Bringing our accessibility awareness game today and every day

Today we celebrate the seventh annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day and announce new technology and resources for people with disabilities. The goal of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about accessibility. For us, it’s also about digging deep into how technology can empower the 1 billion people worldwide who have disabilities. Not…

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6 ways Quizzes in Google Forms are getting smarter

Editor’s note: For Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re highlighting how Google supports teachers—and today, we’re announcing six improvements to Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers save time. Stay tuned here and follow along on Twitter throughout the week to see how we’re celebrating.

In the two years since we launched Quizzes in Google Forms, educators have expanded the possibilities of the tool both inside and outside the classroom. Today, we’re announcing six new features based on valuable feedback from teachers and designed to help educators continue using Quizzes in Google Forms in creative ways:

1. Quiz answer suggestions: Using Google’s machine learning, Forms can now predict the correct answer as a teacher types the question, as well as provide options for wrong answers. If you give a pop quiz on U.S. capitals, this new feature will predict all the right capitals for every single state—and even throw in some curveballs, like Charlotte Amalie and San Juan.

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2. Autocomplete answers:Machine learning is also helping educators save time with more predictive analysis. After you type one answer, Forms will now propose related answers. For example, if a question requires the days of the week as answer options, Google Forms will autocomplete the remaining answers. Additionally, this feature is now available in 14 languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, German and Arabic. “I love this feature, it saves so much time. The ability to start typing something and have Forms start suggesting things before you’re even done typing is pretty cool,” says Chris Webb, a math teacher at John Rennie High School in Montreal.

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3. Automatically grade checkbox and multiple choice grid questions:Grading quizzes can be time consuming, which is why we built a new way to automate the process. Now, in checkbox grid and multiple choice grid-style questions, you can denote correct answers in the answer key, and completed quizzes are automatically assigned points based on answers. “Previously, there was a lot of repetition for teachers trying to ask these types of questions. But this [feature] saves time, collects all the data in a sheet in a way that’s really smart, and gives teachers full control over grading,” says Webb.

Automatically grade checkbox and multiple choice grid questions
4. Give decimal grades:You can give partial credit on a paper quiz, and now you have the same flexibility in Google Forms. If an answer is partially correct, you can give a half or quarter point, making grades more precise. Like all grades in Google Forms, these are automatically added up and can be synced with Google Classroom.

5. Improve understanding with YouTube video feedback:You can now give highly customized feedback to students by attaching a video from YouTube. If a student doesn’t understand a concept or could use extra practice, link them to any YouTube video so they can review material on their own.

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6. See the total number of points in a quiz:Teachers told us they would like a way to quickly reference the total number of points in a quiz as they’re editing. Now, there’s a tally of points at the top of the quiz that updates as you create or edit questions.

These updates are rolling out over the next couple weeks. With Google’s machine learning within Forms, creating quizzes and grading is now faster, easier, and more automated and customizable than ever before. We hope these new features give even more time back to hard-working educators!

Now students can create their own VR tours

Editor’s note: For Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re highlighting a few ways Google is supporting teachers—including Tour Creator, which we launched today to help schools create their own VR tours. Follow along on Twitter throughout the week to see more on how we’re celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.

Since 2015, Google Expeditions has brought more than 3 million students to places like the Burj Khalifa, Antarctica, and Machu Picchu with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Both teachers and students have told us that they’d love to have a way to also share their own experiences in VR. As Jen Zurawski, an educator with Wisconsin’s West De Pere School District, put it: “With Expeditions, our students had access to a wide range of tours outside our geographical area, but we wanted to create tours here in our own community.”  

That’s why we’re introducing Tour Creator, which enables students, teachers, and anyone with a story to tell, to make a VR tour using imagery from Google Street View or their own 360 photos. The tool is designed to let you produce professional-level VR content without a steep learning curve. “The technology gets out of the way and enables students to focus on crafting fantastic visual stories,” explains Charlie Reisinger, a school Technology Director in Pennsylvania.

Once you’ve created your tour, you can publish it to Poly, Google’s library of 3D content. From Poly, it’s  easy to view. All you need to do is open the link in your browser or view in Google Cardboard. You can also embed it on your school’s website for more people to enjoy. Plus, later this year, we’ll add the ability to import these tours into the Expeditions application.

Tour Creator- Show people your world

Here’s how a school in Lancaster, PA is using Tour Creator to show why they love where they live.

“Being able to work with Tour Creator has been an awesome experience,” said Jennifer Newton, a school media coordinator in Georgia. “It has allowed our students from a small town in Georgia to tell our story to the world.”

To build your first tour, visit g.co/tourcreator. Get started by showing us what makes your community special and why you #LoveWhereYouLive!

International Women’s Day: Three simple ways we can all #PressforProgress for women in STEM

Women around the world are taking to the streets on International Women’s Day to urge faster progress on gender parity in economic opportunity, education and other important issues. The theme this year, #PressforProgress, is perfectly tuned to the challenges society faces. I know what’s it’s like to be the “first woman.” It’s really lonely! It…

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EDU in 90: that’s a wrap on season one

You can do a lot in 90 seconds—make a paper airplane, brush your teeth, or put on sunscreen.  And with EDU in 90, you can also get Google for Education updates.  

Earlier this year, we heard from countless educators, school leaders and administrators that they wanted to keep up with the latest from Google for Education. To keep our updates quick and concise, we created EDU in 90, a video series that highlights the best of our education products and programs—all in a succinct format. Throughout season one, we’ve focused on everything from quizzes in Google Forms to online safety to using Google Keep in the classroom.

In January, we’ll be back for season two of EDU in 90. And based on feedback from hundreds of educators, we’re increasing our episode frequency and will kick things off with episodes on engaging guardians of students with G Suite and using Google Classroom for differentiated instruction.  

Don’t miss an episode—be sure to check out our series playlist and subscribe to the Google for Education YouTube channel.

The #MyFutureMe winner is often the only girl—but she’s going to change that

Editor’s note: Earlier this year, Made with Code teamed up with Snap Inc. to host #MyFutureMe, a competition for teens to code their own Snapchat geofilters and write their vision for the future. 22,000 teens submitted designs and shared their visions, and Zoe Lynch—a ninth-grader from South Orange, NJ—was recently named the winner by a panel of judges, including Malala Yousafzai, Lilly Singh, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and our own CFO Ruth Porat. We chatted with Zoe about her experience, how she made her filter, and why it’s important for more girls to get into coding.

What was the inspiration behind your filter?

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The brain has fascinated me since I was younger—it’s where creativity and ideas come from so I wanted to use that. The coding project had peace signs, so I had the idea to manipulate the peace signs to look like a brain. The idea for my filter was what can happen when everyone puts their brain power together. When we do that, we are unstoppable.

After you became a finalist, you attended TEDWomen. What was that like?

It was crazy inspiring. It showed me how many powerful and cool women are out there opening paths for girls like me. I got to meet the other finalists, and we created a group chat on Snap, so that we can follow each other and stay connected. We’ve been each other’s biggest cheerleaders. All these girls are going to do awesome things. Tech mogul alert!

How did you feel when you found out that you were selected as the final winner?

I couldn’t believe it! Everyone was so talented and worked hard, but I was so happy that my ideas and creativity were recognized. To win a trip to visit Google and Snapchat was like a dream!

What advice do you have for other girls who want to learn how to code?

I know a lot of girls who think they’re not good at this kind of stuff, but most of them haven’t even tried it. So you have to try it because otherwise you won’t know if you’ll like it. I loved #MyFutureMe because teens are really into Snapchat and the different filters you can use. When you have an opportunity to make a filter, you realize that coding is behind it all.

My vision for the future is one where innovation is accessible to all. As a multiracial girl, I believe it’s important for everyone to be included.

Excerpt from Zoe’s vision for the future

You care a lot about inclusion—have you faced situations when inclusion has been a challenge?

When I go to camps or explore things in the engineering field, I’m often the only girl and the only person of color. Usually all the guys go together and it’s kind of discouraging, but I want to try to change that for other girls, so we don’t have to feel this way anymore.

What do you like to do outside of school?

I love to play video games—my favorite is “Uncharted”—but many of them are not really targeted to women. For women, the game is fun but you know deep down that it’s not really made for you. If I was going to make a video game, it would be an engineering game but you’re helping people. Say you want to build a bridge in the game, you’d need to use mathematics and engineering to make it work.

Who are your role models?

My mom. Hands down. She’s a Hispanic woman and and there are only white males at her level at her company, which is where my passion for inclusion started. She’s also pushed me and has always supported me.

You recently visited Snapchat and Google. What was the coolest part of the tour?

Beside the amazing offices (free food!), the coolest part was meeting the engineers. I was so inspired by their journeys and how different they all were. One was an actress, the other a gamer and the other wasn’t even sure of her major until she took her first CS class in college. It showed me that there are many paths to getting into tech.

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Zoe on her tour at Snapchat in Venice, CA.

If you could have any job at Google, what would it be?

I’d want to be an engineer in artificial intelligence—I think that technology and machine learning could change the world. I’d like to see more women and people of color in the field, too.

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Zoe chats with an engineer at Google.

What do you think the future will look like when you’re 30?

I’m hoping that in the future, everyone works together. And it’ll be cool to live through new technology breakthroughs!

Google and Gallup’s computer science education research: six things to know

Maru Ahues Bouza, an Engineering Manager at Google, wouldn’t be where she is today without her father’s encouragement to learn computer science (CS). Growing up in Venezuela, there were no CS classes for children, so when Maru was just 10 years old, her father enrolled her and her sister in an adult CS class. At first, the girls showed little interest, but with steady support from their father, Maru and her sister became the top performers in the class. Maru continued with CS, graduating from Universidad Simón Bolívar with a Computer Engineering degree. Maru says that she couldn’t have learned CS without her father’s confidence: “if you’re taught from a young age that you can definitely do it, you’re going to grow up knowing you can be successful.”

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Maru, on the left, as a child with her sister and father.

Our latest research confirms that this type of support and encouragement is indeed critical. In partnership with Gallup, today we are releasing a new research brief, Encouraging Students Toward Computer Science Learning, and a set of CS education reports for 43 U.S. states. Here are the top six things you should know about the research:

  1. Students who have been encouraged by a teacher or parent are three times more likely to be interested in learning CS.
  2. Boys are nearly two times as likely as girls to report that a parent has told them they would be good at CS.
  3. At age 12, there is no difference in interest in CS between boys and girls. However, the gap widens from age 12 to 14, when 47% of boys are very interested, but only 12% of girls express interest.
  4. Across Black, Hispanic, and White students, girls are less likely to be interested in learning CS compared to boys, with the biggest gap between Black girls (15% interested) and Black boys (44% interested). 
  5. Students are more likely to learn CS in suburban areas (61%) than in rural areas (53%). Regionally, CS is most prevalent in the South or Northeast, where 57% of students are likely to learn CS.
  6. Principals perceive mixed parent and school board support for CS, and top barriers to offering CS include minimal budget for teachers and lack of trained teachers, as well as competing priorities for standardized testing and college requirements.
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Simple words of support can help more kids like Maru learn CS, no matter who they are or where they live. It’s not hard to encourage students, but we often don’t do so unless a student shows explicit interest. So this winter break, read the research about CS education and take a few minutes to encourage a student to create something using computer science, like coding their own Google logo. This encouragement could spark a student’s lifelong interest in computer science, just like it did for Maru.

Fostering a love for reading among Indonesian kids

Siti Arofa teaches a first grade class at SD Negeri Sidorukan in Gresik, East Java. Many of her students start the school year without foundational reading skills or even an awareness of how fun books can be. But she noticed that whenever she read out loud using different expressions and voices, the kids would sit up and their faces would light up with excitement. One 6-year-old student, Keyla, loves repeating the stories with a full imitation of Siti’s expressions. Developing this love for stories and storytelling has helped Keyla and her classmates improve their reading and speaking skills. She’s just one child. Imagine the impact that the availability of books and skilled teachers can have on generations of schoolchildren.

In Indonesia today, it’s estimated that for every 100 children who enter school, only 25 exit meeting minimum international standards of literacy and numeracy. This poses a range of challenges for a relatively young country, where nearly one-third of the population—or approximately 90 million people—are below the age of 15.  

To help foster a habit of reading, Google.org, as part of its $50M commitment to close global learning gaps, is supporting Inibudi, Room to Read and Taman Bacaan Pelangi, to reach 200,000 children across Indonesia.

We’ve consistently heard from Indonesian educators and nonprofits that there’s a need for more high-quality storybooks. With $2.5 million in grants, the nonprofits will create a free digital library of children’s stories that anyone can contribute to. Many Googlers based in our Jakarta office have already volunteered their time to translate existing children’s stories into Bahasa Indonesia to increase the diversity of reading resources that will live on this digital platform.

The nonprofits will develop teaching materials and carry out teacher training in eastern Indonesia to enhance teaching methods that improve literacy, and they’ll also help Indonesian authors and illustrators to create more engaging books for children.   

Through our support of this work, we hope we can inspire a lifelong love of reading for many more students like Keyla.

Photo credit: Room to Read


The Future of Interactive White Boards

Craig Tranter is a former educator, and now serves as a technology presenter for Cisco. This blog is part of a series on advancements and opportunities in education. All views are his own.  One thing that all teachers will be fairly familiar with by now is the use of Interactive White Boards (IWBs). However, the […]

Teaming up with SocialWorks to bring computer science to Chicago Public Schools

Today, 5th grade students at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Academy in Chicago got a surprise. It was cool enough that they were doing a coding activity with Chicago Googlers as a part of Computer Science Education Week—but then another Chicago native joined the fun. When Chance The Rapper arrived, there were shouts of excitement and delight, and Chance even gave coding a try.

SocialWorks, a non profit co-founded by Chance, is on a mission to expose youth across the city to programming and to ensure they have the support necessary to reach their full potential—with access to arts, music, and coding as a means to express themselves.  

Today’s visit reinforced that computer science is a part of that mission. Shortly after Chance made his coding debut, Alphabet Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, David Drummond, announced that Google.org is donating $1.5 million to to bring computer science education to students in Chicago, with $500,000 going to Chicago Public Schools’ CS4All Initiative and $1 million to SocialWorks.

The grant will help teachers implement computer science and arts curriculum in their classrooms, and it builds on $40 million in Google.org grants that provide opportunities for students underrepresented in computer science to explore the field.

Justin Cunningham, Executive Director of SocialWorks, had this to say about today’s announcement: “Our grant with Google.org helps SocialWorks provide programming that sheds light on another pathway to success for young Chicagoans. While every student doesn’t need to become a computer scientist, understanding the basics empowers them to understand the world they live in. The opportunity to help kids code to share their music, artwork, and distinct point of view is at the core of our mission and an experience we look forward to providing in classrooms across the city.”  

Justin Steele, Google.org Principal who leads our work in local communities, also weighed in: “We’re honored to support SocialWorks’ mission to help underrepresented students in Chicago reach their full potential, as well as Chicago Public Schools’ efforts to turn computer science into a pathway for creative expression. There’s so much talent and creativity in the communities that these schools serve—and Chance The Rapper embodies what can happen when that creativity is unleashed. With exposure to computer science, students can use technology to turn their creative passions into something bigger.”

I’ve built my own career around computer science. At Google I helped create CS First, video-based lessons that introduce students to computer science and show them coding is a tool that, in the words of the SocialWorks mission, “lets you be you.” As a kid raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I didn’t know that I’d one day graduate with a computer science degree and end up at Google. All I knew was that I was fascinated by gadgets, which one day led to learning about the software that made them work on the inside. With the support of Google and SocialWorks, students in Chicago can also find out how their interests are connected to computer science, so that they can use those skills to build the future they imagine.

These kids will always remember the day they met Chance The Rapper. We hope they’ll remember it as the day they discovered an interest in coding, too.

There’s no failure, just opportunity: a teacher’s journey to code

Computer Science Education Week is an annual event to get kids excited about the possibilities of coding. As a part of CSEdWeek this year, we unveiled a new coding activity that lets students create their own Google logo, using block-based coding and video tutorials. Abigail Ramirez, a middle school teacher from Pomona Unified School District, tried out the activity in her computer science classroom, and spoke to us about the activity, as well as the importance of computer science in her students’ lives.

Tell us about how you got started with coding.

When I was in the third grade, my dad bought an old computer (the kind that required giant floppy disks) and challenged my siblings and me to set it up. “Reader Rabbit”—a reading and spelling game that we liked—didn’t work properly, so we had to take out the manual, read the code, fix the code, then fix the game. We didn’t even know we were programming, we just wanted to play on the computer! Fast forward years later, my congregation needed support with our website, so I turned to YouTube and Udacity to learn more. And two months after that, I attended a week-long CS institute at Harvey Mudd College, which is where my CS education officially began.

And now you teach computer science—how did you end up doing that?

I’m probably the least likely CS teacher. I’m originally an English teacher, and have the privilege of teaching at the school that I attended, which happens to be 94 percent Title I (meaning the majority of the kids have free or reduced lunch). Most of my students have college and career dreams, and they’ll be the first in their family to go down that path. While attending the CS Institute at Harvey Mudd, I realized there was so much potential in computer science. It could help build a positive future for kids who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, have untapped potential, or simply need access to 21st century skills.

I realized there was so much potential in computer science. It could help build a positive future for kids who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Eventually, with the support of my administrator, I got the greenlight to pilot a couple of CS classes at my school. Now I teach a class called Middle Years Computer Science, which is where I tried out this year’s CSEdWeek coding activity.

How did the kids react to the coding activity?

When they found out they could design and program their own Google logo, the excitement went through the roof. Both seasoned coders and those who were new to coding came away with a sense of community and purpose. They expressed that their simple logos had the possibility of changing someone’s day, putting some joy in someone’s heart, inspiring people to act, and creating awareness.

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What are some of the most creative approaches that the kids took to completing the activity?

Kids are imaginative and innovative by nature, and when they get access to a creative tool like programming, the sky’s the limit. The students created some really heartfelt logos featuring concepts celebrating foster care and adoption using broadcasting codes (this means that letters in the logo will move in some way, based on a command that you give another letter). Others created music videos, complete with Google-themed fidget spinners. Some daring students even created motion-sensor interactive games using their webcam, and experimented with food-shaped logos.

How did the students work together to problem-solve during the activity?

I encourage my students to think of themselves as “lead learners,” meaning each individual has a skill, expertise, or idea to share with their classmates—and when they talk through each other’s ideas, it usually leads to an even better result. Coding gives students the flexibility to see what others are doing and immediately apply it, yet expand on it to increase their own skill. Besides, this shared experience is too awesome to keep to oneself—collaboration is a natural outcome. When something didn’t work in a manner they intended, you could see that students were using persistence and critical thinking to debug the block errors. When they were stuck, they would seek each other out as expert help.

Did this activity change any perceptions of coding the kids had before doing the activity?

Coding can be scary. But if you eliminate the doubt, mix in lots of fun, and allow for collaboration, coding barriers can be debugged. From the start, we established that there is no failure in their code, just an opportunity to increase their coding and debugging abilities. In the end, the students felt a sense of accomplishment from creating a program that sprung from their imagination.

How do the kids envision using computer science in the future? Have you seen their skills progress over time?

A lot of students have decided that’s the field that they want to go into. I get to be their hypemaster—I help keep the momentum going, to inspire them to pursue computer science. I also try to show them how these skills would be used out in the real world. I start each class with a “CS moment,” which is a video clip of a company that uses computer science—video gaming, for example, shows the kids that they could apply CS to things they’re already doing.

How have you noticed that learning about CS has positively impacted your students?

I can see the joy radiate out of them when they’re learning and practicing. A student once said to me, “I can change the world right now, I just need to figure out the source code.” So for me, it’s all about getting them to the next step.

As an English teacher, I gave my kids a voice. As a computer science teacher, I help them create their future.

And they get to decide what it is, and where they’ll go.

Investing £1 million in training for computing teachers in the U.K.

Advancing our students’ understanding of the principles and practices of computing is critical to developing a competitive workforce for the 21st century.

In every field, businesses of all sizes are looking to hire people who understand computing, so we need more students to leave school confident in skills like coding, computational thinking, machine learning and cybersecurity.

The U.K. has already led the way in preparing for this future by making computer science education a part of the school curriculum in 2014. But we know there is more to do to ensure young people in every community have access to world-class computer science education.

A recent report from the Royal Society found that despite the good progress in recent years, only 11 percent of Key Stage 4 pupils take GCSE computer science. The majority of teachers are teaching an unfamiliar school subject without adequate support. These teachers are eager to offer computer science to their students but they need access to subject area training to build their confidence.

The U.K. government’s announcement that they’re investing £100 million for an additional 8,000 computer science teachers supported by a new National Centre for Computing is an encouraging step forward. It builds on the progress that’s been made since computing was added to the curriculum in 2014 by helping to ensure teachers have the specialist training and support they need to educate the next generation of British computer scientists.

We want to continue to play our part too.

Today we’re announcing £1 million in grants to support training for secondary school computing teachers in the U.K.

The Google.org grant will allow the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the British Computer Society and the National STEM Learning Centre to deliver free computer science and pedagogy training for thousands of key stage 3 and key stage 4 teachers in England over three years, with a specific focus on disadvantaged areas.

A Raspberry Pi and Google teacher training workshop in Leeds, UK
A Raspberry Pi and Google teacher training workshop in Leeds, U.K.

Through this effort, they will make make online courses and professional development resources available to teachers anywhere, anytime, for free, and deliver free in-person workshops for teachers across the country.

Googlers care deeply about helping to develop our future computer scientists, and many of them will give their time and skills to this program. A team of Google engineers and learning and development specialists will volunteer with Raspberry Pi to ensure that all teachers are able to access the online resources and courses.

This grant is part of Google’s long-standing commitment to computer science education. Through Google.org, we’ve given nearly $40 million to organizations around the globe ensuring that traditionally underrepresented students have access to opportunities to explore computer science.

In the U.K., we also support teacher recruitment and professional development by teaming up with organizations like Teach First and University of Wolverhampton, and we focus on inspiring more children, especially girls and those from disadvantaged areas, to take up computing through Code Club UK after-school clubs.

CS education and computational thinking skills are key to the future, and we’re committed to supporting Raspberry Pi—and other organizations like them—to ensure teachers and young people have the skills they’ll need to succeed.

How Sweden’s Oxievång School helps teachers navigate the journey to the “learning island”

Editor’s note: Google has just completed its first-ever Google for Education Study Tour, bringing nearly 100 educators from 12 countries around Europe to Lund, Sweden, to share ideas on innovating within their systems and creating an environment that embraces innovation.. One of the highlights of the two-day event was a visit to Oxievång School in Malmö, where principal Jenny Nyberg has led their adoption of technology in the classroom. Below, Jenny explains how to support teachers during a period of technology adoption.

When we’re introducing new technology for our classrooms, I tell my teachers to imagine the ultimate goal as an island we all have to swim toward. Some of us are very fast swimmers, and we’ll figure out how to get to the island quickly, and even get around any sharks. Some of us are slow swimmers, and may be hesitant to jump in, but the strong swimmers will show us the way (and how to get around the sharks). Eventually, we all have to jump into the water.

Bringing tech-based personalized learning into the classrooms at Oxievång School was our “island” and we’ve all completed the journey, which was particularly important given that our school, like the city of Malmö itself, is a mix of different people with varying needs. We have immigrant students as well as native Swedes; 40 percent of our students speak Swedish as their second language. But all students can  become strong learners when teachers discover what motivates and excites them. When we adopted G Suite for education, our “fast-swimmer” teachers showed their colleagues how they could now customize learning for each and every student.

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Jenny Nyberg during school visit

As school leaders, my vice principals and I served as role models for using G Suite— not just for teaching, but for making our jobs easier too. We showed teachers how to use Google Sites to store information we needed every day, like staff policies and forms. We walked teachers through the Google Docs tools that allow them to comment on student work immediately rather than waiting to receive homework from students, and giving feedback much later. When teachers saw this in action, they understood how adopting G Suite was going to make a big difference for their teaching effectiveness and their productivity.

If you want teachers to become enthusiastic about using new technology, they need to be confident in their use of the new technology. For this, you have to give them support.  So we hired a digital learning educator who works exclusively with teachers to help them build up their technology skills. Every teacher receives a personalized development plan with a list of resources for training.

Our students have become more engaged in their coursework as teachers have become better at using Google technology to personalize learning. If students are curious about a subject, they can use their Chromebooks and G Suite tools to further explore the topic on their own. They also interact with teachers more often, even using Hangouts to meet with teachers outside of the classroom. As teachers become more confident, their enthusiasm spreads to the students.

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One of the stations included students demonstrating robots they programmed with their Chromebooks

Once we give teachers basic training, we keep supporting them so that the transformation spreads throughout the school. When they need extra help with using G Suite, teachers know where to find it: they can schedule a meeting with the digital learning educator. We have team leaders across grades and subjects who help teachers’ follow their development plans. Once a month, we all meet at school sessions called “skrytbyt,” which roughly translates as “boost exchange.” In these sessions teachers trade stories about lessons that went well and ask for advice about how to improve lessons they find challenging. Sharing knowledge is a great way to build confidence.

As leaders in education, we have to be honest with teachers and acknowledge that change isn’t easy, but assure them that we’re here for them. Teachers worry that students know more about technology than they do—students are the digital natives, while teachers are the digital immigrants. We constantly remind teachers that they can find inspiration in each other and in their students’ knowledge, so that we all make it to the island together.

With E-rate Funding, Magic Happens at Ascend Public Charter Schools

Four sites with four separate networks. No VPN capabilities, no streamlined network management, and no IT budget. Limited wireless access, inhibiting student learning and staff collaboration. Only a five person IT team. Starting to sound like a nightmare? This was the reality for Ascend Public Charter Schools, located in Brooklyn. Emeka Ibekweh, Managing Director of […]

Quill.org: better writing with machine learning

Editor’s note: TensorFlow, our open source machine learning library, is just that—open to anyone. Companies, nonprofits, researchers and developers have used TensorFlow in some pretty cool ways, and we’re sharing those stories here on Keyword. Here’s one of them.

Quill.org was founded by a group of educators and technologists to help students become better writers and critical thinkers. Before beginning development, they researched hundreds of studies on writing education and found a common theme—students had a hard time grasping the difference between a run-on sentence and a fragment. So the Quill team developed a tool to help students identify the different parts of a sentence, with a focus on real-time feedback.

Using the Quill tool, students complete a variety of exercises, including joining sentences, writing complex sentences, and explaining their use and understanding of grammar. The tool relies on a huge depository of sentence fragments, which Quill finds, recognizes and compiles using TensorFlow, Google’s open source machine learning library. TensorFlow technology is the backbone of the tool and can accurately detect if a student’s answers are correct. After completing the exercises, each student gets a customized explanation of incorrect responses, and the tool learns from each answer to create an individualized testing plan focused on areas of difficulty. Here’s an example of how it works:

More than 200,000 students—62 percent from low-income schools—have used Quill. They’ve collectively answered 20 million exercises, and Quill’s quick, personalized writing instruction has helped them master writing standards across the Common Core curriculum.

Teachers have also benefitted from introducing Quill in their classrooms. Each teacher has access to a customized portal, allowing them to see an individual student’s progress. Plus, by using machine learning, teachers have been spared hundreds of hours of manual grading. Laura, a teacher at Caswell Elementary School in California said, “Quill has been a wonderful tool for my third graders, many of whom are second language learners. We especially love the immediate feedback provided after each practice; it has definitely made us pay closer attention to detail.”

Quill’s most recent update is a “multiplayer” feature, allowing students to interact with each other in the tool. They can see their peers’ responses, which fosters spirited classroom discussions and collaboration, and helps students learn from each other.

While students aren’t using quills (or even pens!) anymore, strong writing skills are as important as ever. And with the help of machine learning, Quill makes it fun and engaging to develop those skills.

Hour of Code 2017: Unlock an exciting new world by taking a ‘Hero’s Journey’

In a few weeks, people around the world will celebrate Computer Science Education Week. Millions of kids and others will participate in an Hour of Code, a global call to action to spend an hour learning the basics of coding. Today, it’s my privilege to announce that Microsoft has released a new Minecraft tutorial for…

The post Hour of Code 2017: Unlock an exciting new world by taking a ‘Hero’s Journey’ appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

How Collaboration Tools and Apps Can Drive Student Success

Craig Tranter is a former educator, and now serves as a technology presenter for Cisco. This blog is the fifth in his series on advancements and opportunities in education. All views are his own.  There are many different ways that we like to communicate and there are trends in communication preferences. For example, the “Silent […]

Disruption in Our Learning Cultures Develops Families as Learning Partners

Ymasumac Marañón Davis is an educational consultant, intuitive life coach and author. This blog is the fourth in a series around access. All thoughts are her own.  Today, technology is a bullet train rapidly transforming every sector in society. Disruption is evident in companies like Airbnb and Lyft that have completely rearranged how we vacation […]

Connecting students across space and time with Google Cloud

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2017, an important gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, devices like Jamboard and virtual reality and augmented reality tools. If you want to be a part of the action from home follow at #EDU17 and our @GoogleForEdu account. If you want to connect with our team but cannot make it to the event contact us.

Yesterday we shared some of the inspiring ways we’ve seen researchers, faculty and students in higher education work with GCP to power their big ideas. But it’s not just researchers that can benefit from the cloud. From virtual reality tools like Jump & Tilt Brush to G Suite for Education to GCP, Google tools are helping educators create new, strong connections amongst students, with faculty, and with new parts of the curriculum.

Brown University connects students with the past with virtual reality

The Gaspee Affair is an important, but largely forgotten moment in U.S. history. And with its “cannon fire and gunshots and boat chases,” it was also a perfect candidate for reconstruction in virtual reality (VR), says Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Reality Artist-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at Brown University.  

With a team of students and a Jump camera from Google, Blumenthal drafted scripts, designed sets and built a detailed virtual world so that students could interact with the past. “One of the things I love about VR is its ability to put people in places that are otherwise impossible, and in this case that’s stepping back in time in these very authentic recreations,” he says. During production the team has used Tilt Brush, Google’s 3D painting tool, to quickly produce storyboards of 3D scenes as well as to create what Blumenthal calls “virtual reality dioramas” that combine Tilt Brush paint with 2D and 3D assets. Today the prototype of their Gaspee Affair project functions like a virtual museum: students can view the spaces from any angle and interact with its objects. Click here to read the full Brown case study.

We want to help more institutions create their own VR experiences for learning. Google’s Daydream team is excited to launch a pilot program to give higher ed institutions the skills and tools to bring these ideas to life. You can get notified about the upcoming 360 video training course, express interest in the Daydream higher education pilot program or learn more about Google’s AR and VR tools.

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Brown University students and faculty create the historic Gaspee Affair in 3D using a Jump camera from Google.

Central Wyoming connects its students and faculty across large distances with G Suite for Education

At Central Wyoming College (CWC), students and staff previously had to be on campus in order to access email and documents—this was especially challenging in a rural region where people commute long distances. Now that CWC uses cloud-based tools through G Suite for Education, it helps them respond to the unique challenges of their campus community.

The school’s 2,000 students are spread across four campuses, and in the case of its Outdoor Education program, remote wilderness. “It’s extremely hard for our students to get together in person,” says CIO John Wood. Now professors and staff can choose to work live or remotely as needed, cutting down on long commutes to CWC campuses. “Their collaboration can now take place in other ways,” Wood says. “Hangouts are becoming popular, since students can use them to meet face-to-face when they’re not on campus.”  Read the Central Wyoming case study and sign up for G Site for Education.

Manhattan College powers critical campus IT systems with GCP

Manhattan College began using Google Cloud in 2008, and “in most cases, it has been the best answer,” says Manhattan College Chief Information Officer Jake Holmquist. First came the transition to Gmail; that “was the foot in the door that we in IT needed to show the rest of campus that it was okay to operate in the cloud,” says Holmquist.

Then last July, building on the trust and familiarity they had gained using Google tools, Manhattan College moved to implement “Banner 9,” an upgrade to their prior system, on top of GCP. In the past “a typical deployment in our datacenter meant a six-figure hardware purchase that we were not guaranteed to be delivered and provisioned in time for ample testing,” Holmquist said. “Instead, we took the unprecedented approach of deploying these new Banner 9 components in GCP’s Compute Engine. We were able to quickly and easily spin up various components during the installation and upgrade testing.”

They were able to deploy a production environment with “excellent performance and a level of high-availability that we could not have achieved on campus.” This has freed Holmquist and his team up for important work. “Instead of maintaining servers, replacing failed components, and applying patches, we are now focusing on making our applications run more efficiently which results in a more measurable benefit to our end-users.” Read the Manhattan College case study or express your interest in Google Cloud Platform.

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For #MyFutureMe finalists, a geofilter shows dreams for the future

A better and brighter future. A world that accepts people for who they are. Voicing opinions for those who may not be able to.

These are just a few elements of a future envisioned by five special teenage girls. Along with Snap Inc., we created the #MyFutureMe contest to challenge teens to design a geofilter based on the future they imagine for themselves. More than 22,000 teens entered the contest, and five finalists—chosen by Snap—are attending TEDWomen in New Orleans this week, where they’ll hear from entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and activists. They’ll receive mentoring sessions from three Google engineers, and each girl will work with the Snap Design team to create her own, unique Snapchat Lens.

These finalists were chosen from 22,000 teens who entered the contest. Here are the geofilters they created, as well as their vision for the future they not only imagine, but are determined to create.

Anna Nesbitt
Pittsburgh, PA

My dream is to bring computer science and robotics to third world countries. I’m taking coding classes right now and I am a part of a FIRST Robotics Team (Girls of Steel 3504) to learn as much as I can about coding and robotics so I can apply it to my aspirations. I started and ran a robotics team at my elementary school last year in 8th grade for a group of third graders. I taught them basic engineering and CS concepts. I hope to expand my program to two more teams this year, focusing on inspiring girls!

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Zoe Lynch
South Orange, NJ

7.5 billion people make up the world’s population; each with their own unique set of skills and talents. My vision for the future is one where innovation is accessible to all. As a multiracial girl, I believe it’s important for everyone to be included. Whether it’s tutoring math, volunteering, creating problem-solving applications, or doing something as simple as spreading positivity; I am doing as much as I can to make my vision for the future a reality. Together the possibilities are endless. 7.5 billion people—that’ s a lot of brainpower!

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Aishwarya Rane
Diamond Bar, CA

My vision for the future is to have greater gender, racial, and social equality and increase representation for minorities. I hope to develop interpersonal skills as well as public speaking skills. I believe these skills will allow me to voice my opinions for those who may not be able to. I am a part of Girl Up, a campaign by the UN to empower girls around the world, and Society of Women Engineers at my high school. I actively work to bring awareness about contemporary issues (i.e., human trafficking) and increase female representation in STEM.

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Maria Wangamez
San Francisco, CA

An educated world. A world that accepts people for who they are. A world without barriers to education, whether those be financial, geographical, or social. I want to develop a comprehensive education system that can be instituted across the globe; one that is not standardized, but can be changed and suited to varying levels of different types of intelligence (mathematical, scientific, linguistic, artistic, athletic…). To accomplish this, I will start a company, and gather creative, forward-thinking people around me; ones with unique and fantastic skills in coding, educating, animating, advertising and calculating. Together, we will educate the world.

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Sasha Williams
Danville, CA

The future I envision is a better and brighter one. A future where everyone is equal, and confident in who they are, and not judged or mistreated for that. I am currently trying to make this possible through my skill set around gaming and coding. I advocate for young African American girls and inspire them to become creators of their own future, through technology. I have also made a social justice video game about Black History, that won me a trip to the White House! My future me wants to make a difference. I’m kind of a big deal.

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Taking education higher with Google Cloud Platform

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, Jamboard, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality tools. Or follow the action on our @GoogleForEdu account, using the #EDU17 hashtag. If you want to connect with our team but can’t make it to Philadelphia, contact us.

I’m continually inspired by all the ways that educational institutions use Google Cloud to expand learning for everyone. Today, eleven years after San Jose City College and Arizona State University became the first to adopt G Suite for Education, we’re announcing that more than 80 million students, faculty and staff now use these tools in higher ed and K12.. Meanwhile, Google Cloud’s product portfolio continues to expand, helping us keep up with educators’ and students’ limitless ideas. Below are a few recent highlights of what institutions have been doing with the help of Google Cloud.

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Northeastern researchers understand the spread of Zika using GCP

Amidst the spread of the Zika virus, the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems (MoBS) lab at Northeastern University, created a model to better understand the deadly virus. Using a mathematical and computational approach powered by GCP, the team studied different scenarios under which Zika could spread, projecting its impact on affected populations. The model is based on the initial spread of Zika in Brazil, and allows researchers to predict the impact of new infections in other locations by introducing additional data layers, including temperature, number of mosquitoes, population size and people’s travel patterns.

With Google Compute Engine and Preemptible Virtual Machines, MoBS has run more than 10 million simulations and drastically reduced the time needed to analyze data.

“Time is vital when confronting disease outbreaks,” says Matteo Chinazzi, Associate Research Scientist at Northeastern University, “and GCP gives us the tools we need to move quickly at scale.” To read more about MoBS Lab’s  Zika research and analysis, check out “Spread of Zika virus in the Americas” and our full Northeastern case study.

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This incidence map of Zika infections, created in December 2016 by the MoBS lab simulation model, is a spatial projection of the median number of infections by February 28, 2017. The inset maps provide detailed projections for the areas of Recife and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

MIT professor pushes computing limits

Andrew V. Sutherland, a computational number theorist and Principal at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is part of the team behind L-Functions and Modular Forms Database (LMFDB), a detailed atlas of mathematical objects and the connections among them. This database is used by physics, computer science and mathematics communities around the world.

The calculations to create the objects in LMFDB are complex, time-consuming and expensive to perform. Sutherland uses Compute Engine and Persistent Disk to calculate some of those objects. One tabulation required 580,000 cores of preemptible VMs to compute—the largest known high-performance compute cluster to ever run in the public cloud.

LMFDB also uses Google Cloud to host its web servers, as well as GCP tools like Google Stackdriver, Google Cloud Console and Google Cloud Load Balancing. Running on GCP supports countless daily searches, and allows people in multiple countries to easily administer the system.

We’re excited to see how the team behind LMFDB continues to push the limits of what is possible. See the full MIT LMFDB case study.

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City College of New York and Howard West use GCP Education Grants to equip students with hands-on learning

GCP Education Grants are putting the cloud in the hands of future researchers and computer scientists at more than 500 higher education institutions.

At City College of New York (CCNY), GCP Education Grants provide computer science (CS) students with hands-on experience with virtualization, containers and other cloud technologies. Peter Barnett, Adjunct Associate Computer Science professor, uses GCP Education Grants for students in his Senior Project capstone course, whose software projects have great scientific, social and entrepreneurial potential.  

His teams’ projects include:

  • using machine learning to advance the optical character recognition of handwriting

  • assisting trainers, physical therapists and their clients to develop and maintain correct form in exercise

  • enhancing patent search using content analytics combined with machine learning

  • interior mapping of subway stations and other public places to assist visually impaired people

  • generating quasi-random music with AI that changes in response to user feedback

These students think big, and the GCP grants can help them move from big ideas to new creations.

Across the country, Gloria Washington, a computer science professor from Howard University, helped students in her summer course at Howard West in Mountain View tackle machine learning problems using Cloud Datalab and TensorFlow. These tools allowed Gloria to design a course that was hands-on and project-based, helping students focus on machine learning rather than spending all their time setting up the technology.

“For us, [saving time] was really crucial because we only had five weeks for this course. If you spend a week trying to get them to download the libraries and then make sure that they have the right commands to be able to run it from the shell, that just creates a whole level of complexity that we didn’t want to deal with. The complexity was really cut down.”

Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields can apply for free GCP Education Grants. Learn more about eligibility and apply for grants and see the full case studies about the experiences of Howard West and CCNY.

Helping NASA and JPL bring the surface of Mars to your browser

On August 6, 2012, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Ever since, it’s been searching for evidence that Mars has ever been suitable for life. It’s also been photographing the Martian terrain in great detail. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab use these photos to create a 3D model of Mars. It’s a one-of-a-kind scientific tool for planning future missions.

Today, we’re putting that same 3D model into an immersive experience for everyone to explore. We call it Access Mars, and it lets you see what the scientists see. Get a real look at Curiosity’s landing site and other mission sites like Pahrump Hills and Murray Buttes. Plus, JPL will continuously update the data so you can see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks. All along the way, JPL scientist Katie Stack Morgan will be your guide, explaining key points about the rover, the mission, and some of the early findings.

The experience is built using WebVR, a technology that lets you see virtual reality right in your browser, without installing any apps. You can try it on a virtual reality headset, phone, or laptop.

Check it out at g.co/accessmars.

And if you’re an educator, we’ve updated our Mars tour in Google Expeditions with highlights from this experience. To try it with your class or in self-guided mode, download the Expeditions app from Google Play or the App Store.

Making computer science accessible to more students in Africa

Computer Science (CS) fosters innovation, critical thinking and empowers students with the skills to create powerful tools to solve major challenges. Yet, many students, especially in their the early years, do not have access to opportunities to develop their technical skills.

At Google, we believe that all students deserve these opportunities. That is why,  in line with our commitment to prepare 10 million people in Africa for jobs of the future, we are funding 60 community organisations to hold training workshops during Africa Code Week 2017.These workshops will give over 50,000 students a chance to engage with CS and learn programming and computational-thinking skills.

Africa Code Week is a grassroots movement that encourages programming by showing how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying these skills and bringing motivated students together to learn. Google has been involved in this campaign as a primary partner to SAP since 2015, providing sponsorships to organizations running initiatives to introduce students to CS.

This year, we received more than 300 applications from community organizations across Africa. We worked with the Cape Town Science Centre to select and fund 60 of these organizations that will deliver CS workshops to children and teens (ages 8 to 18) from October 18-25 in 10 African countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Gambia and Togo).

Some of the initiatives we are supporting include:

Google is delighted to support these great efforts. Congratulations to the recipient organizations. Step into the world of Google in Computer Science Education at edu.google.com/cs.

Opportunity for everyone

Editor’s note: Today in Pittsburgh, PA, we announced three initiatives that expand on our efforts to create more opportunity for everyone: Grow with Google, a new initiative to help Americans with the skills they need to get a job or grow their business, $1 billion in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. This is a modified version of the remarks our CEO Sundar Pichai gave at today’s event.

To me Pittsburgh is a special place. It was the first city I saw in America when I came here 24 years ago. It was the first time I left India. In fact, it was the first time I’d been inside a plane. My aunt and uncle have lived here for over 30 years and were kind enough to let me stay with them for a few days. My aunt took me to see my first mall in the U.S. I remember riding up and the down the hills of the city, feeling a little carsick. It’s pretty hilly down here.  We even went on a road trip to see the Niagara Falls, but what I really remember was when my uncle pointed out a Cadillac on the road. I had only seen Cadillacs in movies before, and that was pretty amazing to see.

When people talked about Pittsburgh, they typically talked about the pioneers of the industrial revolution and steel. But to me, Pittsburgh was about an amazing university, Carnegie Mellon, and its great computer science department. I was here before the Internet really took off, but the city was already changing. The number of high-tech jobs had doubled.  And the pace of change has never slowed since. As a new arrival, I was homesick but struck by something new: the sense of optimism.

I remain a technology optimist. Not because I believe in technology, but because I believe in people.

At Google, our mission is to make sure that information serves everyone, not just a few. A child in a school here in Pittsburgh can access the same information on Google as a professor at Carnegie Mellon. In the end, the Internet is a powerful equalizer, capable of propelling new ideas and people forward.

It means that people like Nisha Blackwell can use Google’s tools to bounce back from being laid off from a coffee shop. And to do it not by looking for work, but by pursuing their passions; to become entrepreneurs. She learned how to sew and make bow ties on YouTube. She attended a Google-sponsored program aimed at urban entrepreneurs that inspired her to start Knotzland, a handcrafted bowtie company that she runs out of the Homewood neighborhood. Nisha is here with us today and we’re humbled by the impact she’s had on her community.

Nisha Blackwell: Self-taught CEO

Nisha Blackwell: Self-taught CEO

Nisha learned how to sew and make bow ties on YouTube. Now she runs Knotzland, a handcrafted bow tie company.

We also think better access to information can revitalize local and family businesses in today’s economy. A fire and the financial crisis of 2008 forced Scott Baker’s family baking business that had been around since 1875 into bankruptcy. He rebuilt his family’s heritage on a new digital foundation: He restarted the business as 5 Generation Bakers and uses Google’s tools to reach consumers across the northeast. The Jenny Lee swirl bread that’s been his family’s trademark is still available to buy, marketed in an entirely new way. Scott, we’re glad to have you with us today, and I look forward to having some swirl bread later.

5 Generation Bakers: Remaking a legacy

5 Generation Bakers: Remaking a legacy

Scott Baker rebuilt his family’s baking heritage on a new digital foundation.

Nisha and Scott’s stories are inspiring, but they’re also inspiringly normal. These kinds of transformations happen across the city, across the state, across the nation, every day. In Pennsylvania, about 58,000 businesses and nonprofits use our search and advertising tools to grow. We estimate last year that those tools helped generate economic activity of about $6.32 billion in this state alone. And when you look across the nation that impact rises to at least $222 billion. And that’s because they’re built for everyone.

We think the Internet should allow everyone to become a developer, entrepreneur or creator, and we build our platforms around that. Researchers estimate that Android supported about 1.3 million developer jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Last year in the U.S., we paid out $13.5 billion to a range of distribution and content partners. That includes news publishers, developers and all those YouTube creators.

We’re always asking how we can make sure the opportunities created by new technology are available for everyone, in any city, in any state.

In asking that, we recognize that there are large gaps in opportunity across the U.S.  

These are tough gaps. For instance, the nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity. Young people already feel this. An Economist survey found that less than half of 18- to 25-year-olds believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter today’s workforce. That’s a significant gap that’s only going to become more urgent. One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today.

It’s a big problem and, at Google, whenever we see a big problem, we ask how we can make it easier for everyone to solve it.

We’ve been looking at our products for new opportunities to help people navigate this new terrain. We recently used machine learning to find a new way to search for job postings that cluster jobs by location, sector and industry. And it works. Since launching earlier this year, we have connected tens of millions of people to new job opportunities. The number of job postings appearing on Google Search in Pittsburgh has increased six-fold.

We’ve also been looking outside of Google for fresh approaches. Since 2005, 1 percent of our profits have gone to finding innovative nonprofits and helping them expand with funding, tools, and volunteers from around Google. Just in the past few months, we’ve committed $100 million to nonprofits tackling gaps in the labor market and in education. Today, we’re committing a further $20 million to organizations including UNHCR, Learning Equality, and Room to Read.

We’re seeing how hard educational gaps can be overcome. We’ve already brought down the price of schoolroom tech through Google for Education and over 70 million teachers and students worldwide use our free education products.

But technology alone isn’t enough, and even with tech, some schools are struggling. The Dynamic Learning Project makes sure that teachers have the coaching they need to get the most out of whatever tech resources they have. We’re working on this in 50 underserved schools, and 11 of them are in Allegheny County. I’ll be visiting one later today.

That’s one example among many. As we looked across all our programs, we saw three ways to greatly enhance opportunity for everyone. And we’re announcing them today.

  • We’re launching Grow with Google, a new initiative to help Americans with the skills they need to get a job or grow their business.

  • Globally, we will provide $1 billion in grants over the next five years to nonprofits working on three key areas that we think will boost opportunity.  

  • Finally, Googlers can volunteer 1 million hours to help these front-line organizations.

First, Grow with Google is there to give anyone in America the tools and training they need to get a job, for free. We understand there’s uncertainty and even concern about the pace of technological change. But we know that technology will be an engine of America’s growth for years to come.

We’ve launched an online hub—google.com/grow—where job seekers, teachers, local business owners, and developers can get significant training and professional certificates.

So if you’re looking to learn or teach the skills that employers value, look up Applied Digital Skills. We’ve been workshopping this with 27,000 students at middle and high schools. It teaches you the basics of working with tech in the modern world: from spreadsheets to email. It’s now available to everyone, and we’re looking to expand it to community colleges and vocational programs. We’re also launching a G Suite certification that will allow people to prove their proficiency in essential workplace tools.  

For people who want to get closer to tech, we’re also putting together programs to make IT far more accessible as a career. In January we’ll launch a first-of-its-kind program in IT support that we developed on Coursera. The IT Support Professional Certificate includes hands-on labs to take learners to job readiness in eight to 12 months. We will sponsor 2,600 full scholarships through non-profit organizations; 100 of them will go to an organization here in Pittsburgh, Partner4Work. To ensure these courses directly translate into jobs, we’re connecting graduates with potential employers including Bank of America, L’Oreal, PNC Bank, and, of course, Google.

And for people who want to build tech directly, I can’t think of a better start than becoming a developer. We’re launching the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge, a rigorous training program, free of charge. This is a partnership with Udacity to offer 50,000 scholarship opportunities for people who want to build things on the web and Android.

All these programs are available wherever you have an Internet connection. But we also recognize that there’s no substitute for meeting people when you’re looking to switch careers or move your life into new territory.

So we’re launching a Grow with Google tour. Googlers will team up with libraries and community organizations across the country to host these events. We’ll provide career advice and training for people and businesses, including helping small businesses get online. Our first stop is Pittsburgh. The next stop will be Indianapolis, another fast-growing city for technology jobs.

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    Students at Langley K-8 School in Pittsburgh, PA use Chromebooks as a part of a science experiment. The Dynamic Learning Project is a pilot program that provides coaching for teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms in meaningful ways.
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    Applied Digital Skills is an online curriculum that uses project-based learning to teach collaborative digital skills—like using spreadsheets and building websites—that will be useful in an evolving job market. Around 27,000 people have already used the curriculum, and now it’s available to everyone.
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    The new Grow with Google site offers free trainings, tools, and events to help you grow your skills, career or business. We’re also going on a tour across the U.S.,partnering with local libraries, community organizations and workforce development boards to provide free in-person training, demos, coaching and more.
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    As part of the Grow with Google initiative, we’re introducing a developer scholarship challenge in partnership with Udacity to offer 50,000 opportunities for current and aspiring web and Android developers to earn full nanodegree scholarships; as well as a program in IT support that we developed with Coursera that takes beginner learners to entry-level job readiness in about 8-12 months (coming in January).

I’m optimistic about the impact that these programs will have. But as I said before, we’re looking for a bigger change. That requires a deeper partnership with the people working on these gaps around the world.

And that’s why we’re committing to give $1 billion to front-line organizations addressing these challenges over five years.

Google.org will use its philanthropic expertise to fund organizations working in three areas: closing the world’s education gap, helping people prepare for the changing nature of work, and ensuring that no one is excluded from opportunity.

I already spoke of some grants in these areas. Today, we’re announcing $10 million in support of Goodwill, the United States’ largest workforce development nonprofit, to launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. It is the largest grant Google.org has ever given to a single organization.

Goodwill’s mission to train

Goodwill’s mission to train

We’re announcing $10 million in support of Goodwill—the largest grant Google.org has ever given to a single organization.

Goodwill has phenomenal reach. Over 80 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of its centers. And it has a long record of helping people who despaired of ever getting work again. With our support, it will be able to offer 1.2 million people digital skills and career opportunities in all 156 Goodwills across every state over the next three years. We also have an open invitation to nonprofits to submit their ideas to address economic opportunity in Pittsburgh to the Pittsburgh Impact Challenge; the winners will get funds and mentoring from Google.

We hope these nonprofits will find these funds transformative.

We’ve always believed that to truly help organizations, you have to offer your time along with your philanthropy.

Googlers are committing 1 million employee volunteer hours over five years to help organizations working on the front lines of these issues. The volunteering can take many forms. Sometimes, it’s just showing up to help set up an event. Sometimes, we take a close look at technical issues nonprofits might be having and help them innovate more quickly. Googlers staffed a 4-H booth at the Illinois State Fair aimed at getting kids excited about science and tech.

In the case of Goodwill, 1,000 Googlers plan to be available to do career coaching over the next three years. Tech can seem intimidating. But we’ve found that having role models and people right in front of you can make the journey seem much easier.  We think our philanthropy has to be paired with our people to be effective. We hope that 1 million hours can help make a difference.

At the end of the day, we make the most progress by working together. What you here in Pittsburgh and what people across America do with our tools and resources is what counts. We don’t have all the answers. The people closest to the problem are usually the people closest to the solution. We want to help them reach it sooner.

I said earlier how Pittsburgh amazed me when I first arrived here. And I feel that more than ever today. I’m excited to see all the ways the people of this city will build a future that works for them, and for everyone.

Bringing our support to Europe Code Week

Computer science fosters innovation, critical thinking and empowers students with the skills to create powerful tools to solve major challenges. Yet, there are not enough students who have access to opportunities to develop their technical skills.

At Google, we aim to equip students of all backgrounds with the skills to be creators, and not just consumers, of technology. As part of our efforts to encourage more students to learn about computing, we are participating in the European Commission’s Europe Code Week 2017. This is a grassroots movement that encourages programming by showing how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying these skills and bringing motivated people together to learn. Google has been involved in this campaign since 2014, providing sponsorships to organizations running initiatives to introduce students to computer science.

This year, we received almost 500 applications and it was an incredibly tough selection process. We’re funding 60 initiatives in 33 countries, with a goal to reach over 30,000 students. Some of the initiatives we are supporting include “Code me for the future” in Bosnia-Herzegovina which will introduce 500 rural students to their first steps in programming and “Coding pirates Skoedstrup” in Denmark through which 1400 students will work together to solve world problems through computing, problem solving, programming and tech-hacks. You can read more about the sponsorship recipients here.

Google is delighted to support these great efforts. See Code Week’s events page to find all the different activities planned, and see our getting started guides in computer science for France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK now. For all other countries please visit edu.google.com/cs

Now anyone can explore machine learning, no coding required

From helping you find your favorite dog photos, to helping farmers in Japan sort cucumbers, machine learning is changing the way people use code to solve problems. But how does machine learning actually work? We wanted to make it easier for people who are curious about this technology to learn more about it. So we created Teachable Machine, a simple experiment that lets you teach a machine using your camera—live in the browser, no coding required.

Teachable Machine is built with a new library called deeplearn.js, which makes it easier for any web developer to get into machine learning. It trains a neural net right in your browser—locally on your device—without sending any images to a server. We’ve also open sourced the code to help inspire others to make new experiments.

Check it out at g.co/teachablemachine.