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(Cross-posted on the Google for Work Blog.)

Educators across Latin America are changing what it means to “go to school” by introducing new learning models that prepare their students for real-world problems. Inspired by their ambitious goals and innovative approaches, we’re highlighting a few ways that schools in the region have made strides with the support of technology, including Google Apps for Education.

Building the groundwork for equal access
The Municipality of Vicente Lopez (MVL) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, created a program to give all students the same access to technology, regardless of socioeconomic background. All students and teachers use Google Drive to share worksheets and presentations, provide immediate feedback on shared documents, and work in teams while in class or at home. Teachers now learn from students, who have become experts in technology and taken ownership of their education.

Going digital without an IT staff
Colegio Banting in Mexico City has equipped its students with the best tools for success, even without resources to spend on staffing for IT. By introducing Google Apps for Education, they’ve interested students in educational technology, helped boost test scores, and improved communication between teachers, administrators, students and their families. Google Classroom makes it easier to assign homework, helping teachers and parents keep track of student work and progress.

Connecting face-to-face across many miles
Argentina’s San Andres University (UDESA) adopted Google Apps to encourage flexible learning through virtual classrooms while replacing their unstable email solution with Gmail. While Gmail was the initial reason for the switch, UDESA uses the full range of tools in the Apps suite to bring learning outside the classroom. Students use Hangouts to present their thesis projects remotely, and teachers invite outside experts, no matter where they’re located, to present about different topics.

Involving parents and teachers
In 2007, The American School Foundation (ASF) became the first school in Mexico to use Google Apps for Education, moving its 3,000 students to Apps while introducing weekly “technology office hours” for parents and teachers. As an early believer in the power of cloud-based technology, ASF wanted to equip its students with tools that would prepare them for the future. Beyond simplifying day-to-day processes and administrative workflows, ASF has created a supportive environment for all members of its community.

As schools across Latin America continue to develop and integrate technology into their curricula, they’re exploring ways to build learning spaces for curious minds both in the classroom and beyond. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for schools in the region.

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From downtown Manila to the remote reaches of West Java, technology is transforming education in South East Asia. A summit in Manila last week brought together over 400 principals, teachers and students who are using technology to enrich education in the Philippines. Meanwhile at the Jakarta Google for Education Summit, we learned how educators across the archipelago are creatively applying technology to engage students and run their institutions more efficiently.
A glimpse at the Google for Education Summit in Indonesia 
In Indonesia, dentistry students in Bandung no longer have to miss out on learning from the best teachers. Since implementing Google Apps for Education they now take lessons with the top lecturers over Hangouts and get feedback on their work in real time with Google Docs. They have also been able to work with students at other campuses in real time—drawing dentistry models using Google Draw and sharing them with Google Drive.

We heard from veteran math teacher, Tauhid S.P, who makes math more appealing to public school students in East Jakarta by bringing his teaching methods online. Instead of running traditional exams, Tauhid uses Google Forms to create digital quizzes, making tests a bit more fun for his students.

Technology is also helping these Indonesian institutions run more efficiently at an organizational level. Since moving to Google Apps, teachers at the Singapore International School have been better equipped to engage parents in what their children are learning. Instead of posting parents letters and forms, they can use Google Forms to get instant feedback and data, saving the school reams of paper and countless hours. Moving to Google Apps has also helped the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in Surabaya go paperless, not to mention $200,000 annual savings on storage, electricity and manpower costs.
Educators at the Google for Education Summit in Manila
We've been working with schools and universities across the Philippines since 2007, and the Manila Summit was a great opportunity to hear directly from educators and students about some of the impact to date. We heard from The Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology who has saved substantial IT costs since moving to Google Apps. Students at the Xavier School in Manila tell us that doing their homework is more enjoyable with Google Apps. After hearing about some of this positive impact technology is making in the classroom, members of the Philippines’ business community pledged to support more schools’ digitization process so that more students can experience the benefits of the web for learning.

We’re humbled to be working with schools, teachers and their broader communities to equip students across Indonesia and The Philippines with the skills they’ll need to thrive in the 21st century. Who knows what they'll come up with next.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Drive Blog.)

Last month, we partnered with National Novel Writing Month to see what happens when three writers come together, online from three different cities, to create a short story in Google Docs. The three authors—Edan Lepucki, Tope Folarin, and Mike Curato—had one hour to create the story, based on an opening line submitted by Docs user Lauren Lopez in Malaysia.

Watch this short (and pretty entertaining) video to see how it all went down:
You can read the final story at g.co/docsnano, and watch their unedited process and Q&A in the original Hangout on Air.

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Computer Science (CS) is quickly becoming a key component of student learning. From engaging projects and after school programs to robust online educational programs and extensible programming languages, there are a wide range of online resources and materials that make learning how to code even more accessible. As all these new and exciting online CS programs and tools continue to become available, however, finding and exploring new resources can be challenging. If you are a teacher with limited exposure to, or experience with, CS or programming, we know that this initial search experience can be even more difficult.

To help address this challenge, we created Computer Science (CS) Custom Search, a search engine that has been customized with over 550 different CS websites to connect you to CS education-related resources. Because it can sometimes be difficult to find the right CS instructional material and program, we’ve made it easier for you to find instructional materials using common educational terms, such as ‘worksheets’ and ‘projects,’ as well as with queries on more complex search strings.
To help support users with different levels of experience with CS, there are example search terms to provide you with some context for your initial search. The suggested search queries on the landing page are intended to help less experienced users begin their exploration of CS and more experienced users discover even more CS programs or tools.
Research shows that educators significantly impact how students perceive and experience CS. Current employment trends indicate that there will be a shortage of trained computer scientists ready to fill the projected 1 million CS-related jobs in the U.S. by the year 2020 and so you have the opportunity to play an important role in preparing your students for future career opportunities. We hope that CS Custom Search will help you find the tools and programs you need to bring CS to your own classroom.

Please check out CS Custom Search and let us know how it works for you. Our goals are to continue to increase the number of sites on CS Custom Search in parallel with the ever-expanding list of new resources and to ensure that the search experience continuously reflects the needs of its audience - the education community.

Want to share feedback about your CS Custom Search experience? Send us an email at cs-custom-search@google.com

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In an earlier post Working Together to Support Computer Science Education, Chris Stephenson describes how achieving systemic change in computer science (CS) education involves a multitude of factors including collaboration among researchers, educators, parents, policy-makers, students and the media. In addition to our own outreach programs and research, we also support organizations and invest in programs that are making strides to increase access to CS education in schools.

In October, we supported the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) by convening some of the nation’s leading researchers and practitioners in CS education. The ACCESS gathering was an energetic and action-packed day for developing pathways for K-12 CS education in California, with a particular focus on equitable access for all. With the recent signing of three bills for CS education in California, this was a major step toward making quality CS available in California K-12 schools. The summary report of the convening can be found here.

These efforts in California, a key state in the national education picture, are critical to the forward momentum for CS education across the United States and globally, and they’re just the beginning. The importance of CS is recognized globally, and we aim to take advantage of these opportunities to increase quality and availability of CS education. In England, where Computing was recently implemented as part of its National Curriculum, we have been working in partnership with Code Club Pro to kick start a national program to train primary school teachers across the country and with Teach First to recruit and train CS teachers in secondary schools.

A big part of our focus on CS education is ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, has appropriate access to quality CS education. Issues of equity in education vary dramatically by location and situation. That’s why our efforts are supported by local Googlers in our offices worldwide, from Japan to Spain to Australia. Our global presence means that we can tailor our outreach locally to cultures and customs, because quality education does not have a one-size-fits-all scenario. Driven by data, we can provide strategic and effective support for CS education, in close collaboration with the local stakeholders. For instance, we empower our RISE partners to evaluate their programs so that they can understand what is effective for their specific organization as well as their students. We hold monthly Hangouts on Air to share the latest CS education research and best practices for these partners to incorporate and adapt for their programs.

At Google, we are working to empower the youth today to be the creators of tomorrow. It’s a long and complex journey, but in partnership with local organizations around the globe, we hope to ensure that everyone has equitable access to CS education.


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Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Alice Keeler, a Google Certified Teacher, New Media Consortium K12 Ambassador and LEC Admin & Online and Blended certified. Alice taught high school math for 14 years and is an Adjunct Professor of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology at California State University Fresno. Alice coaches teachers and administrators on using technology in the classroom.

In my high school and college classes, I’m one teacher working with up to 150 students. With this kind of ratio, I just can’t give students feedback fast enough; but giving that feedback as immediately as possible helps increase their motivation and accelerate learning opportunities. Peer evaluation allows students to get feedback faster, learn from each other, and helps them better understand the grading rubric by applying it to their classmates.

Google Forms makes peer evaluation possible and simple. I collect the names and email addresses of both students: evaluator and evaluatee. I use the “grid” style question type to allow peers to rank each criteria on a scale of 1-5 against the rubric. I can include a URL to the grading criteria in the help text, so all students have access to the standard assessment guide.

To be successful, students must not only be instructed in—but also practice giving—quality feedback. With Google Forms, it’s easy to add help text that tells students what to review and comment on. Peer evaluators can add details to their feedback—such as what they liked or constructive criticism—using the comment boxes. This increases the quality of their feedback.

Google Forms also connects this peer evaluation data to a Google spreadsheet on the backend. This places all of the peer evaluation data in one location that is nicely organized and easy to analyze. With the summary of responses feature in Google Forms, I can see a quick snapshot view of overall student performance. Using the pivot table feature in the data menu, I’m able to quickly find summary data of how students evaluated their peers. I can also create a separate pivot table to tally how many of each rank a peer evaluator provided. This helps determine how fairly the peer evaluator is assessing his or her peers.

To make it even easier to sort and organize data, I format my questions consistently with “multiple choice,” “choose from a list,” “checkboxes,” “scale,” or “grid” styles. To streamline name and email collection, I use the pre-filled URL option, like this.

Rather than creating a unique URL for each student, I have students list their names and emails in a Google Sheet and use a formula to pre-populate their information into the peer evaluation form. And when working on group projects, multiple student names can be pre-populated into the peer evaluation form, too.

Providing students feedback from their peers quickly is essential. After checking the spreadsheet comments to make they are appropriate and helpful, I email them out. Google Sheets Add-Ons provide the ability to use mail merge to send students the peer feedback. Using the Add-On “Yet Another Mail Merge” returns feedback to the students via email in one action.

Google Forms makes the challenging task of managing peer feedback simple and fast. Since peer feedback can be delivered in minutes, I save class time and eliminate handing out and collecting paper forms. Thirty students in a class can generate up to 900 peer evaluations. This data can be analyzed quickly and easily, without manually tallying results. Feedback can be returned to students within a day rather than weeks later. With this process, students can receive feedback quickly, which helps increase their attention and motivation in class.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Africa Blog.)

From preschool through university and beyond, schools across Africa are using technology to enhance learning on campus and online. Here are three examples of schools in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya that have made incredible strides with Google for Education.

The Distance Learning Centre (DLC) of Nigeria’s University of Ibadan was established in 1988 with the aim of providing Off-campus learning options to students whose schedules and locations make it hard for them to study full-time at the main campus.

Today, the DLC uses Google Apps for Education to run a number of its admissions and study systems for over 30,000 teachers and students from different locations. For example, student registrations, course material distributions and assignment submissions processes are easily managed via Gmail, Drive, Docs and Sites. Lectures and other important university events are live-streamed via Google Hangouts.

The Center recently adopted Google Classroom with very positive impact on assignment management and interaction.
SPARK Schools, an independent school network in Johannesburg, South Africa, implemented a blended learning model using Google Apps and Chromebooks. This model provides students with self-paced learning, allows teachers to create personalized instruction based on assessment data, and also enables SPARK schools to operate at a much lower cost per pupil.
With the plan to open two new schools next year and continue doubling the number of students it reaches each year, SPARK foresees that Google Apps, including Drive, Docs and Hangouts, will enable staff to participate in discussions and collaborate on joint projects across multiple locations.

Kabarak University, located just outside Nakuru, Kenya, uses Google Apps to help students make their voices heard. Students now use Google Forms to share their comments with administrators about all aspects of university life.

The university also created a Google Site to centralize information like term dates, campus news and sporting events. Some lecturers have created their own Sites to store class resources and lessons. “From community outreach to advanced plans to launch online degrees and e-learning, we’re creating a new online learning culture” says ICT Director Moses Thiga.

Many schools like these are eliminating the barriers to quality education using Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks. In fact, new Chromebooks from Acer are now available in South Africa.

If you’re interested in discovering other schools around the world that have gone Google and learning more about bringing Chromebooks to your school, visit our site.

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As 2015 approaches, we’re eager to open applications for our Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) award program. Since 2009, the CS4HS program has been providing funding to universities, colleges, and educational non-profits to create computer science professional development opportunities for K–12 teachers around the globe. In 2015 we are excited to be expanding CS4HS to new regions, opening it up to more delivery methods, and making it more relevant for teachers.

Reaching more teachers
This year we are accepting applications from India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia to expand our reach. Our hope is that by developing in-country talent in these regions we can help contribute to the country’s overall economic growth and further enrich the global CS community. Along with these new regions, we look forward to receiving applications from Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, China, Europe, and the Middle East.

Focusing on the new US Computer Science AP Course 
We believe the new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (CSP) course being developed by the National Science Foundation and the College Board is key to engaging a more diverse audience of students in computer science. Adoption and exemplary teaching of this course requires a community-wide effort to prepare teachers. To that end, in 2015 the CS4HS US program will be providing awards to universities and educational non-profits interested in helping their local teacher community prepare to teach CSP.

Research (Joyce & Showers, 2002; Wiske, Stone, & Levinson, 1993) shows that peer-to-peer professional development and on-going support improve teachers’ abilities to adopt and implement new content and skills. Based on this research in 2015, we will provide funding support for:

professional development workshops (face to face, online, and blended instruction) focused on CSP establishment of, or work with, existing communities of practice (COP) that will support ongoing professional development and advocacy for CSP on an ongoing basis.

Getting started with your application
Specifics vary from region to region, so please visit the CS4HS website to learn more about the eligibility requirements and deadlines specific to you, and to get started on your application. We hope this year will provide many opportunities to partner with the CS education community to grow and strengthen CS teachers around the globe. We hope you’ll be a part of it, and look forward to reviewing your application.
Teachers from Hanes Magnet School learning about why computers store everything in binary at a Wake Forest CS4HS workshop

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“Don’t just buy a new video game — make one. Don’t just download the latest app — help design it. Don’t just play on your phone — program it.” - President Barack Obama
We couldn’t agree more, Mr. President. Which is why we’ve celebrated Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) since its launch in 2009. Over the last five years, CSEdWeek has provided an opportunity to promote Computer Science education worldwide, a goal that Google shares and supports.

At Google, we aim to inspire young people around the world not just to use technology, but to create it. To accomplish this, we need more students pursuing an education in Computer Science (CS), particularly girls and minorities, who have historically been underrepresented in the field. CS is a gateway to innovation in many fields, from bringing the White House tree lighting to the digital age, to creating a breath to speech communication device for disabled individuals. We’re proud to support the Hour of Code and many organizations, including Black Girls Code and National Center of Women in Technology, who work year-round to increase access to Computer Science for all students.
Students at a CS First club exploring game design and storytelling via Scratch, a visual programming language developed by MIT
With a projected 1.4 million jobs in CS available by 2020 and a world Made with Code, now is the time to explore Computer Science. With so many resources out there, we wanted to highlight some ways to access and learn more about Computer Science learning materials.

For parents:

  • Made With Code: Careers in Computer Science and related subject areas will continue to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. Check out the Made with Code article about Why Coding is Kind of a Big Deal
  • Research: When it comes to introducing CS to your daughters, research shows that encouragement (especially from families) and exposure to computing are top factors that can influence a young woman’s decision to pursue CS.

For students:

  • Hour of Code: Be sure to check out Code.org’s plethora of introductory coding resources during CSEdWeek and year-round. Opportunities include mobile-friendly coding puzzles, game design and even computer-free unplugged CS
  • CS First: CS First is a free, informal program, designed by educators and computer scientists at Google, that equips volunteers with materials needed to run after school, in school, and summer CS programs. The online lesson plans introduce CS via interactive Scratch modules, with topics ranging from game design to music display. 
  • Made with Code: Between coding your first dancing yeti and dreaming with young women who code the world they want to see, there is plenty to explore at Made with Code
  • More opportunities: For students looking to deepen their experience in CS, be sure to try out an open-source coding task with our Google Code-in contest, or apply for a three-week immersion in CS at the Computer Science Summer Institute.

For educators: 

  • Code.org: Code.org provides educators with top-notch tools for hosting an Hour of Code or learning about local CS curriculum opportunities.
  • CS4HS: Computer Science for High School is an annual grant program promoting Computer Science education worldwide by connecting educators to the skills and resources they need to teach CS & computational thinking concepts. Applications open December 8. 
  • EngageCSEdu: Are you looking for support in starting your own introductory CS course in a university or community college? EngageCSEdu is an open-source collection of dynamic curriculum aimed to shape and grow access to great introductory CS courses, created by NCWIT and Google. 
  • RISE: Not-for profit organizations that teach CS to underrepresented K-12 students are encouraged to check out the Google RISE Awards for grant and partnership opportunities.

To us, promoting Computer Science education is a year-long occasion. So this CSEdWeek, we hope you’ll start exploring the power of code.

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Classrooms full of middle schoolers aren’t often the quietest places, but in our new computer science (CS) and coding club called CS First, we’ve seen students quietly enthralled with their chance to code beats, send fashion models down the runway, or create stories that about their lives. To date, more than 6,000 students across the globe have taken part in a CS First club, and we’re excited for the many more who are about to join us through our new partnership with Teach for America.
This middle schooler just created something awesome with code
Joining forces with Teach for America (TFA) is a natural fit, since one-third of corps members currently teach a STEM subject. Together, we’ll be able to bring CS First to even more classrooms across the US and help shift students' relationship with computer science. One 7th grader says of his first experience: "Today I learned how to lay an underlying track on a song or music video. My favorite hip hop and rap artists do the same thing! Today was the best learning experience.”

And it’s not just for the students! Jaishri Shankar, an 8th grade science teacher at Kingstree Middle School in South Carolina, says:
"Since taking on the CS First curriculum, my students have a much more "down-to-earth" understanding of what computer science really is, and what's better is that they understand and believe that they can be computer scientists. It's not a lofty, complicated concept, but rather, a very attainable skill with tangible outcomes at the end of each session, and that gives them such a unique sense of thrill and accomplishment."
We’re excited for this partnership to kick off in January 2015, and we hope you’ll join us. No background in CS is necessary and we’ll give you all the right tools to just get going. And if you’re a current TFA Corps member, be sure to tell us so when you sign up.

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(Cross-posted on the Google for Work Blog

The landscape of cloud technology has changed significantly since we started selling Google Apps in 2006, and our breadth of offerings has changed with it. Today, millions of companies and schools around the world turn to Google's products to help them launch, build and transform their organizations in the cloud. Our commitment to bringing the best of Google to work has also grown substantially.

Our partners are a fundamental part of our business and this effort. Partners help customers move, live and grow in the cloud by taking full advantage of the Google for Work and Education suite of products. They onboard and train new customers, manage change, create specialized software to integrate with Google Apps and develop unique solutions using Google Maps and Google Cloud Platform.

In order to meet the needs of customers moving to the cloud, and a new generation of partners, we’re updating our partner program. Our existing programs across Apps, Chrome, Cloud Platform, Maps and Search will fuse into one Google for Work and Education Partner Program. The new program allows partners to better sell, service and innovate across the Google for Work and Education suite of products and platforms.
Our new partner program is simple in design, having just three tracks, each designed to address specific customer needs (partners can join multiple tracks):
  • The Sales Track is for partners whose core competency is marketing and selling Google for Work and Education products at high volume. Selling includes ongoing account management
    and renewals associated with a partner’s customers.
  • The Services Track is for partners who provide the full range of services to customers, such as selling, consulting, training, implementing and providing technical support for Google for Work and Education products.
  • The Technology Track is for partners who create products and solutions that complement, enhance or extend the reach or functionality of Google for Work and Education products.
To ensure the best customer experience, we have also updated the requirements and application process for the Google for Work and Education Partner Program, which will roll out in early 2015. Partners will receive a range of benefits to help them better support customers, including:
  • Access to Google for Work Connect, our one-stop community for partners to access marketing campaigns, sales content, support resources and training
  • Ongoing program communications
  • Console to manage customer accounts
  • Use of the designated Google for Work or Google for Education Partner badge
  • Resale discount on the list price of our suite of products
  • Listing in our partner directory
We will also offer an updated Premier tier, which is reserved for partners that have demonstrated higher levels of excellence within their track. Premier partners will receive exclusive benefits and support, including:
  • Designated partner manager support
  • Co-marketing opportunities with Google
  • Access to marketing funding and other financial incentives
  • Exclusive training and events
  • Use of the exclusive Premier Partner badge
From Cloud Sherpas to Sprint, Ancoris to Devoteam, CDW to Promevo, and many more, our partners are helping transform businesses around the world. With the new Google for Work and Education Partner Program, we will continue to invest in creating world-class business relationships with our customers and provide the support and investment our partners deserve.

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We’ve been working hard to expand opportunities for educators to learn more about Google for Education and the impact technology can have in the classroom. To do this we’ve held events and trainings around the world from Brazil to Mexico to The Netherlands, and beyond. And this week we’re thrilled to host our first Google Teacher Academy (GTA) and Google Educator Group Leaders Summit in India.

The two-day event will provide Indian educators with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with Google’s educational tools, learn about innovative instructional strategies, share resources with peers, and meet other educators who share their passion for creating classrooms of the future.

50 innovative educators will join us for this Google Teacher Academy held in India. They’ve been selected based on their professional experience, their passion for teaching and their creative use of technology to enhance learning. Once educators attend the GTA, they become Google Certified Teachers (GCTs), joining a global community of outstanding educators who have the desire to make an impact in their local communities and beyond.

Along with the GTA, we’ll also be hosting 40 leaders from 10 cities across India for a Google Educator Group (GEG) India Leaders Summit. Google Educator Groups are communities of educators around the world who learn, share, and inspire each other to meet the needs of their students through technology solutions, both in the classroom and beyond.
Love inspiring the teaching community to use technology? Get involved or even start a new GEG chapter for your city!

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(Cross-posted on the Google for Work blog.)

Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Rudy Blanco, Digital Learning Coordinator at The DreamYard Preparatory School, in the Bronx, New York. He is a product of the New York City public school system and spent three years as a special education teacher at DreamYard Prep. In his current role, Rudy focuses on teaching students and other teachers how to learn through the use of technology.

DreamYard Prep is a public high school in the Bronx where arts and scholarship closely overlap. As a Title I public school in an underserved community, we see the unique potential of technology to prepare our students for an increasingly digital world. The culture at DreamYard Prep encourages teachers, students and staff to try innovative approaches. If you have a crazy idea, you try it out, remix it and make it work. Through this experimentation, we’re trying to achieve our ambitious goal of infusing our curriculum with the arts, social justice and digital learning.
For us, technology is a way of showing what we’ve learned, publishing and amplifying it. Before we started using Google Apps for Education three years ago, we had very basic Word Processing and outdated computers. We wanted to introduce technology that would improve gateway skills like research, communication and productivity. So at the start of the 2011 school year, we created Google accounts for all teachers, students and staff. We now have 650 Apps users and 150 devices, including 60 Chromebooks and 15 tablets. This year, we introduced Classroom to 13 classes across grades and subjects.

By using Google Drive and Classroom, science teacher Emily McLaughlin saves over eight hours each month that was previously spent printing, copying, distributing and grading student packets. Now, she simply creates a Google Doc and uses Classroom to share it with her students. Emily and her students work together in Docs, making edits and conversing through comments. A new set-up in Emily’s classroom reflects this collaborative learning — students gather in pods of four rather than facing the front of the class. These pods of students give each other feedback and answer questions together. Even across classes, students work together. Ninth graders in my digital literacy class, for instance, teach their research skills to 10th graders in Emily’s class. We want students to know they have the power to teach not only themselves, but also each other.

With Google Drive, students can edit, store and share everything. They type assignments in Google Docs, create presentations using Slides, and organize their body of work in Drive folders. At any moment, an administrator can click a button to pull up work by all 370 of our students: .jpgs of visual art projects, English papers, lab reports, and videos of peer interviews. The revision history and comments in Docs allow us to see a project’s evolution over time.

We took this archive one step further and kicked off a portfolio program in partnership with Parsons The New School for Design. Each student creates his or her own blog, archive of work from grades 9-12, and a digital portfolio using Google Sites or platform of choice. The program began last year with four teachers and has since doubled. We hope, over the next several years, to expand the portfolio program to all classes at DreamYard Prep and help every student share his or her story with the world.

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(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

Carol-singing, hot chocolate, latkes and ice skating are all things that get us into the spirit of the holidays. But now there’s a new way to deck the halls: with code.

Earlier this year, we introduced a program called Made with Code to inspire millions of girls to try coding, and help them understand the creative things they can do with computer science. Starting today on madewithcode.com, girls can use the introductory programming language Blockly to animate the lights of the state and territory trees that will decorate President’s Park, one of America’s 401 national parks and home to the White House, through the holiday season.

The programmed lights will debut at the 92nd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, which will air on PBS nationally throughout December in partnership with the National Park Foundation and National Park Service. The tradition of the tree lighting ceremony dates back to 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit the first fir tree outside the White House, and this is the first year kids from across the country will be in control of the state and territory holiday tree lights!
As the mom of two girls, I know that technology is a pathway for their future success. Still, even as coding becomes more important, less than 1 percent of high school girls say they’re interested in pursuing computer sciences in college. But I'm also an engineer, so I’ve seen firsthand how exciting CS can be. I fell in love with code early—my dad was an engineer and he encouraged me to enter a programming competition in the seventh grade. I gave it a shot, and I’ve never looked back. Ever since that day, I’ve known that when I program something, I’m creating something totally new for the world.

That’s what Made with Code is about: discovering that creating something new and exciting—whether it’s a holiday tree, a video game or a driverless car—can be accomplished with the power of code.

But it’s also about building an ecosystem of support for girls through parents and teachers, and to show girls other women who are using CS to achieve their dreams. This challenge also kicks off Google’s commitment to CSEdWeek, a week dedicated to inspiring students to get interested in computer science that’s become one of the biggest education initiatives online. Over the coming week, thousands of Googlers will join the hour of code, and announce a few other special projects that we will fund through the holiday season and coming year.

I’m heading to Washington, D.C. this week to be a part of the ceremony, and I’m looking forward to watching the designs from girls across the country lighting up the nation’s capital—and inspiring my daughters and so many others with the power of code.

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(Cross-posted on the Open Source blog.)

We believe that the key to getting students excited about computer science is to give them opportunities at ever younger ages to explore their creativity with computer science. That’s why we’re running the Google Code-in contest again this year, and today’s the day students can go to the contest site, register and start looking for tasks that interest them.
Ignacio Rodriguez was just 10 years old when he became curious about Sugar, the open source learning platform introduced nationally to students in Uruguay when he was in elementary school. With the encouragement of his teacher, Ignacio started asking questions of the developers writing and maintaining the code and he started playing around with things, a great way to learn to code. When he turned 14 he entered the Google Code-in contest completing tasks that included writing two new web services for Sugar and he created four new Sugar activities. He even continued to mentor other students throughout the contest period. His enthusiasm for coding and making the software even better for future users earned him a spot as a 2013 Grand Prize Winner.

Ignacio is one of the 1,575 students from 78 countries that have participated in Google Code-in since 2010. We are encouraging 13-17 year old students to explore the many varied ways they can contribute to open source software development through the Google Code-in contest. Because open source is a collaborative effort, the contest is designed as a streamlined entry point for students into software development by having mentors assigned to each task that a student works on during the contest. Students don’t have to be coders to participate; as with any software project, there are many ways to contribute to the project. Students will be able to choose from documentation, outreach, research, training, user interface and quality assurance tasks in addition to coding tasks.

This year, students can choose tasks created by 12 open source organizations working on disaster relief, content management, desktop environments, gaming, medical record systems for developing countries, 3D solid modeling computer-aided design and operating systems to name a few.

For more information on the contest, please visit the contest site where you can find the timeline, Frequently Asked Questions and information on each of the open source projects students can work with during the seven week contest.

Good luck students!