Tag Archives: #GoogleEdu

The facts about student data privacy in Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks

Our goal is to ensure teachers and students everywhere have access to powerful, affordable and easy-to-use tools for teaching, learning and working together. We have always been firmly committed to keeping student information private and secure.

On December 1st, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a complaint regarding Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and other products and services especially Chrome Sync. While we appreciate the EFF’s focus on student data privacy, we are confident that our tools comply with both the law and our promises, including the Student Privacy Pledge, which we signed earlier this year. The co-authors of the Student Privacy Pledge, The Future of Privacy Forum and The Software and Information Industry Association have both criticized EFF's interpretation of the Pledge and their complaint.

I want to reiterate some important facts about how our products work, how we keep students’ data private and secure, and our commitment to schools, more broadly.

Google Apps for Education Core Services 
The GAFE Core Services -- Gmail, Calendar, Classroom, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Contacts, Groups, Vault and Hangouts -- are the heart of Google’s educational offering to schools. Students’ personal data in these Core Services is only used to provide the services themselves, so students can do things like communicate using email and collaborate on assignments using Google Docs. There are no ads in these Core Services, and student data in these services is not used for advertising purposes.

Chrome Sync
Chrome Sync enables Google Account holders to log into any Chromebook or Chrome browser and find all their apps, extensions, bookmarks, and frequently visited web pages. For students, this means that they can get to work, right away. That's one of the reasons Chromebooks have become so popular in classrooms, especially for schools that can't afford a device for every child. With Chromebooks and Chrome Sync, students can have a personalized experience on any device they share with their classmates.

Personally-identifiable Chrome Sync data in GAFE accounts is only used to power features in Chrome for that person, for example allowing students to access their own browsing data and settings, securely, across devices. In addition, our systems compile data aggregated from millions of users of Chrome Sync and, after completely removing information about individual users, we use this data to holistically improve the services we provide. For example if data shows that millions of people are visiting a webpage that is broken, that site would be moved lower in the search results. This is not connected to any specific person nor is it used to analyze student behaviors. If they choose to, educators, students and administrators can disable Chrome Sync or choose what information to sync in settings whenever they choose. GAFE users’ Chrome Sync data is not used to target ads to individual students.

Additional services
Schools can control whether students or teachers can use additional Google consumer services -- like YouTube, Maps, and Blogger -- with their GAFE accounts. We are committed to ensuring that K-12 student personal information is not used to target ads in these services, and in some cases we show no ads at all. In Google Search, for example, we show no ads when students are logged in.

We build products that help teachers teach and help students learn. We are constantly working to improve our products and we take all feedback from customers and consumer protection groups seriously. You can learn more and stay updated on our commitment at google.com/edu/trust.

Finding Math in the Everyday with Sesame Street and Google’s Course Builder

Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Kayla Nalven, Content Specialist in Sesame Street’s U.S. Social Impact department. Through her work, Kayla aims to support the many adults in children's lives in their use of Sesame Street content and resources. She managed the content development for the “Make Believe with Math” course.

To date, more than 5,000 early childhood educators have enrolled in a free online course from Sesame Street, “Make Believe with Math”, created through Google’s Course Builder platform. The course - which will run through October 31st - emphasizes finding everyday opportunities for math in any setting and seeing pretend play as a tool for math learning.
This self-paced, three-hour experience includes videos featuring Sesame staff members, short activity challenges, discussion boards for reflection, and access to new content, so educators can bring activity ideas and strategies into their own settings.
Built with Google’s Course Builder platform, the course was a natural extension of Sesame’s legacy as the “first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC),” according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Course Builder gave us a way to continue this work more literally by creating a modern online course with a goal of reaching thousands with no cost to the user; furry monsters and giggles included.

Although creating virtual classroom experiences for adults is an area we’re growing into, the process guiding us is a familiar one—in essence, it’s no different than the method behind making an episode of Sesame Street.

Our team at Sesame Street started with a goal and a concept. We wanted to make the task of incorporating math into the early childhood setting less intimidating for educators by highlighting opportunities that exist to “find the math” in everyday moments and interactions. Research describing the benefits of combining math―which relies on language as well as object/people relationships―with a highly social activity like pretend play inspired the approach featured in the course.

Next, we engaged our end users. We asked expert teachers to provide guidance on how to present information to fellow educators in a way that would add value and adhere to the standards they must follow. We developed the course curriculum based on their feedback and the Sesame Street Framework for School Readiness (which aligns with National Head Start and National Research Council math standards).

We then tested our ideas in a formal research setting. We held a focus group with educators and program directors, and heard from them that the course needed to look and feel like Professional Development―except “Muppetized”.

To ensure what we were offering felt unique, we focused on providing actionable tips and strategies that could be used by educators right away. We worked to streamline the course format and include relatable imagery and additional, single-page resources, all based on what educators told us they wanted to see and experience.

We then held a pilot offering in August, and monitored closely to ensure educators were completing activities successfully and finding value in every aspect of the course.

After the pilot, we knew there was still more work to be done. We followed up with participants and listened closely to their feedback. The data from the first launch was promising. We saw an above-average percentage of course completion, and educators told us there was a strong likelihood that they would implement strategies offered in the course in their own settings.

Finally, we set our sights on iterating. For the current offering, we applied what we learned from rich Course Builder analytics and survey data to continue making this online learning experience worthwhile for educators. We also partnered with multiple states to offer credit/contact hours to educators in those states who complete the course.

We hope to continue learning from our users so we can offer more free trainings directed at educators, parents, and community providers―and continue doing what we do best: reaching learners wherever they are. Course Builder was a natural platform to enable us to do just that.

So get your thinking caps and imaginations ready, and join us in class! Register now at www.sesamestreet.org/makebelievewithmath. The course will run through October 31st, so don’t wait until the “number of the day” is 0.

New (School) Year resolutions with #GoogleEdu

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

The tradition of ringing in each New Year with resolutions (whether we stick to them or not) is always an opportunity to reflect and start the year ahead on the right foot. As students and teachers around the world return to campuses and classrooms this fall, we’re embarking on a different kind of fresh start: a New (School) Year. And we want to help you make the most of it. So we’ve put together a few resolution ideas, plus tips to help you stick to them. We’ve also made a resolution of our own: to bring the best of Google technology to education.
The best of Google, for education
Like many resolutions, ours might sound familiar—and that’s because the Google for Education team has been working on it for a while. Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time with teachers and students, witnessing firsthand how technology is helping in the classroom and learning about challenges that are yet unsolved. With feedback from schools, we’ve improved products like Google Apps for Education and Docs, building in new features specifically useful for education. We’ve also created new learning experiences like Google Classroom—a sort of mission control for teachers and students, offering a single place to keep track of all class materials, eliminating paperwork and making it easy for teachers to collaborate with students, and students to collaborate with each other. 

So as part of our resolution this school year, we’re launching some new features in Google Classroom. Teachers can now easily ask students questions in Classroom, alongside all the other class materials in the stream. Teachers also told us that they want more ways for students to engage with each other, and flex their critical thinking muscles. So now students can comment on each other’s answers in Classroom and have open-ended discussions. In the next month, we'll also make it possible for teachers to add assignments, due dates and field trips to a shared calendar.

So what’s your resolution?
We’re sure you’ve already set some big goals for the year ahead—from acing AP Bio to landing that killer internship. Whatever your plans, it can be tough to stick with those goals once assignments and social commitments start to pile up. So we’ve collected 50+ tips from more than 15 Google products to help you follow through with your resolutions. Here are some ideas:
Resolution 1. Get (and stay) organized
When you’re bogged down by clutter, it can be tough to get stuff done. Make this your year to be more organized. Never miss another study group with help from Google Calendar. Use Google Sheets to keep all your classmates' info in one place, and better manage your inbox by emailing everyone at once with a Google group.

Resolution 2. Get (mentally) fit
Push yourself to take your studies to the next level. Teach yourself how to code with Made with Code. Make the most of language class by saving your most used words and phrases with Google Translate or magically translating webpages with Google Chrome.

Resolution 3. Get some worldly perspective
Not studying abroad this year? No problem. You can still unleash your inner explorer with Google Maps Treks and visit the Pyramids of Giza or the Great Barrier Reef without leaving your room. Or bring your art history class to life by seeing those masterpieces up close and in perfect detail with Cultural Institute.

We hope these give you new ideas for how you can make this school year your best yet. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing more tips and other updates—so follow along with #GoogleEdu and on Google+. We’ll be doing our homework to stick to our resolution, so we can hopefully give you what you need to do the same. Now go hit those books!