Category Archives: Google for Education Blog
Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in
Yesterday marked the start of the 7th year of Google Code-in (GCI), our pre-university contest introducing students to open source development. GCI takes place entirely online and is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 around the globe.
Open source software makes up the backbone of the internet, from servers and routers to the phone in your pocket, but it’s a community-driven effort. Google Code-in serves a dual purpose of encouraging young developers and ensuring that open source communities continue to grow.
The concept is simple: students complete bite-sized tasks created by 17 participating open source organizations on topic areas of their choice, including:
Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete and include the guidance of a mentor to help along the way. Complete one task? Get a digital certificate. Three tasks? Get a Google t-shirt. Mentor organizations pick finalists and grand prize winners from among the 10 students who contributed most to that organization. Finalists get a hoodie and Grand Prize winners get a trip to Google headquarters in California where they meet Googlers, mentors and fellow winners.
Google Code-in began with 361 students from 45 countries and has grown to include, in 2015, 980 students from 65 countries. You can read about the experiences of past participants on the Google Open Source blog. Over the last 6 years, more than 3,000 students from 99 countries have successfully completed tasks in GCI.
Student Ahmed Sabie had this to say, “Overall, Google Code-in was the experience of a lifetime. It set me up for the future by teaching me relevant and critical skills necessary in software development.”
Know of a student who might be interested? Learn more about GCI by checking out our rules and FAQs. And please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide. Teachers, you can find additional resources here to help get your students started.
Our 10th Doodle 4 Google winner is dino-mite
Ten years ago, for the very first Doodle 4 Google contest, we asked students “what if?” A decade later, we’ve been privileged to receive hundreds of thousands of submissions for our annual contest—submissions that reflect the dreams, hopes and talents of students across the country. These young artists help us to see the world through their eyes and find inspiration in unexpected places.
This year was no exception. We asked students to respond to the theme “What Inspires Me…” and received doodles depicting everything from a love of family and food to a passion for intergalactic roller coasters (!).
Now we’re thrilled to announce the winner of the 2018 Doodle 4 Google contest: first grader Sarah Gomez-Lane, who drew delightful dinosaurs to highlight her dream of becoming a paleontologist. Sarah was our K-3 finalist, and the Virginia state winner. We fell in love with Sarah’s rendering of her dinos, and were blown away by her big (you might even say “dino-sized”!) ambitions for her future, especially at her young age.
When asked how she felt upon hearing she was a finalist, Sarah exclaimed that she was “surprised!” Her advice to students interested in submitting to future Doodle 4 Google contests? “Try your best and have fun!”
For the first time in Doodle 4 Google’s 10-year history, the National Winner will have the opportunity to turn their submission into an animated, interactive Doodle featured on the Google homepage. Over the summer, Sarah will collaborate with the Doodle team to bring her artwork to life. She’ll also receive $30,000 toward a college scholarship, and her elementary school in Falls Church, VA, will receive $50,000 to spend on technology to help students like Sarah continue to pursue what inspires them.
Thank you to everyone who participated not only this year, but throughout the past decade. And, of course, a huge congratulations to all of the talented 2018 winners. From all of us at Google: keep dreaming—and keep doodling!
Now kids can learn to Be Internet Awesome en Español
Be Internet Awesome helps kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world. Today, we’re launching a number of enhancements to the program, including curriculum expansions, updates to the Interland game, and interactive slide presentations to bring program lessons to life, created in partnership with Pear Deck. We’re also excited to make these important lessons accessible to more families by expanding the Be Internet Awesome program into Spanish as Sé genial en Internet. We’ve invited Araceli Gomez, a STEM educator at South Gate Middle School in Los Angeles, CA, to talk about why these resources are so important for her community.
My career in education began in 1997 at Tweedy Elementary School, in the city of South Gate, CA, where the population is 99 percent Latino. The best part of being an educator in the same city for over 20 years is the relationships I’ve built with families and students in the community. When former students stop by to simply say hello or to share their education and career success, it’s inspiring to know I played a little part in helping them reach their full potential.
Most of the students I work with are bilingual, but their parents predominantly speak Spanish at home. These parents are often seeking guidance and looking for online safety resources. According to new research commissioned by Google, Latino parents in Spanish-speaking households are almost twice as likely as their English-speaking counterparts to favor talking about online safety at home, as a family (39 percent to 21 percent). I’m starting to see more information about internet safety in English, but for most of the families I work with, that information might as well be nonexistent because of the language barrier. That’s a big reason why I’m really excited that Google’s Be Internet Awesome is now available in Spanish as Sé genial en Internet.
With Sé genial en Internet, Spanish-speaking parents in my community and all over the world will now be able to use the program’s tools and resources to help their kids become good digital citizens. Not only will they be able to reinforce at home the lessons we're teaching, they’ll be able to do so in a language they feel comfortable with.
Over the time I’ve been teaching, advances in technology have changed many of the ways learning takes place. Research today is done online, and assignments and homework are given, completed and graded through online accounts. And as a STEM educator, I’m always looking for programs that address the current needs of my students. The Be Internet Awesome curriculum is a great resource because it empowers students with the fundamentals of digital safety in a fun, engaging way they really respond to.Just as we teach kids right from wrong in the real world, we also need to show them how to interact on the internet. To help make the internet safer for everyone, all families need to be equipped with the right information, resources, and tools to keep the discussion going at home. I’m excited to see Google recognize that need and expand their programs to reach even more kids, families and educators with Sé genial en Internet.
¡Explora el Nuevo “Be Internet Awesome” en Español!
“Be Internet Awesome” ayuda a los niños a ser seguros y confiables exploradores del mundo en línea. Hoy, estamos lanzando una serie de mejoras al programa, que incluyen expansiones de planes de estudio, actualizaciones del juego Interland juego y presentaciones de diapositivas interactivas para dar vida a las clases de aprendizaje del programa, creadas en asociación con Pear Deck. También nos entusiasma hacer accesibles estas importantes lecciones a más familias al expandir el programa “Be Internet Awesome” al español con "Sé genial en Internet". Hemos invitado a Araceli Gómez, educadora de STEM en la South Gate Middle School en Los Ángeles, a hablar sobre por qué estos recursos son tan importantes para su comunidad.
Mi carrera en educación comenzó en 1997 en la escuela primaria Tweedy, en la ciudad de South Gate, California, donde la población es 99 por ciento latina. La mejor parte de ser educadora en la misma ciudad por más de 20 años es la relación que he desarrollado con las familias y los estudiantes de la comunidad. Cuando los exalumnos se acercan para decir simplemente hola o compartir su éxito educativo y profesional, es increíble saber que jugué un pequeño papel en ayudarlos a alcanzar su máximo potencial.
La mayoría de los estudiantes con los que trabajo son bilingües, pero sus padres hablan predominantemente español en casa. Estos padres a menudo buscan orientación y recursos de seguridad en línea. Según una nueva investigación auspiciada por Google, los padres latinos en hogares de habla hispana tienen casi el doble de probabilidades que los que hablan inglés de preferir conversar sobre seguridad en línea en el hogar, como familia (39 por ciento comparado con 21 por ciento). Estoy comenzando a ver más información sobre seguridad en Internet en inglés, pero para la mayoría de las familias con las que trabajo, esa información prácticamente no existe por la barrera del idioma. Esa es una gran razón por la que estoy muy emocionada de que “Be Internet Awesome” de Google está ahora disponible en español: Sé genial en Internet.
Con “Sé genial en Internet”, los padres hispanohablantes en mi comunidad y de todo el mundo podrán usar las herramientas y los recursos disponibles en su idioma para reforzar lecciones importantes en casa y ayudar a sus hijos a convertirse en buenos ciudadanos digitales.
Durante el tiempo que he estado enseñando, los avances en la tecnología han cambiado muchas de las formas en que se aprende. La investigación de hoy se hace en línea, y las asignaciones y tareas se llevan a cabo y son calificadas en línea. Y como educadora de STEM, siempre estoy buscando programas que beneficien y satisfagan las necesidades actuales de mis alumnos. El plan de estudios “Be Internet Awesome" es un gran recurso porque ayuda a los estudiantes los fundamentos básicos de la seguridad digital de una manera divertida y atractiva.
Del mismo modo que enseñamos a los niños a diferenciar entre el bien y el mal en el mundo real, también debemos mostrarles cómo interactuar en Internet. Para hacerlo, todas las familias deben contar con la información, los recursos y las herramientas adecuadas para aprender y continuar la comunicación al respecto en el hogar. Estoy emocionada de ver a Google reconocer esa necesidad y expandir sus programas para llegar a más niños, familias y educadores con “Sé genial en Internet”.
Meet the national finalists of our 10th annual Doodle 4 Google contest
In January, we kicked off our 10th year of Doodle 4 Google, and students across all 53 states and territories submitted their representations of this year’s theme, “What Inspires Me...”
We couldn’t help but be inspired ourselves by all of the submissions. This year’s 180,000+ Doodles covered everything imaginable, from cooking to family to dragons.
Now, after millions of public votes, we’re excited to introduce our five national finalists, one from each age group. Here’s what these young artists had to say about their masterpieces:
Grades K-3: Sarah Gomez-Lane (Grade 1, Falls Church, VA)
"The things on my Doodle are my favorite dinosaurs. Dinosaurs inspire me to study more to be a paleontologist. The shovel is for my future job!"
Grades 4-5:Sia Srivastava (Grade 4, Prosper, TX)
"I am very inspired about space travel. I want to explore the galaxy and visit different planets and create a rollercoaster through our universe!”
Grades 6-7:Ignacio Burgos (Grade 7, Portsmouth, RI)
"Fashion inspires me because of how you can reflect your own personal style into just a single garment. Inspiration can be drawn from anywhere and can show any sort of idea. Whatever you can imagine!"
Grades 8-9:Madelyn Kieh (Grade 9, Yeadon, PA)
"The thing that inspires me the most is the work of others. When I see an amazing art piece made by someone else, it motivates me to improve my own art. In my Doodle, I drew my big sister, whose artwork has inspired me to draw since I was young."
Grades 10-12:Mark Thivierge (Grade 10, Lutz, FL)
"Nature has existed long before we have and therefore is where we draw our inspiration from. The word ‘inspire’ means to ‘breathe in’ and the wonders of nature are where I breathe in and find meaning in my mathematics, science, music and writing."
The national finalists will all receive a Pixelbook computer, a $5,000 college scholarship, and a trip to Google’s headquarters in California to celebrate with the other finalists and meet the Doodle Team.
Come back on June 18 to find out who will be the national winner. Thanks to all who voted and all the young artists who submitted their Doodles. We can’t wait to see what you dream up next year!
To all the teachers
Editor’s note: Teacher Appreciation Week starts today, and we’re honored to have the recently-named 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy Manning, as our guest author. We’re enormously grateful for the hard work that teachers like Mandy do everyday to ignite curiosity in the next generation. Stay tuned here and follow along on Twitter throughout the week to see how we’re celebrating.
Becoming a teacher wasn’t part of my original plan. I went to school to become a screenwriter and producer, but after my first job working at a local TV news station, I realized it didn’t quite fit my personality. I needed to have a different kind of impact.
That’s when I found a job as a paraeducator (teaching assistant), then taught for two years in the Peace Corps. But it wasn’t until I moved to the tiny town of Spearman, Texas—where I taught theater and communications and coached speech and debate—that I seriously considered pursuing a career in teaching. From the first moment I stood in front of a classroom of nervous but curious teenagers, I was hooked. Looking at their faces, so full of hope and potential, I knew I’d found my purpose.
Nineteen years ago, I could never have imagined being named National Teacher of the Year. Now, in this position, I’m humbled by the opportunity to raise the experiences of educators, and share my students’ voices.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has run the National Teacher of the Year program since 1952. Google helps sponsor this program, and as part of their partnership, they hosted my 54 fellow State Teachers of the Year and me at their Mountain View headquarters this past February. The experience was inspiring and validating, reinforcing how educators across our nation are putting students at the center of their work, and how much direct impact we can have on our communities.
In one session, we had the honor of collaborating on this year's Doodle celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week, which is live on Google homepage in the U.S. today. It was powerful because it gave each of us the chance to talk about what it means to be a teacher, and to bring those concepts together into a single image. We were especially lucky to have help from Jonathan Juravich, Ohio’s 2018 State Teacher of the Year, who is a talented artist and art teacher (learn more about his experience as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Doodle).
We also had the chance to share thoughts and ideas across a range of topics, including the teachers who inspired us, the future of education, and advice for aspiring educators, which are now part of a new video series called “Lessons from Teachers of the Year.” Starting today, these videos will be available on YouTube and I hope they serve as a source of inspiration for educators.
Other influential individuals in education—like Sal Khan, Charles Best, and Angela Duckworth—answered some of Google’s most-asked questions about education and shared their thoughts on the profession of teaching. Their words of gratitude show the impact that teachers have on their students and the broader community. Check out these videos and trending education-related queries on a Google Trends hub dedicated to Teacher Appreciation Week.
Over the years, Google has listened to and supported educators through its products, programs and investments, and this week Google.org is providing $500,000 to DonorsChoose.org to match donations to classroom project requests. Google has been working with DonorsChoose.org since 2012, providing more than $20 million to fund over 23,000 projects, reaching one out of every ten public schools in the U.S.
Every day I’m thankful my path led me toward teaching. I look forward to my year ahead as National Teacher of the Year and the opportunity to elevate my colleagues and students’ stories. In the most turbulent of times—and especially in those times—the importance of a good teacher cannot and should not be taken for granted. This week, give a shout out to the teachers who have made a difference in your life. You can even try coding a note of thankswith Made with Code!
So make sure to #ThankATeacher today—they deserve it.
Thanking teachers by helping them get the resources they need
Editor’s note:Teacher Appreciation Week starts today, and we’re honored to have Charles Best, the Founder of DonorsChoose.org as our guest author. We’re big fans of DonorsChoose.org, and are proud to be longtime supporters of their model of helping teachers. Today, we’re taking that one step further in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Keep an eye on the Education page and follow along on Twitter throughout the week to see how we’re celebrating.
When I taught history in a public school in the Bronx, many of my fellow teachers had great ideas for books their students could read, field trips they would organize for students, or projects they would do in class, if only there was funding to make those ideas happen. I had a sense that people would want to help teachers like us if they could see exactly where their money was going. So with help from my students, I sketched out a site where teachers could request the exact resources they needed for their classroom, and donors of all stripes could give to the projects that inspired them. Since our founding in 2000, 3 million donors have given $680 million to fund over 1 million classroom projects.
I never could have imagined reaching this scale back in my classroom days, and Google.org has been key to our growth. Google.org shares our belief that teachers understand their students—and the resources they need to teach those students—better than anyone else. Their financial support has empowered teachers across the country to bring their ideas to life.
Since 2012, Google.org has supported 17,000 public school teachers who needed funding for their classrooms. This includes teachers like Mr. Narisetty who needed lab equipment for a new AP Physics lab, Ms. Gibson who needed funding for dolls and costumes for her kindergarteners, and Mrs. Price who requested sensory processing materials to help her students with special needs relax.
Google.org’s continued support has enabled us to pilot new ways to serve students. Back in 2012, they pioneered “Classroom Rewards,” through which teachers who launched new AP STEM courses earned $100 in classroom funding for each student who received a passing score on their AP exam. This program launched more than 500 new AP STEM classes at high schools predominantly serving students from low income families. We recently launched an open source data science project that enables developers to use machine learning to help us match donors with more relevant teacher projects.
All told, Google.org has helped bring almost 23,000 projects to life, providing around $20 million in classroom project funding. One in ten public schools in the U.S. has benefitted from this generosity.
This week, Google.org is helping us celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week by honoring what teachers want and need. Google.org is doubling donations to one category of classroom projects every day this week for a total of up to $500,000. These daily categories, like professional development or art, are based on the terms our teachers have searched for most on DonorsChoose.org.
We’re kicking off the week by supporting Professional Development projects, so that teachers can bring even more skills to the classroom.
Please join us by heading to DonorsChoose.org to show teachers your appreciation in a way you know they’ll love.
Coding for Conservation
Working on the CS First team, I love finding ways to get more kids involved with computer science at a young age. Though when I was a kid growing up in Miami, I spent most of my time off computers and on the water, admiring the natural beauty of the surrounding beaches and mangrove forests.
I focused my studies and spare time on the environment, and how we could protect and preserve the habitats and creatures that made my home so special. I didn’t quite understand how coding and technology would further my goal of protecting the environment until I got to Google, where I’ve learned that computer science is actually a critical tool for conservation and sustainability.
To help more kids understand the connection between coding and the environment (and to celebrate Earth Day!) we’re teaming up with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to invite students in grades 4-8 to create their own Google logo. Using Scratch, a block-based programming language, students will learn basic coding and stretch their design skills as they express their own ideas for protecting the planet.
To get ready to create their logo, students can watch videos to learn computer science concepts like sequencing and loops, practice analytical thinking and use creative problem solving skills. Those concepts and skills are the building blocks for developing technology that organizations like WWF and Google use in their efforts to protect the planet’s animals and natural environment. In fact, the themes of the logo activity—Sustainability and Wild Animals— were chosen to reflect those efforts.
I have long admired WWF’s mission to conserve nature and reduce threats to animals all over the world—they recently launched Wild Classroom, a free resource for educators to teach their students about the natural world. And as a Googler, I’m proud of the work our company has done to protect the environment: we’re committed to renewable energy adoption and energy efficiency, and have built free data tools to enable widespread solutions to issues like deforestation, overfishing and air pollution.
My hope is that this logo activity will show kids that learning to code can also mean protecting the environment. And this activity is for teachers, too. Along with CS First’s full curriculum, it gives teachers the tools they need to introduce computer science to students for the first time, as well as nurture students’ interest in computer science.
How the Dynamic Learning Project is building teacher confidence
Editor’s note: Last summer, we announced Google’s support of the Dynamic Learning Project—a pilot program from Digital Promise that places technology coaches in 50 high-need schools across the country. Educator coaching has been shown to be effective in subjects like reading and math, but the Dynamic Learning Project is one of the first nationwide programs to apply this approach to the impactful use of technology across subjects. We checked in with one of the 50 schools participating in the program to see how things are going.
When Hillsdale Middle School principal Jacob Launder learned about the Dynamic Learning Project, he jumped at the opportunity to transform how his teachers use technology in the classroom.
Principal Launder had already invested in Hillsdale’s classroom tech and had a community of educators who wanted to build their skills, but many of his teachers lacked the confidence to really make a change in their classrooms. Luckily, he had the perfect person in mind to become a coach and lead this transformation: Ann Mason, a 30-year veteran history teacher in the Cajon Valley School District.
Thanks to her participation in the Dynamic Learning Project, Ann has extensive access to tech-coaching experts, custom resources and tools to guide her support for teachers, and a community of fellow coaches to share best practices.
“The Dynamic Learning Project presented the perfect avenue to support change,” Ann says. “It recognizes that every teacher is innovating at a different level, and the new coaching model allows me to meet that teacher at their level.”
At the beginning of each eight-week coaching cycle, Ann meets with teachers across the school to understand their needs and how she can best support them. As the teachers implement new technology in their lessons, Ann observes their progress and provides regular feedback so they can continue to improve.
Less than a year later, Ann’s in-person, relevant, and consistent technology coaching has helped Hillsdale instructors build confidence in using technology to prepare students. For example, science teacher Carol Strampfer wanted a better way to organize her seventh graders’ written and digital projects so she could track their progress throughout the year. Working closely with Ann, she helped her students use Google Slides to build digital notebooks featuring images of assignments, photos of labs, and more.
“I had wanted to implement this type of system for quite some time, and being part of the Dynamic Learning Project provided the push I needed as well as the support,” Carol says. “Ann helped me work out the minor glitches and supported me in incorporating my own ideas.”
For Ann, the most rewarding moments take place inside the classroom, when she’s helping a teacher introduce a new activity they’ve planned together. “If there’s a tech glitch or a student asks a question that the teacher can’t answer, I jump in to help them move past the bump in the lesson and on to success,” she explains. “I've had numerous teachers tell me they might have given up if I wasn't in the room with them.”
“The Dynamic Learning Project has given me the courage to be more adventurous in my approach to teaching,” says Elizabeth Cordle, who teaches eighth-grade science. “I have the opportunity to explore new technologies in a safe, supportive way.”
Ultimately, the goal of the program is to help students engage with learning, and Principal Launder has seen how the Dynamic Learning Project has been transformative for the Hillsdale community. “The positive impact on teacher creativity and problem-solving can be seen by the dynamic products our students are creating in their classes,” he says. “They’re being provided the opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers on engaging and creative projects.”
These early results affirm that in order to truly unlock the technology’s potential impact in the classroom, teachers must feel supported and confident while learning new tools. As their students turn to them for assistance, answers, and encouragement, Hillsdale teachers now have their own coach to help them thrive.
To stay updated about the Dynamic Learning Project, sign up for updates from Digital Promise.
Zendaya and Google.org help a community school bloom
In 2015, Roses in Concrete Community School opened in East Oakland, California. With a name inspired by a book of poetry written by Tupac Shakur, the school aims to create a model for urban education that prioritizes the needs of youth and families in the community it serves. It’s founder, Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade, believes education is the way to help young people understand that they can transform not only their community, but the world. By creating the conditions for our youngest change-makers to flourish, this education model can be a pathway to building healthy and sustainable communities across the U.S.
In the school’s first year, Google.org provided $750,000 to help launch its unique vision. And last Friday at Google’s San Francisco community space, teachers, students, artists, education advocates, Googlers and Oakland-native actress Zendaya celebrated the announcement of our additional $650,000 grant to help the school build a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) curriculum, which will serve as a model for other schools across the U.S. The curriculum will be culturally and community relevant, building on Duncan-Andrade’s philosophy that education shouldn’t push students out of communities, but should instead help students transform them.
Research shows that Black and Latino students are interested in learning CS, but are underrepresented in the field due to limited access to learning opportunities, coupled with the lack of relatable role models. Through this new program, Roses in Concrete helps students see the connection between CS and their communities, and hopes to equip them with the skills they need to solve real problems, starting in their own neighborhood.
The purpose of education is not to escape poverty, but to end it.
During the evening’s events, Roses students shared dance, art, and poetry performances for the crowd, which included Zendaya, an avid supporter of the school. Growing up in Oakland as the daughter of two teachers, she has fond memories of spending time in the same classrooms that now make up the Roses in Concrete campus, and credits pretending to grade papers as some of her earliest acting experience. During a student-led interview, Zendaya shared her appreciation for organizations like this progressive community school that are thoughtfully closing equity divides in her hometown. She encouraged the students to “Always lead with your heart and chase the happiness that fuels you,” and reminded them that technology is one possible medium for them to express themselves and make a positive difference.
As a lab school, Roses in Concrete will share this new curriculum with national school leaders, policy makers and researchers. And alongside Roses, we can identify more ways to provide meaningful CS experiences to students of color, and by doing so, provide pathways for them to grow, thrive, and create change—in their own communities, and around the world.