Category Archives: Google for Education Blog

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Google Cloud supports $3M in grant credits for the NSF BIGDATA program

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) serves more than one billion end-users, and we continue to seek ways to give researchers access to these powerful tools. Through the National Science Foundation’s BIGDATA grants program, we're offering researchers $3M in Google Cloud Platform credits to use the same infrastructure, analytics and machine learning that we use to drive innovation at Google.

About the BIGDATA grants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced its flagship research program on big data, Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA). The BIGDATA program encourages experimentation with datasets at scale. Google will provide cloud credits to qualifying NSF-funded projects, giving researchers access to the breadth of services on GCP, from scalable data management (Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Bigtable, Google Cloud Datastore), to analysis (Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Dataflow, Google Cloud Dataproc, Google Cloud Datalab, Google Genomics) to machine learning (Google Cloud Machine Learning, TensorFlow).

This collaboration combines NSF’s experience in managing diverse research portfolios with Google’s proven track record in secure and intelligent cloud computing and data science. NSF is accepting proposals from March 15, 2017 through March 22, 2017.  All proposals that meet NSF requirements will be reviewed through NSF’s merit review process.

GCP in action at Stanford University

To get an idea of the potential impact of GCP, consider Stanford University’s Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine, where scientists work with data at a massive scale. Director Mike Snyder and his lab have been involved in a number of large efforts, from ENCODE to the Million Veteran Program. Snyder and his colleagues turned to Google Genomics, which gives scientists access to GCP to help secure, store, process, explore and share biological datasets. With the costs of cloud computing dropping significantly and demand for ever-larger genomics studies growing, Snyder thinks fewer labs will continue relying on local infrastructure.

“We’re entering an era where people are working with thousands or tens of thousands or even million genome projects, and you’re never going to do that on a local cluster very easily,” he says. “Cloud computing is where the field is going.”

“What you can do with Google Genomics — and you can’t do in-house — is run 1,000 genomes in parallel,” says Somalee Datta, bioinformatics director of Stanford University’s Center of Genomics. “From our point of view, it’s almost infinite resources.”


Source: Education


Three ways to get started with computer science and computational thinking

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting education leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Tim Bell, a professor in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury and creator of CS Unplugged. Tim is a recipient of CS4HS awards and has partnered with Google in Australia to develop free resources to support teachers around the world to successfully implement computational thinking and computer science into classrooms.

My home of New Zealand, like many countries around the world, is fully integrating computer science (CS) into the national curriculum. This change affects all teachers, because the goal of standardizing CS education curriculum is bigger than CS itself. It’s not just about grooming the next generation of computer scientists—it’s about equipping every student an approach to solving problems through computational thinking (CT). This way of thinking can and must be applied to other subjects. Math, science, and even English and history teachers will need to teach CT, and many feel uncertain about the road ahead.

Progressing CS + CT education at the national level will only be successful if all teachers feel confident in their ability to get started. This first step can be the most daunting, so I want to share a few simple ways any teacher can bring CS and CT into the classroom.

1. Engage students as builders and teachers

CT is about building new ways to solve problems. These problem-solving methods can be implemented with a computer, but the tool is much less important than the thinking behind it. Offline activities create opportunities for students to explain their thinking, work with others to solve open-ended problems, and learn by teaching their peers.

My session during Education on Air showed some of these offline activities in practice. For example, playing with a set of binary cards, pictured below, can teach students how to explain binary representation.

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Year 5 and 6 students learn about binary representation through a CS Unplugged activity

2. Build lessons around real-world examples

CS is practical—algorithms speed up processes so people don’t have to wait, device interfaces need to be designed so they don't frustrate users, programs need to be written so they don't waste resources like battery power on a mobile phone. Examples like these can help students understand how CS and CT impact the world around them. Consider discussing human interface design as it applies to popular mobile apps as well as real-world systems, like factories and libraries.

As Maggie Johnson, Google’s director of education and university relations, wrote last year: “If we can make these explicit connections for students, they will see how the devices and apps that they use everyday are powered by algorithms and programs. They will learn the importance of data in making decisions. They will learn skills that will prepare them for a workforce that will be doing vastly different tasks than the workforce of today.”

3. Connect new ideas and familiar subjects

Some of the most successful CS and CT lessons reference other subjects. For example, biology students can reconstruct an evolutionary tree using a string matching algorithm. Students might also apply geometry skills to Scratch programming by using their knowledge of angles to represent polygons with blocks of code. CS can also be combined with non-academic subjects, like physical education.

Google’s engineering director in Australia, Alan Noble, explained this interdisciplinary approach well: “CS combined with another discipline, brings with it new insights and new ways of approaching things. We call this ‘CS + X,’ where ‘X’ can be virtually anything. Universities around the world are starting to recognize this by introducing CS + X programs, where X can be any subject area, not just a science.The opportunities are endless. Students will be a whole lot more excited about studying Computer Science if they can combine it with their passion, their ‘X’.”

I’ve seen everyone from first-timers to PhDs use simple techniques to make CS and CT approachable—and fun too! A few simple exercises can spark students’ curiosity and support a bigger change.

Source: Education


How online courses can help teach computational thinking and CS

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting education leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Rebecca Vivian, one of the keynote speakers from Education on Air, Google’s free online conference which took place in December 2016. Rebecca, a Research Fellow at the computer science education research group (CSER) at the University of Adelaide in Australia, shares professional development ideas for preparing teachers for a classroom focused on computational thinking and computer science.

These days, we need to prepare the next generation of students to be creators—not just consumers—of digital technology. As the demand for computer science and computational thinking skills increases, countries are integrating these skills into their K-12 curriculum. This year, Australia implemented a digital technologies curriculum, incorporating the teaching of computational thinking and CS into curricula from foundation level, and many other countries are rapidly following suit. But teachers need help to implement this type of digital focussed curriculum.

One of the ways we can support teachers in this area is via "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. In Australia, the computer science education research group (CSER) at the University of Adelaide, is partnering with Google to develop online communities and free MOOCs, where K-12 teachers can share their creative ideas and suggest professional development lessons. With these resources, teachers are learning to integrate computational thinking and computer science into their curriculum.

Since launching the digital technologies MOOC in 2014, we’ve been able to scale professional learning across Australia and introduce new learning styles such as algorithmic thinking, which teaches students to develop step-by-step solutions for problems they encounter. More than 7,200 teachers are engaged in this professional learning program and have shared more than 4,500 resources as a result of these MOOCs. The program isn’t just working for experienced CS teachers: Ellie, a 56-year-old grandmother and primary school teacher with virtually no technology background, created a lesson on binary and data resources after taking our first course. In late 2016, the Australian government decided to invest nearly 7 million dollars over four years to scale our efforts further and support remote and low-income communities.

Connecting teachers to share creativity and insight

The success of Australia’s MOOCs and online teacher community has proven the value of peer-to-peer professional learning. Teachers have embraced our “professional learning in a box” kits—slide decks of instructor notes, videos, and in-person activity ideas that they can customize to deliver professional learning sessions in their school or community. Teachers also love user-generated content in our online communities because they can interact with teachers who created them, and apply concepts they’ve learned online to their classroom.

Education on Air, which I participated in last year, works much like a MOOC by providing a space for people with a shared interest to come together and learn from one another, no matter where they’re located. In my breakout session, “Making Computational Thinking Visible: Classroom Activities and Google Tools,” I explained algorithmic thinking, demonstrated the way it applies to other learning areas, and shared tips on how Google tools can assist in introducing this framework to students. Teachers left the session with ideas they could implement the next day, including tips for engaging lessons that integrate algorithmic thinking, and ideas for applying this framework to other learning areas, such as experiment design.

Students need more than coding skills—they need to understand how technology changes the way we live, work and solve problems. The success to date of the digital technologies MOOCs in Australia shows that online courses can be a scalable way to empower teachers to incorporate computational thinking and CS concepts into the classroom. And by introducing computational thinking as a method of problem-solving to students, teachers can shape the next generation of STEM leaders.

Source: Education


How online courses can help teach computational thinking and CS

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting education leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Rebecca Vivian, one of the keynote speakers from Education on Air, Google’s free online conference which took place in December 2016. Rebecca, a Research Fellow at the computer science education research group (CSER) at the University of Adelaide in Australia, shares professional development ideas for preparing teachers for a classroom focused on computational thinking and computer science.

These days, we need to prepare the next generation of students to be creators—not just consumers—of digital technology. As the demand for computer science and computational thinking skills increases, countries are integrating these skills into their K-12 curriculum. This year, Australia implemented a digital technologies curriculum, incorporating the teaching of computational thinking and CS into curricula from foundation level, and many other countries are rapidly following suit. But teachers need help to implement this type of digital focussed curriculum.

One of the ways we can support teachers in this area is via "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. In Australia, the computer science education research group (CSER) at the University of Adelaide, is partnering with Google to develop online communities and free MOOCs, where K-12 teachers can share their creative ideas and suggest professional development lessons. With these resources, teachers are learning to integrate computational thinking and computer science into their curriculum.

Since launching the digital technologies MOOC in 2014, we’ve been able to scale professional learning across Australia and introduce new learning styles such as algorithmic thinking, which teaches students to develop step-by-step solutions for problems they encounter. More than 7,200 teachers are engaged in this professional learning program and have shared more than 4,500 resources as a result of these MOOCs. The program isn’t just working for experienced CS teachers: Ellie, a 56-year-old grandmother and primary school teacher with virtually no technology background, created a lesson on binary and data resources after taking our first course. In late 2016, the Australian government decided to invest nearly 7 million dollars over four years to scale our efforts further and support remote and low-income communities.

Connecting teachers to share creativity and insight

The success of Australia’s MOOCs and online teacher community has proven the value of peer-to-peer professional learning. Teachers have embraced our “professional learning in a box” kits—slide decks of instructor notes, videos, and in-person activity ideas that they can customize to deliver professional learning sessions in their school or community. Teachers also love user-generated content in our online communities because they can interact with teachers who created them, and apply concepts they’ve learned online to their classroom.

Education on Air, which I participated in last year, works much like a MOOC by providing a space for people with a shared interest to come together and learn from one another, no matter where they’re located. In my breakout session, “Making Computational Thinking Visible: Classroom Activities and Google Tools,” I explained algorithmic thinking, demonstrated the way it applies to other learning areas, and shared tips on how Google tools can assist in introducing this framework to students. Teachers left the session with ideas they could implement the next day, including tips for engaging lessons that integrate algorithmic thinking, and ideas for applying this framework to other learning areas, such as experiment design.

Students need more than coding skills—they need to understand how technology changes the way we live, work and solve problems. The success to date of the digital technologies MOOCs in Australia shows that online courses can be a scalable way to empower teachers to incorporate computational thinking and CS concepts into the classroom. And by introducing computational thinking as a method of problem-solving to students, teachers can shape the next generation of STEM leaders.

Source: Education


New approaches aimed at addressing the CS capacity crunch

We launched the CS Capacity program in 2015 to help address a very specific problem: the dramatic increase in undergraduate Computer Science (CS) enrollments, which is creating serious resource and pedagogical challenges for many colleges and universities. Through this program, we’ve been working alongside a diverse set of universitie—including George Mason University, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers University, the University California, Berkeley, Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina—who each bring a unique approach to dealing with increasing numbers of students with a limited resources (including faculty and classroom space).

Two years in, we wanted to share an update on some of the projects and ideas that have emerged to help support the expansion of high-quality undergraduate CS programs:

Enabling self-paced learning

Allowing students to move through learning content at their own pace benefits students by enabling them to take as much or as little time as they need to master concepts and skills. It also reduces overcrowding in CS1 by moving students into higher level courses more quickly.

  • The team at George Mason have developed an online system that provides self-paced learning for CS1 and CS2 classes, guiding learners through the materials quickly or slowly depending on their needs. The system, called SPARC, includes course content, practice and assessment exercises, mini-lectures and more.
  • At Rutgers, they’re defining additional features to improve their use of Autolab (a course management system that include automated grading). This includes building a hint system to provide more information for students who are struggling with a concept or assignment, crowd-sourcing grading, and studying how students think about CS content and the kinds of errors they regularly make.

Ensuring better engagement of women and underrepresented students

Women and some populations of minority students are significantly underrepresented in CS programs. More research is needed to understand how these populations are being impacted by increased enrollments.

  • The team at Rutgers has been exploring the gender gap at multiple levels using a longitudinal study across four required CS classes. They’re investigating several factors that may impact the retention of women and underrepresented student populations, including intention to major in CS, grades and prior experience.
  • The Dept. of Computer Science at Duke has been conducting a systematic assessment of what student characteristics predict retention and success in its undergraduate program—focusing particularly on women, underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students.
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Some members of the MaGe Peer Mentor program at Mount Holyoke College

Increasing access to mentorship and tutoring

Many CS programs are dealing with the significant increase in students in early CS courses by increasing the number of undergraduate tutors, creating a need for better tutor training.

  • The MaGe Peer Mentor program at Mount Holyoke College has created online course curriculum that helps to recruit and train students to be undergraduate peer mentors, preparing them to provide effective feedback on coding assignments. They’ve made this content accessible online so that other institutions can also prepare their student tutors.
  • At University of California, Berkeley, the team has instituted a small-group tutoring program that includes weekend mastery learning sessions, increased office hours support, designated discussions sections, project checkpoint deadlines, walkthrough videos, and a new office hours app that tracks student satisfaction.
  • The team at Duke, NCSU, UNC and UF have created a free online tool called My Digital Hand (MDH) that helps manage and track data such as how many hours peer mentors are spending with mentees. The team has also been working on ASCEND (Adaptive Student Computing Environment with Natural Language Dialogue), a tool that allows students to share their projects and chat with their peer teaching fellows during lessons. ASCEND also logs all programming actions and chats.

    These teams participating in CS Capacity program will continue to share their solutions and results with the community via conferences and publications. Several will be presenting papers on these new interventions and tools at the SIGCSE conference in March. If you’ll be there, please join the “New Tools and Solutions to Address the CS Capacity Crunch” panel discussion on Thursday, March 9 called from 3:45-5:00 pm.

    Given the likelihood that CS undergraduate enrollments will continue to climb, it is critical that the CS education community continue to find, test and share solutions and tools that enable institutions to effectively teach more students while maintaining the quality of the education experience for students.

    Source: Education


    How to teach Gen Z to be collaborative, innovative and responsive

    Editor’s note: As part of our ongoing celebration of students and teachers, we’re highlighting leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Mark McCrindle, one of the keynote speakers from Education on Air, Google’s free online conference which took place in December 2016. Mark, a social researcher, author and commentator based in Sydney, Australia, shares how teachers are adapting to today’s digital era to teach the next generation how to collaborate, think creatively and respond to their environments.

    When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher, Ms. Calov, taught me to be an inquisitive learner. Through her contagious enthusiasm, she turned me from an ordinary kid who did only what was required, to a perceptive student who asked for more projects and always connected what I learned to the world around me.

    The kinds of soft skills I learned from Ms. Calov are increasingly important for Gen Z, the generation cohort after millennials. To be prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, these students need to be collaborative, innovative and responsive to their environment. Here's a look at how today's teachers are fostering curiosity, creativity and other skills in their students, with help from technology.

    The Generations.png

    Encouraging collaboration

    School is no longer just a place to learn math, science and writing. It’s a place to learn interpersonal skills that will never become outdated—like how to collaborate, resolve conflict, clearly communicate ideas and teach others. Technology can encourage this kind of interaction. For example, since Gen Z is the first digital-native generation, teachers are asking students for help using technology and to show their peers how to use new tools. Students are working on group projects when they’re in separate physical locations, developing their ability to communicate through written feedback and explain the thinking behind their suggestions.

    Encourage lifelong learning and innovative thinking

    Teachers today are encouraging students to have a love of learning and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can adapt to new careers and industries. The average employee tenure in the U.S. is 4.2 years, a decline from 4.6 years two years prior. In Australia, we’re experiencing a similar effect where employees are staying in jobs for a shorter duration—the Australian average is three years. This means Gen Z will have 17 different jobs in their life, and they’ll need to continue to learn new skills and how to use new tools as they progress in their careers. By designing learning tasks that have a real-world application, teachers are engaging their students as problem finders and problem solvers—roles that are crucial in any job.

    Foster an adaptive mindset that’s ready for change

    As the economy shifts and new jobs like VR engineers and cognitive computer analysts emerge, the next generation will need to be able to learn quickly and connect the dots between related topics. To teach these skills, many teachers are “flipping” learning —asking students to reflect on global issues and synthesize information from videos, podcasts and written material, instead of simply assigning a chapter in a textbook.

    Gen Z Effective Engagement US.png

    Six decades later, I still remember Ms. Calov. Her inspiration reminds me of a Mother Teresa quote: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Ms. Calov created many ripples by fostering a love of learning and empowering a community of learners. But with technology, every teacher can teach students lifelong skills to carry them through their careers.

    Learn more by watching Mark’s recorded talk from Education on Air.

    Source: Education


    How District 99 supports students and teachers through 1:1 learning

    Editor’s note: Schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors for the ExploreEDU event series, which invites neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. Today’s guest authors are Jon Orech and Lisa Lichtman, Instructional Technology Coordinators from Community High School District 99 in Downers Grove, IL. They hosted an ExploreEDU event on Jan. 26–27 with CDW.

    At District 99, we want to help students be better learners. In 2014, we decided to launch a 1:1 pilot with Chromebooks, involving more than 40 teachers and 1,500 students. Students that participated in the pilot reported that these tools increased collaboration and encouraged self-directed learning, and we launched the program district-wide last fall. We’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to introduce and get the most out of technology—here are a few tips.

    1. Take the time to help everyone understand why the new technology was chosen

    To get support for new technology and ensure its success, it’s important for everyone to understand the reasons behind the change. Before we introduced Chromebooks and G Suite for Education, we spent a lot of time talking to students, parents and faculty members, and organized professional development training for teachers customized based on their technology comfort levels. We made sure everyone understood how Google solutions aligned with our district’s values, one of which is collaboration. We demonstrated how G Suite could help students be more collaborative by allowing them to work with their classmates on the same document at the same time no matter where they were, while also benefiting from immediate feedback through live comments.

    2. Provide teachers with a safe and trusted place for sharing

    We wanted to make sure our teachers had the resources they needed to be successful in a 1:1 learning environment, so we created a private Google+ community for our 400 teachers to share knowledge across campuses, subject areas and grade levels; giving them access to a richer peer network. For example, in response to a thread about differentiating instruction based on unique student needs, a special ed teacher shared how she was able to push out different assignments to a subset of students using a recently launched feature in Google Classroom. Her post piqued the interest of other educators in a way other announcements couldn’t, since it was coming from a fellow colleague who had a positive first-hand experience with the feature.

    3. Empower students to be creators and interact with their communities

    A 1:1 Chromebook model gives every student the tools to be creative anytime, anywhere. In one health class, students made documentaries about diseases that affect their families with WeVideo on their Chromebooks. In the past, activities like this required reserving time for research on a desktop in the library, but now, students have access to these creative tools whenever they want.

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    Students using their Chromebooks in class.

    Chromebooks also make it easy for students to share their projects with the community. Our digital photography teacher asked her students to share their photos in an online Google community, where both their peers and invited professional photographers provided helpful critique on their photos. Through projects like this, students at District 99 are learning in new ways.

    Our experience has taught us how technology and a 1:1 environment can support students and teachers to be better learners and educators. We hope sharing these tips helps others looking for ways to improve learning and teaching in their districts.

    Source: Education


    Introducing Toontastic 3D: a playful storytelling app for kids

    Today’s digital devices and tools offer amazing opportunities for kids to imagine, invent and explore with technology—and perhaps most important of all, have fun! Over the years, we’ve worked closely with educators to build programs for kids to create through code, doodle their dreams, explore exotic locales with virtual reality, and even tour the Himalayas with a very friendly Yeti named Verne. Today, we’re unveiling our latest project for kids—one that will give voice to their imaginations and transform their devices into playful and powerful tools for learning creative skills. It’s called Toontastic 3D.

    Toontastic 3D

    With Toontastic 3D, kids can draw, animate and narrate their own adventures, news stories, school reports, and anything else they might dream up. All they need to do is move characters around on the screen and tell their story. It’s like a digital puppet theater… but with enormous interactive 3D worlds, dozens of customizable characters, 3D drawing tools, and an idea lab with sample stories to inspire new creations.

    Like the original Toontastic (released in 2011 and widely praised by educators, kids, and parents around the globe), Toontastic 3D enables kids to build whatever they like—including book or science reports for school, design pitches, short stories and cartoons.

    Toontastic 3D is available and free to download today for phones, tablets and select Chromebooks, on both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. We hope the app will empower kids to imagine, invent and explore while developing skills for the creative jobs of tomorrow—whether they dream of becoming a filmmaker, a teacher, a designer, a cartoonist, or just want to explore the boundaries of their imaginations.

    Source: Education


    Hash Code 2017: Calling all EMEA developers

    The wait is over: our programming competition Hash Code is back for its fourth year of challenging developers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to solve a real Google engineering problem. Think you could optimize the layout of a Google Data Center?  Or how about scheduling a fleet of drones to make deliveries around the world?  If you’re up for the challenge, sign up to compete today at g.co/hashcode.

    Hash Code 2017 kicks off on February 23 with the Online Qualification Round. The top 50 teams from this round will then be invited to Google Paris, in the City of Light, to battle it out for the coveted title of Hash Code 2017 Champion on April 1.

    Whether you’ve just started coding or you’re a programming competition aficionado, Hash Code is a great chance to flex your programming muscles, get a glimpse into software engineering at Google and have some fun. Take a look at previous Hash Code problem statements to see the engineering challenges participants have tackled in the past.

    Hash Code 2017
    52 teams from 22 countries competed side-by-side during the Hash Code 2016 Final Round at Google Paris.

    To make things even more exciting, students and professionals across the region are signing up to host Hash Code hubs where local teams can come together to compete for the Online Qualification Round. So far, more than 250 hubs are being organized across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Participating from a hub is a great way to meet new people and add a little extra fun and competition to the contest. Don’t see a hub near you? You can still sign up to host a hub in your university, office or city on our website.

    We can’t reveal this year’s problem statements, but we will have some other fun announcements leading up to the Online Qualification Round. Keep in touch with Hash Code by joining our Google+ community and Facebook event.

    Are you up for the challenge? Sign up today at g.co/hashcode and we’ll see you online on February 23!

    Source: Education


    Learning about the ho-ho-holidays with Google

    The holidays are a time for celebrating traditions. Year after year, we tell favorite holiday stories and sing favorite holiday songs, whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. This season, you can help your students discover some of the history and heritage of popular holiday icons with two new Google Expeditions, which add a virtual-reality twist to learning. The first Expedition whisks students off to the Victorian London of Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Christmas Past, while the second takes them to the snowy world of Kris Kringle. For Hanukkah, students can also take a virtual museum visit to view photos and artifacts highlighting the richness of Jewish traditions from around the world.

    Take a virtual visit to the Charles Dickens Museum

    Many readers consider Charles Dickens the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His beloved 19th-century books include “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol.” The brick house at 48 Doughty Street is now the only remaining home in London where Dickens lived as an adult. His two eldest daughters were born here, as were some of his most important novels.

    Now the Charles Dickens Museum, the house contains thousands of artifacts related to the author and his era. With the Charles Dickens Expedition, you can explore the house, learn the stories behind items on display, and discover what life in Victorian London was like for Dickens and his family. English teachers can lead students on a virtual visit while reading his classics to help students gain a greater appreciation for the life and times of the man who created Ebenezer Scrooge and other vivid characters.
    expeditions_holiday1.png

    Learn the science behind Santa

    Mystery and wonder have always surrounded the jolly, bearded man who makes the holidays bright for children around the world. Now the Santa’s Journey Expedition offers lessons in some of the real science, technology, and ecology involved in this annual tradition. Students will marvel at the electrically-charged Northern Lights, glimpse at the camouflage and hibernation of Arctic wildlife, and learn why Santa really travels in a sleigh.

    This Expedition will also delight students with five colorful panoramas of holiday moments, which teachers can use in conjunction with the lesson plan available on TES. They’ll see how different people and myths have contributed to making modern Santa, visit the wooden kota he calls home, and learn about his very own post office in Finland. They can peek into the stables where the nimble little Svalbard reindeer live, explore the great warehouse where elves make millions of gifts while playing international games, and learn how Santa achieves his incredible feat on Christmas Eve thanks to physics and technology -- an unexpected science lesson that any kid will enjoy.
    expeditions_holiday2.png

    Teachers and students exploring the history of Judaism this Hanukkah can pay a virtual visit to Google Arts & Culture's online exhibit of Judaica artifacts from Moscow's Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. It showcases a fascinating array of items from the everyday lives and holiday celebrations of Russian Jews dating back to Peter the Great. The exhibit serves as a history lesson on how Jewish culture and traditions in Russia have been sustained across generations and centuries despite major migrations, wars, and geopolitical changes.


    As we wrap up our year and look forward to a new year of learning in 2017, our teams here at Google Expeditions and Google Arts & Culture wish everyone joy and happiness this season!

    Source: Education