Tag Archives: Education

How to Start Coding (Without Paying Much) Today!

School's back in session, and you're curious how you can start coding in your free time? Never fear, because Aaron Hobson, Code Next Oakland coach and lead curriculum developer, has rallied to assemble a list of opportunities and tools that you can pull from. While geared towards middle and high school students – we've found these resources to be effective for new learners of all ages who are interested in coding, the arts, or just making something with their hands. 


Here is a list of free (or in some cases, “free trial”) tools that you can use if you wish to learn programming on your own. They are organized into arbitrary “levels” in order to help you determine where you might want to start, based on experience. 

Level 1 (Beginner, never really tried to code)

Level 2 (Done some basic block-based coding)

  • Move away from block-based to actual code with Alice 2 (free), CodeCombat (free trial) and CodeHS (purchase required).

Level 3 (Ready to start creating apps)

  • Alice 3 (free) is an upgrade from Alice 2. You can also try your hand at MIT App Inventor (free) to start creating your own apps!

Level 4 (Looking to code with actual languages like Python)
  • Processing (free) is a software sketchbook, and great for creating cool art and graphics. Greenfoot (free) and BlueJ (free) are also great free coding platforms.
  • What about going straight for a language that our own Google engineers use? Try a hand at Python. Check out these two online textbooks—Invent with Python and A Byte of Python.
  • There are also other websites with huge collections of computer science courses worth checking out, including CodeHS, Coursera, Udacity, and Code Academy. These cover artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.

If you’re the type who is looking to get a bit more creative and experimental with your code this summer – here is a list of tools you can use to develop video games, graphics, 3D designs, music, and more. Most of these are free to use, while others have free trials. 

For those who love creating games:

For those into computer graphics, design, and art: 

For those looking to create their own blog or website:

For those who want to create their own music or audio files:


Check out the following list of tools for students interested in building computers, robots, gadgets, and so forth (not all are free, but all are helpful).
  • If you want to start off with the basics, littleBits are kits filled with electronic building blocks to create cool projects and small networks of circuits.
  • Use Arduinos or Raspberry Pis to build DIY computer programs. Or, go for a full Kano kit to build a full computer, which includes a Raspberry Pi, a wireless keyboard, and a speaker.
  • Want to make a banana play a song when you peel it open? Check out MakeyMakeys – kits that allow you to connect typical, everyday objects to computer programs.


We’ve got plenty more tidbits and recommendations for computer science education. Interested in learning more from the Code Next lab? Sign up for our free newsletter—and happy coding!

Schools in London give new life to old computers

Replacing aging computers with new devices can be a strain on school budgets, which means that schools often find themselves with out-of-date hardware sitting in cupboards, collecting dust. However, there’s a way to give old devices new life—by replacing their current operating system with one that’s easy to use, manage and is ready for the cloud.

We’re partnering with London Grid for Learning, a nonprofit organization focused on improving schools’ access to technology and Neverware (creator of the CloudReady operating system), to help schools across London extend the life of their old devices. LGfL has committed to purchasing CloudReady licenses for over 85 percent of London’s schools so they can transform their slow, older hardware into fast, nimble devices that run just like Chromebooks. As CloudReady is based on Google’s Chromium OS, it perfectly complements a cloud-first digital approach, such as using G Suite for Education.

At Connaught School for Girls in East London, pupils and teachers were struggling to use old and slow machines, especially once the school started integrating more digital tools, including Google Classroom. Tight budgets hindered replacement of the devices. The school saw Neverware as a budget-friendly way to revive its old laptops for the Google Classroom adoption, without purchasing a fleet of new devices or paying for laptop disposal.


The results were transformative as the students started using the devices more. ‘’In the last academic year, the devices were booked four times. Now the laptops are booked 21 out of 25 periods per week, creating better access to IT for our students,’’ Silk says. “The beauty of Neverware is that it just works and your older devices are no longer a liability; they can be an asset again.”   

Given current budgetary pressures and compliance demands, it’s more important than ever to find practical solutions that increase secure, affordable access to technology in schools. By partnering with London Grid for Learning and Neverware, Google for Education is improving access to education technology in London schools, whilst also contributing to the sustainability of older technology. If you are an LGfL school, visit go.neverware.com/LGfL to learn how you can use CloudReady by Neverware to refresh your underperforming or underutilised devices. All other schools in the UK can check out CloudReady directly at their website.

When Octoberitis spooks your students, we’re here to help

It's October. Pencils—once sharp and eager to write in August—are starting to dull. Students are gazing out the window, and it's not just because of the falling leaves—this happens every October, when the newness of the new school year has worn off.

To fight this Octoberitis, some educators get students moving by doing a gravity experiment in the stairwell, or role play activities during history. While you’re experimenting in the classroom, we’ll be launching new tools to help you keep the learning spark alive, and make the longer days feel shorter.

And want to know something that’s made our October a bit brighter? We’re excited to announce that over 40 million students and educators are now using Google Classroom, and 30 million are using Chromebooks, on top of 80 million using G Suite for Education globally.

Bring the outside world into the classroom

Back when we learned with just pen and paper, math class and functions could seem dull. But now, augmented reality can add another dimension to your lesson. With the latest update to the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, it became the first ChromeOS device to support ARCore, Google’s platform for building augmented reality experiences. Developers can build AR experiences for classrooms, like GeoGebra, an interactive geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus app. Students can toggle between 2D screens and AR in the 3D app as teachers guide them in exploring math in new ways.

Using the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, educators can bring everything from a skeleton to the solar system into the classroom with the help of Expeditions AR. With content from partners like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Oxford University Press, the world comes to you when you can drop the works of Van Gogh into the middle of your Art History lesson, or a great Kapok tree when studying the rainforest. To unlock the power of AR, ask your IT administrator to enable these Android apps, and make sure your tablets are upgraded to the latest operating system.

To conduct a science experiment, the only equipment you’ll need is a Chromebook. Students can complete more than 40 science labs which map to high school biology, chemistry, and physics standards with Labster Chromebook labs. These online labs allow schools to offer unlimited lab practice time without needing to buy any extra equipment. Not only that, but these labs can also be assigned and graded with the Classroom integration, and teachers can track how students are progressing. To get labs at your school, visit labster.com/chromebooklabs.

Collaborate to reach every learner

You spend hours planning and customizing lessons to engage every learner in your class, but it can be difficult for students to follow along in rigorous and fast paced learning environments. To support students and faculty who are deaf or hard of hearing, we built closed captions in Google Slides (only available on Chrome web browsers), which uses machine learning to turn on automated closed captioning when presenting. Captions are currently available for U.S. English language only, but stay tuned as we explore adding more languages. Learn more about accessibility features in G Suite and ChromeOS.

Slides closed captions

We’ve launched new Docs updates to make writing a paper in MLA format a smoother process. You can already set left and right indentations as well as set hanging indents via a dialog box. Now, students and faculty can also adjust the margins of headers and footers, and use a vertical ruler to adjust placement of table rows and header and footer margins.

Educators can also give feedback to students in Classroom or Course Kit, our free toolkit that allows instructors to use G Suite within their existing LMS. Using the new grading tool, educators can leverage the comment bank to give feedback on Docs and PDFs. Use G Suite for Education but have a different LMS? Request access  to the Course Kit beta today.

Comment bank grading in Classroom

Jamboard - the collaborative whiteboard app - can also help shake things up. We’re bringing the jam to the web, where anyone can create and collaborate on jams from individual Chromebooks, no Jamboard hardware required. And with the new View Only mode, teachers can share jam sessions from their lessons that day while restricting edit access. Have a BYOD policy, or enabling Device Off Hours? Jamboard on the web is an easy solution for collaboration.

If you’re interested in trying out a Jamboard device in your classroom, you can apply for the new Jamboard Learning Space Transformation program. Continental U.S. based G Suite for Education customers can submit a proposal on how you’ll transform your learning space with Jamboard today.

Jamboard web editor

Hopefully these new features and product tips are the antidote you need to the Octoberitis that’s bound to hit your classrooms. If not, you have Halloween to look forward to...

Be sure to follow along on Google for Education’s Twitter and Facebook pages. We love hearing from you, so please share your tips for the best October yet.

Source: Google Chrome

The Applied Computing Series gets college students into computer science

What do fighting wildfires, searching for dogs in photos and using portrait mode on your phone have in common? Data science and machine learning. Experts across a range of businesses and industries are using data to give machines the ability to “learn” and complete tasks.

But as the field of data science is rapidly growing, workforce projections show that there isn’t enough new talent to meet increasing demand for these roles, especially in machine learning. Given the nationwide scarcity of computer science faculty, we’ve been thinking about how to give students a hands-on computer science education, without CS PHD educators.

At a handful of colleges across the country, we’re piloting the Applied Computing Series (ACS): two college-level introductory computer science and data science courses and a machine learning intensive. The Series will help students understand how to use the best available tools to manipulate and understand data and then solve critical business problems.

20180918-Google Edu-Bay Path U-173.jpg

Students at Bay Path University learning Python programming as part of our first ACS cohort of universities.

The machine learning intensive is meant for students who have already taken introductory computer science classes and who want to pursue more advanced coursework. The intensive will ultimately prepare them for opportunities as data engineers, technical program managers, or data analysts in industries ranging from healthcare to insurance to entertainment and media. Through partnerships with colleges and universities, we provide industry-relevant content and projects; and colleges and universities provide experienced faculty to lead in-class project work and provide coaching for students.

The Applied Computing courses are currently available to students at eight colleges and universities: Adrian College, Agnes Scott College, Bay Path University, Heidelberg University, Holy Names University, Lasell College, SUNY Buffalo State, and Sweet Briar College. If you’re a university and want to apply to be a site for the Applied Computing courses in the fall of 2019, find out more on our website.

The machine learning intensive will start in February 2019 at Mills College and again during the summer session at Agnes Scott College, Bay Path University, Heidelberg University and Scripps College and is open for applications from all U.S. students. If you’re a student who has already completed college-level computer and/or data science coursework and want to apply for the machine learning intensive, learn more at our website.

Hispanic Heritage Month Pay It Forward Challenge: Recognizing students making a difference

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google is hosting a Pay It Forward Challenge to recognize Latinx/Hispanic student leaders who are advancing opportunities for their local communities. We’re excited to share the work of the students below and hope you’ll be inspired by their stories.

We’ll be continually updating this post with new student features, so be sure to check back in.

Are you a social change agent in your local community? Apply by Oct 13 via our website for your chance to be featured: g.co/payitforward

Edgar Bustos
Edgar Bustos is a junior at the University of Southern California triple majoring in Economics, Business Administration, and Political Science with a minor in Law and Public Policy. He was born in Dallas, Texas, is a first-generation American, and a self-described "son of a proud Mexican woman".

Edgar has devoted his undergraduate career to supporting the development of Latinx/Hispanic students as the President of QuestBridge at his university. QuestBridge matches high-achieving, low-income students to elite universities with full scholarships. Edgar explains, "QuestBridge made college possible for me. Now, I serve as President of QuestBridge at the University of Southern California, where I partner with a talented executive board to serve college students and the surrounding community. I have prioritized training events that help first-generation/low-income students to become competitive job seekers and graduate school applicants. I am also reaching out to public schools with majority-Latinx students to sponsor events where we can teach students about scholarship opportunities." 

In an effort to increase Latinx representation in executive roles, Edgar also created Latinxs in Human Resources. Edgar uses LHR to promote the development of underrepresented communities and provide information about career paths in Human Resources. "It is my hope that by targeting the development of Latinxs before, during, and after college, I can make lasting impacts in the Latinx community." In his "spare" time, Edgar acts as a student teacher with Mission Science. He actively supports STEM exposure for Latinx/Hispanic students by leading after-school science lessons. 

How can you help?

If you, or someone you know, is a high-achieving, low-income student – you can read more about QuestBridge here. If you are a representative from a university not currently partnering with QuestBridge, please consider advocating for a QuestBridge partnership at your University.

Bianca Alvarez
Bianca is a student at The University of Texas at El Paso, the Vice President of UTEP's chapter of ACMW (Association for Computing Machinery Council on Women in Computing), a National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) AspireIT Program Leader, and "passionate about empowering Hispanic girls through technology and educational programs".

The NCWIT AspireIT program is a computer science initiative for girls in grades K-12. As a program leader, Bianca helped raise over $5,000 in 2018 to engage Hispanic girls through summer camps and programming clubs. This year, she partnered with Latinitas, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering young Latinas using media and technology. Together they hosted the summer camp "Latinitas Code Chica", aimed for girls in 4th-8th grade and will begin the "Code Chica After School Club" in late October.

"As the AspireIT Leader, I was able to share my passion in tech and teach participants fundamentals in programming and computational thinking in a fun and creative environment. My vision for the future of women in the tech industry is to see Latina girls having the same opportunity to learn programming skills at a young age, regardless of their ethnicity or economic status."

What inspires Bianca about Hispanic Heritage Month

"The magic of the Hispanic Heritage Month is about learning from other Hispanics willing to contribute to our next generation in the technology industry. To be part of the present and future and recognize that we also have inspirational role models to follow and imitate their willingness and hard work to reach our goals. Being a Latina in a technology field means being part of a minority group, it can be both challenging and difficult to 'fit in'. I strongly think that everyone is capable of thriving in the tech world. To Latina girls that want to pursue a career in technology, I will tell them not to be afraid of stereotypes and go for it."

Keep up with us on social (TwitterInstagramFacebookG+YouTube) to hear more about our initiatives!

Grab your library card to learn digital skills in Europe

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from guest author, director of the Ilona Kish, Director of the Public Libraries 2020 Program in Europe.

When you think of your local library, you may recall the memory of getting lost in a good book , or even using a computer for the first time. Today people think of computers and smartphones as ubiquitous–always charged and at their fingertips. But for too many, computers are—to excuse a librarian’s pun—a closed book. For those unable to access or use a computer or smartphone–a whole world is shut off, limiting their access to information and opportunities.

Particularly in Europe, where 44 percent of Europeans lack basic digital skills, libraries are key to providing local tools and programs that teach those foundational skills. To help libraries provide welcoming spaces where people feel safe to learn, Public Libraries 2020 has partnered with Grow with Google in Europe, an initiative that has already helped over 4 million people Europeans grow their skills, and this year further pledged to help 1 million Europeans to find a job or grow their business by 2020.

Now, the Public Libraries 2020/Grow with Google partnership will help Europeans, from students to pensioners learn about digital skills, online safety and computer science. The digital toolkit titled “Libraries Lead with Digital” features ideas for how to run sessions on digital skills, online safety and computer science, and it’s currently in a pilot phase with ten libraries across the UK and Ireland. By helping librarians share ideas and resources with one another, public libraries will be able to run effective sessions that encourage participation from people who would be otherwise hard to reach.


From youngsters to pensioners: Stockton Central Library hosts sessions on digital skills, online safety and coding utilizing resources from the Libraries Lead with Digital toolkit.

Library staff members in the pilot are helping residents respond to their local challenges. For example, they’re delivering extra trainings in rural areas like Norfolk; while in South Dublin there’s a drive to get more young people into STEM careers, making resources on coding particularly useful. The toolkit will help librarians share their knowledge with their colleagues, taking inspiration from the Google partnership already running with the American Library Association.

We’ve already gotten some inspiring feedback from those ten libraries leading the way in the UK and Ireland. In Stockton, librarian Katherine McDonagh said, “We’re reaching people who wouldn’t usually attend our regular sessions and most importantly showing people that your public library is just as relevant as ever.”

Author Neil Gaiman once described libraries as the “gates to the future.” With this new toolkit, Google and Public Libraries 2020 can help more people learn the digital skills and knowledge to feel confident as they step into that future, whatever it holds for them.

Mobile apps, mobile teachers with Classroom

Educators rarely sit down. They’re walking around their classrooms to check in with students, guiding small groups, running after school clubs and leading field trips. And when they’re on the go, Classroom’s Android and iOS applications are there to help. We shared our World Teachers’ Day promise to continue to support and celebrate teachers, and that includes creating new features driven by educators’ feedback. Today, we’re sharing new tools and top tips from educators who teach us new ways to make the most of our mobile apps.

Introducing the student selector

Teachers are always inventing ways to encourage class participation, from popsicle sticks to notecards to assigning numbers to students. And now teachers can use the student selector on Android devices to randomly select students to call on in class. This ensures all students have a fair chance of speaking and sharing answers, and it helps teachers track who has participated and who hasn't.

We built the student selector specifically for mobile devices to take advantage of the portability of a phone or tablet.

Student selector

Popular Classroom mobile features

We’ve heard many teachers tell us how much they use the Classroom mobile app when teaching, checking on classes and assignments outside of school, and how it enables them to be agile and respond when it’s convenient. For more ways to teach on the go, we asked educators to tell us the top three waysthey use the Classroom mobile apps in their classes:

1. Write feedback on work

On both the iOS and Android apps, students and teachers can easily draw and write on attachments. Chrystal Hoe, a tech integration coach, works with Math and English teachers in particular to leverage this feature. “Being able to circle or underline words or mistakes, especially when they’re repeated, makes it easy to give feedback to students.”

Mobile annotations

2. Record videos and take photos

Students and teachers can easily record and upload photos and videos to Classroom. Deanna Confredo, a high school social studies teacher, has been using Classroom for three years now to integrate photos and videos into her classes. “Some students prefer to use paper, and the mobile app allows me to collect work digitally while giving them some choice in how they want to complete their work. Students have the Classroom app on their phones, and they take a picture of their written work and upload it. ”

Deanna also has her students take photos to tie learning back to their own lives.  “I was teaching how to test claims, so I asked my students to take a picture of a claim they saw - some of them took a picture of the news - and then upload it to Classroom. Then the next day, we talked about how we could test those claims and find evidence to support or refute them.”

3. Posting on the go

The mobility of smartphones means that teachers and students can post from wherever they are. Chrystal Hoe has found this to be especially useful for field trips. “We recently had a field trip with a scavenger hunt in a museum. We asked questions through Classroom and asked everyone to post a comment or turn in a picture to the Google Classroom Stream throughout the day. It was handy as we were hopping around town, and fun for everyone to see what everyone else was posting.”

The offline data built into our Classroom apps also means that teachers can edit and check classes regardless of location. Rachel Coathup, a head of digital curriculum, often takes advantage of this, especially during the parts of her day when a laptop is not easily accessible. “I find being able to get on my phone and quickly check that my classes are all set up for the following day to be very useful. And if I’m on the train, I can fix any assignments up and easily reuse posts from the different classes I teach.”

We love hearing from you

Share how you use smartphones and tablets with your students by tagging us in a tweet, and let us know how we can better support teaching on the go by sending in feedback directly in Classroom.

And if you and your students aren’t using the free Classroom mobile apps to enable learning on the go, you can download them now from Google Play Store or App Store.

Teaching students about geography, one Google Hangout at a time

I'm always looking for creative ways to get my fifth-grade students excited about social studies and geography. Thanks to technology, they're able to see the lessons come to life and visit every state in the country without ever leaving their classroom. One way I’ve done this with my students is through “Mystery Hangouts,” a game a teaching partner introduced to me a few years ago. Last year, I put a fun spin on it and challenged my fifth-grade class to complete what I called the “Race to 50 States.”

I used Google Hangouts Meet to connect my class with another one in an unknown state. To solve the mystery of where the other class was located, students shared fun facts about their state and asked yes or no questions like, “Are you west of the Mississippi River?”

Not only is the game engaging and fun, but it’s also educational. In addition to using their geography knowledge, my students also learned skills in critical thinking, mapping, listening, collaboration, technology and communication. After a few Hangouts Meet sessions, I received so much positive feedback from students and parents alike that I set an ambitious goal for this year’s class: reach all 50 states by the end of the school year.

If this sounds like something your class might be interested in, visit the “Resource” section of the Teacher Center, where I share how to play the game. It’s only a guide, so feel free to tweak the rules for your class. All you need is internet access and maps to get started. Before you know it, your students will be learning more about their country, one mystery location at a time.

Helping children in the Arab world be safe online explorers

Be Internet Awesome—our digital safety and citizenship program for children—is now available to more than 400 million Arabic speakers as Abtal Al Internet. The program is designed in a way that simplifies the world of internet safety and digital citizenship in a language children feel comfortable with. Developed in collaboration with online safety experts like the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely, the program offers tools for parents and educators so everyone has the tools they need to help children be safer online.

A’alam Al Internet - our digital safety game for children

“A’alam Al Internet”—our digital safety game for children

We surveyed more than 200 teachers in the Arab world to learn about their experience with online safety in the classroom. We found that 98 percent of teachers believe that online safety should be part of the curriculum, and one in three teachers reported that they had witnessed an online safety incident (sharing personal information or cyberbullying, for example) in their school. However, 75 percent of teachers said they don’t have the necessary resources to teach online safety to their students.

We hope that by making Be Internet Awesome’s classroom curriculum available in Arabic, we can give these educators the tools and methods they need to teach digital safety fundamentals. We’re excited to give children in Arabic-speaking communities and elsewhere in the world more access to the learning opportunities online.