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(Cross-posted on Google Lat Long Blog.)

Forests are the mighty lungs of our planet. They absorb carbon dioxide, and emit oxygen on which all people and animals on Earth rely. For the sake of our future, it is critical that all people, including the next generation, understand our global forests in order to manage them sustainably. Today, Science in the Classroom, Dr. Matt Hansen of the University of Maryland, and Google Earth Engine are presenting Global Forest Change Explorer to help engage young people in forest conservation.
Tracking patterns of change in a hotspot zone, Alaska
The Global Forest Change Explorer website contains maps that are available for interactive analysis as well as an accompanying activity worksheet. The Explorer Tool allows students to quickly visualize trends in forest loss and gain, compare different countries and eco-regions, and apply the forest data to try to predict underlying causes where there is significant change in forest density. The Explorer Tool relies on open data that is used by remote sensing and GIS professionals in their work.
Fly to different parts of the world and compare data
A number of years ago, Dr. Matt Hansen and a team of researchers at the University of Maryland turned to Google Earth Engine to map high-resolution global forest cover with Earth Engine's cloud-based image processing and computing. The team mapped global forest loss and gain from 2000 to 2012 at 30-meter resolution for the entire globe. In 2013, the methods and results were published in Science Magazine and online for everyone to explore. These findings are now an important part of the website Global Forest Watch, which gives governments and decision makers free access to the data and tools required to monitor and manage their forests.
Dr. Matt Hansen presenting at the World Economic Forum
Science in the Classroom (SitC) thought this was great research to bring into the classroom and make available to anyone online. SitC packages annotated research papers with supplemental teaching materials to help pre-college and college students understand the structure and workings of scientific research. SitC and Google Earth Engine built the Global Forest Change Explorer to make Dr. Hansen’s data accessible to a younger audience.
Annotations provide supplemental context to Dr. Hansen's paper
We live in a dynamic world where the pressures of population growth increasingly impact and threaten our forests. However, as we continue to make advances in technology, we have better tools to research the health of our planet. Educators can easily flip their classrooms into science labs by combining SitC materials with Global Forest Change Explorer. With these tools, students will leave sessions with a richer understanding of environmental change, more curiosity, and a desire to actively participate in protecting our forests.

Get started with Global Forest Change Explorer today!

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55 years ago today President John F. Kennedy said:
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” 
Sure enough, we met that goal in 1969 when the Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon, just a few months before the decade ended.

Space travel still thrills us, even now that we’re several decades beyond watching astronauts on black-and-white TVs. Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned from a year-long mission on the International Space Station, studying the impact of extended space voyages on astronauts’ bodies and minds. We watched Kelly juggle fruit in weightlessness and asked him questions about space travel during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session.

Today’s teachers and students are fortunate in that we can share the space experience a bit more closely with our astronauts. Kids everywhere, and plenty of grownups, can get a better sense of what it must be like to live in weightlessness, primarily eat only vacuum-packed meals, and look out at the stars and Planet Earth every day. This is the idea behind our newest Expedition, created with NASA, which brings the International Space Station right into the classroom.
A view of the Expedition from the teacher's tablet
The new tour gives teachers and kids a view into the crew’s living quarters and the challenges they have doing everyday things. For example, teachers and students can see how space station residents use bungee cords to hold down plates and silverware so they don’t float away mid-bite, and how they anchor themselves to the tables or walls with special footholds so they don’t drift off either. In the Expedition, students can also see where scientists grow red lettuce and other crops. This enables NASA to study how vegetables grow in space — which will help provide nutritious and delicious food for future astronauts who will stay in space for longer and longer missions -- as much as three years for a roundtrip to Mars!

To celebrate the anniversary of President Kennedy’s historic call to action, this week we’re introducing the new Expedition to some of the schools taking part in the Expeditions Pioneer program. We’re also showing off the tour at special screenings of the new awe-inspiring IMAX® 3D film, “A Beautiful Planet,” produced and directed by celebrated filmmaker Toni Myers and narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, the star of The Hunger Games films, and featuring breathtaking images of Earth, shot by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The London special screening of the new awe-inspiring IMAX® 3D film, "A Beautiful Planet"
“A Beautiful Planet” and the Expeditions tour make a perfect double-feature: stunning views of Earth and the stars from outside the space station, and a view into daily life of astronauts from inside. Teaching the wonders of space is a time-honored way to encourage students to explore their world. Seeing the International Space Station up close can inspire the next generation of astronauts, scientists, or simply lovers of discovery, and bring the world of space exploration to everyone.

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We believe that anyone can be a maker. Making doesn't just mean coding or working with electronics. It can be building or cooking, fixing a broken salad spinner or re-sewing a button on a teddy bear. Making is about looking at the world around you and creating - or, you guessed it, making - ways to improve it.

Science is also fundamentally about improving the world around you. It’s not just memorizing facts, wearing a lab coat or listening to a lecture. It’s observing the world around us to figure out how it works and how we can make things better through experimentation and discovery.

To bring out that inner scientist in all of us, today we’re introducing Science Journal: a digital science notebook that helps kids (and adults!) measure and explore the world around them. With this app, you can record data from sensors on your Android phone (or connected via an Arduino), take notes, observe, interpret and predict. Fundamentally, we think this application will help you learn how to think like a scientist!
Use Science Journal and the light sensor in your Android phone to collect data and run experiments
Since we know that hands-on projects increase engagement, cultivate curiosity and spark a lifelong interest in learning, we also teamed up with the Exploratorium - a leader in science education - to develop and assemble creative hands-on learning activity kits to accompany the Science Journal app. These Science Journal kits include inexpensive sensors, microcontrollers and craft supplies that bring science to life in new ways. The kits are available for purchase in the US or can even be assembled yourself.
Build and measure your own wind spinners using Science Journal activities and kits 

See science in action as Imagination Foundation chapters around the world put these activities to use
We’re excited to nurture an open ecosystem where people everywhere can use Science Journal to create their own activities, integrate their own sensors and even build kits of their own. To that end, we have released the microcontroller firmware code on GitHub and will be open sourcing the Android app later this summer. We’re eager to work with hardware vendors, science educators and the open source community to continue improving Science Journal.
Science Journal lets you visualize and graph data from your phone's accelerometer, light sensor, microphone and more. You can record data and set up trials, experiments and projects in the app.

But our goal to inspire budding scientists and makers goes beyond Science Journal. We’ve sent over 120,000 kids to their local science museum as part of Google Field Trip Days, encouraged and supported future changemakers through Google Science Fair and sponsored organizations such as NOVA, FIRST Robotics and Lick Observatory who are pushing science forward for all of us. And to help keep our young scientists safe, we’ve also distributed over 350,000 pairs of safety glasses at schools, makerspaces and Maker Faires around the world.

Many of the Google products used today by billions of people wouldn’t exist if not for the makers, scientists and engineers who wanted to create projects that could help improve our world. If you want to join in, come meet us today through Sunday at the Bay Area Maker Faire 2016, check out the Making & Science initiative and go subscribe to our YouTube channel. Let’s all make science, together.

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Editor's note: We’re writing to you today from Google I/O, our annual conference for developers. Over 7,000 developers gathered for the three day event at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California —right down the street from Google. If you missed the live-stream this week, don't worry; we've got four highlights so far for education below.

Even more apps for Chromebooks
Earlier today we announced that Android apps are coming to Chromebooks, which means teachers and students will have access to more content on their Chromebooks, including a large amount of offline and touch-optimized apps. From Google’s Admin console, administrators will be able to deploy Android apps such as Skype, LightSail, Open eBooks, Office & Explain Everything to students. This feature will be available to administrators during the 2016/17 school year for use on supported Chromebooks. Learn more, including when you can preview some of the apps, in the blog post.

More than one million students have gone on an Expedition
When we look back on our favorite memories from school, many of us think of field trips. Last May, we introduced the Expeditions Pioneer Program, which lets teachers take their students on virtual reality trips to over 200 places using Cardboard. This year at I/O, we announced that over one million students from more than 11 countries have taken an Expedition through the Pioneer Program, to places like Buckingham Palace, the polar bear capital of the world—and in seventh grader Lance Teeselink’s case—Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Lance, aspiring architect, takes an Expedition to the tallest building in the world with his seventh grade class

Our team is hard at work to make Expeditions more widely available. Stay tuned to our blog for the latest information. And if you’re ready to bring your class on their first Expedition, sign up for the beta here.

Stronger integrations between Classroom and other apps
Teachers use Classroom as mission control for their classes, launching assignments & discussions across subjects and topics. We announced on Wednesday that we added new coursework integrations to the Classroom API, which lets reporting systems like gradebooks and student information systems sync assignments and grades from Classroom, so that teachers don’t need to manually transfer the data. It also allows learning tools to create assignments, turn in work, and send back grades to Classroom. See how developers like Tynker, GeoGebra, and OpenEd are already using coursework in the Classroom API to strengthen their integrations.

Expanding coding resources to younger students
On Monday, at I/O Youth (our third annual conference for Bay Area students and teachers) we announced a new collaboration with Scratch, MIT’s programming language and community for children. The new partnership will enable developers to design creative coding and learning experiences for kids. We took the first step this week, releasing an early developer preview of Scratch Blocks code. We hope that developers will use Scratch Blocks to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.

Keep exploring
Watch the live stream or recordings of this year’s events in full on the Google I/O website. And for more behind-the-scenes looks at Google, from self-driving cars to Project Loon, check out Nat & Lo’s YouTube channel.

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Today at Google I/O, our annual conference for developers, we announced that Android apps will be coming to Chromebooks. That means you’ll be able to do things like edit photos in Photoshop Mix, make a Skype call, open up Office files and work offline -- or take a break with games like Minecraft.

In 2015, US K-12 schools purchased more Chromebooks than all other devices combined (source) and adoption continues to increase in classrooms around the globe. To add even more flexibility to these fast, secure and easy-to-manage devices, we will be bringing Android apps to select Chromebooks, offering access to more content, increased offline options and additional touch-optimized apps for touchscreen models.

Android apps for Chromebooks
A few popular Android apps are already available today on Chromebooks through the App Runtime for Chrome program.

LightSail, an adaptive literacy solution for schools, is one example. "Fostering a love of reading among my English Language Learners has been an ongoing struggle in our class. After introducing LightSail on our school's Chromebooks, I have witnessed a true enjoyment of reading, with students reading for up to 40 minutes at a time on a regular basis. That type of stamina is something I have not seen before from these formerly reluctant readers,” says Christina Di Pietro, an ESL & Humanities Teacher at the James P. Timilty Middle School in Boston, MA. Since LightSail’s Android app became available, students have had another tool in their digital backpack to help them build reading comprehension skills.

For schools with supported touchscreen Chromebooks, touch-optimized Android apps like Explain Everything open up a world of possibilities for students. “The touchscreen on the Chromebooks allows students to enhance the content they create using Explain Everything, making their thinking visible and interactive,” says Jennifer Schlie-Reed, a Digital Learning Coach at Eisenhower Middle/High School in New Berlin, WI. "It provides students opportunities to demonstrate their learning in unique ways.”

The Android app Open eBooks will be available on Chromebooks soon, and is part of the White House ConnectED Initiative. Stacy Kinney, a Librarian and Media Specialist at O.A. Fleming Elementary in Freeport, TX, used Open eBooks to “put otherwise costly books into the hands of our children.” Stacy’s school is a Title One campus. “I value the Open eBook app because it makes quality, appealing books accessible to my students and their families.”
Open eBooks app running on a Chromebook
Android app management for school administrators
School IT administrators will have full control over selecting and managing the Android apps made available to their managed users on Chromebooks. They’ll manage Android apps using the same cloud-based Chromebook content controls they love today, through Google’s Admin Console.

We can’t wait to bring more Android apps to Chromebooks, which will come to supported devices in the 2016-17 school year. In the meantime, you can learn more about bringing Chromebooks to your school.

If you’re an Android app developer looking to bring your app to schools, you can learn more here.

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Last year, we launched the Classroom API to make it easier for administrators to manage classes, and for developers to integrate their applications with Classroom. Since that time, hundreds of applications have integrated with Classroom to help teachers gamify their classes, improve students’ writing skills, build interactive presentations and more.

Do more with coursework in the Classroom API 
Today, we’re introducing new coursework endpoints that allow developers to access assignments, grades and workflow. Learning tools can focus on creating great content and, in turn, use Classroom to manage the workflow for assignments created with this content. Gradebooks and reporting systems can now also sync grades with Classroom, eliminating the need for teachers to manually transfer grades.

Several partners have been helping to test the new functionality, including:
  • OpenEd, which provides a library of open education resources for K-12 teachers 
  • Tynker, a creative computing platform for teaching students to code 
  • GeoGebra, a visual mathematics platform that allows students and teachers to author interactive mathematics content
Access course Drive folders, groups and materials 
In addition to the coursework endpoints, we’ve added new functionality to our existing course and roster API endpoints. Developers can now access course Drive folders, groups and materials. Applications can use this new functionality to store files in the same Drive folder as the rest of the resources in a class, or use course groups to manage file sharing permissions.

In the coming months, we’ll be adding more coursework management capabilities. When we do, we’ll post updates to the developer forum and issue tracker. We look forward to working together to make it even easier for teachers and students to use the tools they love with Classroom. Developers, please review the documentation, the FAQ and ask questions on Stack Overflow. Also, don’t forget to let us know what you’re building using the #withClassroom hashtag on Twitter or G+. And teachers, check out this list of applications that already work well with Classroom today.

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Google I/O is all about bringing creative coders together to imagine what’s next. And who better to build for the future than kids, the developers of tomorrow. That’s why we launched I/O Youth - inspiring kids to imagine, invent, and explore through the power of technology.

Today, we’ll celebrate the third anniversary of I/O Youth by hosting 120 students from Bay Area schools at Google I/O. Over the course of the day, kids and their teachers will be inspired by hands-on activities like designing a custom robotic monster and 3D car, bringing them to life using the power of code, directing a digital cartoon, and creating a personalized water bottle design through Made with Code.

Over the course of the day, kids will hear from speakers who use technology to do amazing things every day - like Ryan Germick, head of the Google Doodles team, who’ll talk about the beauty of art and technology coming together; Brent Bushnell, CEO of Two Bit Circus, who’ll take them on a virtual field trip to his workshop, and Anika Cheerla, 13-year old Google Science Fair finalist who built a way to accurately diagnose Alzheimer's disease, who’ll share how she discovered her love for science. They’ll also get to hear about how technology helps to bring some of their favorite things to life from a producer of Design Squad Global by PBS Kids and WGBH, a Nickelodeon creator, and a Pokémon game designer.

We’re also excited to announce our collaboration with Scratch, enabling developers to design creative coding and learning experiences for kids. Today we take the first step in this collaboration with the release of an early developer preview of Scratch Blocks code. We hope that developers will use Scratch Blocks to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.
At I/O Youth, students will get early access to a prototype built with Scratch Blocks
I/O Youth is just one of many ways we’re focused on helping young people to imagine, invent, and explore through the power of technology. Beyond today’s event, we also have year-round programs to help inspire and train our engineers of the future, including:



Google Science Fair - an international competition inspiring teenagers from all over the globe to ask questions about their world and solve them with science. The deadline to submit projects for this year’s competition is today, so stay tuned to see who will win!






Made with Code - our initiative to inspire millions of girls to learn code, and see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers.


CS First - increasing elementary and middle school students’ access and exposure to Computer Science with a focus on girls and underrepresented minorities.




If you’re not joining us at Shoreline Amphitheater for I/O Youth today, follow along on Twitter at #io16 and #ioyouth as we share updates along the way. Here's to celebrating and inspiring our future engineers today, and every day.

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(Cross-posted on the re:Work blog)

Editor's note: Carol Frieze, PhD, is Director of Women@SCS and SCS4ALL, Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. Jeria Quesenberry, PhD, is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Information Systems program at Carnegie Mellon Dietrich College.They are the authors of a new book, Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University which tells the positive story of how one school developed a culture and environment in which both women and men could thrive and be successful in computer science.

For over ten years, Carnegie Mellon University has been successful at enrolling, sustaining, and graduating women in computer science at a much higher rate than national averages. Here are six ways we made it happen.

In 2014, the incoming computer science (CS) class at CMU comprised 40% women at a time when the national rate for female CS graduates was around 14%. We set out on a ten-year long research endeavor to understand the story of how CMU got here. We tell that positive story in our new book, Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University, and here we’ll share the six primary takeaways that contributed to this success, which we believe are applicable to other organizations and workplaces.

1. Women do not need a “female-friendly” curriculum. Curriculum should depend on what we are trying to teach and learn, not on prioritizing one gender over another. Changes to improve the curriculum should be for the benefit of all students. Basing coursework on what people think interests women can perpetuate stereotypes. This approach can also be applied to the workplace. Women do not need “soft” or “female-friendly” roles -- career opportunities should be based on organizational needs, not on what we think we know about women.

2. Cultural change is the key. If the culture of a computer science program is dominated by “geeky stereotypical” archetype research shows that women and minorities (and even other white males) may feel excluded from the field. Data show that, in the case of CS, it is usually women and minorities and people with disabilities who are poorly represented. Efforts should be directed at being more inclusive of a wide range of personalities enabling all to have opportunities including leadership, visibility, encouragement, networking, mentorship, and advocacy. For example, in 1999, the CMU School of Computer Science dropped the programming admission prerequisite, resulting in a more diverse set of incoming students.

3. Culture can be changed at the micro level. Evidence for culture as the key also comes from other countries where girls are well represented in CS. In the US, there is a strong cultural belief that men and women are very different, so different that they are suited to different fields of study and careers. We need to change these perceptions and show that women can be successful in CS. We’ve witnessed cultural change within the CS department at CMU. For example, our student organizations, such as SCS4ALL and Women@SCS, promote diversity, which continues to be part of the larger CMU strategic plan.

4. Cultural factors are more important than gender differences. Men and women may not be so different after all. Our studies with CS majors at CMU show that men and women relate to computer science through a spectrum of attitudes and with more similarities than differences. Indeed, at CMU we’ve not seen the familiar, simplistic gender divide in attitudes to CS. We’ve seen similar attitudes even extend to identifying with the image of a “geek--” a word once shunned. In our studies, the only real gender difference centered around confidence levels, with men showing much higher rates of confidence than women. This is a cultural issue that reaches many areas, not just CS.

5. Institutional support is critical. Institutional support, such as administrative help, funding, and an explicit leadership vision, can signal the authorization and influence to show that diversity is an essential part of an organization’s value system. Support for the creation of a women’s group (or a group of shared ethnicity), can be valuable for building community and for increasing and sustaining the pipeline.

6. Success stories are important. Lots of people have documented the problem of low female enrollment in CS and women leaving the technology industry. But there is less sharing of the success stories. We need to hear more inspirational stories of success like CMU, including our approaches and recommendations. By showing more women how they might succeed in CS, we will help more programs -- and ultimately the profession -- become more inclusive.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Docs Blog.)

Public speaking can be intimidating — even for veteran speakers with phenomenal ideas and experiences to share. Take Shree Bose, for example.

At just 17 years old, Shree took home the top prize at the first ever Google Science Fair for her research on drug resistance in ovarian cancer. Now, a senior at Harvard, she’s met with President Obama twice, crowdfunded a Minecraft computer program to support STEM education, and has given talks across the globe. But she still gets nervous every time she’s asked to speak at events.

When Shree recently visited our New York office to present to 200 middle school students, we invited her to try a new feature in Google Slides: Slides Q&A. This update—rolling out globally today—helps speakers connect with their audience and collect real-time feedback. With a simple link displayed on a Slides presentation, audience members can submit questions from their phones, laptops, and tablets—and vote on those they want answered the most. Hear what your audience has to say 

Slides Q&A is great for audience members, too. During Shree’s talk, students submitted more than 170 questions and voted 800 times. They enjoyed being able to submit questions online the moment they thought of them instead of having to remember them until the end of the presentation. Some students also chose to submit questions anonymously.

At the end of her talk, Shree left time for Q&A, but she couldn’t possibly answer all 170 questions. So, she sorted the questions based on audience votes—and responded to the top ones. The question with the most overall votes was submitted by a seventh grader named Leila. She says, “I was so surprised when I saw my question was the most liked. I probably wouldn’t want to stand up and ask the question because I’m kind of shy.” Focus on your ideas, not set up 

Slides Q&A makes it easy to interact with your audience—without having to worry about mics or moderators. Slides also helps you get your big ideas and stories on screen—without having to worry about wires or set up stress. Starting today, we're improving this "Show up, don't setup" experience in two ways:

  • You can now present your slides to a Hangout from your iPhone or iPad. So with just your phone or tablet and the Slides app, you can present to any screen using Chromecast, AirPlay or Hangouts. 
  • And for those of you who like presenting from a computer, we're introducing a new laser pointer on the web. Just in time for May the 4th (be with you). 

Today’s Slides updates are rolling out globally on AndroidiOS, and the web. So go on, share your stories and present with confidence.

And for a little inspiration, check out Shree’s full talk, #HowCanWe Make the World Better with Science? on the Talks@Google channel.

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Editor's note: This post is part of our series for U.S. Teacher Appreciation Week. Look for more content on our blog and social media throughout the week. Don’t forget to add to the conversation using #ThankATeacher.

When I was five years old, I immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. My sister and I were the only Asians in our entire school, and I remember how my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Marvin, went out of her way to make me feel welcome in the classroom and country. I stayed in touch with her until her passing a few years ago. Our relationship speaks volumes about how influential teachers can be. Later in high school, my math teacher, Mr. Fee, showed me how to apply my math skills in the real world. His practical guidance shaped my career aspirations to study chemical engineering in college and to become a high school math teacher myself.
After moving from Taiwan to the U.S. at age 5, Mo Fong's first experiences with the U.S. School system was formed by her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Marvin, who helped set her up on a path to success. 
All good teachers inspire students to pursue new opportunities and challenge themselves, but science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) teachers and specifically computer science (CS) teachers have to overcome some obstacles that others don’t. Often, there’s not enough access to CS resources in schools, and school officials haven’t adopted a CS curriculum. Only 22% of public school principals say that CS education is a top priority, despite the fact that more than 1.3 million computer and math-based jobs will be created by 2022, according to a joint Google and Gallup study. CS teachers also have to overcome stereotypes that keep many students, especially girls and underrepresented minorities, away from the subject.

In the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to share the stories of three high school CS teachers who are overcoming these obstacles and inspiring students to be passionate about the problems they want to solve in the world.

Diane Terrell - Exposing more students to computer science 


When I think of Diane Johnson Terrell words like strength, empowerment and role model come to mind. Terrell, a high school math and engineering teacher at Oakland Unified School District in California, became a CS teacher via an unconventional path. She was working as a programmer analyst and quickly realized she was one of the only African Americans and females in the industry. One of the main reasons the field isn’t more diverse is because people haven’t been exposed to the field, Terrell says. Now her students understand they can build amazing things with a CS degree, and they can have a lucrative career doing so.

Terrell also is breaking down the idea that CS is only for boys and the affluent. She's introducing a CS program that more than 400 9th graders will take next year, and teaching youth at her church how to code and develop an app for the church together.

“Many students in my community play video games and post on social media, but they don’t understand that a lot of programming and code goes into building them,” Terrell says. “My goal is to get my students to move from being consumers to being builders by creating apps on their phones.” 

Another inspiring way Terrell is empowering female students to pursue CS is by connecting them with female executives and doctoral students in the field who mentor them and show them that women can be as successful in the field as men. “After spending time with their mentors at UC Berkeley, girls of color learned they have a phenomenal aptitude to change the world,” Terrell says. “Their confidence exploded and they realized how much of a difference they can make.”

Seth Reichelson - Breaking down the computer science stereotype 


The field of CS shares the unfortunate “geek” stereotype that math and engineering do. But that stereotype doesn’t exist at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Teacher Seth Reichelson, a White House Champion of Change, has toppled those preconceived notions and made his AP CS class appealing to all students. To make the subject relatable and interesting, he changes his in-class examples to be fun, for example by having students manipulate pixels in a picture instead of doing a bug simulation.

“I won’t acknowledge a stereotype because if you acknowledge it, that’s the same as promoting it,” says Reichelson, who learned this strategy at a National Center for Women & Information Technology workshop. “My students have no idea what the stereotype is.”
The computer science class of 2015 at Lake Brantley High School
Reichelson believes that there should be a diversity requirement that the AP CS student population reflect the diversity of the entire school. He believes a more diverse classroom will lead to a greater diversity of ideas and opinions and thus a smarter, better run workplace. “If you have one type of person working for your company, you’re only going to have one type of solution,” Reichelson says. “You have to have a diverse company to have diverse solutions.”


Leslie Aaronson - Turning the classroom into a startup environment 


After working for Nickelodeon for three years, Leslie Aaronson realized she wanted to teach students communication, collaboration and networking skills in a way that reflects the real world. Today as lead teacher of Foshay Learning Center’s Technology Academy in Los Angeles, California, she’s turned her classroom into a startup environment. She encourages students to take control of their learning and be proactive, instead of waiting for the teacher to provide instructions. “I put learning back into the student’s hands. Students show each other their screens, and when they can’t figure out a solution to a problem, I ask them, ‘What have you tried, and who have you talked to?’ I challenge them to explore all of their resources.”

Aaronson teaches her students to meet with professionals, both to develop the skill of networking and to form strong relationships with people in the industry. She coordinates mentor days and field trips for her students to connect with people at local colleges like USC and UCLA.

To showcase their projects, Aaronson’s students develop a digital portfolio that speaks to their technology skills when applying for college or interviewing for jobs. “Some kids come back to me three years later and say that the portfolio they created in my class got them a job. The most rewarding thing is to know I’m helping people get on their feet and achieve great things in life.” 
Leslie with nine of her students who won the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award




These are the stories of just a few of the inspirational CS teachers that are educating the data scientists and software developers of tomorrow. Reach out a hand and support teachers like Diane, Seth and Leslie by donating to a classroom in need at DonorsChoose.org, or partnering with a school to introduce a CS program.

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Matthew Agrall teaches fifth grade at South Elementary School in Des Plaines, Illinois. He juggles teaching all core subjects, leading before-school tutoring, managing fifth grade patrol, participating in student council and playing volleyball in his “free time.”

This is why we created Google Classroom—to help busy teachers like Matt spend less time on logistics and more time on teaching, tutoring and student council-ing. Since we launched Classroom two years ago, we’ve added more than 50 updates to make it easier to manage assignments, communicate with students and stay organized.

Today, on National Teacher Appreciation Day, to show our thanks for the millions of hardworking teachers like Matthew, we’re making it even easier to stay organized and save time with Classroom.

Schedule ahead, post later 

Starting today, teachers can plan ahead by scheduling announcements, assignments and questions to post at a later date or a specific time (great for the early birds who want to get a head start on school planning during the summer ;). Just look for the scheduling option when posting new assignments, questions and announcements. You can find scheduled and draft posts in the “Saved posts” section of your class stream, and you’ll get email and mobile notifications when your scheduled posts go live.

We’re also adding new updates to Classroom over the next week—all designed to help teachers save time and stay organized. Look out for easier-to-read email notifications and updates to our iOS and Android apps.

Coming this fall: keeping parents and guardians in the loop 

We know parents and guardians are instrumental to student success at school. And to the school leaders and teachers who’ve told us they need an easy way to keep guardians updated with what’s happening in Classroom—we hear you! Later this year, we’ll launch email notifications for guardians so they can stay involved and help to motivate their students.

Guardians will be able to sign-up to receive daily or weekly email digests of their student’s progress, upcoming work and class announcements. Administrators will be able to invite guardians directly and set domain-wide policies for guardian linking and notifications.

To teachers like Matthew who are fueling the future—we thank you. Here’s hoping you get all the appreciation you deserve this week . . . and for the rest of the school year.

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Editor's note: This post is part of our series for U.S. Teacher Appreciation Week. Look for more content on our blog and social media throughout the week. Don’t forget to add to the conversation using #ThankATeacher.

I’m in awe of Mrs. Zazulak, my daughter’s 5th grade teacher. She is constantly finding new ways to engage students with her inquiry based learning approach. She inspires her student’s creative writing with “Who would win Wednesdays?” and asks them to write any story about what would happen if King Kong faced off against Godzilla. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States, so we’d like to honor teachers like Mrs. Zazulak and the millions of others who put their talents and passion into educating our children. Below are a few more examples of teachers using creative methods to engage students and teach valuable skills for the future.

Majoring in leadership 

Teachers are dedicated to building the next generation of leaders. Teachers like Lou Ann McKibben at Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson, Mississippi are fostering leadership skills and giving students opportunities to experiment with the kinds of projects and tools they’ll encounter in the workplace. For example, Ms. McKibben, an economics teacher, hosts an annual “Shark Tank” day where students pitch their ideas to local business leaders. She’s giving the students a fun way to guide their own learning, while preparing them to share ideas and drive projects in the workplace.
Mrs. McKibben with one of her graduating students



Classroom commerce

In addition to developing crucial skills for the future, teachers are empowering students to dream big. Matt Martin, a chemistry teacher at High Tech High in San Diego, California, gave his students a crash course in entrepreneurship that led them to create the Wicked Soap Company, a student-run ecommerce business. Students are involved in every aspect of the company, from creating the soap to reporting on the business to their classmates. From day one, Mr. Martin has encouraged his students to experiment — the idea for Wicked Soap came from one student’s science project — and to follow their instincts. Mr. Martin’s class uses the revenue from the business to fund field trips, reinvest and organize a scholarship for fellow students. By rallying the class around a complex project, Mr. Martin created an experience that inspired students to try new things, work together and believe in their ability to run a business.
Mr. Martin, chemistry teacher at High Tech High




Encouraging innovation 


Teachers are also redefining traditional notions of the classroom and challenging students to do the same. Stacy Dang, who teaches at Cornwall Terrace Elementary in Pennsylvania, created a virtual classroom that supports inquiry-based learning, a method for prompting students to solve problems themselves. In one instance, Ms. Dang created a shared classroom with second graders from Pennsylvania and seventh graders in neighboring New Jersey. Second graders submitted science questions using online forms for the seventh graders to research and answer with presentations. She also encourages students to teach one another in the virtual classroom through “live lessons.” Teachers like Ms. Dang are encouraging young people to learn from themselves and from one another — skills that will help them to think critically, embrace curiosity and see the world in new ways.

To the millions of teachers, including Mrs. Zazulak, Ms. McKibben, Mr. Martin and Ms. Dang, who create dynamic learning experiences that prepare and inspire our children to lead: thank you for the work you do every day. We’ll be posting more on Google for Education Twitter channel and here on this blog throughout the week. It’s a great time to thank teachers for the difference they make — share what you’re thankful for by joining the conversation: #ThankATeacher.