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Editor's note: We're going across the U.S. to shine light on the great things schools are doing with technology at the statewide level. Texas is up next. There we asked educators and administrators to reflect on how technology has changed what it means to teach and learn. From group projects to collaborative lesson plans, technology has improved the teaching and learning experience across the state. And we’re happy to announce that 100% of Texas’ online standardized tests can be administered on Chromebooks, giving educators an easy, secure way to manage the testing process. To learn more about Google solutions for Education, watch this recent webinar with Arlington Independent School District.

When students want to learn and collaborate with classmates, they no longer have to travel to the library after school or schedule time to work at another student’s house. With teachers and administrators in Texas integrating technology – including Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks – into their curricula, students can learn and work on assignments when they’re not in the classroom. Teachers are preparing students for college and future careers while staying under budget and saving time managing thousands of devices. Inspired by how schools are innovating with technology across the region, we’re highlighting a few of the successes we’ve heard about directly from Texas schools:

Leveling the playing field 

Google Apps for Education isn’t just a way to share information – it’s the learning hub at Arlington Independent School District (case study) in North Texas. Students and teachers at Arlington ISD create more than 50,000 documents in Google Docs during any given week, and students can access this bounty of information when they aren’t in the classroom. For example, physical education students used heart monitors to measure their heart rates during different activities. As a homework assignment, they analyzed the data in Google Sheets and shared their findings with their peers. With the affordability of Chromebooks, more students have access to devices. When students leave the classroom, they can sign onto Chromebooks on loan through the 1:1 program and access Google Apps for Education to continue learning, regardless of their technology options at home.

Collaborating beyond the classroom walls 

North East Independent School District uses technology to create a collaborative approach across schools, so students on its 70 campuses can share their work with peers and teachers. They’re creating a global learning environment by sharing assignments in Google Docs with students at international schools and with subject matter experts to get real-world feedback. For example, a sophomore history class shared its Middle Ages project with students in Denmark. “These devices have captured student’s excitement to learn, collaborate and think creatively,” says Tom Johnson, senior director of technology at North East ISD.

Introducing affordable devices for 21st century learning 

McAllen Independent School District is introducing 12,500 Chromebooks this winter to give students 24/7 access to technology as part of its new initiative: Transforming Learning in the Classroom, Campus and Community. Students, teachers and parents provided their input on the devices they wanted, and the technology team evaluated the costs. “As we move toward a 1:1 model, we had to consider the cost of providing devices for students, the ability to manage 12,500 devices and the cost of fixing and replacing devices,” says Ann Vega, director of instructional technology at McAllen ISD. After the rollout, more students will have access to tools that will equip them with 21st century skills.

Schools continue to expand what it means to go to school by incorporating digital learning into their curricula. Technology inspires students to think beyond their lesson plans, whether they’re in study hall, waiting for soccer practice or on a family vacation. Check out the schools’ stories and watch Arlington's webinar to learn more.

We’ve heard great stories from many of you about how you’re using technology to do amazing things in your schools, so we're going across the U.S. to see for ourselves! Check out the map below to see where we’ve been. We’d love to hear what’s happening in your state, so please share your story on Twitter or Google+ and tag us (@GoogleForEdu) or include the #GoogleEdu hashtag. 

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Editor's note: Ensuring the appropriateness, value, and impact of our efforts in the computer science education space first requires an understanding of the issues which broadly impact the discipline, its practitioners and its students. This article is part of our ongoing effort to explore those issues and share our learnings along the way.

Technology is undeniably becoming an integral part of our lives, shaping virtually everything around us. Unfortunately the computer science (CS) behind all of the technology we love isn’t so widely understood. Compounding the issue is the fact that groups like women, Blacks, and Hispanics are underrepresented in CS education and in the high tech workplace. This underrepresentation has been growing for decades and because of it, we simply don’t have enough students--especially those with diverse backgrounds--studying CS to even fill the projected number of computing jobs that will be available in five years (NCWIT). In order to change that trajectory, we need to better understand the current landscape and the factors that led us to this point.

That’s exactly why today, in partnership with Gallup, we’re releasing our second report from an ongoing series of studies on the state of U.S. K-12 CS education: Images of Computer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S.

This report explores participation in and perceptions of CS learning by gender, race and income. We surveyed nearly 16,000 respondents, representing students, parents, teachers, principals and superintendents. From our first report, Searching for Computer Science: Access and Barriers in U.S. K-12 Education, we learned about the differences in exposure and access to CS learning and computers between Black, Hispanic and White students. The findings from today’s report show that we have more work to do beyond just providing access.

The results show that there’s high value and interest in CS among all demographics, and even more so for lower-income parents. But unfortunately perceptions of who CS is for and who is portrayed in CS are narrow--White, male, smart with glasses. Even though they value it, students often don't see themselves in it. Students who are female or Hispanic, and lower-income students all report lower confidence to learn CS. Our hope is that these findings will inform strategies that encourage more diverse students to pursue CS and increase access to CS learning opportunities for all students.
Here’s a summary of our findings:

Parents and teachers of lower-income students view CS as critical to a student’s future, yet lower-income students are less likely to have access to CS learning in school: 

  • 76% of parents in lower-income groups believe CS should be required in school. 
  • These parents are also more likely to value CS over other required courses. 
  • Teachers in schools with a larger percentage of students eligible for a free or reduced lunch are more likely than other teachers to think CS learning opportunities are more important to a student’s future success than other elective courses.

Image about CS is positive, but confidence to learn it is low:

  • More than 90% of students & parents have a positive image of CS jobs and more than 80% of all populations studied believe CS is used in many jobs. 
  • Yet only half of students are confident to learn CS, and the percentage is even lower for Hispanics and girls. 
  • We found that students who are more confident in their ability to learn CS are also more likely to say they will learn it in the future.

Perceptions reflect stereotypes: 

  • Given the high value of CS among all populations studied, it’s disappointing to learn that many have narrow perceptions of who practices CS. 
  • Students and parents perceive few portrayals of female, Hispanic or Black computer scientists on TV or in movies. 
  • These groups are much more likely to see White or Asian men engaged in computer science.
  • About half of students and 57% of parents agree that “People who do computer science need to be very smart”.

Computer science is misunderstood: 

  • We see that CS is becoming recognized as important, but there is still confusion of how it is different from general technology skills. 
  • Over half of students, parents, teachers and principals do not properly distinguish between computer science activities (e.g., programming and coding; creating new software), and general computer literacy (e.g., creating documents; searching the internet). 
  • This is more pronounced among female, Black and Hispanic students and parents.

These findings highlight the need to create learning environments that work for all students. Increasing awareness about what CS is will require efforts to help students, parents and educators alike fully understand the critical principles of CS in order to fulfill students’ potential rather than limiting them to basic low-level skills. Also, we need to do more to ensure that all students are able to see themselves in CS careers - we’ve got to help them see it, to be it. This will require continued efforts to leverage media outlets to help dispel stereotypes and showcase positive portrayals of diversity in computing.

Uplifting CS education opportunities for all students will require effecting change to the entire ecosystem. A comprehensive set of recommendations from our findings can be found here.

To find out more about Google’s CS learning opportunities and research, visit g.co/csedu.

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Editor's note: We're going across the U.S. to shine light on the great things schools are doing with technology at the statewide level, with North Carolina up first. North Carolina is a strong Google partner. From the rollout of broadband infrastructure to the adoption of Google for Education, Google for Work and Google Cloud Platform in schools, nonprofits, labs and startups, Google technology is helping to liberate learning, empower employees and give researchers tools that can help solve real world problems.

North Carolina’s Research Triangle has a rich tradition of fostering quality education, research and entrepreneurship – prime areas for investment and innovation. In fact, Google is now laying thousands of miles of state-of-the-art fiber optic cable that will expand internet connectivity in the area. In the spirit of building next-generation technologies, the Google Cloud Platform and Google for Education teams hosted an inaugural Innovate with Google event at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in Chapel Hill.

Startups, researchers and educators come together to innovate 

The event brought together more than 200 educators, startup executives, life science researchers and others who are innovating with Google. They’re building new teaching models, services and scientific advancements designed to improve lives.

Attendees heard from Jonathan Rochelle, Google’s director of Product Management, who discussed innovation used by billions of people. He gave the example of his own XL2Web startup that became Google Sheets and Expeditions, which allows teachers to take students on virtual field trips.

A panel of educators, students and entrepreneurs shared stories of creating change with technology. Brittany Wenger, Duke University student and Google 2012 Science Fair winner, shared her experience of teaching herself how to code and building a platform powered by Google App Engine that predicts breast cancer with 99 percent accuracy. Dr. Valerie Truesdale of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools talked about the district’s Chromebook program (83,000 devices across 168 schools), which began with researching what age group most needed the devices. Sarah Noell of North Carolina State University discussed how faculty and students are working together to design engaging lessons that inspire creativity.

Learning, building and scaling 

Attendees chose from breakout sessions in genomics, startups and education. In the education track, teachers and school administrators shared how they’re rethinking traditional teaching and learning methods with help from Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks. Teachers also got hands-on with tackling current educational challenges with a 10X Design Thinking workshop. Jamel Mims of the Urban Arts partnership led a challenge on how to align pedagogy with art and culture to engage students. He shared his approach of teaching history through rapping. Ellie Gamache of American Underground led a group on how to foster community between local schools, universities and startups to drive innovation and embrace diversity.
Attendees worked in small groups with tools like pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, construction paper and Play Doh to brainstorm ideas to solve different educational challenges.




The genomics breakout sessions appealed to attendees whose work with big data uses the very same cloud computing platform that powers the Google backbone and services like Search, Maps and Google Genomics. The non-profit organization Autism Speaks, for example, discussed how they’re sequencing 10,000 whole genomes and building the world’s largest private collection of autism-related DNA samples. They shared how they already uploaded nearly 100 terabytes of data from more than 1,300 genomes onto Google Cloud Storage and how they make this genomic data available to researchers for free via the Google Cloud Platform, searchable through BigQuery.

The future looks bright for students, teachers, scientists and entrepreneurs in North Carolina. From research on Autism to creating new companies to enabling students to collaborate on projects remotely, Google tools are providing the building blocks people need to turn their big thoughts into reality and build a better tomorrow.

We’ve heard great stories from many of you about how you’re using technology to do amazing things in your schools, so we're going across the U.S. to see for ourselves! North Carolina was the first state we visited. Check out the map below to see where we’ll head next. We’d love to hear what’s happening in your state, so please share your story on Twitter or Google+ and tag us (@GoogleEdu) or include the #GoogleEdu hashtag.

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More than 100,000 students have used Expeditions in their classes as part of the Expeditions Pioneer Program, which launched in September. Now, we’re bringing the program to new cities. In the U.S., we’ll be in Alexandria, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City and Washington DC. We’ll also be adding three new countries: Canada, where we’ll be in Toronto, as well as Denmark and Singapore.


Our partners at Subaru are helping us to bring the Pioneer Program to schools in each of the regions we visit. Schools get an Expeditions kit, with everything they need for an immersive adventure: ASUS smartphones, a tablet for the teacher, a router and viewers that turn phones into virtual reality headsets. Some kits include Mattel’s new View-Master virtual reality viewers, others include Google Cardboard. Teachers can choose from more than 120 tours of places such as Antarctica, the Acropolis or the Borneo Rainforest – and the list keeps growing as we work with our content partners to create more.

Expeditions was designed to enhance the in-classroom learning experience, so we love hearing that educators consider it an impactful tool. “Teachers were amazed at the things they could do and the places they could see with their students,” said Michelle Guzman, a special education teacher at Dartmouth Middle School in San Jose, California. “Several are continuing lessons that developed from the field trip they experienced. I know that it will change the way I help my students adapt and learn.”

The response from students has also been overwhelmingly positive – and punctuated by lots of “ooohs” and “aaahs.” “It is always a great day when you hear multiple students say, ‘This is the best thing I have ever done!’” wrote teacher Hope Mulholland of Mansfield Middle School in Storrs, Connecticut.

Beyond just increasing engagement, Expeditions is helping students gain a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom and imagine endless possibilities for their future roles within it. “Students left school today with an everlasting memory of the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Fuji, the Borneo rainforest, the moon and many other eye-opening locations on our glorious planet,” said Andriana Aguilar-Lapoint, a teacher at H.W. Schulze Elementary School in San Antonio.

Interested in bringing Expeditions to your class? Head over to our website and sign up your school.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Chrome Blog.)

Over the last few days, there’s been some confusion about the future of Chrome OS and Chromebooks based on speculation that Chrome OS will be folded into Android. While we’ve been working on ways to bring together the best of both operating systems, there's no plan to phase out Chrome OS.

With the launch of Chrome OS six years ago, we set out to make computers better—faster, simpler and more secure—for everyone. We’ve since seen that vision come to life in classrooms, offices and homes around the world. In fact, every school day, 30,000 new Chromebooks are activated in U.S. classrooms—that’s more than all other education devices combined. And more than 2 million teachers and students in more than 150 countries have the Share to Classroom Chrome extension, which launched in September and gets students onto the same webpage, instantly. Meanwhile, companies such as Netflix, Sanmina, Starbucks and of course Google, are using Chromebooks given the ease of deployment, the ability to easily integrate with existing technologies, and a security model that protects users at all levels, from hardware to user data. (Chromebooks are so secure you don’t need antivirus software!) IT administrators can manage tens of thousands of Chromebooks through a single web console, making them ideal for both classrooms and the workplace.

For everyday use, we’re proud that Chromebooks are continually listed as a best-selling laptop computer on Amazon.com. In an effort to make computing even more accessible, earlier this year we introduced the first $149 Chromebook—a fast, affordable laptop. And in the next couple weeks the Asus Chromebit will be available—an $85 device that turns any display into a computer so you can replace your old desktop with an affordable computer the size of a candy bar, or let businesses transform a billboard into a smart digital sign.

This year we've also worked to redefine the different forms Chrome OS can take, introduced the first designated Chromebook for Work, and brought more of your favorite Android apps to your Chromebook via Apps Runtime on Chrome (a.k.a. ARC). But there’s more to do. We have plans to release even more features for Chrome OS, such as a new media player, a visual refresh based on Material Design, improved performance, and of course, a continued focus on security. With our regular six-week software cycle and guaranteed auto-updates for five years, Chromebooks keep getting better over time. Finally, stay on the lookout for dozens of new Chromebooks in 2016.