Category Archives: Google for Education Blog

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

At New Zealand schools, Chromebooks top the list of learning tools

New Zealand educators are changing their approach to teaching, building personalized learning pathways for every student. Technology plays a key part in this approach. New Zealand has joined the list of countries including Sweden the United States where Chromebooks are the number one device used in schools, according to analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC).

“Chromebooks continue to be a top choice for schools,” says Arunachalam Muthiah, Senior Market Analyst, IDC NZ. “After Chromebooks’ strong performance in 2016, we see a similar trend in the first half of 2017 with Chromebooks gaining a total shipment market share of 46 percent, continuing to hold their position as the number-one selling device in schools across New Zealand.”

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Bombay School students learning about conductivity, electrical circuits and constructing a tune.

Technology is transforming education across the globe, and in New Zealand schools are using digital tools to help  students learn, in the classroom and beyond.  

At Bombay School, located in the rural foothills south of Auckland, students could only get an hour a week of computer access. Bombay School’s principal and board decided on a 1:1 “bring your own device” program with Chromebooks, along with secure device management using a Chrome Education license.

Teachers quickly realized that since each student was empowered with a Chromebook, access to learning opportunities increased daily, inspiring students to chart new learning paths. “Technology overcomes constraints,” says Paul Petersen, principal of Bombay School. “If I don’t understand multiplication today, I can learn about it online. I can look for help. I can practice at my own pace, anywhere I am.”

In 2014 Bombay School seniors collectively scored in the 78th percentile for reading; in 2016, they reached nearly the 90th percentile.

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Students at Point England School take a digital license quiz to learn about online behavior.

In the Manaiakalani Community of Learning in East Auckland, some students start school with lower achievement levels than students in other school regions. Manaiakalani chose Chromebooks to support its education program goals and manage budget challenges. By bringing Chromebooks to the Manaiakalani schools, “we broke apart the barriers of the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day,” says Dorothy Burt, head of the Manaiakalani Education Program and Digital Learning Coordinator, based at Point England School. Using G Suite for Education tools on their Chromebooks, students can work with other students, teachers, and parents on their lessons in the classroom, the library, or at home.

Dorothy says “we’re seeing not only engagement, but actual literacy outcomes improve—it’s made a huge difference to the opportunities students will have in the future.”

We look forward to supporting more countries and schools as they redefine teaching and make learning even more accessible for every student, anywhere.

Source: Education


Celebrating International Literacy Day

UNESCO’s International Literacy Day is a moment to celebrate the magic of reading, and to find solutions that can help the more than 250 million children around the world who lack basic literacy skills. Many of these children are at risk of falling even further behind due to a lack of sufficient reading materials or access to environments that promote learning. For example, in the U.S., each year 43.2 books are published for every 100,000 people, while in India, a country with 22 official languages, that number is only 6.3.

Earlier this year, Google.org announced a $50 million commitment to support organizations that are using technology to increase literacy and close the global education gap. As part of this effort, Pratham Books received a grant to accelerate development of their StoryWeaver platform, which allows anyone to read, write and translate digital stories for free. These translations, as well as the original stories, are openly licensed, meaning they’re available for free for anyone to download, remix and distribute for use in the classroom and beyond.

Today marks StoryWeaver’s second birthday. When the platform launched in 2015 it featured 800 stories in 24 languages. Since receiving a grant from Google.org, StoryWeaver has grown dramatically to now have 4,600 stories in more than 90 languages and a global readership of 2 million. StoryWeaver also recently won the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Award.

To celebrate International Literacy Day, during the month of September we’re mobilizing Googlers from Dublin to Singapore to Mountain View to volunteer to translate stories for young readers. Googlers speak more than 70 languages, so we’re hosting hour-long volunteer events (“translate-a-thons”) in our global offices, where Googlers can come together to translate books.

Googler participating in a StoryWeaver Translate-a-thon
Googler Mahmoud Ramadan participates in a StoryWeaver Translate-a-thon

Earlier this week, Googlers in our Dublin office—itself home to 65+ languages—kicked off our very first translate-a-thon. Xime Daud decided to translate “Gul in Space," a story about a young girl traveling to the International Space Station, from English into Spanish. Halfway across the world, a Singapore-based Googler, Marv Echipare, also translated “Gul in Space,” this time into Tagalog. Afterward, he said: “In the Philippines, there is a dichotomy between those who are well off and have access to books, and those on the other side, where you see small rural villages that hardly have access to anything. If technology can bring learning material like these books to them, that’d be great, and the first step is putting it in a language they understand.”

Have 20 minutes to spare? Consider authoring, translating, illustrating or reading a story on StoryWeaver!

Source: Education


Bringing digital citizenship into the school curriculum

Educators around the world have embraced digital literacy in the classroom, encouraging their students to create and engage on the the internet. They recognize digital literacy as an important future skill for their students, and also understand the importance of teaching kids how to be good digital citizens. And yet, teaching digital citizenship isn’t always straightforward—and can be pretty intimidating—given the many ways in which young people use the internet today.

This is why we are releasing a free online training course that helps educators equip their students with the foundational skills they need to create a safe and positive experience online. By reading, watching videos, and doing different activities in the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course, they can learn how to integrate digital citizenship and safety activities into their school curriculum.

The course includes five interactive units:  

  • Teaching students about internet safety and privacy, including setting strong passwords and privacy settings
  • Staying safe on the go by securing your mobile device and avoiding harmful downloads on your smartphone
  • Savvy searching, to help students evaluate the credibility of online sources of information
  • Staying safe from phishing and other scams
  • Managing online reputation, including protecting sensitive information
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Upon completion, educators will receive a downloadable Digital Citizenship and Safety Curriculum that they can use to introduce these critical lessons to their students. And teachers who successfully complete the course will receive a Digital Citizenship and Safety Educator recognition badge.

The online training course is now on the Google for Education Training Center, and available in 15 languages: Chinese, Danish, English, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.

We want to help ensure that today’s young people will become smart and responsible citizens both online and off. This is why we’ve developed programs like Be Internet Awesome and the Online Safety Roadshow that teach kids how to be safe, confident explorers online. But we also recognize that it’s important to partner with educators too, so we really look forward to seeing how the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course will help teachers tackle this important topic in the classroom.

Source: Education


Bringing digital citizenship into the school curriculum

Educators around the world have embraced digital literacy in the classroom, encouraging their students to create and engage on the the internet. They recognize digital literacy as an important future skill for their students, and also understand the importance of teaching kids how to be good digital citizens. And yet, teaching digital citizenship isn’t always straightforward—and can be pretty intimidating—given the many ways in which young people use the internet today.

This is why we are releasing a free online training course that helps educators equip their students with the foundational skills they need to create a safe and positive experience online. By reading, watching videos, and doing different activities in the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course, they can learn how to integrate digital citizenship and safety activities into their school curriculum.

The course includes five interactive units:  

  • Teaching students about internet safety and privacy, including setting strong passwords and privacy settings
  • Staying safe on the go by securing your mobile device and avoiding harmful downloads on your smartphone
  • Savvy searching, to help students evaluate the credibility of online sources of information
  • Staying safe from phishing and other scams
  • Managing online reputation, including protecting sensitive information
1

Upon completion, educators will receive a downloadable Digital Citizenship and Safety Curriculum that they can use to introduce these critical lessons to their students. And teachers who successfully complete the course will receive a Digital Citizenship and Safety Educator recognition badge.

The online training course is now on the Google for Education Training Center, and available in 15 languages: Chinese, Danish, English, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.

We want to help ensure that today’s young people will become smart and responsible citizens both online and off. This is why we’ve developed programs like Be Internet Awesome and the Online Safety Roadshow that teach kids how to be safe, confident explorers online. But we also recognize that it’s important to partner with educators too, so we really look forward to seeing how the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course will help teachers tackle this important topic in the classroom.

Source: Education


Funding 75,000 Udacity scholarships to bridge the digital skills gap

Ildiko Fekete is a mother of two from Hungary, who had moved to a small town to raise her family, taking time out from her career as a literature teacher.  Earlier this year she applied for and completed an Android scholarship. As a result she has built an eco-footprint app, Greenfeet, and plans to pursue freelance developer work.

Android Udacity recipient Ildiko Fekete's story

Today in Krakow, at Google Developer Days - Europe, our biggest European developer event, scholarship recipients like Ildiko will join 2000 other developers from all over Europe to learn about the newest developer technologies and improve their skills.

Despite this enthusiasm, the growing digital skills gap has lead the EU to predict that half a million ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) jobs will remain unfilled by 2020.

Last year, along with Bertelsmann and Udacity we offered 10,000 Android developer scholarships to help people like Ildiko reach their goals. We were humbled by the overwhelming demand for these courses, so I’m happy to announce that together with Bertelsmann & Udacity we’ll be offering 75,000 more people the opportunity to benefit from free developer courses.

Today, we’re opening our 60,000 Scholarships Challenge, for both absolute beginners and for existing programmers, which will include both Android and Web development courses. For more details and to apply, please see: https://www.udacity.com/google-scholarships.

Later this year, Bertelsmann will also offer an additional 15,000 Scholarships Challenge for beginners and advanced students in the field of data science. We’ll share more details on these in the coming weeks.

We hope that this initiative will help scholarship recipients get the in-demand skills needed to get a job or advance their career.

Source: Education


Google and 826 Valencia invite you to a “planet ruled by love”

In 2015, 826 Valencia—an organization that helps under-resourced students develop their writing skills—won a Google.org Impact Challenge grant to expand their programs in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. After receiving the grant, 826 turned to a group of volunteer Googlers to figure out how to use technology to amplify students’ voices. The result was a story about a “planet ruled by love,” written by young students and told through a new medium—virtual reality.

The Keyword team sat down with two of the Googlers behind the project—Rebecca Sills and Ryan Chen—as well as Lauren Hall, Director of Grants and Evaluation at 826 Valencia.

Keyword: How did everyone get involved in this project?

Lauren: I first walked into 826 Valencia 12 years ago and couldn’t believe what I stumbled upon—it was the perfect wedding of my passions, writing and social justice. I’ve worked there ever since. Technology has changed a lot in the last 12 years, and though 826 will always make books, we’re exploring storytelling mediums that are more technologically relevant for younger generations. So we tapped into Google’s creative brainpower to incorporate technology into our programs and the way our kids tell stories.

Rebecca: The magic of 826 is the simple act of an adult sitting down with a kid to unleash the power of their voice. I wanted to be a part of that magic—and the effort at Google was scrappy from the get-go. I recruited Googlers with different skill sets to get involved and it got mightier and mightier. Our guiding principle was to use Google’s technology to empower students to tell their stories in new ways. And we thought that VR was an exciting way to do that.

Ryan: I wanted to get involved in this project in a way that only Google could, so when Rebecca and team came up with the idea of telling the story using Tilt Brush (a virtual reality app that lets you draw and paint in three-dimensional space), I jumped on it.

How did you come up with the “planet ruled by love” idea?

Lauren: The Google team proposed creating a story in Tilt Brush as a totally new experience for the kids, and our immediate reaction was “what the heck is Tilt Brush?” But the idea had so much energy that it was an emphatic “Yes!” on our end. Leading up to the election in the U.S., we felt a division in the country, in our communities, even on school campuses. Someone suggested that we prompt the kids to write a story about a planet ruled by love, and we immediately went for it. It felt like an antidote to the division and drama around us.

How did the kids write the story?

Rebecca: We wanted to honor what already works at 826—helping kids express themselves through writing—and add a new layer. Students worked with volunteer tutors to develop, write and edit their own stories about the planet ruled by love. So many creative ideas came out of that! And then we worked with 826 staff to pull a line from each of the kids' story—homes made of marshmallows, unicorn wolves, and love spread by nice words, to name a few—to make a version that represented all of their visions. From there, we turned the combined story into a 360-degree experience that they could watch in Cardboard.

Ryan, what was it like working in Tilt Brush?

Ryan: Prior to this project, I had been a 3D animator and illustrator working on screens and tablets. With Tilt Brush, you are creating in VR—it’s a cross between drawing and sculpture. When you first do it, you’re like, “OMG this is crazy. I’m inside the drawing.” After the students wrote the story, I drew rough storyboards and thumbnail sketches, then created the color pallet of the planet ruled by love. I wanted viewers to feel like they had one foot in Google world and one foot in another world. Then, I moved into Tilt Brush and created the final scenes. 

How has 826’s approach to incorporating technology changed? Will you incorporate VR and AR into storytelling projects in the future?

Lauren: Technology has helped us create a wider audience for students’ stories. For example, we’ve started a program for kids to make their own podcasts. We put them on SoundCloud and the links get tweeted and forwarded, and now thousands of people can hear these students’ voices. But in terms of VR, we’d love to keep exploring—we think of it as a 21st-century version of storytelling. VR allows viewers to experience a story in a way that builds greater empathy, context and understanding.

What aspect of the project are you most proud of?

Rebecca: The moment when the kids first put on their Cardboards and stepped into their imaginary world—it was a definite career high! Most of the kids and their parents were experiencing Cardboard for the first time. We watched as they were transported to a new world, and it was so sweet to see the kids recognize their own voices and contributions.

Lauren: I agree! I loved watching them reach out to touch the homes made of marshmallows and the families spending time together. It was magical.

Source: Education


Meet the sixth graders who built a potable water dispenser

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

For Enrique Cordero, a GEG (Google Educator Groups) teacher and IT administrator, the only thing better than teaching students is the opportunity to learn from them. He believes that children are innate inventors; educators should help students preserve their natural propensity to imagine—and create—the world as it isn’t yet.

So he designed a course at the American School of Puebla called “Solving the World’s Problems,” where he asks kids to identify the issues that they see as pressing and challenges them to think up solutions. Field research plays a central role in the course, and during a field trip to a community near the school one day, students heard first-hand accounts about the difficulties that communities face when they lack access to potable water.

These sixth graders built a dispenser to make drinking water accessible.

The field trip inspired Paco and Rodrigo, two of Enrique’s sixth graders, to invent something that could make drinking water accessible to all. They sketched a prototype on their computers and worked with Enrique to bring it to life. Their design has evolved into a water distiller that they aspire to install in under-served neighborhoods around the globe.

Most people ask what world what we’re leaving for our kids. I ask what kids we’re leaving for our world. Enrique

The diverse approaches to inventing and problem-solving that Enrique sees in the classroom have cemented his belief that Paco and Rodrigo are just two of the thousands of students well-positioned to dream up and build a better future. To Enrique, innovation means “planting a grain of sand in your students’ minds, and helping them turn that little grain into something amazing.” Follow the hashtag #innovarparami to see how other people are defining—and cultivating—innovation.

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Enrique coaches students through a brainstorm during his Innovation Class.

Source: Education


Meet the fifth grader turning water bottles into light bulbs to brighten communities

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Twelve-year-old Bryan Gonzalez was traveling through a neighborhood near his school when the unlit windows of several homes caught his attention. When his parents and teachers explained to him that those homes lacked electricity, he started to search for information about access to lighting in communities in Mexico and around the globe. His research led him to discover that nearly 15 percent of the world’s population lives without light.

Believing that every community deserves access to commodities as basic as lighting, Bryan decided to turn his annual school science project into a mission to defeat darkness. With the support of his peers, teachers and parents, Bryan began to brainstorm sustainable, affordable methods to illuminate the world around him.

His solution? Converting water bottles into light bulbs!
This fifth grader uses water bottles to brighten communities. #innovarparami

Bryan recently implemented his prototype in the field for the first time, and we captured the experience as he began to install his homemade light bulbs in the very houses that had initially inspired him to take on his project. In the moments after Bryan installed his lightbulbs, community members began to process the impact of Bryan’s invention. Families reflected on the difficulties inherent in relying on candlelight to assist kids with homework, the daily pressure to finish working by sunset because no work could get done in the dark, and what unlit houses and streets meant for the physical safety of children and parents alike. “Things are going to be different now. This 12-year-old boy has changed this family’s life,” said Doña Sofía, a mother and grandmother, as she embraced him.

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This image was captured just moments after Doña Sofía’s house had lighting for the very first time, thanks to Bryan’s efforts.

Seeing his efforts materialize into real-world impact has been extremely gratifying for Bryan, but he knows this is just the beginning. As Bryan sets his eyes on new horizons, he hopes to start inspiring other young people around the world to implement the prototype in homes that lack electricity in their own communities.

Your age doesn’t matter. Your idea does. Bryan

Bryan’s definition of innovation is “finding creative ways to help a community solve their problems.” Follow the hashtag #innovarparami to see how other people are defining—and cultivating—innovation.

Source: Education


Meet a teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Miroslava Silva is a teacher, social scientist and activist who has dedicated much of her career to studying the digital literacy gap and its ramifications. Across cultures, women often lack access to technology and digital education—and in Miroslava’s native Mexico, communities of indigenous women are the most affected by the digital literacy gap. Determined to change this, she founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro.

The teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online #innovarparami

Since the class’s inception two years ago, Miroslava’s students have engaged in activities that range from learning to search for information, to building slide decks and documents, to designing personal websites. Miroslava’s only rule? All content must be relevant and useful in her students’ unique contexts and lives. To this end, she enlists her students to help craft their own curricula, and the class looks different for every student as a result. Some of her students are working on launching sites for their businesses. Others are conducting individual research projects on topics that interest them. And some even co-founded a movement to digitize and preserve the indigenous language Otomí.

Angélica Ruiz, who has taken Miroslava’s digital literacy class for two years, had never used a computer before enrolling. Now, she has launched and manages her own website to promote her handmade doll business, connect other women to education technology resources, and foment interest in the Otomí language. Recently, she built an online campaign to raise awareness about violence against women.

Pursuing a digital education has been no small feat for Angélica. A mother of five, she travels two hours from her home to the University of Querétaro each week, but says that the sheer empowerment she feels makes her efforts worth it. Indeed, the ability to design websites and to use the internet for social activism is the tip of the iceberg when Angélica thinks about what she gets out of the class. What she values most is being able to serve as a role model for other women striving to overcome institutional barriers and access education. Dozens of Otomí women have begun to pursue the digital literacy classes, following her lead.

I want every other woman to know that if I can do it, so can you. If somebody’s cut your wings off, put them back on so they can keep growing. Angélica
Miroslava’s student

For Miroslava and her student Angélica, innovation means breaking down barriers and forging the path for others to do the same. We’d love to hear what innovation means to you—tell us with the hashtag #innovarparami.

Source: Education


Meet a teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Miroslava Silva is a teacher, social scientist and activist who has dedicated much of her career to studying the digital literacy gap and its ramifications. Across cultures, women often lack access to technology and digital education—and in Miroslava’s native Mexico, communities of indigenous women are the most affected by the digital literacy gap. Determined to change this, she founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro.

The teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online #innovarparami

Since the class’s inception two years ago, Miroslava’s students have engaged in activities that range from learning to search for information, to building slide decks and documents, to designing personal websites. Miroslava’s only rule? All content must be relevant and useful in her students’ unique contexts and lives. To this end, she enlists her students to help craft their own curricula, and the class looks different for every student as a result. Some of her students are working on launching sites for their businesses. Others are conducting individual research projects on topics that interest them. And some even co-founded a movement to digitize and preserve the indigenous language Otomí.

Angélica Ruiz, who has taken Miroslava’s digital literacy class for two years, had never used a computer before enrolling. Now, she has launched and manages her own website to promote her handmade doll business, connect other women to education technology resources, and foment interest in the Otomí language. Recently, she built an online campaign to raise awareness about violence against women.

Pursuing a digital education has been no small feat for Angélica. A mother of five, she travels two hours from her home to the University of Querétaro each week, but says that the sheer empowerment she feels makes her efforts worth it. Indeed, the ability to design websites and to use the internet for social activism is the tip of the iceberg when Angélica thinks about what she gets out of the class. What she values most is being able to serve as a role model for other women striving to overcome institutional barriers and access education. Dozens of Otomí women have begun to pursue the digital literacy classes, following her lead.

I want every other woman to know that if I can do it, so can you. If somebody’s cut your wings off, put them back on so they can keep growing. Angélica Miroslava’s student

For Miroslava and her student Angélica, innovation means breaking down barriers and forging the path for others to do the same. We’d love to hear what innovation means to you—tell us with the hashtag #innovarparami.

Source: Education