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We believe it's important that all students have the opportunity to be creators—not just consumers—of technology. The study of computer science (CS) develops critical thinking skills, the kind that help solve complex problems and drive innovation, and opens doors for a variety of careers that integrate technology. That’s why we’re thrilled to be part of President Obama’s announcement this morning to expand CS to all students, especially those from underrepresented communities.

Today, alongside the President’s announcement, Google is committing to an additional investment of $23.5 million in 2016 to support K-12 CS education, with the aim to reach an additional 5 million students through our programs.

Our research shows that 9 in 10 parents want their child to learn CS but unfortunately schools face many barriers to offering CS in the classroom. Principals and superintendents say that they don’t have have enough time in the school day to have a dedicated CS class, and many schools aren’t able to find trained CS teachers. We applaud the White House, and the growing number of advocates, educators and companies across the country working to address these and other barriers.
We know we have to work together to overcome these challenges and we invite you to learn more about our programs and even more importantly, to join our efforts! Bring CS First to your school, encourage high school girls to try coding with Made with Code, or simply be part of the conversation about expanding access to CS in your community. Read more about some of our 2016 initiatives below that are part of today’s White House announcement, and roll up your sleeves, we’re right there with you!

  • CS First gives students ages 9-14 a chance to express themselves with code through projects focused on interest areas like sports, fashion, music, and more. No tech experience is needed to facilitate the program and materials are free. Over 250,000 students have experienced programming through CS First, and more are joining every day!
  • Made with Code inspires millions of girls to learn to code and to see computer science as a means to pursue their dream careers through introductory coding projects, profiles of women mentors using coding in diverse job paths, and a community of partners and nonprofits helping to sustain girls’ interest along their coding journey.
  • Google Summer of Code is a global online program offering student developers ages 18+ stipends & mentorship for open source coding projects. 
  • For computer science teachers, CS4HS is an annual program that improves the CS educational ecosystem by providing funding for the design and delivery of professional development. CS4HS supports teachers to learn and master new technical content and teach in more innovative and engaging ways.
  • We support non-profit organizations such as Code.org, through Google.org, Google Fiber, and our RISE Awards which are grants for organizations working to inspire the next generation of computer scientists, especially those that reach girls, underrepresented minorities, and students who face socio-economic barriers.
  • To dispel stereotypes, we’re working with Hollywood studios, writers and advocacy groups to showcase positive portrayals of girls, women, and underrepresented minorities in tech. 

Mindy Kaling at our kickoff Made with Code event in New York, June 2014
And while important work is getting done on the ground, we’re also helping to inform the field about the barriers to access CS education in our formal education system. Our computer science education research with Gallup helped us gain a deeper understanding of how administrators, teachers, parents and students perceive CS and the main challenges that high schools face in providing CS courses. This research will continue as a three year study so we can see how we are progressing over time. We’re excited that President Obama is elevating CS education as a vital, national issue and look forward to building on the momentum of #CS4All to bring CS learning opportunities to all students.

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(Cross-posted on Google Docs blog.)

When Jim, one of the engineers on the Google Slides team, brought a zucchini chocolate cake into the office last week, we knew we had to get the recipe. So we asked him and his wife, Alison, to let us in on the family secret—just in time for #chocolatecakeday. They worked together in Slides (mobile commenting across Google Docs just launched today!) to perfect the recipe. Alison writes: 

Growing up, my grandma made zucchini chocolate cake often, especially when there was a surplus of zucchinis at the local farmer’s market. The cake is ridiculously moist and pairs well with many different frostings, though cream cheese is my favorite.

Thanks to mobile commenting, Jim and I went back and forth on the recipe—Jim on his Nexus 9, me on my iPhone—until we had it just right:
Check out our family recipe in Slides. We call it Straka’s Zucchini Chocolate Cake—in honor of my grandma.

Get the apps on Android and iOS (Docs, Sheets, Slides).

Happy #chocolatecakeday, from our family to yours.

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Editor's note: Schools across Illinois are seeing great success with Google for Education. To highlight some of their achievements, we’re featuring Chicago Public Schools, Community Consolidated School District 59 and Waukegan Public Schools. To learn more about Google solutions for Education, join us for a webinar on January 28th at 3pm ET / 12pm PT.

There isn’t a playbook on how to introduce new technologies and online tools in the classroom, but we know that admins and teachers often learn the most from talking to each other. We recently spoke with instructional technology administrators and superintendents in Illinois who use Google for Education tools. Here, they share their recommendations for everything from rolling out hundreds of devices to introducing a new solution to thousands of students and teachers: 

1. Get teachers involved 


Whether teachers help evaluate technology solutions or introduce new tools, getting their buy-in can reduce the strain and resources required from IT. Community Consolidated School District 59 (CCSD 59) wanted to increase literacy, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, but didn’t yet have the right solution in place. The district formed a technology committee of staff from every school to lead its “Innovative Learning Implementation Timeline” and decide how to use technology to amplify learning. When teachers are involved, they can make sure technology and policies are designed to make planning lessons, providing feedback and collaborating more powerful and effective for all learners. Technology adoption will spread like wildfire once they see how it benefits both students and staff.

The educational technology team at Waukegan Public Schools took a similar approach. After the schools introduced Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks, “Lighthouse Lead Learners” were identified at each building to help with professional learning at the building and district levels. “Since the instructional technology staff can’t be at every school all the time, this group of teachers is instrumental to making sure teachers and students get the support they need,” says Mary Mlinar-Stephens, Director of Educational Technology Innovation at Waukegan Public Schools.

2. Let students choose 


Students are more excited to learn when they get to choose how they learn. When CCSD 59 introduced new devices, they gave students the opportunity to use Chromebooks and Android tablets, since each device has different strengths. “We saw the potential of creating a 2:1 program, where students could choose the tools they need, depending on the learning experience,” says Benjamin Grey, Assistant Superintendent for Innovative Learning and Communication at CCSD 59. Watch this video to see how CCSD 59 is using technology to amplify student’s ability to learn.
Schools don’t need to offer students two devices to put this idea into action. Provide students different ways to learn, for example, by letting them choose between a video, slideshow or article. Says Anne Truger, Director of Educational Technology Innovation at Waukegan Public Schools, “Students are paving their own learning path and are choosing the resources that help them learn best.”

3. Look at the district’s culture 


Introducing new tools poses an opportunity for schools to look at organizational culture. Ask admins, board members and teachers what they think the district stands for, and use technology to address those cultural goals. With Google Apps for Education, Chicago Public Schools (case study) created a more collaborative environment across the organization. “By leveraging Google for Education tools, we created a culture of collaboration, open communication and transparency,” says Margaret Hahn, Director of Technology Change Management at Chicago Public Schools.

Jennie Magiera, a Google Certified Innovator, formerly a CPS teacher and now the CIO of a neighboring Illinois district, embodies a spirit of sharing and collaboration. In her Education on Air keynote, she discusses tangible steps to empower students to help transform classroom culture. Jennie and many other CPS educators participate in trainings at peer schools and speak at conferences like Education on Air to share their expertise.

4. Provide technology professional development for teachers


Technology opens new doors for teachers to be innovative and cater lesson plans to different learning styles, but many teachers don’t know about all of the opportunities. Chicago Public Schools organized and hosted a two-day professional development event, Googlepalooza, which featured more than 200 workshops for teachers to learn more about Google for Education tools.

After the free summit, teachers introduced new tools to engage students and collaborate with peers outside the classroom. For example, a civics class used Hangouts to connect with a class in North Carolina and engage in a debate on the civil war. Another teacher incorporated Google Draw in her lesson plan to cater to students who prefer to express their ideas in artistic form. When teachers have the opportunity to learn and practice using new tools, they see even more ways to take their use of technology in the classroom to the next level.
CPS Educators demoing Google Expeditions at Googlepalooza


5. Be patient 


Many schools expect teachers and students to embrace new tools the week they’re adopted, but often it takes months or even years. Getting used to a new way of teaching and learning takes time, and it’s important all stakeholders know that impact can’t be seen overnight. “Explain to boards and superintendents that this is a process,” Grey says. “Don’t expect everything to change in two months. And support your staff on this point  they need to know you’re not keeping score.”

Ross Vittore, Director of Innovative Learning at CCSD 59, captures these schools’ sentiment when he says: “Don’t adopt technology for technology’s sake. You want to create an environment for 21st-century instruction.”

Check out more schools’ stories and join us for a webinar on January 28th at 3pm ET / 12pm PT.

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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Great teachers posses a special sort of magic - they can transport the most distant places right into the room while revealing hidden secrets in the most local of things. For many of us, nobody has conjured more of this magic than the great Sir David Attenborough. Today we are bringing Australia's Great Barrier Reef into classrooms around the world using Google Expeditions in an experience designed and produced by Sir David Attenborough and Alchemy VR. With guidance from the world-famous broadcaster and naturalist, students at Barclay Primary in London were able to dive deep into the warm tropical waters to discover what life as a clown fish looks like (colorful!) and how it feels to be surrounded by a school of young snapper fish. As Sir. David Attenborough says:
“The Great Barrier Reef is a wonder of the natural world and I’ve been fantastically privileged to visit twice, most recently for my BBC1 TV series Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough. Through virtual reality, I’m lucky enough to be able to share my experiences with audiences of all ages to allow them to explore and learn about these diverse ecosystems in a more immersive way.”
Over 500,000 students around the world have already taken a virtual trip through the Expeditions Pioneer Program since it began this past September. When we ask what locations students would like to visit, we get lots of far-flung suggestions - outer space! the bottom of the sea! the Pyramids! But all over the world we’ve consistently got one special request - Buckingham Palace! Today, thanks to the Royal Collection Trust, we are able to make that request a reality and are releasing an Expedition of Buckingham Palace so schools all over the world can virtually visit the Palace and learn about its historical significance. The Palace has also worked to produce a YouTube 360 video, so that anyone with a smartphone can be taken on their own private tour with the Paintings Curator for Buckingham Palace.
Fancy going on your own expedition? We’re happy to share the next locations of the Expeditions Pioneer Program on our website and we’ll be continuing to add more cities and countries throughout the spring. Today, we’re also announcing a beta version of the Google Expeditions app for select schools and educators that sign up to participate. You’ll be able to download the app to your own Android phones and tablets, use it in class, and provide us feedback about what features and places you would like in the future. For more information about the beta, you can sign up here.

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Editor's note: As we embark on this new year, we wanted to share a letter we sent to our Google for Education customers in North America celebrating the great work of 2015. Thanks to our entire education community for making 2015 such a strong year. We look forward to what we can do together in 2016 for educators and the world’s future inventors and changemakers.

Dear Google for Education Friends and Family,

What a year we’ve shared. First: thank you to the extraordinary teachers, students, administrators and others who make Google for Education strong. We couldn’t do it without you. In 2015 you activated 30,000 Chromebooks every school day  more than all other education devices combined  and you helped us grow to more than 50 million using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and 10 million using Classroom.

As educators, you put Chromebooks in the hands of 90,000 students in Charlotte and 84,000 students in Chicago; you moved the entire Montgomery County, Maryland school district to GAFE and Classroom; you improved young learners performance by 19 percent with the support of Google devices at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy in the UK; and you brought science education to rural Australia using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and GAFE at John Monash Science School.

And we’re just getting started: here at Google we’re committed to bringing the best of technology to education. We’re investing heavily in Chromebooks and you can expect to see many new Chromebooks created for you in education. You’ll also see new management features for administrators, interactive educator support in our new Training Center and pioneering Chrome tools like this year’s Share to Classroom extension. And we’ll continue to bring Google innovations to the classroom as we did in September with the Expeditions Pioneer Program  already more than 100,000 students have taken virtual field trips to places like the Great Wall of China and Chichen Itza using Google Cardboard and a phone.

Giving back to education is important to us. Along with offering the GAFE suite and unlimited Drive storage at no cost to schools. This year we contributed more than $50 million, including more than $14M to education nonprofits, $1.3M in scholarships and $21.7M funding new research. With programs like Google Science Fair, Made with Code, CS First and Doodle4Google, we’re working to inspire and encourage young people to solve tomorrow’s problems through curiosity, creativity and code.

Thank you so, so much. Your support in 2015 was an inspiration to us. We wish you a Happy New Year, and we hope to continue to do great things together in 2016.

Hiroshi Lockheimer
Senior Vice President for Android, Chrome OS and Chromecast

Take a look through our Google for Education 2015 Year in Review.

Stay in touch in 2016 at google.com/edu with our blog, Google+, Twitter or a Google Educator Group.









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Editor's note: We're going across the country to highlight the great things schools are doing with technology. We talked to educators and administrators in Pennsylvania to hear how they’re creating innovative learning environments. Technology is empowering teachers to transform traditional classrooms into collaborative student-driven environments in the historic Keystone State. Pennsylvania is setting the pace for Northeast schools through its success with Google for Education. To learn more about Google solutions for Education, join us for a webinar on January 28th at 3pm ET / 12pm PT.

Education in the 21st century is about more than making sure students pass the class and understand the concepts. It’s centered around teaching students skills for the future, commonly known as the 4Cs: creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration. Schools in Pennsylvania are using Google for Education tools to provide teachers with the resources they need to bake the 4Cs into their lesson plans and provide students with diverse learning opportunities. We’re highlighting a few ways Pennsylvania schools are teaching students 21st century skills:

Fueling creativity and student-driven learning 


With Google Classroom, students at Indiana Area School District have the tools to receive one-on-one instruction outside of the classroom and create innovative projects that they’re passionate about. With 24/7 access to their teachers via Classroom, students can request feedback as they work on an assignment and ask questions that they might not have felt comfortable asking in class. If students prefer face-to-face feedback, they can hop on a Google Hangout with their teacher.

“Google Apps for Education has enabled me to give kids more opportunities to work together and with me. It puts the kids at the center of their education,” says Matt Neil, social studies teacher at Indiana Area Senior High School.

Teachers direct students to shared resources to help them improve certain skill sets, so they can expand their creativity. “With Google for Education, students gain autonomy while teachers have the means to pervasively develop new curriculum and learning opportunities,” says Rich Kiker, certified Google Education Trainer and founder and CEO of Kiker Learning, a Google for Education professional development implementation partner.

Creating stronger lines of communication among teachers 


Teachers at Pennsbury School District use Google Apps for Education to create a shared resource hub, so they can provide students with more individualized learning opportunities. Teachers communicate about students’ learning styles, strengths and areas for improvement and can easily find resources that help them learn best, whether they’re visual, auditory or tactile learners.

“As a special educator, I can easily share and edit Google Docs with teachers to best meet the needs of the students,” says Jeanne Caputo, teacher and room support provider at Charles Boehm Middle School. “When I don’t have time to fully prep teachers in person, Google for Education lets us quickly communicate student goals and plans.”

“Greater communication has a direct positive impact on individual and team effectiveness,” says Amanda Durham, English teacher at Pennsbury High School. “Diversifying learning experiences, in terms of content or medium, truly enhances curriculum.” 

Reinforcing the power of critical thinking 

Middle school students in Wilson School District using Chromebooks in the classroom




The mission at Wilson School District (case study) is to empower students to create their own future. Teachers put this mission into action by teaching students the 4Cs and providing them with technology skills they’ll need for future success. Students use devices with Google Apps for Education in a 1:1 environment, so they can engage with technology throughout the school day. These tools give students access to countless ideas, perspectives and methods for solving problems, empowering students to ask questions and take a critical approach to learning.

“In pretty much any career path we choose, it’s guaranteed that we will need the knowledge and skills to work with technology,” says Sneha Anmalsetty, a junior at Wilson High School. “The 1:1 initiative is guiding us towards becoming better technology users.”

Boosting collaboration across grade levels 


At Wilson School District, second grade students are using Google Hangouts to collaborate via a virtual shared classroom with seventh grade students in New Jersey. The second graders submit science questions using Google Forms that the seventh graders use as inspiration for presentations, videos and other learning tools. Once their research is complete, seventh graders teach virtual classes answering the second graders’ questions.

“The creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills the students in those two classrooms are developing through the use of Google for Education is life-changing,” says Dr. Amy Flannery, director of curriculum for Wilson SD. “Google’s impact on lesson creation and delivery is radically changing curriculum development.”

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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“Everybody approaches problems in different ways and if you only have a certain type of computer scientist, then you are missing a whole part of the solution.” 
- Kevin Smith, Product Development Engineer, ELiTE Education

We need more students from diverse backgrounds to have access to computer science (CS) education so that they can be creators, not just consumers, of tomorrow’s technology. Yet we know that many students lack access to CS learning opportunities in school (in the US, for example, only 1-in-4 schools offers programming). One of the ways we’re working to address the lack of diversity in the tech industry and the lack of access to CS education is through the RISE Awards.

The RISE Awards are an annual grants program for nonprofit organizations that promote CS education opportunities with a specific emphasis on outreach to girls and underrepresented minorities. In 2015, 37 organizations from 17 countries received RISE Awards for projects ranging from programming clubs in Johannesburg to workshops on CS and music production in San Francisco.

Learning about CS promotes valuable problem solving skills that students can apply to any field of study. Unfortunately, many students have a negative perception of what CS is and who it’s for. By partnering with nonprofits that are providing students with access and exposure to CS, we hope to change this perception and encourage more students to pursue CS. We’ve been inspired by the creativity and passion we’ve seen from our past RISE awardees, and this year we’re excited to expand the reach of the RISE awards by opening two rounds of funding applications for nonprofit organizations.

The RISE Awards are now accepting applications through February 19, and more information on the application process is listed on our website. Visit g.co/csedu to learn more about Google’s other CS resources, including our CS teacher professional development awards, Computer Science for High School (CS4HS), which is also currently accepting applications for the 2016 year.