Editor's note: Teachers are uniquely inspiring people. It takes a teacher to engage students, bring the classroom alive and turn classroom concepts into lifelong passions. This week at ISTE, we announced four new ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes using Google tools. One of these announcements was that Expeditions — virtual reality field trips using Cardboard — is now available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices and choose where in the world they want to take their class. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.

Field trips and school outings create opportunities for students to share new experiences and get them excited about learning, but teachers often lack the resources for these out-of-the-classroom adventures.. Teachers at Community Consolidated School District 62 wouldn’t let a lack of resources stop them from igniting students’ sense of wonder by exploring the world together. Sarah Murphy, a science teacher at Algonquin Middle School; Elizabeth Moravec, an art teacher at Terrace Elementary School and Orchard Place Elementary School; and Matt Peebles, a fourth-grade teacher at Plainfield Elementary School introduced Google Expeditions. Expeditions are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° photo spheres and 3D images — annotated with details, points of interest and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools.

Many students at CCSD 62 come from low-income families and may have never traveled outside of their community. But with Expeditions, teachers can take these students on trips of a lifetime and make lesson plans more interactive and meaningful. Teachers at CCSD 62 can apply to use the district’s “traveling suitcase” with all the tools and technology to take students on an Expedition. Read how Sarah, Elizabeth and Matt are encouraging students to become curious learners and establish deeper connections with their surroundings.

Encouraging students to ask more questions and take charge of their learning 

Since Sarah got an Expeditions kit for her classroom, her students have developed a new love of learning about science. In the past it was difficult for students to visualize the concepts they learned, such as how big a geographical landmark is. Now that Expeditions is an integral part of every unit, or themed area of focus, students have been more engaged and are asking more in-depth questions that show a deeper understanding of the topics.

For example, Sarah first took her students to the Grand Canyon to show them the processes that formed one of the seven wonders of the world when they were studying Earth History. When they put on Google Cardboard, students started becoming curious about new aspects of the landmark and asked questions like “How did it form?” and “What do the stripes mean?”.

“Students’ faces lit up when they saw the size of the Grand Canyon,” Sarah says. “By virtually traveling there, they better understood that the stripes are different layers of rock. Expeditions encourage students to observe, explore and be curious. For them to be successful in life, they need to be curious and be able to explore on their own.”
Students in Sarah's class look through Google Cardboard, engaging with the "Into the stratosphere" Expedition
Sarah also encourages students to discover their passion for learning and science by letting them lead Expeditions. When students lead instead of the teacher, they ask each other different types of questions, sparking meaningful conversations. They’re also sharing their knowledge after exploring diverse ecosystems in small groups. For example, a group of students studying the desert shared what they learned during Expeditions with students focusing on the rainforest, and vice versa. This personalized learning and peer-to-peer sharing encourages students to be active learners and take ownership of their education.

Inspiring students to approach art with a new lens

In her art classes, Elizabeth often shows students photos of art, sculptures and monuments to inspire their own creations, but when she had the opportunity to use Google Expeditions, she knew she could provide them with a “larger than life” source of inspiration. Elizabeth chose the Colosseum Expedition, which fit nicely into the current unit about monuments.

“Expeditions aid in creativity,” Elizabeth says. “Students are thinking about their surroundings and the impact they have on their environment.”

Since Elizabeth doesn’t have an Expeditions kit permanently in her classroom like Sarah, she’s found creative ways to recreate the virtual reality experience using Google Street View and YouTube 360 videos. With Elizabeth’s DIY virtual reality, students experienced driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in an Indie 500 car. Others went to the top of the Space Needle and said it felt like they were free birds soaring above the world. After these experiences, which many students couldn’t imagine doing in real life, students added more detail to their drawings, analyzed their work more and made deeper connections when thinking about how objects relate to the world. By using virtual reality-like experiences, Elizabeth is giving students a new source of inspiration for their art and more insights and tools to express their thoughts and reflections.
Artwork students created after "visiting" various locations using Google Street View and YouTube 360 videos

Applying classroom concepts to real-world situations 

Math concepts can be abstract, and while students may see its application to calculating a tip at a restaurant or measuring ingredients in the kitchen, they might not always see the more fun uses. Matt uses Expeditions to explore landmarks and show fourth grade students how math concepts, specifically geometry, can be useful beyond the classrooms. When his students embarked on the Great Wall of China Expedition, he taught them how right angles contribute to the stability and construction of structures. After that visit, the entire unit was more impactful because students connected the math concepts to their Expeditions experience.
Matt's students look through the viewmaster to experience what it's like visiting The Great Wall of China

When they saw how math can help a monumental structure last so long, students began to wonder about the architectural design and math concepts behind other buildings and monuments. Just as Elizabeth does, Matt takes his students on additional virtual reality trips by using Google Street View. His students “walked around” 16th Street Baptist Church and talked about the location’s significance and its role in U.S. history.

“Incorporating technology and Google Expeditions in the lesson plan creates intrinsic motivation, and students feed off each others’ enthusiasm,” Matt says. “When learning becomes fun, students make new connections and can’t wait to explore the next thing.”

Sarah, Elizabeth and Matt are creating field trip-like experiences for their students to inspire them to think more creatively, “travel” around the world and find greater meaning for classroom lessons as they pertain to real life. Earlier this week, we announced that Expeditions is available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices and choose where in the world they want to take their class. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.


When we were kids, physical things like toys and blocks helped us learn—inspiring curiosity and imagination in a fun, playful way. We think there’s no reason that shouldn’t also be possible when it comes to Computer Science.

When kids learn to code, they’re not just learning how to program computers, they’re learning a new language for creative expression and developing computational thinking: a skillset that will help prepare them to solve all kinds of problems. Making code physical — known as tangible programming — offers a unique way to combine the way children innately play and learn with computational thinking.

Earlier this week we announced a new research initiative called Project Bloks. The project is a collaboration between Google, IDEO and Stanford’s Paulo Blikstein, inspired by — and building upon — a long history of educational theory and research in the field of tangible programming.

The ultimate goal of Project Bloks is to create an open hardware platform for physical programming experiences to help kids develop computational thinking through play. By creating an open platform, Project Bloks will allow designers, developers and researchers to focus on innovating, experimenting and creating new ways to help kids develop computational thinking. Our vision is that, one day, the Project Bloks platform could become for tangible programming what Blockly is for on-screen programming.

As a first step, we’ve created a system for physical programming and built a working prototype with it. We’re sharing our progress before conducting more research over the summer to inform what comes next.

Want to get involved?
We are currently looking for participants (educators, developers, parents and researchers) from across the globe who are interested in helping shape the future of Computer Science education by remotely taking part in our research studies later in the year. If you would like to be part of our research study or simply receive updates on the project, please sign up here.

For more detailed information about the technology behind Project Bloks, check out our recent post on the Google Research Blog and our position paper. And to learn more about our other initiatives aimed at driving CS education forward and helping kids develop computational thinking skills, check out programs like CS First and Made with Code; and tools like Coding with ChromeBlockly and Pencil Code.


Editor's note: On Monday, we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their classes using Google tools. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into one of these tools: Quizzes in Google Forms . If you are at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to learn more and demo our new tools.

Educators have told us that collecting feedback earlier in the learning process results in better outcomes for both teachers and students. But they’ve also shared that creating assessments and providing feedback can lead to hours of repetitive grading.

Dr. Ismael Piedra, a professor at the Instituto Technologico de Monterrey, for example, used “exit tickets” after his lectures to check student comprehension. But his attempts at gathering quick feedback would often result in 300 quizzes to grade and hours of work.

After months of pilots with educators like Dr. Piedra, we launched Quizzes in Google Forms on Monday to help teachers quickly create, deliver and grade assignments or assessments. With Quizzes, teachers can select correct answers for multiple choice and checkbox questions to reduce repetitive grading. They can also enter explanations and review materials to help students learn. And to make sure students understand the lesson material, teachers can prevent students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.

Nick Marchese, a music and programming teacher at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, uses Quizzes in Google Forms to adapt his teaching throughout the learning process. “Quizzes help me optimize my teaching,” he explains. “After students take a quiz, I can check the summary of responses to see frequently missed questions and a visual representation of student scores. If I see there’s a question that a lot of students got wrong, then we start the next class by reviewing it.” Nick says that students love the immediate feedback they get while he loves how Quizzes can “automatically check multiple-choice questions and reduce time devoted to grading.”
Effie Kleinberg of Bnei Akiva Schools in Toronto, likes that Quizzes reduce the overhead of giving formative assessments. “Quizzes make it quick and easy to create and grade a student assessment,” he says. Effie posts his Quizzes as assignments in Google Classroom, where he is easily able to keep track of student responses and view results. Students receive quick, actionable feedback though explanations and review materials, without requiring Effie to manually grade each quiz.

We made Quizzes available to all Google Forms users so we can continue improving based on your feedback. Tasks like automating repetitive grading are just the beginning, so we look forward to hearing what you think. Get started by creating your first Quiz today!


Editor's note: Yesterday we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their classes using Google educational tools. This post dives deeper into one of the those announcements: Cast for Education. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to come check it out in person.

In his 11 years of teaching at Hillcrest Elementary in the Lake Stevens School district in Washington State, Bob Coleman has witnessed how educational technology can help advance collaboration and engagement in the classroom. So when the 4th grade teacher found his students stuck on a common math problem, he gathered the class in front of the classroom projector. Sitting behind his desk — now in front of his students and not among them — Mr. Coleman realized that the biggest screen in the room was only available to the teacher.

In Mr. Coleman’s classroom — and for millions of students around the world — both education and technology are expected to be collaborative. But today, the classroom projector is most often out of reach for students. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.
Teachers, we heard you loud and clear. Yesterday we announced Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers, and works seamlessly with Google Classroom. And because the app runs on the teacher’s computer that’s connected to the projector, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students share their screens through the Cast feature in Chrome.
Teacher view (click image to see larger)
Student view (click image to see larger)
To gather feedback on the product, we had teachers like Mr. Coleman and his colleague Tony Koumaros pilot Cast for Education in their classrooms. Mr. Koumaros knew his students would be excited to share their work with the rest of the class, but he was surprised to discover that they were eager to share even when they didn’t know all of the answers. “Casting makes it fun to ask for help,” he said. “My students enjoyed working through challenges together.”

Erin Turnbach, a 2nd grade teacher who piloted Cast for Education at Tom’s River Regional School District in New Jersey, found herself “co-teaching with a 2nd grader” during a lesson on animals. When the class got stuck during research time, Ms. Turnbach was able to work one-on-one with a student while another casted to the rest of the class. “We’re always trying to encourage teamwork,” Ms Turnbach says. “The end product is stronger when you collaborate and build off each other’s ideas. With Cast for Education, everyone engages and the students take ownership of their learning.”

“It’s hard to imagine not using it now that we have it”, Mr. Coleman says. “Sharing student screens was a big need for us, and now Cast for Education is our daily classroom tool.”

*Note: Visit to try Cast for Education today in beta, with full availability for Back to School 2016. Chrome management admins can install the new Cast for Education app for all teachers, and the Google Cast extension for their entire domain.


Editor's note: Earlier today we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their students using Google tools. This post dives deeper into one of the four announcements: creative apps on Chromebooks. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to learn more and demo these apps.

Skills of the future 
In 2015, Google commissioned research from the Economist Intelligence Unit to better understand the skills students need to be successful in the future workplace. In addition to literacy and numeracy, the research uncovered a wider range of skills — including problem-solving, teamwork, communication and creativity — that are most sought after by employers.

“It’s increasingly rare for someone to sit in the office with the door closed and do tasks individually,” says Kaitlyn Manchester, ELA Teacher at Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina. “There’s a need to come together as a team to get something done. If you leave school and you don’t have these skills, it’s difficult to do your job in the modern workplace.”

Creative apps on Chromebooks
With this inspiration in mind, we’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that can be seamlessly integrated into classroom life, while also fostering skills of the future. We reached out to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher to identify Chromebook apps that nurture these skills. Three creative apps consistently bubbled up as loved by teachers and students alike: Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo.

To see these apps in action in the classroom, we visited Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina:
During our visit, students used WeVideo’s collaborative video creation tool in English Language Arts to edit documentaries about a flood that ravaged their town. In Science, they used Soundtrap’s spoken word and music-making platform to create public service announcements about how hand-washing kills germs. And in Math, they used Explain Everything’s interactive whiteboard to animate their thinking about histograms.

“With creative apps on Chromebooks, students bring ideas to the table I never thought of,” says Tryphena Cuffy, 6th grade science teacher at Muller Road. “They are not limited; they combine concrete and abstract thought, and that’s when they shine.”
Finding student voice
A classroom that nurtures creativity often results in students taking different approaches to interacting with the same curriculum. “There are some students who are happy to express themselves verbally. There are others who prefer to write. There are students who don't like to have their face shown, but they’re more than happy to explain their ideas. With these apps, you can help everyone focus on their strengths,” says Bailey Triplett, Muller Road’s AVID Teacher.

Tom Cranmer, Chief Technology Officer at Richland Two School District confirms, “Students want to work with digital content. They want to create. They want to pull in multimedia resources that they can use to create their world and create their stories. This helps them take ownership of their learning and keep them engaged throughout.”

Good things come in threes
To make these creative apps on Chromebooks more accessible to a wider range of school districts, we worked closely with our Chromebook partners to create a special price when all three apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

And we’re just getting started. We look forward to working with teachers and partners to bring even more 21st century tools into the classroom.

To learn more about these apps, visit, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Devices and Content, Google for Education

Editor's note: This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the annual ISTE conference. Follow along here and on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Teachers are great communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers. It takes a teacher to empower students with these skills and create the leaders of our future. As technology becomes an increasingly integral component of our classrooms, the role of teachers becomes even more important.

Today at ISTE, we’re announcing four more ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes and empower their students using Google tools. Look out for a deeper dive on each of these launches on the blog throughout this week.

Bring curriculum to life: introducing the Expeditions app
Since we launched the beta Expeditions Pioneer Program in September of 2015, more than one million students across 11 countries have taken one of our virtual reality trips. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices. With more than 200 Expeditions to choose from, students can journey far and wide, learning from immersive new experiences. Our content offering has also grown and now includes Expeditions made by established educational content providers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pearson is beginning work on Expeditions content as well. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.

While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have — either smartphones with Google Cardboard or tablets in 2D full screen mode — Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all. Kits are available for pre-order and will ship in time for back-to-school. We’ll also publish clear specs for partners interested in working with us to create their own kits.
Empower student-driven classrooms: Google Cast for Education
Collaboration is key to student success, but in most classrooms today the biggest screen in the room is out of reach for students. If students want to share their screens with the class, they have to physically connect their devices to the classroom projector. When teachers present, they’re tied to the projector at the front of the room. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.

Today we’re announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers and works with Google Classroom so it’s easy to invite your students. And because the app runs on the teacher’s existing computer, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens with the existing Cast feature in Chrome. Check out the Cast for Education video.
Teacher view (click to see larger) 
Student view (click to see larger)

Accelerate the feedback loop: Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback early helps students learn and teachers teach. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions — so teachers can spend less time grading and more time teaching.

Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.
Ignite student creativity: creative apps on Chromebooks
We’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that foster skills of the future, including problem-solving, digital literacy, leadership and creativity. We listened to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher, and we’re excited to announce a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can purchase as a bundle.

Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo are creative apps that help students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum through their own unique voice. We’ve worked closely with our partners to offer these apps to schools at a special price when all three apps are purchased together. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they’re available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US. Contact your school’s reseller to learn more.

Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina (watch video here)

Look out for a deeper dive on each of these product updates on the blog throughout this week. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo these tools. And check out our sessions — taking place in room #103 — where educators and Googlers will be giving short presentations throughout the conference.


Editor's note: Teachers are uniquely inspiring people. It takes a teacher to engage students, bring the classroom alive and turn classroom concepts into lifelong passions. We’re thrilled to celebrate everyday heroes like Matt from High Tech High, whose story is below, at ISTE this year in Denver. If you’ll be at the conference, stop by booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo the latest Google for Education tools. We’ll also be sharing over 50 presentations from educators and Googlers in room #103.

San Diego’s High Tech High encourages its teachers and students to think outside the box. Instead of traditional curricula, the school emphasizes experiential projects and student-teacher equality, like using teachers’ first names in the classroom. These are some of the many reasons why Matt Martin has been teaching chemistry there for 4 years. In keeping with High Tech High’s interdisciplinary approach to learning, Matt’s students aren’t just amateur chemists — they’re entrepreneurs-in-the-making who use knowledge from all of their classes to take on classroom challenges.

Matt wants his students to learn about the real-world applications of chemistry, not just the contents of their textbooks. Matt and his students work together on projects, like the Mad Scientist program, which gives students the opportunity to design their own experiments. When one student had the idea of making soap with sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye, Matt saw the potential to turn a one-time experiment into a full-fledged business. All the students needed was a name. They came up with the Wicked Soap Company, an e-commerce business dedicated to handcrafted soaps. With help from some real-world scholars, John Cahalin and Elyse Burden, Wicked Soap Company has grown into a self-sustaining enterprise. While initially only 20 percent of the soap students produced was usable, the class has boosted the number to 80 percent over time.

Matt’s students love working for Wicked Soap Company. It has encouraged them to take pride in the uniqueness of their education. “The soap project was an amazing experience and was the first time I had ever done anything like it,” said one of Matt’s tenth-grade students. “ I became a business strategist, selling soap to people from all around the world and informing them about something that separates us from all chemistry classes.”
Matt Martin, chemistry teacher at High Tech High

A formula for success 

Students were so eager to get involved with Wicked Soap Company that Matt decided to extend the project over multiple semesters. Matt’s 50 chemistry students — and dozens more supporting the company — rely on technology like Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education that let everyone participate and learn together. As technology becomes increasingly vital to education, the guidance and instruction teachers like Matt provide has never been more important.

Many of Matt’s students have also discovered the intersection of their skills and interests. By merging students’ various interests — whether it’s in math or English — Matt created a classroom experience like no other. “I’ve learned so much more than just science, or making soap,” said another tenth-grader, “I’ve also learned about the dynamics of entrepreneurship. There was nothing more satisfying than watching people buy and admire something that I made.” Students haven’t just earned experiences, though — they’ve earned profits.
Student from Matt's class making soap
With Matt’s guidance, students have enthusiastically used Wicked Soap’s profits to give back to their community. They’ve donated over 1,000 bars to local homeless shelters. Students also purchased a motorized wheelchair for a senior student who would attend UC Irvine in the fall. When a community member’s house burned down, students donated all of their income the next day in support. It hasn’t been all work and no play for Wicked Soap’s staff, though. Students have gone on outings they wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise, like a trip to see the Padres take on the Rockies.

There’s no doubt Matt takes an unconventional approach to teaching chemistry, and students are more engaged in the subject as a result. “I walked into this class knowing nothing about chemistry,” said one of Matt’s students. “Now I feel like I have learned so much and am more interested in chemistry. I even want to do experiments on my own time now that I have been introduced and shown how to run an experiment.”

Wicked Soap Company, the fruit of Matt’s Mad Scientist program, shows how it takes a teacher to create engaged, successful students. As a chemistry teacher, Matt didn’t just teach how to make solutions and compounds — he showed his students how to discover their passions.
Wicked Soaps, almost ready for sale
If you’ll be at ISTE in Denver, come visit our Booth #2511 in the Expo Hall and our Session Room #103 to hear more stories like this one.


Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Daniel Bray, Program Manager, eLearning, for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Education Directorate. A former teacher, Bray initiated a districtwide digital program, which brought Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education into all Canberra public schools. The “Learn, Anywhere” program has since been recognised at the federal government level as a finalist for the national eGovernment Excellence awards for Project and Program Management. You can read full the full ACT case study here.

I work for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Education Directorate, which serves 45,000 students from preschool through year 12 in the 87 schools comprising the Canberra Public School system. In 2013, the Directorate launched a district wide digital transformation program with the goal of empowering students to "Learn, Anywhere.”
Students at Amaroo School, a 'super' school in the Canberra district, that has classes from Kindergarten to Year 12
While we were thrilled at the prospect of helping students learn both inside and outside of the classroom, making this goal a reality came with it’s own unique set of challenges. Our first step was to bring all of Canberra Public Schools into a single, centralised network. We soon realised that our learning management system didn’t scale, and that many schools’ laptops were beyond obsolete. A group of our students, frustrated with computer log-in times, sent our CIO an assignment that recorded log-in times of up to 7 minutes on multiple laptops. That was one of our 'a-ha' moments, and since then, we've taken every effort to use student feedback to inform our overall program strategy.

When we realized that we needed to overhaul the district’s entire technology infrastructure, Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education (including Google Classroom) stood out as a clear choice for us.
Primary students at Amaroo School collaborating on a class project
Chromebooks were affordable and intuitive; Google Apps would let students work from anywhere, on any device; and Google Classroom would let teachers share assignments, track student progress and grade papers — all without printing a single piece of paper. In 2014, we ran a pilot test with 208 Chromebooks and Google Apps in four primary and secondary schools. During the pilot, the students using Chromebooks and Google Apps experienced super quick logon times and went from 2GB of network storage to enjoying unlimited Google Drive storage. As a Directorate, we couldn’t have been happier with the results: the pilot was a huge success for students, parents and teachers. Most importantly, Google was the choice selected by the schools. Not me. Not the CIO. The schools.

Based on that pilot, in 2015 we decided to roll out Google Apps accounts for all teachers and 32,000 students across the Canberra Public Schools. We also purchased 4,500 Chromebooks (and counting) for schools across the district.

Today, we equip students and teachers with a “Digital Backpack” that comes with Google Classroom and Google Apps, all available in one dashboard. Students get a single login and password for their Google accounts, which stays with them from primary through secondary school.

It’s amazing to watch student learning portfolios grow from year to year. Families can track student development and celebrate achievements, and teachers have a richer, more holistic view of student progress.

By adopting Chromebooks and Google Apps districtwide, we’ve greatly improved the way our students share ideas, give peer feedback and collaborate with each other, in real time. These intuitive and helpful technologies have helped us achieve and exceed our “Learn, Anywhere” vision.

You can read full the full ACT case study here.


When empowered with the right CS skills, we believe that each person can use technology to accelerate change towards a better world that they envision. So in partnership with Udacity, we’re launching the Android Basics Nanodegree: a free online curriculum for building basic Android apps. No previous programming experience required. Anyone —of any skill level— can access the content, take it at their own pace, and learn how to create Android apps. All of the individual courses that make up this Nanodegree are available at no charge at

Included in this launch is the Android Basics Facilitator’s Guide, which is an instruction manual that enables students, parents, and teachers to conduct in-person study groups via a blended learning model. This guide can be used in a variety of formats, adjusted for style or preference. Facilitators can vary the number of days, the length, the specific topics taught and more.

The curriculum offers a step-by-step approach on building several different types of Android apps. Through a “just-in-time” approach, students are actively exposed to fundamental computer science concepts, continuously learning as they build more complex apps. Along the way, students become familiar with the Java programming language — from variables and data types to more advanced object-oriented principles, HTTP networking concepts, and how to store data in a SQLite database.

Students can immediately start building layouts for Android apps using the XML language. They use Android Studio, the same official tool that professional Android developers use to write their apps. Students learn important software development skills such as how to identify and fix unexpected issues, read code for an existing app, and how to search for information on their own. They will also hear from professional developers, who are applying the same concepts from the classroom to popular apps like Google Play and Gmail.

Through each of the 6 courses, students gain first-hand experience by building apps designed for real-world experiences like placing orders in a coffee shop, tracking pets in a shelter, teaching vocabulary words from the Native American Miwok tribe, or reporting recent earthquakes in the world. By the end, students will have built an entire portfolio of apps to share that show off all their hard work.
Upon completing the Android Basics Nanodegree, students can continue learning with the Career-track Android Nanodegree (for intermediate developers). The first 50 participants to finish the Android Basics Nanodegree have a chance to win a scholarship for the Career-track Android Nanodegree. Additional details and eligibility requirements can be found here.

Students can enroll in the individual courses here. We recommend signing up with friends and classmates, to create a support group for sharing work and asking questions. In addition, students can sign up for the full Nanodegree on Udacity to gain access to coaches who can help them stay on track, provide career counseling and guidance on their projects. They can receive a certificate upon completion for a fee.

Students who have gone through the course are building incredible apps that put their new skills to work. For example, Arpy Vanyan created the "ROP Tutorial" app to raise awareness of a potentially blinding eye disorder called Retinopathy of Prematurity that can affect newborn babies.
The ROP Tutorial app, created by student Arpy Vanyan, raises awareness of Retinopathy of Prematurity in newborns
Or Fadli Wilihandarwo who built “Pasienia,” an app connecting patients with the same disease in order to offer support and open communication.
Paisienia is a health support group app, created by student Fadli Wilihandarwo
Parents and Guardians 
Android development can be also be a fun family activity, with parents learning right alongside their children. But even if parents or guardians don’t have a background - or prior interest - in this topic, research shows that their encouragement can help motivate children to continue persisting through the course.

Meet Wendy Bravo and her 11-year-old daughter Katia. They started taking the Android Basics courses together, which sparked Katia’s desire to learn more about programming. It was difficult to find local in-person STEM courses for Katia’s age, but with the Android Basics courses, she and her mother were both able to learn.

Teachers and Sponsors
Teachers who want to inspire their students to learn CS through Android app development can use the online videos in their classroom to supplement existing lesson plans. Suggestions for in-person classroom activities to complement the online coursework are included in the facilitator’s guide, along with methods of adjusting the format. Teachers can also sponsor study groups during or after school to encourage students to complete the course content together.

Check out the curriculum or enroll in the Android Basics Nanodegree program. With this complete learning path, you can teach yourself to become a technology entrepreneur, and best yet, build cool Android apps for yourself, your community, and even the world.


While university students are on their summer holidays, internships or jobs, their professors are already hard at work planning for fall courses. These course maps will be at the center of student learning, research and academic growth. Google was founded on the basis of the work that Larry and Sergey did as computer science students at Stanford, and we understand the critical role that teachers play in fostering and inspiring the innovation we see today and will see in the years to come. That’s why we’re excited to offer Google Cloud Platform Education Grants for computer science.

Starting today, university faculty in the United States who teach courses in computer science or related subjects can apply for free credits for their students to use across the full suite of Google Cloud Platform tools, like App Engine and the Cloud Machine Learning Platform. These credits can be used any time during the 2016-17 academic year and give students access to the same tools and infrastructure used by Google engineers.
Students like Duke University undergrad Brittany Wenger are already taking advantage of cloud computing. After watching several women in her family suffer from breast cancer, Brittany used her knowledge of artificial intelligence to create Cloud4Cancer, an artificial neural network built on top of Google App Engine. By analyzing uploaded scans of benign and malignant breast cancer tumors, Cloud4Cancer has learned to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy tissue. It’s providing health care professionals with a powerful diagnostic tool in the fight against cancer.

Google Cloud Platform offers a range of tools and services that are unique among cloud providers. The tool that Brittany used -- Google App Engine -- lets you simply build and run an application without having to configure custom infrastructure. Our Machine Learning platform allows you to build models for any type of data, at any size, and TensorFlow provides access to an open-source public software library (tinker with that extensive data here). Students will also be able to get their hands on one of Cloud Platform’s most popular new innovations: the Cloud Vision API, which allows you to incorporate Google’s state-of-the-art image recognition capabilities into the most basic web or mobile app.

We look forward to seeing the creative ways that computer science students will use their Google Cloud Platform Education Grants, and will share stories along the way on this blog.

Computer science faculty in the United States can apply here for Education Grants. Students and others interested in Cloud Platform for Higher Education, should complete this form to register and stay up to date with the latest from Cloud Platform. For more information on Cloud Platform and its uses for higher education, visit our Google Cloud Platform for Higher Education site.


Today marks the first day of the National Week of Making, a celebration of making and makers across the US. We like to think of ourselves as a company composed of makers, which is why we’re so committed to supporting making in our offices and in our communities. We’re taking this commitment even further today through a new collaboration with the Maker Education Initiative and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Together we will be working closely with 10 science museums and nonprofits across the country, providing each of them with tools and resources to support hands-on training for a fleet of new makerspaces in their community. Through this partnership we hope to help create 100 new makerspaces around the country in the next year.
Educators at a professional development session at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Photo by Renee Rosensteel, 2015
As part of the program, schools, soon libraries, and community centers around the world will have access to the same fundraising toolkit, professional development resources, and support from other maker educators online through Maker Ed.

Our work with Maker Ed and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is part of a broader set of programs designed to support making and makerspaces in schools and community organizations. We’ve worked with Stanford University’s FabLearn program by funding pilot labs and research. We’ve supported research on making in education at Indiana University. And as part of the Maker Promise, we’ll be working with Digital Promise and Maker Ed to provide 1,000 sets of safety gear to schools around the country. You can learn more about our programs and technology for Making & Science at


Editor's note: Small schools are seeing great success with Google for Education tools. We spoke with educators and administrators from smaller districts across the United States to better understand how technology has helped them innovate, create more efficient processes, and make a positive impact on their students. This is the third in a series of posts where we explore the impact small schools are making on their students. To learn more about using Google for Education tools, visit us here.

All over the country, innovations in technology are showing us that it’s possible to provide more access to information than ever before. At Carroll School, located in Lincoln, Massachusetts, we rely on these innovations to bridge the divide for our students with language-based disabilities by alleviating their challenges with reading, writing and organization skills.

Students with language-based disabilities, like dyslexia, are extremely bright, curious and creative. But they oftentimes struggle in regular classrooms to build the core skills they need to excel in school. This is why Dr. Edwin Cole, a neurologist, and a small group of passionate individuals were inspired to found the Carroll School in 1967 and dedicate it to helping children with language-based learning disabilities.

Our faculty and staff at the Carroll School meet the individual needs of students by creating small, supportive classroom environments They use innovative approaches like cognitive intervention, founded in emerging scientific research. We’re also a very technologically progressive school, and our cloud technology, Google Apps for Education, allows us to create interactive experiences for our students. To our delight, incorporating technology has made a big difference for our students, who say that it’s made it easier for them to learn how to write, stay organized and get feedback from teachers

Students can overcome writing challenges
Students with language-based disabilities have to overcome an extra set of challenges while learning to write, specifically with spelling. Many of our students use Voice-to-text, a feature in Google Docs that uses voice recognition technology to dictate essays, stories and other writing projects.

“When I’m writing, Voice-to-text in Docs helps me concentrate on just talking about the subject, rather than worrying about how things are being spelled. I think it's even better than Siri on my phone,” says one eighth grade student at Carroll School. With Voice-to-text, students can share their unique perspectives and opinions, without getting mired by their challenges with writing.
Teachers can give instant, personalized feedback
Our students each have different needs and learning styles; we keep our class sizes small so teachers can provide individualized help. The cloud has made getting personalized attention faster and easier. Now, teachers share assignments through Google Docs and can then give students instant feedback on their work.

“I have difficulty with writing, but it’s easier when I can get help from my teacher. Before using Docs, I’d have to wait a few days or weeks after turning in an assignment to see my teacher’s edits. In Docs, [my teacher] can suggest the edits to me and I can make them myself before turning in the assignment,” says one fourth-grader at Carroll School.

This ongoing feedback and interaction also helps our students stay engaged and on-task. When students see their teacher in a shared homework assignment, responding to their work in real-time, it motivates them to stay on top of their work.
Organization is now a given
Kids of every age — and many adults too — struggle to stay organized, especially when keeping track of multiple assignments, papers and resources. Organization is important for students to succeed in the classroom. By using the cloud to store their work, our students’ now complete and turn in more assignments in an organized way, and stay on top of their tasks.

Students can access their schoolwork easily in class or at home. Says one ninth-grader, “I find myself printing way less. Last year, I had to print out almost all of my homework, but now I can just turn it in with Google Classroom.” Additionally, students say they feel more prepared for class. “With Classroom I have all of my classes in one place, so I don’t have to run around to each teacher to check on stuff,” says a ninth-grader at the school.

Technology is making a visible impact. It’s helping our students succeed in the classroom. Now, both students and teachers say that more assignments are turned in on time and students are more confident. There’s one downside, says one fourth-grader at the school, “Unfortunately, this means we can’t use not knowing the assignment as an excuse for not doing our homework anymore!” Though I think that’s one downside we can live with.


Editor's note: Small schools are seeing great success with Google for Education tools. We spoke with educators and administrators from smaller districts across the United States to better understand how technology has helped them innovate, create more efficient processes, and make a positive impact on their students. This is the second in a series of posts where we explore the impact small schools are making on their students. To learn more about using Google for Education tools in charter schools, visit us here

Charter schools are small but mighty. While they don’t have the resources and support an entire district has, they do have ambitious goals when it comes to educating their students. We’ve encountered a number of charter schools who are leading the way in their use of technology to help students become inquisitive learners, fostering in them a desire to learn about the world around them. These charter schools are using interactive experiences to spark students’ imaginations, encouraging them to learn about international landmarks, social issues in their communities and historical events that have shaped our country. They’ve found that when students acknowledge diversity in their communities and the world, they’re encouraged to think about how they can create positive change beyond the classroom.

Greater exposure to social issues and diverse perspectives 

Teachers at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School use technology to host discussions about current events, giving every student a voice — including those who are quieter in a traditional classroom setting. For example, after one teacher shared an article with her class about conflict in the Middle East via Google Classroom, every student had the opportunity to comment and share his or her opinion via a text-based discussion in Classroom.

"The most interesting thing I learned from classmates during Google Classroom discussions is how they interpreted a book we read,” says Lena Gallager, an 11th grade student at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. “We were able to compare our thoughts on the book and build ideas off of each other.”

“When we discussed poetry using Google Classroom, I gained a sense of others’ perspectives. Google Classroom made it really collaborative and easy to share knowledge on the topic,” says fellow 11th grader Nicolas Villarosa.

Along with having open conversations about international news, students at Brooklyn Prospect are encouraged to learn about the issues affecting their own communities. One 10th grader wanted to understand what his peers viewed as the most concerning global issues. As his end-of-the-year project for the international baccalaureate program, he created a survey in Google Forms to collect his peers’ opinions on the topic. He then used those responses as inspiration to compose a musical protest album to raise awareness for the gravity of the issues.

“Technology is helping our students become citizens of the world by cultivating their awareness and giving them a global view,” says Tyra Frederick, educational technology coordinator and high school English teacher at Brooklyn Prospect.

Interactive learning about our forefathers 

Exposing students to a global curriculum at a young age is vital for them to become well-rounded, culturally aware citizens. In addition to teaching geography and history, many schools teach classes about international current events. They also explore how historical events have shaped a city’s identity.

Westlake Charter Schools, for example, encourages students to become curious learners about their pasts. When eighth grade history teacher, Caroline Gaea, gave students an assignment to map the Manifest Destiny across the United States by dropping pins in Google Maps, students went above and beyond. They engaged in critical thinking, not only commenting on the significance of a location at a particular moment in time, but also noting the overall importance of that moment in the broader context of American history.
An eighth grade student at Westlake Charter Schools comments on a city's role in the Manifest Destiny

“My favorite part of the project was being able to be creative with information and make it fun to read,” says Maya, an eighth grader at Westlake Charter Schools. “There were so many different ways to learn the same thing, so each student was able to customize their experience.”

Even after that assignment was complete, students took the initiative to dive deeper into the topic — they impressed their teacher with a historical map of the United States, using layers in Google Maps to show the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
Westlake Charter Schools students create a collaborative, historical map in Google Maps
“This project made me even more excited to learn about American history because the Google tools give us an opportunity to express our knowledge on a whole new level,” says Grace, an eighth grader at Westlake Charter Schools.

“Mapping out the places and presidents of that time period made it feel like we were there because we understood it better,” says Jada, an eighth grader at Westlake Charter Schools.

Taking virtual field trips around the world

Students at Challenge to Excellence Charter School are using technology to travel outside of the classroom. When a second grade student traveled to India for a family vacation, his classmates virtually went with him. The student took a tablet so he could take pictures of his trip and share them with the class. Back in the classroom, students researched the landmarks that their classmate was visiting and had a real-life view of places like the Taj Mahal using Google Earth.

“It was so fun to be able to take my tablet with me to India to take pictures and then send them to my class,” says Arushi, a second grader at Challenge to Excellence Charter School. “Mrs. Stewart shared the pictures with the class before I even got back home.”

“When the student came back from his trip, his classmates showed him all the pictures and information they’d collected,” says Julie Stewart, technology integration specialist at Challenge to Excellence Charter School. “You could feel their excitement — the project helped take my students outside the four walls of the classroom.” These are just a few of the ways charter schools are inspiring students to think big and learn about experiences beyond their own. What do you think? What are the best ways for schools — public, independent or charter — to approach a global education?


Editor's note: Small schools are seeing great success with Google for Education tools. We spoke with educators and administrators from smaller schools and districts across the United States to better understand how technology has helped them innovate, create more efficient processes and make a positive impact on their students. This is the first in a series of posts that explore the impact and successes of small schools. To learn more about using Google for Education tools in independent schools, visit us here.

Teachers and staff at smaller schools are experts at stretching resources and keeping close tabs on expenses. For independent schools, it’s important that tuition remains affordable. Historically, bringing new technology solutions into classrooms has presented a tough choice for these schools: buy new devices and software and raise tuition, or maintain tuition while settling for out-of-date technology that doesn’t position students well for the future. Today, schools are discovering that technology can not only be affordable, it can also help teachers and staff save time and increase productivity.

Keeping tuition affordable 

St. Jude Catholic School in Indianapolis maintained the balance between technology upgrades and affordable tuition by introducing Google Classroom and Chromebooks to their students and faculty. Google Apps for Education, a suite of productivity and collaboration tools that includes Google Classroom, is free for schools, and Chromebooks cost a fraction of what other tablets, desktops and laptops cost. “We’re a tuition-based school, so having the ability to expose our students to advanced technology, such as cloud computing, without drastically increasing tuition is a huge benefit,” says Joe Shelburn, principal at St. Jude Catholic School.
At Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio, school leaders faced a similar situation: they wanted to buy laptops for every student, but were concerned their budget wouldn’t stretch. “We didn’t have enough state funding to cover the entire cost — the purchase had to come out of the school budget, and we didn’t want to raise tuition to do it,” says Taylor Smith, the school’s technology coordinator. Chromebooks quickly became the school’s top choice for its 1:1 program, since they didn’t break the budget starting at $149 per device. Chromebooks are also easy for the school to maintain. Quite simply, they don’t have many technical issues, and any issues that arise are easy to fix. They’re also light and sturdy, making them easy for students to carry.

Limiting time spent on paper-based tasks to spend more time on student programs 

Time is another precious resource — particularly at schools where staff members wear multiple hats. As is the case with many educators, teachers at Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson, Mississippi, regularly dedicate time outside of the classroom to grading papers and coaching sports teams. Laura Bishop, head of IT at Jackson Prep, says, “We’re always looking for ways to give our teachers more time to be involved with their families and community.” When the school switched from legacy software to Google Apps for Education, teachers no longer needed to spend hours on time-consuming tasks like printing and organizing paper assignments. “I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of time I spend in front of the paper copier this year,” says Hunter Upchurch, a Spanish instructor at Jackson Prep, noting that worksheets and quizzes can now be shared through Classroom. The saved time not only gets put back into student programs like sports and music, it helps teachers reduce their “homework”— so they have more time to spend with friends and family when they go home for the day.

Giving IT more time to focus on strategic projects 

When teachers and staff are able to shift away from the slower, paper-based processes that once ate up their time, they make room in their busy schedules to work on projects that would normally be pushed to the backburner, or on creating spectacular lessons for their students. Modern, easy to use technology like Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks can also help IT staff save time on things like computer maintenance and training, so they can focus instead on solving more strategic, challenging problems.

Switching from desktops and legacy software to Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education has allowed Joe Schultz, tech support specialist at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois, to reduce the amount of time spent fixing PCs, maintaining their old Microsoft server and troubleshooting tech issues. “I’m less busy solving technology-related problems than I was a few years ago,” Schultz says. He plans to devote the saved time to projects like improving network efficiency.

Schools like the above are adopting classroom technology that not only helps keep tuition affordable, but also allows teachers and staff to do more with their limited time. Here are 3 ways you can do the same at your school:

  1. Shop around: There are many devices on the market, so find the ones that meet your students’ unique needs. For example, tablets can work well for younger students who can’t yet type on a keyboard, while laptops may be suitable for older students who spend a lot of time on research.
  2. Automate what you can: Use online tools to eliminate admin tasks that waste time — like copying worksheets or grading paper exams 
  3. Look to the cloud: Reduce IT maintenance, training time and overall costs with easy to use and easy to manage cloud-based solutions. 
Is your school saving time and money by getting creative with technology? We’d love to hear your tips. Share your story below or on Twitter and tag us (@GoogleEdu) or include the #GoogleEdu hashtag.


Nationally, 9 in 10 parents want their children to learn computer science (CS) but only a quarter of principals report offering CS with programming in their schools. Ever wonder what the stats look like in your state? Today, we're excited to release new reports that take a closer look for 11 states. These reports are part of our comprehensive multi-year research study with Gallup Inc. and cover the most populous U.S. states (CA, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NY, OH, PA, TX, and WI). For each state, we highlight insights about CS perceptions as well as challenges to providing CS education for all students, and we show how the state compares to the national average.
New reports on CS education for the most populous states as part of our comprehensive multi-year research study with Gallup Inc.
There's no silver bullet to increasing students' access and exposure to CS, but from our research, we identified four areas that we must focus on in order to move the needle. We found:

  1. The greatest challenges to offering CS included lack of qualified teachers for the subject matter and budget for teachers. 
  2.  Other school system barriers are a focus on testing requirements and low perceived institutional support, even with high support among parents and educators found in our previous report. 
  3. CS offerings at schools are limited and often serve select students. 
  4. Perceptions of what CS involves are unclear, with many principals confusing CS as basic computer literacy.

The reports provide more detail on each state’s unique challenges. Below, we share some local initiatives tackling the four key areas identified by the research.

Empowering CS teaching
Nationally, we found the #1 barrier to offering CS classes is lack of budget to hire or train teachers. At Google, we are committed to closing this gap by empowering teachers in local communities through CS4HS, a program that has funded CS teacher professional development worldwide and in over 37 states. Support from CS4HS and the National Science Foundation enabled Marquette University in Wisconsin to provide programming to double the number of CS teachers in the state. We also partner with and local leaders to expand the number of CS teachers across the U.S. In Georgia, they partnered with CEISMC at Georgia Tech as well as the Department of Education and Governor’s office to open teacher professional learning programs to the entire state. In Riverside Unified School District, the 15th largest district in California, CS First, our free program that helps anyone—a teacher, parent or volunteer—teach kids the basics of CS, began in just a couple schools and spread to the whole district, with the city embracing the program to reach its community of predominantly minority students.
Students in Riverside Unified School District in California learning CS First.
Photo credit: Marc Lyon Galang, RUSD Office of Communications
Collaboratively building support with schools
Unfortunately, teacher preparation isn’t the only challenge school systems face in implementing CS programs. Infrastructure and varied local implementation pose difficulties for schools. We support organizations like ACCESS in California, which addresses these systemic issues in CS education at a state-wide level while ensuring equity is interwoven. TASA’s Future-Ready Superintendent Network is also doing incredible work on the ground in Texas; we recently hosted them to share and brainstorm innovative ways to transform education and bring CS to their districts. And on the city level there’s been exciting engagement coming out of the Chicago Public Schools in Illinois through awareness building events with teachers, administrators and mayoral staff, and in New York City, Mayor de Blasio’s roll out of Computer Science for All has ignited support for CS education across the city.

Reaching diverse students beyond school
While these initiatives in formal education are exciting developments, none happen overnight. In order to broaden access for all students now, it’s equally important to engage in informal education. One such initiative we supported in Michigan is Hello World, a camp for middle school girls founded by high schooler Christina Li. Christina was recognized with the White House Champion of Change in Computer Science Education award and on Nickelodeon’s The HALO Effect. Our Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) provides opportunities for diverse students like KaMar Galloway to strengthen their CS skills and prepare them for a technical career. CSSI was instrumental in KaMar’s pursuit of CS at North Carolina State University and eventually his role on our CS First team, which aims to engage 1 million students in CS, particularly those from underrepresented groups.

Broadening perceptions and stereotypes
Lastly, we need to broaden perceptions and stereotypes of CS, which our research found are discouraging for many, especially girls and minorities. Google’s CS in Media team works with writers, producers and studios to help create more accurate and varied storylines about CS and to diversify media portrayals of computer scientists. Recently, we partnered with the Miami International Film Festival on a 4-day seminar series on gender and racial gaps in film and tech to increase awareness and brainstorm solutions. Googlers in our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office annually provide 60 teachers and 650 students with a real-world look into CS. In Ohio, HER Ideas in Motion aims to change stereotypes by providing female tech role models and project-based learning for girls across the state. In New York, ScriptEd brings software engineers (including Googlers!) into the classroom to teach CS and connect underserved students to internships. These volunteer engineers serve as mentors to build students’ confidence and perception of the field. Both organizations received Google’s RISE Awards for their high impact outreach.

We hope that these numerous initiatives and nonprofits will continue to drive change in communities and that the research we released today will support them by identifying potential challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned for more—we’ll be continuing our research with Gallup and this summer, we’ll be releasing two new reports focusing on demographic disparities and unconscious biases in U.S. K-12 CS education.