Category Archives: Google for Education Blog

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

Using technology to empower students and turn them into critical thinkers

Editor’s note: Google for Education Premier Partners are working with schools to host the ExploreEDU event series, where schools can share their first-hand experiences with other educators. Today’s guest author is Kyle Black, a high school English teacher from First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, which hosted an ExploreEDU event on March 21-22 with Promevo. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site.

In a world dominated by technology, a good education depends on digital know-how—in addition to problem solving, clear communication and organizational skills. Students need both digital and soft skills to guide them through college, into the workplace and beyond.

In my five years on the job, here’s what I’ve learned about teaching a generation of students to use technology in responsible and impactful ways:

1
A student uses Google Classroom to turn in an assignment.

1. Empower students to take control of their learning

High school students are learning how to work independently and use technology to explore new concepts. When AP English students come across a word they don’t know in Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” for example, they can look it up on their Chromebooks rather than ask me for the definition. Students love proving me wrong about facts related to classic literature like “The Crucible” by researching on their Chromebooks—and their eyes light up when their point of view is validated. With classroom technology, we’re teaching students to take charge of their own learning and engage in healthy debate.

2. Quiz students often to assess understanding

Every day my students take mini-quizzes via Google Forms so I can gauge whether they understand the topic I just covered or if I need to modify my instruction. When teaching semicolons, for instance, my students take a four-question quiz using their Chromebooks to identify sentences that use semicolons correctly. If 75 percent of the class gets a question wrong, I know to back up and explain the concept in a different way or provide more examples. This not only improves their academic performance, but it also it teaches them the importance of clear communication and continuous feedback.
2
A student works on a Google Doc where feedback was provided via comments.

3. Turn feedback into a critical thinking exercise

It’s common for students to accept a teacher’s revisions to their work without considering why specific changes are made. By making the feedback process interactive, students are encouraged to think critically before accepting edits at face value. For example, when I’m reviewing essays or creative writing, I often suggest incorrect or ridiculous changes using comments and suggested edits in Google Docs—and my students know this type of feedback is coming. Typically, half of my edits will require students to think deeply before hitting the “accept” button. It forces them to play a more active role in their learning, and to constantly challenge ideas.

I believe that teaching students digital and critical thinking skills matters more than teaching them how to ace a test. To prepare students for lifelong success, we must encourage them to brainstorm new ideas and embrace the new tools at their fingertips.

Source: Education


Howard University opens a new campus at the Googleplex

When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech. This was long before we published our diversity numbers or understood how important it was for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our users. This was also long before we started formally recruiting from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex. “Howard West” is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to create a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one. With a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together, I can only imagine what innovation and creativity will come to light.

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science (CS) program can attend Howard West, for three months at a time. Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

HBCUs are a pillar in the CS education community, producing more than a third of all Black CS graduates in the U.S. Google already has a strong partnership with Howard through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other HBCUs.  

Through GIR we’ve learned a lot about the hurdles Black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We’ve also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.

We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind—to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind—to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve,” says Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University.

During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google. Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Source: Education


Helping to close the education gap

Even after four years of primary education, 130 million students around the world haven’t mastered basic subjects like reading and math. Limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom present challenges for many children.

Through Google.org, we’ve given more than $110 million over the past five years to help close gaps in education—whether globally through early and ongoing support for innovators like Khan Academy or focused specifically on how we can support future technologists through our support for CS education organizations. Today, we’re expanding on those commitments with our largest dedicated portfolio of $50 million over the next two years to support nonprofits who are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle these challenges. To start, we’re funding nine organizations around the world that we will also support with Googler volunteers in areas like user experience design, translation, offline functionality and data analytics. By the end of 2017, our goal is to give grants to education nonprofits in 20 countries. And later this year, we’ll be looking for the next round of innovators to join them.

GEI EDU Grant-graphic0.png

Our education grants will focus on three areas where technology can help: giving more students access to quality learning materials, supporting teacher development, and reaching students in conflict zones. Get to know some of our grantees below, and learn about the ways they’re using technology to help close the education gap.

Giving kids the right materials

Around the world, students in low-income communities have to learn with fewer books, out-of-date texts, and materials that are culturally irrelevant or even in the wrong language. Technology can bypass the geographic and financial boundaries that block educational resources from reaching students, while also making those resources more engaging, interactive and effective.

GEI EDU Grant-graphic1.png

One of our first grantees in this area is the Foundation for Learning Equality, which builds free open-source software to bring online materials—including books, video tutorials and quizzes—to the 4.3 billion people who lack consistent access to the internet. Their new platform, Kolibri, runs on numerous devices and helps educators access, organize and customize digital content, even in the most remote locations. So far they’ve brought 7,000 videos and 26,000 interactive exercises offline for students in about 160 countries.

Our funding, along with Google volunteers providing technical support, will help Learning Equality build a bigger content library and scale their reach to hundreds of thousands of new students. This summer, Google engineers and product experts are volunteering to spend four weeks working side-by-side with Learning Equality’s product team in areas such as UX/UI, content integration, and video compression technology.

Keeping teachers trained and engaged

Having a great teacher is one of the best predictors of a student’s academic success, but in many countries there simply aren’t enough of them. By 2030, India alone will need 3 million new primary school teachers just to keep up with its growing population of students.

Google.org is helping local leaders invest in digital tools that offer teachers quality training and confidence-building tools that encourage creativity in the classroom. The first of these grants goes to Million Sparks Foundation's ChalkLit, an app-based platform that combines bite-sized, curriculum-aligned content with an online community to support first-rate teaching. Google engineers volunteering their time and skills will advise the Million Sparks team on how to optimize the ChalkLit app for teachers in low-bandwidth and offline environments.

Helping students learn in crisis

Thirty-two million primary school-aged students can’t reach traditional classrooms because of violent conflict and displacement. Quality primary education is especially important to kids who, living in camps or other hard-to-reach settings, are highly vulnerable to poverty and exploitative labor.

One interesting approach to this problem comes from Google.org grantee War Child Holland, whose game-based method, Can’t Wait To Learn, children affected by conflict from falling behind by providing a year of lessons and exercises that align with a host country’s curriculum.

Data collected from Can’t Wait To Learn’s first deployments in Sudan showed that students learned significantly from the approach, with boys and girls progressing at equal rates. Supported by Google product experts who are volunteering to help build their product road map and expand their tech team, War Child Holland aims to reach significant numbers of children in the Middle East and Africa the next five years.

We’re continuing to work with these grantees, and are aiming to expand our efforts throughout the next year. If you’d like updates on our program, please let us know. We look forward to continuing this work to make education more equitable for children around the world.

Source: Education


Helping to close the education gap

Even after four years of primary education, 130 million students around the world haven’t mastered basic subjects like reading and math. Limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom present challenges for many children.

Through Google.org, we’ve given more than $110 million over the past five years to help close gaps in education—whether globally through early and ongoing support for innovators like Khan Academy or focused specifically on how we can support future technologists through our support for CS education organizations. Today, we’re expanding on those commitments with our largest dedicated portfolio of $50 million over the next two years to support nonprofits who are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle these challenges. To start, we’re funding nine organizations around the world that we will also support with Googler volunteers in areas like user experience design, translation, offline functionality and data analytics. By the end of 2017, our goal is to give grants to education nonprofits in 20 countries. And later this year, we’ll be looking for the next round of innovators to join them.

GEI EDU Grant-graphic0.png

Our education grants will focus on three areas where technology can help: giving more students access to quality learning materials, supporting teacher development, and reaching students in conflict zones. Get to know some of our grantees below, and learn about the ways they’re using technology to help close the education gap.

Giving kids the right materials

Around the world, students in low-income communities have to learn with fewer books, out-of-date texts, and materials that are culturally irrelevant or even in the wrong language. Technology can bypass the geographic and financial boundaries that block educational resources from reaching students, while also making those resources more engaging, interactive and effective.

GEI EDU Grant-graphic1.png

One of our first grantees in this area is the Foundation for Learning Equality, which builds free open-source software to bring online materials—including books, video tutorials and quizzes—to the 4.3 billion people who lack consistent access to the internet. Their new platform, Kolibri, runs on numerous devices and helps educators access, organize and customize digital content, even in the most remote locations. So far they’ve brought 7,000 videos and 26,000 interactive exercises offline for students in about 160 countries.

Our funding, along with Google volunteers providing technical support, will help Learning Equality build a bigger content library and scale their reach to hundreds of thousands of new students. This summer, Google engineers and product experts are volunteering to spend four weeks working side-by-side with Learning Equality’s product team in areas such as UX/UI, content integration, and video compression technology.

Keeping teachers trained and engaged

Having a great teacher is one of the best predictors of a student’s academic success, but in many countries there simply aren’t enough of them. By 2030, India alone will need 3 million new primary school teachers just to keep up with its growing population of students.

Google.org is helping local leaders invest in digital tools that offer teachers quality training and confidence-building tools that encourage creativity in the classroom. The first of these grants goes to Million Sparks Foundation's ChalkLit, an app-based platform that combines bite-sized, curriculum-aligned content with an online community to support first-rate teaching. Google engineers volunteering their time and skills will advise the Million Sparks team on how to optimize the ChalkLit app for teachers in low-bandwidth and offline environments.

Helping students learn in crisis

Thirty-two million primary school-aged students can’t reach traditional classrooms because of violent conflict and displacement. Quality primary education is especially important to kids who, living in camps or other hard-to-reach settings, are highly vulnerable to poverty and exploitative labor.

One interesting approach to this problem comes from Google.org grantee War Child Holland, whose game-based method, Can’t Wait To Learn, children affected by conflict from falling behind by providing a year of lessons and exercises that align with a host country’s curriculum.

Data collected from Can’t Wait To Learn’s first deployments in Sudan showed that students learned significantly from the approach, with boys and girls progressing at equal rates. Supported by Google product experts who are volunteering to help build their product road map and expand their tech team, War Child Holland aims to reach significant numbers of children in the Middle East and Africa the next five years.

We’re continuing to work with these grantees, and are aiming to expand our efforts throughout the next year. If you’d like updates on our program, please let us know. We look forward to continuing this work to make education more equitable for children around the world.

Source: Education


The She Word: Jen Holland and her career expedition

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

Today we’re talking to Jen Holland, a program manager on our education team who once played a humming game on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” with Ellen and Vince Vaughn. (Before you ask, no—there’s no video.)

jen

You’re at a dinner party and someone asks what you do. How do you explain your job to them?

My team works on education products like Google Classroom and Expeditions (a virtual field trip app for schools) that aim to transform how teaching and learning happen in the classroom. As a program manager, I’m responsible for our product pilots in schools—where we work directly alongside teachers and students to develop our products based on what schools actually need.

I lead our efforts to bring Expeditions to schools all over the globe through the Pioneer Program, which has taken more than  2 million students in 11 countries on an Expedition. Finally, I’m responsible for all Expeditions content creation, which now spans more than 500 high-quality VR tours and 200+ teacher lesson plans. This week we added 40 more Expeditions which are all focused on women’s careers, and introduce students to what it’s like to work as an astronaut, engineer, or firefighter.

You've been on the Expeditions team from the beginning. What have you found most inspiring or surprising about the program?

The biggest joy I get is going into a class and seeing the magic of Expeditions take over. The students are totally engaged without even realizing it and ask incredible and inquisitive questions. The teachers can hardly believe what they are seeing and the smiles on their faces are just priceless. That’s what learning should look like every day.

The coolest part of Expeditions for me is that I had no background in VR or creating compelling VR content—let alone any experience running a global program. I spent tons of time watching YouTube videos, reading articles, going to conferences, and listening to podcasts to learn more about VR. It took a lot of trial and error, but as my dad always said to me, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to work in “business.” My dad was a business professor and my first “investor” when I was a kid (think lemonade stands and sewing ribbon belts!). As I grew older and spent more time with my dad’s friends—like Bill Campbell, who was the chairman of Intuit and a beloved advisor to Silicon Valley companies—I became fascinated by entrepreneurship and product development.

I’m also passionate about helping college students get the skills they need to be competitive from day one. I learned so much of my important “soft skills” on the job—I wish I’d had more coaching and opportunities to learn about things like project management, budgeting, business modeling, giving and receiving peer feedback, upward communication, etc. in classes. That’s one of the reasons I love working on Expeditions—which can help students explore college campuses and learn more about other careers—and why I volunteer with students on entrepreneurship programs.

Tell us about one of your mentors who helped you get to where you are today.

My college accounting professor, Dawn Massey, was not only a fantastic teacher, but also encouraged me to pursue my crazy ideas. When I took my first accounting class in college, I was miserable. I hated accounting. But by spending so much time with her, I got better. I ended up switching my focus and moved into finance—something I’d never considered because I thought I was bad at math. Fast forward, I ended up with an MBA in Finance and accepted a role on Google’s finance team, which eventually led to my dream job—the one I have now.

My second mentor was someone I mentioned already—Bill Campbell. He was a dear friend of my dad’s, and always made time for me. I learned from him that it’s always important to make time for individuals who willing to put in the effort and succeed, whether that be through informal coffee chats, mentorships, reviewing resumes, doing mock interviews, etc. You can always make time to help someone out.

How do you spend most of your time outside of work?

My husband and I love to host and have friends over for dinner parties—or really any kind of parties. I LOVE craft projects, floral arrangements, and baking and cooking. I enjoy traveling—my favorite place to visit is Maine, where my family spends every Fourth of July. And I especially love the time I spend volunteering and engaging with students. I started a program that teaches college students professional development skills to help them close the digital divide in their school's communities, and also hit the ground running in a job or internship.

Source: Education


The She Word: Jen Holland and her career expedition

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

Today we’re talking to Jen Holland, a program manager on our education team who once played a humming game on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” with Ellen and Vince Vaughn. (Before you ask, no—there’s no video.)

jen

You’re at a dinner party and someone asks what you do. How do you explain your job to them?

My team works on education products like Google Classroom and Expeditions (a virtual field trip app for schools) that aim to transform how teaching and learning happen in the classroom. As a program manager, I’m responsible for our product pilots in schools—where we work directly alongside teachers and students to develop our products based on what schools actually need.

I lead our efforts to bring Expeditions to schools all over the globe through the Pioneer Program, which has taken more than  2 million students in 11 countries on an Expedition. Finally, I’m responsible for all Expeditions content creation, which now spans more than 500 high-quality VR tours and 200+ teacher lesson plans. This week we added 40 more Expeditions which are all focused on women’s careers, and introduce students to what it’s like to work as an astronaut, engineer, or firefighter.

You've been on the Expeditions team from the beginning. What have you found most inspiring or surprising about the program?

The biggest joy I get is going into a class and seeing the magic of Expeditions take over. The students are totally engaged without even realizing it and ask incredible and inquisitive questions. The teachers can hardly believe what they are seeing and the smiles on their faces are just priceless. That’s what learning should look like every day.

The coolest part of Expeditions for me is that I had no background in VR or creating compelling VR content—let alone any experience running a global program. I spent tons of time watching YouTube videos, reading articles, going to conferences, and listening to podcasts to learn more about VR. It took a lot of trial and error, but as my dad always said to me, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to work in “business.” My dad was a business professor and my first “investor” when I was a kid (think lemonade stands and sewing ribbon belts!). As I grew older and spent more time with my dad’s friends—like Bill Campbell, who was the chairman of Intuit and a beloved advisor to Silicon Valley companies—I became fascinated by entrepreneurship and product development.

I’m also passionate about helping college students get the skills they need to be competitive from day one. I learned so much of my important “soft skills” on the job—I wish I’d had more coaching and opportunities to learn about things like project management, budgeting, business modeling, giving and receiving peer feedback, upward communication, etc. in classes. That’s one of the reasons I love working on Expeditions—which can help students explore college campuses and learn more about other careers—and why I volunteer with students on entrepreneurship programs.

Tell us about one of your mentors who helped you get to where you are today.

My college accounting professor, Dawn Massey, was not only a fantastic teacher, but also encouraged me to pursue my crazy ideas. When I took my first accounting class in college, I was miserable. I hated accounting. But by spending so much time with her, I got better. I ended up switching my focus and moved into finance—something I’d never considered because I thought I was bad at math. Fast forward, I ended up with an MBA in Finance and accepted a role on Google’s finance team, which eventually led to my dream job—the one I have now.

My second mentor was someone I mentioned already—Bill Campbell. He was a dear friend of my dad’s, and always made time for me. I learned from him that it’s always important to make time for individuals who willing to put in the effort and succeed, whether that be through informal coffee chats, mentorships, reviewing resumes, doing mock interviews, etc. You can always make time to help someone out.

How do you spend most of your time outside of work?

My husband and I love to host and have friends over for dinner parties—or really any kind of parties. I LOVE craft projects, floral arrangements, and baking and cooking. I enjoy traveling—my favorite place to visit is Maine, where my family spends every Fourth of July. And I especially love the time I spend volunteering and engaging with students. I started a program that teaches college students professional development skills to help them close the digital divide in their school's communities, and also hit the ground running in a job or internship.

Source: Education


Helping libraries get youth excited about computer science

I grew up in a library. Well, sort of. My family arrived in the United States as refugees when I was a toddler and, living in a community without many resources or youth programs, my parents were unsure of what to do with me outside of school. This was especially true in the summers, so they would take me to our local library several times a week — it was free and air-conditioned. I was a regular at every literacy program and summer reading competition, and it was through these programs that I honed my reading skills and developed a love of learning that have guided me ever since.

Now, decades after those visits to our local branch, I’m excited to share that Google is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) on Libraries Ready to Code, a new project to help librarians across the U.S. inspire youth to explore computer science (CS). This work builds on previous Google support for library programs, including Wi-Fi hotspot lending.

Libraries are, and have always been, at the heart of communities throughout the country. They play a unique role in education, inspiring youth (and adults!) to be lifelong learners. More than just a place to borrow books, libraries provide access to critical knowledge, workforce skills, and opportunities to become civically engaged. As the world changes, libraries have adapted with new services, media and tools. They promote digital inclusion—providing free access to digital content, hardware, software, and high-speed Internet.

And, increasingly, libraries are recognizing the importance of exposing youth to CS and computational thinking (CT) skills—arguably, the “new literacy” of the 21st century. “Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future,” says Crystle Martin, Secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. Crystle Martin Secretary of YALSA

While 40 percent of U.S. schools offer CS courses that include programming, access is not universal and demographic disparities exist. Libraries can help broaden that access: with more than 100,000 public and school libraries in the U.S., including in rural and lower-income areas, more than 306 million Americans live within a service area. But to expand access to CS, we need to provide librarians with the resources and understanding to curate and implement programs that suit their communities’ needs.

Through Libraries Ready to Code, Google and ALA will help equip librarians with skills to provide CS learning opportunities like Google’s CS First program, which New York Public Libraries are already using for NY coding clubs. The project will support university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in redesigning their tech and media courses. They’ll integrate content on facilitating CS activities and teaching CT, and after the courses are evaluated, we’ll share these model courses with LIS schools nationally.

Ready to Code isn’t intended to transform librarians into expert programmers or computer scientists. Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course.

The next time you’re at your local library, find out if they are Ready to Code. If not, they can visit the Ready to Code website to learn about resources to get started and request more information. Meanwhile, I’ll be at my local branch with my five-year old — checking out books and learning to code together.

EDU_ReadyToCode_HaiHong_Son.JPG

Source: Education


Helping libraries get youth excited about computer science

I grew up in a library. Well, sort of. My family arrived in the United States as refugees when I was a toddler and, living in a community without many resources or youth programs, my parents were unsure of what to do with me outside of school. This was especially true in the summers, so they would take me to our local library several times a week — it was free and air-conditioned. I was a regular at every literacy program and summer reading competition, and it was through these programs that I honed my reading skills and developed a love of learning that has guided me ever since.

Now, decades after those visits to our local branch, I’m excited to share that Google is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) on Libraries Ready to Code, a new project to help librarians across the U.S. inspire youth to explore computer science (CS). This work builds on previous Google support for library programs, including Wi-Fi hotspot lending.

Libraries are, and have always been, at the heart of communities throughout the country. They play a unique role in education, inspiring youth (and adults!) to be lifelong learners. More than just a place to borrow books, libraries provide access to critical knowledge, workforce skills, and opportunities to become civically engaged. As the world changes, libraries have adapted with new services, media and tools. They promote digital inclusion—providing free access to digital content, hardware, software, and high-speed Internet.

And, increasingly, libraries are recognizing the importance of exposing youth to CS and computational thinking (CT) skills—arguably, the “new literacy” of the 21st century. “Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future,” says Crystle Martin, Secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. Crystle Martin Secretary of YALSA

While 40 percent of U.S. schools offer CS courses that include programming, access is not universal and demographic disparities exist. Libraries can help broaden that access: with more than 100,000 public and school libraries in the U.S., including in rural and lower-income areas, more than 306 million Americans live within a service area. But to expand access to CS, we need to provide librarians with the resources and understanding to curate and implement programs that suit their communities’ needs.

Through Libraries Ready to Code, Google and ALA will help equip librarians with skills to provide CS learning opportunities like Google’s CS First program, which New York Public Libraries are already using for NY coding clubs. The project will support university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in redesigning their tech and media courses. They’ll integrate content on facilitating CS activities and teaching CT, and after the courses are evaluated, we’ll share these model courses with LIS schools nationally.

Ready to Code isn’t intended to transform librarians into expert programmers or computer scientists. Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course.

The next time you’re at your local library, find out if they are Ready to Code. If not, they can visit the Ready to Code website to learn about resources to get started and request more information. Meanwhile, I’ll be at my local branch with my five-year old — checking out books and learning to code together.

EDU_ReadyToCode_HaiHong_Son.JPG
Hai Hong and his son programming in Scratch at their local library

Source: Education


Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spokewith educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—FluencyTutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

FluencyTutor.png

Developed by Texthelp, FluencyTutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable. Mandy Marlowe 6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use FluencyTutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Source: Education


Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

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Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable. Mandy Marlowe 6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider. Lisa Goldman 7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Source: Education