Tag Archives: Code with Google

New resources on the gender gap in computer science

When it comes to computer science, we still have a lot of work to do to address gaps in education. That’s evident in our latest report with Gallup, Current Perspectives and Continuing Challenges in Computer Science Education in US K-12 Schools. This report is our most recent in a multiple-year series of Diversity in K12 CS education reports with Gallup in an effort to share new research with advocates, administrators, nonprofit partners and the tech industry to continue addressing gaps in computer science education. 

While the 2020 Gallup reports shed light on many gaps related to race, gender and community size, we wanted to increase awareness of the gender gap, specifically, since the gender gap for girls and young women is still as stark as it was when we first released the report back in 2015.

Seventy-three percent of boys told researchers they were confident about learning computer science, compared with 60% of girls. (You can see more details in the full report.) Behind these statistics are real students who are missing opportunities for acquiring critical skills, knowledge, and opportunities. When girls miss out on opportunities to learn computer science, the tech industry misses out on their perspectives and potential innovations.

To help bring attention to the challenges, beliefs and stereotypes with which girls grapple, we partnered with London-based designer Sahara Jones to highlight the young girls’ voices behind these statistics:

Three poster images next to each other that have stats from a Google commissioned research study with K-12 young women's quotes next to the stats.  First poster: 9% of girls think learning computer science is important. 91% do not. Quotes on this poster next to the 9% stat, in small font: It's exciting. Building stuff is fun.I'm good at it. It's rewarding. It could be a career, I love it.  Quotes under the 91% stat, in much larger font: I've never considered it. It's too hard. I'm the only girl in the class. It's geeky. It's what the boys do. I don't belong. My school doesn't teach it.  Second poster: 12% girls are likely to pursue a career in computer science. 88% are not.  Quotes on this poster next to the 12% stat, in small font: I met some amazing computer scientists. I feel inspired. I'm good at it. Quotes on the poster next to the 88% stat in much larger font: I feel judged. I don't know what a computer scientist does. It's a boys career. None of my friends want to either. I don't know any female engineers.  Third poster: 29% of parents of girls are eager for them to pursue a computer science career. 71% are not. Quotes in small font next to the 29% stat: It's a good opportunity. She really enjoys it. Tech is the future. She is so talented. Quotes, in much larger font next to the 71% stat: It's a man's job. I won't be able to help her.Can she do it? It might be too hard.I want her to do a more traditional job.

We’re making these graphics available for advocates, nonprofits and policymakers to use in presentations, publications or on social media. Our goal is to help increase awareness about this important topic and ultimately engage advocates in their own work to close the gender gap in computer science education. 

Also, for the first time, we’re making the detailed Gallup data in the report available to all [download here]. Our aim is to provide as much useful information as possible for educators, researchers, journalists and policymakers who care about equity and computer science education. We look forward to seeing how this data is used by the community to advocate for important policies and dedicate resources towards this work. We know there’s a long way to go but we hope that making data from our latest Gallup report freely available will aid in efforts to address equity gaps and make computer science truly open and welcoming to all.

At Google, we are committed to trying to close equity gaps in computer science, whether it’s due to race or ethnicity, gender or other limiting barriers. One of our initiatives is CS First, Google's introductory computer science curriculum targeted at underrepresented primary school students all around the world, including girls. Another is Code Next, which trains the next generation of Black and Latino tech leaders — many of whom are young women  — with a free high-school computer science curriculum, mentorship and community events. 

We’re grateful to educators for motivating girls to believe in themselves and encouraging them to explore how computer science can support them, no matter what career paths they take. We’re also proud to be part of a group of technology companies, governments and nonprofits in this fight for change. 

Computer Science Education Week: More help for more students

Recent research shows that only 45 percent of U.S. schools offer computer science (CS) courses, and that Black, Latinx and Female students especially lack equitable access to a CS education.  So I beat the odds: I am a Black, female, computer engineer at Google.

Majoring in systems and CS at Howard University opened up so many opportunities in my life and career. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S.; clearly, these skills are becoming as important as reading and writing and we can’t afford to leave anyone out. Code with Google is our commitment to closing equity gaps in CS, and this year for Computer Science Education Week we're announcing two new initiatives to create more access.


Code Next goes virtual 

This year, as part of Code with Google’s portfolio of CS education programs, Code Next is expanding. Launched in 2015, Code Next offers free CS education with a focus on Black and Latinx high school students, providing the skills and inspiration they need for long and rewarding careers in computer science-related fields. Originally available only in New York and California, it’s expanded to 16 virtual clubs under a program called Code Next Connect.

Nadirah Pinney, a 2020 Code Next Oakland graduate, said she was reluctant to join the program at first because she wasn’t interested in CS. “I quickly learned to love the way that Code Next taught CS. It not only taught me lessons I didn’t think I could learn, it actually made me more comfortable with myself.” Having graduated from the program, Nadirah is now enrolled at San Jose State University where she’s studying to be a software engineer.  

Image shows two women sitting at a white desk talking over an open laptop. One woman has her back to the camera and is looking at the laptop screen, the other women is facing the camera, looking at the other woman, and smiling.

Nadirah working on a Code Next assignment alongside her Code Next coach Alyssa Lui.

Any student ages 14-18 can now apply to the virtual program starting in January 2021, with the ability to choose a CS-related curriculum track including game design, UX, hardware or intro to scripting. 


A new Google.org grant for the Scratch Foundation

We’re building on our work with the Scratch Foundation—a creative coding platform used by more than 2 million students—with a new $5 million dollar Google.org grant. Last year, Google supported Scratch and the Office of CS in Chicago Public Schools to host Family Creative Coding Nights at New Chance Fund elementary schools so that students and their families could come together and create using code.
A woman looks at a laptop that is sitting at a table while two young children gather around to look at the laptop as well. Everyone is smiling.

Champika Fernando (center) from the Scratch team at a Family Creative Coding Night.

The work in Chicago inspired Scratch to create the Scratch Education Collaborative (SEC)—a global network of community led organizations, providing high-quality resources and training, based on the Scratch coding platform, for educators and young people who are historically excluded from computing. Scratch is currently accepting new applications for the pilot year of the SEC; visit the website to see if your organization would be a good fit.

These new initiatives are a part of Google’s larger commitment to CS education. Since 2013, Google.org has given more than $80 million to organizations around the globe working to increase access to high quality CS learning opportunities.

If you’re an educator, make sure to check outCS First Unplugged—our first Hour of Code activity that can be used completely offline and without a computer to support a variety of learning environments. Happy #CSEdWeek, everyone.

Hacking for a virtual world

Distance learning, despite its challenges, allows us to think beyond the confines of the classroom and redefine what’s possible. Turns out a lot is possible when you make an event virtual. 

Each year Code Next, Code with Google’s free computer science education program for Black and Latino high schoolers in New York and Oakland, hosts a hackathon. It’s a three-day event for student members to develop and pitch app ideas to a panel of judges. In previous years, the hackathons were local events attended by students, families, Google volunteers and community members passionate about equity in computing. 

This year’s hackathon was virtual, which meant for the first time ever, the event was not limited to one geographic region. Instead, our Harlem and Oakland labs found themselves together in one (virtual) room. Students thousands of miles away from each other came together for a three-day online workshop to build tech solutions inspired by this year’s theme, “Digital Wellness.” After months of lockdown and limited access to loved ones, and anxieties brought about by illness and isolation, we thought this theme was particularly relevant. 

“Looking at the community and the problems that are embedded in it motivates me to do more and to do better,” says Oakland Code Next Student Nalani Gomez-Curiel. Her group created the website Mission DAP, an online support group for victims of domestic abuse. 

Code Next Hackathon winning app

Code Next students Gideon Buddenhaggen (Oakland), Steve Leke (Oakland), Brios Oliveras (Harlem) and Mannendri Oliveras (Harlem) present their web app “Melly.”

During the hackathon, Google employees mentored the students on technical topics, project ideation, making an effective pitch and working with Github. This Googler-student interaction is one of the most important aspects of the Code Next model, where we help students make connections with people in the tech industry. And this year, because the event was virtual, students were able to connect with  Googler volunteers from all around the globe. 

After months of virtual learning, our students stayed engaged throughout the whole weekend. They worked late into the night and developed new friendships with students and Googlers across time zones. They learned that they had things in common.  They built solutions that resonated with them and their communities. They made plans to meet someday, “once this is all over.”

Here’s a list of this year’s winners:

Best Web App: “Melly” connects people to medical professionals at no cost
Gideon Buddenhaggen, Steve Leke, Brios Oliveras and Mannendri Oliveras

Best Android App: “Better Care” educates people on self-care practices and activities
Richlove Nkansah, Tianna Wilson, Daniela Cabral, Yamila Rangel, Fanta Kante

Best Website: “Lifelit” tracks notes to better organize day to day tasks
Thanhbinh Ngyuen, David Ung, Orvile Escalante, Thanhthanh Ngyuen

Judges Awards (Honorable Mention): 

“MCS” entertains young people on strategies to keep a healthy mindset while coping with virtual living
Daniella Billini, Cydney Hayes, Shariana Allen

“Greatest Wealth is Health” provides digital workout classes to promote wellbeing 
Dana Arce, Marisol Torres, Isabella Schell, Sky-Lailonnie Owens, Adolfo Campos

Congrats to the winners!

Addressing equity in CS curriculum with Kapor Center

Editor’s note: This post is authored by Dr. Allison Scott, Chief Research Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. The Kapor Center received a Google.org grant, as part of Code with Google’s $25 million commitment to increasing Black and Latinx students’ access to computer science education.

In our increasingly technology-driven world, computer science is critical for all students to learn. Computing is shaping the future of fields as diverse as medicine, entertainment, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture, and our students must be prepared with the technical skills to succeed in the fastest-growing and highest-paying occupations in our future.

However, not all students have the opportunity to learn computing concepts. Large access gaps exist, especially for low-income students and students of color. And even when computing courses are available, classrooms are not always inclusive and engaging for students from all backgrounds.

When developed intentionally, curriculum is a powerful tool for creating inclusivity. It’s the playbook that teachers build from, and provides an opportunity to incorporate students’ backgrounds, interests, and passions, with the knowledge and skills needed in their futures, regardless of what they choose to pursue. In computer science classrooms, students can assess air quality, predict performance of athletes or political candidates, consider the ethical implications of autonomous vehicles and facial recognition software, and understand how data can diagnose and treat cancer. 

Today the Kapor Center received a $3 million Google.org grant to establish the Equitable Computer Science Curriculum initiative. This effort will bring together leaders in education equity, inclusive teaching practices, and computer science education, along with teachers and students to improve K-12 CS curriculum and resources. Alongside a diverse advisory board, we'll develop guidelines for creating culturally-relevant learning materials and support curriculum providers to implement those best practices. Through this initiative, thousands of teachers will access CS curricula that counteracts stereotypes, builds CS interest, and affirms the diverse identities of the millions of students across the country.

It will take more than one organization or one intervention to improve computing education and we look forward to working with many experts across many disciplines to improve inclusion, participation, and equity in CS classrooms. Join us in this exciting initiative.