn from their peers, we’ve established community programs like Google Educator Groups and the Google Certified Innovator Program. We look forward to our continued work with educators to make sure that technology can play a role in helping make education both effective and engaging.

As a gesture of our continued appreciation and gratitude for our teachers, we’re offering 50% off the Google Certified Educator exam through this week, ending May 14, 2017. Just enter the code TeacherDay2017. We hope this will be a small way for teachers to continue their own professional development, on us.

And in the meantime, we encourage everyone to #ThankATeacher this week for making the world —and all of us—better.

Source: Education


Why I celebrate College Signing Day

I grew up as a first-generation American living on welfare and food stamps with a single mother in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. For most of my life, college seemed out of reach—no one in my family or neighborhood had gone, so it was hard to imagine that I’d ever get there. The day I committed to going to college was the day my life changed. It opened many doors and opportunities, and I made lifelong friends (and learned a few important lessons) along the way. Now I’ve dedicated my career at Google to helping educators use technology to give students more opportunities.

 Though it didn’t have an official name when I was in school, College Signing Day marks the day when high school seniors commit to attending a four-year university, professional training program or community college. This College Signing Day, I'm joining Michelle Obama to celebrate this moment and the students whose lives are about to change with their decision to go to college.

 Attending college was a huge milestone for me, but it was accompanied by fear and anxiety. I was entering the unfamiliar and unknown, and my mind filled with dread and doubt. Who was going to help me? If I take out student loans, will I ever make enough money to pay those loans back? What if I'm not smart enough? What if I don’t make any friends?

 These reservations are intensified for students who are growing up the way I grew up. You don't know many individuals who went to college, so you don’t have anyone to turn  turn to for guidance or to help you build the confidence and mindset you need to succeed in college. But I was a stubborn kid (and am now a stubborn adult) and refused to accept expectations for kids like me—that we were destined to a life of crime or poverty. I wanted to prove the stereotypes wrong, which is why I committed to attending SUNY Brockport.

 For students who are the first in their family to attend college, celebrating College Signing Day is critical. We tell students the most important thing they can do for their future is to focus on their education. We tell them how higher education will give them the perspective and tools they’ll use for the rest of their lives. When these students get into college, it’s an enormous accomplishment—and we need to show them it’s worth celebrating.

 Though these students may not have grown up around college graduates, they’ll soon be surrounded by a community of educators, counselors, students and alumni who can help them through the college experience. This community—combined that with the love and support of families and communities back home—is critical to the success of college-bound students.

 Google has done a lot of work to expand opportunities for students at every step of their education (so that they can eventually make it to College Signing Day!). Through Google.org we’ve committed $50 million toward supporting nonprofits that are working to close global education gaps. We’ve built products and tools—like Classroom and Chromebooks—designed to make teaching and learning more effective and engaging. And we’ve also created programs that give every student the tools to become the creators, not just the consumers, of technology.  

A critical component of this commitment is ensuring that every student also has a pathway to pursue their higher education, whether that’s through scholarships, mentors or interning with us at Google. In partnership with Reach Higher (part of the Better Make Room initiative), we’ve also created a series of Google Expeditions for students to virtually visit college campuses. This opens up opportunities for students who don’t have the means to travel to for college visits—they can check out residence halls, classrooms, and even financial aid offices before ever stepping foot on campus. Colleges interested in creating their own Expedition can sign up via this form.

howard

Former First Lady Michelle Obama touring the advanced skills lab in Howard Community College's Expedition.

For more information on College Signing Day and to access a toolkit to help teachers, counselors, and community organizations host a celebration in their community, visit www.bettermakeroom.org.

Source: Education


Why I celebrate College Signing Day

I grew up as a first-generation American living on welfare and food stamps with a single mother in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. For most of my life, college seemed out of reach—no one in my family or neighborhood had gone, so it was hard to imagine that I’d ever get there. The day I committed to going to college was the day my life changed. It opened many doors and opportunities, and I made lifelong friends (and learned a few important lessons) along the way. Now I’ve dedicated my career at Google to helping educators use technology to give students more opportunities.

 Though it didn’t have an official name when I was in school, College Signing Day marks the day when high school seniors commit to attending a four-year university, professional training program or community college. This College Signing Day, I'm joining Michelle Obama to celebrate this moment and the students whose lives are about to change with their decision to go to college.

 Attending college was a huge milestone for me, but it was accompanied by fear and anxiety. I was entering the unfamiliar and unknown, and my mind filled with dread and doubt. Who was going to help me? If I take out student loans, will I ever make enough money to pay those loans back? What if I'm not smart enough? What if I don’t make any friends?

 These reservations are intensified for students who are growing up the way I grew up. You don't know many individuals who went to college, so you don’t have anyone to turn  turn to for guidance or to help you build the confidence and mindset you need to succeed in college. But I was a stubborn kid (and am now a stubborn adult) and refused to accept expectations for kids like me—that we were destined to a life of crime or poverty. I wanted to prove the stereotypes wrong, which is why I committed to attending SUNY Brockport.

 For students who are the first in their family to attend college, celebrating College Signing Day is critical. We tell students the most important thing they can do for their future is to focus on their education. We tell them how higher education will give them the perspective and tools they’ll use for the rest of their lives. When these students get into college, it’s an enormous accomplishment—and we need to show them it’s worth celebrating.

 Though these students may not have grown up around college graduates, they’ll soon be surrounded by a community of educators, counselors, students and alumni who can help them through the college experience. This community—combined that with the love and support of families and communities back home—is critical to the success of college-bound students.

 Google has done a lot of work to expand opportunities for students at every step of their education (so that they can eventually make it to College Signing Day!). Through Google.org we’ve committed $50 million toward supporting nonprofits that are working to close global education gaps. We’ve built products and tools—like Classroom and Chromebooks—designed to make teaching and learning more effective and engaging. And we’ve also created programs that give every student the tools to become the creators, not just the consumers, of technology.  

A critical component of this commitment is ensuring that every student also has a pathway to pursue their higher education, whether that’s through scholarships, mentors or interning with us at Google. In partnership with Reach Higher (part of the Better Make Room initiative), we’ve also created a series of Google Expeditions for students to virtually visit college campuses. This opens up opportunities for students who don’t have the means to travel to for college visits—they can check out residence halls, classrooms, and even financial aid offices before ever stepping foot on campus. Colleges interested in creating their own Expedition can sign up via this form.

howard

Former First Lady Michelle Obama touring the advanced skills lab in Howard Community College's Expedition.

For more information on College Signing Day and to access a toolkit to help teachers, counselors, and community organizations host a celebration in their community, visit www.bettermakeroom.org.

Source: Education


U.S. history takes center stage for high schoolers

Editor’s note: Last week, Google announced a grant to bring students to see “Hamilton.” We tagged along to get a firsthand glimpse at how the students reacted to this unique experience of American history.

“I see him as the underdog, and I think, ‘that’s kind of me, that’s all of us.’” That’s what one high school junior from San Jose, CA had to say last week about Alexander Hamilton. How do you get 21st century kids to relate to a U.S. Founding Father born 260 years ago? Take them on a virtual journey through his life, and then bring that history lesson to the stage.

Last week, students went on six new Google Expeditions to follow along with Alexander Hamilton as he shaped the foundation of our country. Then, using racial justice funding from Google.org, the Hamilton Education program (#EduHam), brought 5,000 Title I students to see “Hamilton” in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. And we were lucky enough to be in the “room where it happens” with 2,000 local students in SF as the curtains rose...

HamiltonExpeditions_students.jpg

Students go back in time to hang with Alexander Hamilton. Best Monday ever?

Act 1: the Expedition

To get in the right mindset before seeing “Hamilton,” juniors at Aspire Golden State Preparatory School in Oakland, CA went on an Expedition using Google Cardboard. They took a virtual tour through the events of Alexander Hamilton’s life, starting with the American Revolution, where they visited landmarks and read documents that were important to the outcome of the war. 

The Expedition continued through the ratification of the Constitution, the creation of our nation’s economic system and George Washington’s presidency. It ended with a glimpse of Alexander Hamilton’s personal life—his letters dealing with love and grief—and ended at the famous spot where he dueled Aaron Burr. With each step in the Expedition, there were collective “oohs,” “aahs,” “whoas” and the occasional snarky comment: “Sick wig, Hamilton.”

Several students noted that, as visual learners, it was easier to understand this historical era through the Expedition, instead of reading about it in a book. Something clicked when they could visualize where these historical moments took place. Joanne Lin, assistant principal of Aspire Golden State, says that her students relate to Hamilton: “He had to make it on his own in America—that’s the connection for many of our kids.”

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2,000 high school students eagerly await the show to start in San Francisco.

Act 2: students take the stage

Students participating in #EduHam took a six-week American history and civics program, and had to create a performing arts piece based on a document from the Founding Era. On the day of the show, one student (or in some cases, a duo or trio) performed their acts on the “Hamilton” stage. In San Francisco, the performances—spoken word, raps, poems and musical numbers—touched on themes of courage, independence, racial tension and women’s rights. With each one, the raucous applause in the audience got louder and louder. The term “bringing down the house” may have been coined by high school “Hamilton” fans!

The finale: Q&A with the cast before teleporting to 1776

Before the show, the students heard from the cast, who shared their experiences working on “Hamilton.” Cast member Desmond Nunn encouraged the students to chase their dreams: “Dreaming is great,” he said, “but wake up and make it happen.” When asked about the cultural relevance of “Hamilton,” cast member Hope Endrenyi said, “People don't like to talk about hard subjects. With ‘Hamilton,’ you get lost in it and have a good time, but also talk about something that is important and makes a difference.”

When the lights in the theater flickered, the excitement in the air was palpable. For many students, it was their first time ever attending a musical; most would never have the opportunity to see “Hamilton” otherwise. Cheers erupted as a man in Colonial garb took the stage—his name was Alexander Hamilton.

Curtain call

As Aspire Golden State’s assistant principal Joanne Lin said, “These moments in history don’t just live in the past.” Google Expeditions and #EduHam help bring students from all backgrounds closer to history. With a stronger connection to the events of our country’s past, students can better visualize the role they’ll play in our future—asking themselves, “What comes next?”

Source: Education


Creating a professional growth culture: 3 lessons from school districts

Whether it’s a 3D printer, a language app, or a Chromebook on a student’s desk, technology represents potential. The results can be profound, but learning how to make the most of new tools often requires dedication outside of the standard school day.

We spoke with teachers and administrators at Cicero Public School District 99 in Illinois and Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools in Ohio about how they designed technology professional development programs to engage teachers for the long term. Here we share three lessons learned from their experiences building programs that impact educators and students alike.

Lesson 1: Incentives help overcome inertia

When the Cicero Public School District 99 board set the goal of giving every child access to a Chromebook, professional development for teachers became a top priority. CIO Cao Mac believed any tech rollout was bound to fail unless teachers got the right training. So his team came up with a plan to motivate teachers to get Google Certified—they’d offer them early access to new classroom devices.

The district now has 104 Google Certified Educators, and has seen a shift in how teachers use devices in the classroom. Before the training, students used laptops and tablets for activities like math games and music videos. Two months after the Chromebook rollout, the top five sites accessed across the district included Google Classroom, Google Docs and Khan Academy. “Right off the bat, they were no longer using their machines randomly,” Mac says. “Their use was more focused.”

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Lesson 2: Time is a precious resource

Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District is the first public school district to train all of its teachers to become Google Certified Educators. Administrators say they achieved 100 percent participation by customizing the program around teachers’ schedules.

“We made it easy for teachers get certified whenever it was most convenient,” says Nancy Kevern, a technology integration and instructional coach at Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools. “Grouping teachers by grade level helped us emphasize the lessons they would find most useful.”

The district also started a committee that works on solutions for fitting professional development into teachers’ busy schedules. They’ve proposed incorporating trainings into the school day—for instance, by delaying student start times.

Lesson 3: Community makes a movement

Cicero Public School District 99 took a grassroots approach to training its teachers. A group of technology resource teachers actively recruited teachers to get certified, leveraging their relationships to build a team of early adopters. This group influenced the rest of the district.

“We knew if these ambassadors were on board, their friends would be, too,” Mac says. “Adoption needs to happen teacher by teacher, grade by grade.”

This momentum has led Cicero Public School District 99 to extend its 1:1 Chromebook program to grades K-8. None of this would have been possible without support from teachers and the entire district.

This isn’t my initiative,” Mac says. “This is the village of Cicero’s initiative. This is ours. Cao Mac CIO at Cicero Public School District 99

Professional development is about more than introducing new tools. By helping educators develop the skills and confidence to grow professionally, school districts are investing in their students and building cultures that embrace technology. “It doesn’t matter how many devices you have,” Mac says. “If you don’t know how to integrate technology with teaching, it becomes just another add on.”

Visit the Training Center to learn more about the Google for Education certification programs. And if you’re a district interested in help from a Certified Professional Development Partner, learn more here.

Source: Education