Posted:


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

What would the world look like if only 20 percent of women knew how to write? How many fewer great books would there be? How many important stories would go unreported? How many innovations would we lose? How many brilliant women would be unable to fulfill their potential?

That’s not just a theoretical question. Today, only a small minority of women know how to write code. That limits their ability to participate in a growing part of our global economy. It limits their ability to affect change as entire industries are transformed by technology. And it limits their potential to impact millions of lives through the power of code.

To change this trajectory, we need to do all we can to inspire women and girls that learning to code is critical to creating a brighter future for everyone. That’s why I’m excited to share that, today, Google’s Made with Code, together with YouTube, is teaming up with the Global Citizen Festival and millions of teen girls to ignite a movement for young women to change the world through the power of code.

Over the last five years, millions of Global Citizens have influenced world leaders and decision makers, and contributed to shaping our world for the better. As we’ve seen this movement grow, we’ve learned about some incredible women who saw problems in their communities and realized that the biggest impact they could have was through computer science. They’ve used an interest in computer science and tech to help the homeless, stop sexual assault, and bridge the gender gap in technology - check out their stories here:
These women are doing big things, blazing a path for the next generation of girls, but they can’t do it alone. The vast potential around using code to improve the world cannot be realized if there are only a few voices influencing how it’s shaped. That’s why, today, we’re inviting teen girls everywhere to join the movement. Our new coding project gives young women a chance to make their voice heard by coding a statement about the change they want to see in the world.

This week, hundreds of thousands of girls from around the country have already used code to share their vision for a better, more inclusive, more equitable world:

These coded designs will be displayed onstage at the Global Citizen Festival, as symbols of the many different voices from teen girls, standing up for the change they want to see in the world.
Together with musicians, sisters, YouTube sensations and newly minted coders, Chloe X Halle, teen girls are getting their start in code
Our efforts go well beyond this project. Made with Code is joining forces with Iridescent and UN Women to support the launch of the Technovation Challenge 2017 which gives girls the opportunity to build their own apps that tackle the real-life issues they see around them.

Please tune into the Global Citizen Festival livestream at youtube.com/globalcitizen on September 24 to catch all the action. And, more importantly, join us and encourage the young women in your life to try out coding and contribute their ideas for how to make a better future.

Posted:


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

The world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Last September, we invited people around the world to help us in supporting organizations on the ground — with Google.org matching every dollar. Since that time, Google.org has committed more than $16.5 million to refugee relief efforts, focused on immediate humanitarian assistance, information and connectivity, and education.

Clooney Foundation for Justice Grant
Today, we’re supporting the Clooney Foundation for Justice with a $1 million grant focused on education for refugee children in Lebanon. More than half of global refugees are under the age of eighteen, and in Lebanon, which is hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world, nearly half of those are Syrian refugee children who are currently out of school.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice is teaming up with SABIS, a global education network that has already taught many refugee children in Lebanon. SABIS is taking its accredited teaching methodology and making it accessible to more refugees in Lebanon by setting up semi-permanent schools in areas with a high concentration of refugee children. This grant will support expanding their efforts to develop a new school model, using digital tools, for up to 10,000 out-of-school children in Lebanon. Through our employee volunteering program, we’ll also provide technical expertise to help with everything from connectivity to cloud storage by having Googlers helping both on the ground and remotely.
This grant builds on our work with organizations who also support refugees in Germany, France, Turkey and Greece with access to education and learning opportunities. Collectively, our efforts across humanitarian assistance, connectivity and access to information and education will help more than 1 million refugees.

Information and Connectivity
In October 2015, we granted NetHope $900,000, and our employees from around the world helped set up WiFi hotspots and charging kits at key transit points along the refugee route in Europe. So far, more than 300,000 refugees have been able to access NetHope’s WiFi to access vital information. Googlers also helped build the site RefugeeInfo.eu with the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, and others. The site is now accessible in 18 locations in Greece, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, and is being used more than 1,000 times a day.

We’re also working to help refugees in the United States get mobile connectivity by partnering with the International Rescue Committee to donate 1,000 Nexus devices and Project Fi wireless service to refugees in 24 cities across the country.

Education
In January, together with NetHope, we launched “Project Reconnect” — an effort to to equip German NGOs with 25,000 Chromebooks that help refugees learn more about local languages, resources, and job opportunities. To date, more than half of them have been delivered and used by nonprofits in Germany. Last year, we also gave a grant to Libraries without Borders to send their Ideas Boxes to create safe learning and playing spaces for children in refugee camps. These Ideas Boxes have been visited thousands of times in camps from Lesbos and Athens in Greece to the refugee camp of Grande Synthe in France and in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Discovering the resources of the Ideas Box in the Eleonas refugee camp, in Athens, Greece
A White House call to action
In June, we signed on as a founding partner of the White House’s Private Sector Call to Action for Refugees, an effort by the administration to bring together a cross-section of businesses to help make significant commitments that will have a measurable impact on refugees both in the United States and around the world. We’re participating in the conversation at the White House Summit on Refugees today in New York, and will continue to build on our efforts.

You can learn more about grantees and their work at google.org/refugees, and you can donate directly on our site and via the White House’s AidRefugees.gov.

Posted:


From the programmers behind Pokemon Go to the creators of chatbots, the impact of computer science (CS) is ubiquitous in our daily lives. This is because computer science education provides a way of thinking that focuses on problem solving, teamwork and a powerful way to express yourself - important skills for any career. And with a projected 1 million jobs going unfulfilled in computing-related roles by 2020, we need computer scientists from all backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to solve real-world problems.

That’s why today, we’re excited to announce Careers with Code in the US, a free high school “CS + X” career magazine that shows how to combine your passions, your “X”, with computer science. We partnered with STEM specialist publishers Refraction Media to create a CS career magazine that illuminates the range of computer science careers and highlights the impact they have across industries. Readers can get to know people who use CS in their daily work in sometimes unexpected ways, such as Jonathan Graham.
A lifelong music fan, Jonathan learned to code as a way to mix live music on stage. One summer while visiting family in Pennsylvania, he was struck by the number of coal mines closing down in the region. Jonathan decided to put his CS skills to work by providing skill-based learning for laid-off coal miners, helping them explore new technical career opportunities. He is now the co-founder of the nonprofit Mined Minds Foundation, which aims to spur economic development by seeding technology hubs within the coal towns in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In Careers with Code, you can read more about Jonathan’s unexpected career pathway and learn about 40 other unique stories. And if you’re an educator or work with high school students, Careers with Code can be a useful tool for helping your student explore computer science with resources including:


As Jane Margolis, author of Stuck in the Shallow End, puts it: “Computer Science can be about using the power of technology to create meaningful things for your community.” We hope that Careers with Code will inspire students to do just that -- and equip educators, librarians and counselors to celebrate and support them along the way.

Posted:


Over the past two years we have seen how Google Expeditions can help teachers bring lessons to life and take students to places they would never otherwise be able to go. With a virtual reality viewer, students can explore everywhere from Mars to the Great Barrier Reef to the inside of Buckingham Palace, without ever leaving the classroom.

Just last week, science teacher Mrs. Scott took her class inside the human circulatory system using the power of virtual reality and Google Cardboard at Twickenham Prep School in South West London. Students explored the human heart, lungs and blood vessels to watch oxygen-rich blood being distributed throughout the body. For Mrs. Scott, the real excitement has been seeing her students embrace science in a way they never had before.
Twickenham Preparatory School, South West London
“It is a fantastic teaching tool that engaged the children from the start, keeping their attention. I was then able to tell them extra information as we explored together.” Mrs. Scott said.

Starting today, we’re opening up our Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme to more schools across the UK. Working with the Google Arts and Culture team, we’ve connected with content partners across the world to create a wide range of new and exciting Expeditions, such as the new Natural History exhibit that brings you face-to-face with dinosaurs. In order for teachers to seamlessly include these Expeditions in their lessons, we’ve partnered up with Twig and TES to tailor this content to the UK curriculum with easy-to-use lesson plans.
An extinct world brought back to life through the "Meet the Dinosaurs" Google Expedition
Over the next school year (2016/17), we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual school trip, including Google’s Cardboard viewers. Once they have the kit, a teacher is able to send synchronised three-dimensional 360° panoramas to each student’s Cardboard viewer directly from their tablet, pointing out areas of interest in real time and taking them on a journey of discovery.

In addition, the Expeditions app is now available on iOS. More teachers, including those who use iPads, will be able to share Expeditions with their students by using full-screen mode on the devices in place of a VR viewer.

If you want the Pioneer Programme to come and visit your school now is the time to sign up, spaces are limited! With over 200 Expeditions available, we’re excited for students in the UK to experience these virtual field trips.

Posted:



Last spring, I attended the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Google Technology Conference with two of my colleagues, Steve Ford and Dr. Richie Romero, in Mountain View. One of the many recurring themes we discussed was how to tie technology use to the practice of teaching. As we listened to Angela Larkin from Google talk about the Google Certification Program, we realized the power the program had to change teaching and meet our goals. It was right in front of us.

Every day, teachers should have the opportunity to learn how to engage students and get them excited about coming to class. Yet many districts focus professional development on features and functionality of tools instead of how to integrate tools into the lesson plan. Last year after we had an epiphany, our district introduced the Google Certification Program, which helps teachers learn how to collaborate, teach students teamwork and effectively use new tools in the classroom.

Four years ago, when our district rolled out Google Apps for Education, teachers weren’t trained how to use the tools. We simply expected them to figure it out on their own. Some tech-savvy teachers helped their colleagues, but most didn’t use the educational software and laptops because they didn’t know how to integrate them into their lesson plans. Our district had a technology training program, but it didn’t prepare teachers to use the tools to truly improve the learning experience.

Our goal with rolling out the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Program is to help teachers become more effective in their use of technology and create inspiring curricula and class experiences. This program trains teachers on the tools and pedagogy. In just three months, 100 teachers have completed the training. With the Google Certification Program, we’re challenging teachers to rethink how they can teach students to collaborate and build life skills. Our goal is to have more than 30 percent of our teachers Google Educator Level 1 certified. This would mean all of our students would be in a classroom at least once a day with a Google Certified Teacher.

At the same time that we rolled out the program, our district introduced the SAMR model, — which stands for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition and was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. Most teachers in our district simply viewed technology as a replacement for pen and paper, rather than a tool to encourage students to think creatively. We wanted teachers to understand how to use technology beyond substitution to enhance students’ learning and help them be more engaged in the lesson plan.
My 3 tips to run a successful professional development program

Our district has had several iterations of teacher training programs and in the last year, we’ve seen true change in how teachers are integrating technology and the pedagogy. Here are three reasons I think our program has been a success:

  1. Light lifting for schools: With the Google Certification Program, we didn’t have to develop coursework, and the training was free, aside from the $10 certification exam fee. The program was just what we needed because it focuses on collaboration and the Common Core, a set of standards for math and English literacy.
  2. Teacher incentives: To encourage teachers to complete the training, our district gives them a stipend. We pay teachers their hourly rate to complete the 14-hour training, amounting to about $500 per teacher or administrator. We feel strongly about providing this incentive because all of our teachers and administrators should take this training and this boosts participation. It’s changing the way they teach and learn.
  3. Buy-in with the digital literacy committee: It’s easier to get teacher buy-in when it’s a grassroots effort. To do this we enlisted the help of a digital literacy committee made up of teachers, administrators and site computer techs. That group of evangelists is effective at showing teachers the value of technology training and getting teachers excited about new tools.

Posted:


If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it: your favorite art contest is back! The 2016 Doodle 4 Google contest kicked off on Wednesday, where art-loving K-12 students from across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico are invited to bring their imagination to life in a doodle of the Google logo, using any medium they choose. The winning masterpiece will hang on the Google homepage for a day, where millions will enjoy it.
We like to think about what’s next. So we’re asking kids to imagine what awaits them in the years to come and represent that vision of this year’s theme: “What I see for the future…” Yes, that means anything they see — even if it includes flying dogs, living on a shooting star, the trip of their dreams, or for the true Futurists out there — perhaps a distant world filled with dazzling new technology of all shapes and sizes.

This year’s contest is going to be one for the record books; the future and the ways to depict it are limitless. That’s why we’ll have an all-star group of judges including our very own Google Doodlers help select the National Winner. In addition to the homepage showcase, the winner will receive $30,000 towards a college scholarship, and the opportunity to work with the Doodle team at the Googleplex in Mountain View. As an added bonus: Their home school will get to spend $50,000 on technology to help foster the next generation of professionals (and who knows, maybe future Googlers, too!).
Submissions are open until December 2, 2016. So for you teachers and community leaders out there: Encourage your kids and students to apply. We can’t wait to see what wonders await in their dreams for the future.

And now, we bid you farewell as we’re Van Goghing, Goghing, Gone.

Posted:


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

Next week marks the grand opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). A museum 100 years in the making, the NMAAHC is much more than just a collection of artifacts. Within its walls, visitors will take part in an immersive journey into the important contributions of African Americans in the United States. It’s a mosaic of stories — stories from our history that are core to who we are as a nation. And we’re proud to help bring these stories to life with a first-of-its-kind 3D interactive exhibit and a $1 million grant from Google.org, part of our ongoing work on racial and social justice issues.

A new way to explore artifacts
A few years ago, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, the NMAAHC’s director, came to Google’s headquarters and shared his vision to make the museum the most technologically advanced in the world. I immediately knew I wanted to be involved, and pulled together people from across the company: designers who focus on user interaction, members of the Cultural Institute, engineers who work on everything from Google Maps to YouTube, and members of the Black Googler Network. For the past year, we’ve been working to deliver on Dr. Bunch’s vision.

Our team quickly learned that museums are often only able to showcase a fraction of their content and archives to visitors. So we asked ourselves: what technology do we have at Google that could help enrich the museum experience? We worked closely with the museum to build an interactive exhibit to house artifacts from decades of African American history and let visitors explore and learn about them. With 3D scanning, 360 video, multiple screens and other technologies, visitors can see artifacts like a powder horn or handmade dish from all angles by rotating them with a mobile device. The interactive exhibit will open in spring 2017.
Travis McPhail in front of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on one of many site visits to the museum in Washington, DC
Taking an Expedition through African American history
In addition to the interactive exhibit, we’re also launching two new Google Expeditions that take students on a digital journey through African American history. Earlier this year, we formed the African American Expeditions Council — a group of top minds in Black culture, academia and curation — to help develop Expeditions that tell the story of Africans in America. The Google Cultural Institute has also worked to preserve and share important artworks, artifacts and archives from African American history. With participation from the National Park Service, the Expeditions and Cultural Institute teams captured images of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which commemorates the events, people and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March. A second Expedition, from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, takes you around Dr. King's childhood home and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached.
Screenshot from the new Google Expedition highlighting the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which commemorates the events, people and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March

Discovering and sharing new stories
At the end of this week, we're celebrating the opening of the NMAAHC during one of the most important weeks for African Americans in D.C., the week of the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). On Friday night of ALC, we’ll salute NMAAHC Founding Director, Dr. Bunch, and the Congressional Black Caucus. The iconic Congressman John Lewis, an Honorary Member of our African American Expeditions Council, will be on hand to talk about the impact of Expeditions in telling the story that the NMAAHC will bring to life in so many important ways.

Day to day, I work on Google Maps, where we help people around the world find and discover new places. Working on this exhibit has given me a chance to help people discover something else — the ways African American history is vitally intertwined with our history as a nation. I’m proud of the role Google has played a role in taking people on that journey.