10 Innovative Educational Programmes Run By Google


(By Emily Lucas)

Google has undoubtedly become one of the world’s leading corporations. They have changed the way we access information and how we learn. It is this last point that has become more predominant for Google in the last few years with their innovative educational programmes from elementary school children to university professors.

Their educational programmes provide opportunities, funding, and build the next generation of innovative computer science workers and teachers. From these programmes, we have compiled a list of the most cutting-edge and interesting educational programmes that Google has recently initiated.

Google Code-In

Google Code-In is a yearly programming competition for 13-17 year old students still enrolled in school. These students are required to complete complicated tasks with writing code, performing documentation, as well as to learn about outreach and research. Winners receive certificates and t-shirts while the 10 top contestants win a trip to Google Headquarters in Mountain View California. There, they tour Google, meet with software engineers, and engage in other interesting activities. It encourages students to consider computer science as a career and to further their education in a college computer science programme. As one participant said, “I’d like to personally thank you and the other guys at Google for the programme. It’s the first time I had someone ‘nagging me’ to sit and code something big for an open source project (did some small stuff before), and I’m proud with the result. I learned a lot, gained lots of experience, and had fun.”

LEAD for Computer Science

The Leadership Education and Development programme from Google helps high-achieving Native American, African American, and Latino high school students learn about careers in computer science. It is a summer residential programme where students stay in campus dorms to get a taste of student life at some of the best universities in the US. The Level 1 Section is hosted at Stanford and is designed as a preliminary course for rising 9th grade students and lasts for one week. The Level 2 Section is hosted at UC Berkeley and the University of Virginia for three weeks. It is designed for 10th-11th grade students and is more comprehensive than the Level 1 Section. The programmes also have current minority computer science college students to mentor the participants. Students attend lectures, tours, and talks from Google, with partial and full scholarships available.

Rise Awards

Google’s Roots in Science and Engineering or RISE gives monetary awards to NGOs and other organisations that are focused on educating K-12 and university students in science, technology, engineering, and math-enrichment programmes. Once they receive the funding, they are obligated to invest it back into their community. NGOs from over 125 countries have already participated. Awards can vary anywhere from €1,000 to $25,000 that have already been awarded to as many as 75 NGOs in the past three years.

Doodle 4 Google

The Doodle 4 Google Award is intended for K-12 students who must create a new design to be featured on Google’s homepage. If a student’s artwork is selected as the winner, they will receive college scholarship money as well as grants for their school. The participants are given themes like “What I’d like to do one day” that they must draw.

Android Camp

Now that Google’s Android has become the most popular mobile platform in the world, they have created Android Camp. With Android Camp, first-year and sophomore college students strengthen their developing, publishing, and software testing skills as well as learn how to develop apps for Android. This all-expenses paid affair lasts one week at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Zeitgeist Young Minds Awards

The Young Minds Competition held by Google every year is for innovative and entrepreneurial 18-24-year olds worldwide. Each participant makes a YouTube video that explains how their work or project will change the world. The 12 selected winners go to Google Zeitgeist Conferences in North and South America and in Europe. At the conferences, world leaders come and discuss how to fix the world’s major problems, with past keynote speakers including Bill Clinton and Stephen Hawking. Some past successful projects have been the education of immigrant girls in Canada and a project concerning internet literacy for at-risk urban youth.

Geo Teachers Institute

This is a Google-sponsored free professional training seminar for educators who want to use Google’s Geo Technologies in the classroom. To help increase its applicability, Google partnered with National Geographic and the University of Southern Maine at Lewiston-Auburn College to host the seminars in DC and Maine. All the participants learn how Google Earth and Sketch Up can help them to become more innovative educators.

Online Marketing Challenge

Google’s Online Marketing Challenge is done in professor-created teams with students at the undergraduate level. They must develop an online advertising strategy for an NGO or business only on a $250 budget. This is a world-wide competition that can raise serious money for NGOs. Each team that wins for creating a marketing strategy for a NGO is eligible for a Social Impact Award, with prize money upwards of $15,000 going towards the NGO.

Google Faculty Institute

This institute is designed to improve teaching technology for professors and teachers. Here, they are taught how to effectively use Google’s technology to improve their students’ learning experience. During the 3-day institute, the educators hear speeches from other professors, essay writing and case studies from California teachers, and attend workshops with tech-education professionals.

Google Research Awards, Faculty Programme, Visiting Faculty

The Google Research Awards are given to deserving faculty members who are doing exceptional research related to Google’s mission. The Google Fellowship Programme is intended to support and award graduate students for outstanding work in the field of computer science. There are 12 unique fellowships in different technological fields such as speech tech, computer security, and machine learning.

The Visiting Faculty Programme at Google gives deserving leading academics the opportunity to work at Google from six months to a year. During this time, the participants work with difficult research problems that Google is currently facing and Google’s vast amount of data. Additionally, they learn about computer infrastructure and have the opportunity to showcase their research for a million-plus audience around the world. As past participant Frank Stajano PhD from the University of Cambridge said, “I like to work on practical problems that have a connection with the real world. Even after I returned to university full-time, I still maintained connections with industry, mainly through consultancy jobs. I feel this helps keep my research honest, as it makes me work on problems that have practical relevance.”

Google’s educational programmes and awards inspire people at all education levels to learn more about science and technology. These programmes present great opportunities to engage more with computer technology and how to make the world a better place with Google. Otherwise, so many students as well as educators may not have reached their potential had they not been involved in Google’s education programs. Google improves and changes lives throughout the education spectrum by building a better world through technology education and opening up so many people to endless possibilities.

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