Our 17 favorite education moments from 2017

Editor’s Note: Happy New Year from all of us on the Google for Education team! We know you count on Google for Education in your classrooms, and we take that responsibility seriously. We remain deeply committed to bringing the best of Google to education, and to expanding learning for everyone. As we look to the year ahead, we’re looking back on our 17 favorite moments from 2017.

In 2017, we…

1. Did an hour of code with Chance the Rapper for Computer Science Education Week, surprising a Chicago classroom and announcing a $1.5 million Google.org grant to provide CS for students across Chicago Public Schools. We also released the first-ever programmable Google Doodle and invited students to code their own Google logos.

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2. Announced a new initiative called Grow with Google which provides access to digital tools and training for students, teachers, job-seekers and lifelong learners. As part of the announcement, our CEO Sundar Pichai visited one of the Pittsburgh classrooms participating in our new Dynamic Learning Project, a pilot that empowers educators to use technology in meaningful ways.

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As part of Grow with Google, our CEO Sundar visited a school in Pittsburgh to learn about their experience participating in the Dynamic Learning Project

3. Introduced a new generation of Chromebooks that let you use a stylus and flip from laptop to tablet mode. These Chromebooks have cameras on two sides and USB-C charging. New devices from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell and Lenovo come in all shapes, sizes, and price points to meet the needs of different teachers, students, schools and districts.

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A next generation Chromebook with dual camera flipped into tablet mode.

4. Went back to school with a new resource hub for teachers. On #FirstDayOfClassroom, there’s helpful Google for Education tips and tricks from the people who know our tools the best—educators. Thanks to input from our dedicated community, we were also able to introduce the most-requested features in Google Classroom and Forms.

5. Met the Internaut, a digital citizenship guru and mascot of Be Internet Awesome, a program to help students make smart decisions online. With resources for students (including the online game Interland), educators, and families, everyone has the tools to learn and participate in digital safety and citizenship. Bonus: we also launched a Digital Citizenship and Safety course.

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6. Celebrated International Literacy Day by creating and translating more than 1,000 children’s books for StoryWeaver, a Google.org grantee, with the #1000books campaign. Our support of Storyweaver is part of our 2016-2017 $50 million philanthropic commitment to nonprofit organizations working to close global learning gaps.

7. Were inspired by more than 11,000 girls from 103 countries during the Technovation Challenge. Finalists came to Google’s Mountain View headquarters to pitch their projects, which address issues in categories including peace, poverty, environment, equality, education, and health.

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Our CEO Sundar Pichai takes a selfie with members of the winning team behind QamCare

8. Used technology to amplify student stories. Working with the non-profit 826 Valencia, Googlers helped under-resourced students create A Planet Ruled by Love using Tilt Brush. The result was a virtual reality movie that helped kids express themselves through storytelling and technology.

826 Valencia and Google

826 Valencia and Google

Google Cloud supports $3M in grant credits for the NSF BIGDATA program

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) serves more than one billion end-users, and we continue to seek ways to give researchers access to these powerful tools. Through the National Science Foundation’s BIGDATA grants program, we’re offering researchers $3M in Google Cloud Platform credits to use the same infrastructure, analytics and machine learning that we use to drive innovation at Google.

About the BIGDATA grants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced its flagship research program on big data, Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA). The BIGDATA program encourages experimentation with datasets at scale. Google will provide cloud credits to qualifying NSF-funded projects, giving researchers access to the breadth of services on GCP, from scalable data management (Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Bigtable, Google Cloud Datastore), to analysis (Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Dataflow, Google Cloud Dataproc, Google Cloud Datalab, Google Genomics) to machine learning (Google Cloud Machine Learning, TensorFlow).

This collaboration combines NSF’s experience in managing diverse research portfolios with Google’s proven track record in secure and intelligent cloud computing and data science. NSF is accepting proposals from March 15, 2017 through March 22, 2017.  All proposals that meet NSF requirements will be reviewed through NSF’s merit review process.

GCP in action at Stanford University

To get an idea of the potential impact of GCP, consider Stanford University’s Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine, where scientists work with data at a massive scale. Director Mike Snyder and his lab have been involved in a number of large efforts, from ENCODE to the Million Veteran Program. Snyder and his colleagues turned to Google Genomics, which gives scientists access to GCP to help secure, store, process, explore and share biological datasets. With the costs of cloud computing dropping significantly and demand for ever-larger genomics studies growing, Snyder thinks fewer labs will continue relying on local infrastructure.

“We’re entering an era where people are working with thousands or tens of thousands or even million genome projects, and you’re never going to do that on a local cluster very easily,” he says. “Cloud computing is where the field is going.”

“What you can do with Google Genomics — and you can’t do in-house — is run 1,000 genomes in parallel,” says Somalee Datta, bioinformatics director of Stanford University’s Center of Genomics. “From our point of view, it’s almost infinite resources.”

Google Cloud supports $3M in grant credits for the NSF BIGDATA program

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) serves more than one billion end-users, and we continue to seek ways to give researchers access to these powerful tools. Through the National Science Foundation’s BIGDATA grants program, we’re offering researchers $3M in Google Cloud Platform credits to use the same infrastructure, analytics and machine learning that we use to drive innovation at Google.

About the BIGDATA grants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced its flagship research program on big data, Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA). The BIGDATA program encourages experimentation with datasets at scale. Google will provide cloud credits to qualifying NSF-funded projects, giving researchers access to the breadth of services on GCP, from scalable data management (Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Bigtable, Google Cloud Datastore), to analysis (Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Dataflow, Google Cloud Dataproc, Google Cloud Datalab, Google Genomics) to machine learning (Google Cloud Machine Learning, TensorFlow).

This collaboration combines NSF’s experience in managing diverse research portfolios with Google’s proven track record in secure and intelligent cloud computing and data science. NSF is accepting proposals from March 15, 2017 through March 22, 2017.  All proposals that meet NSF requirements will be reviewed through NSF’s merit review process.

GCP in action at Stanford University

To get an idea of the potential impact of GCP, consider Stanford University’s Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine, where scientists work with data at a massive scale. Director Mike Snyder and his lab have been involved in a number of large efforts, from ENCODE to the Million Veteran Program. Snyder and his colleagues turned to Google Genomics, which gives scientists access to GCP to help secure, store, process, explore and share biological datasets. With the costs of cloud computing dropping significantly and demand for ever-larger genomics studies growing, Snyder thinks fewer labs will continue relying on local infrastructure.

“We’re entering an era where people are working with thousands or tens of thousands or even million genome projects, and you’re never going to do that on a local cluster very easily,” he says. “Cloud computing is where the field is going.”

“What you can do with Google Genomics — and you can’t do in-house — is run 1,000 genomes in parallel,” says Somalee Datta, bioinformatics director of Stanford University’s Center of Genomics. “From our point of view, it’s almost infinite resources.”

Helping universities build what’s next with Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) now serves over one billion end-users through our customers’ products and services. And today I’m happy to say that we’re investing even more resources to bring these tools to higher education. We’re excited to offer universities the same powerful infrastructure, data analytics and machine learning that we use to drive innovation and performance.

We believe that universities can benefit from Google Cloud Platform in three areas: research, infrastructure and teaching. In research, GCP big data and machine learning tools can power experiments and analyses that weren’t even possible just a year ago. GCP frees academic IT organizations from the overhead of managing infrastructure, provisioning servers and configuring networks, and in teaching we enable professors to teach modern cloud computing subjects on Google Cloud Platform.

Supporting university research and infrastructure with Internet2

We’re committed to working closely with users to understand their needs. With the aim of exploring opportunities for the cloud with universities, Google is pleased to announce that it has joined Internet2, a US-based not-for-profit, member-driven technology and advanced networking consortium dedicated to advancing new innovations and scientific discoveries for the next generation of research and education.

Founded in 1996, Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve shared technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2 operates a research and education network and serves more than 317 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 42 regional and state education networks, 80 leading corporations and more than 65 national research and education networking from over 100 countries.

Internet2 and Google will work with universities across the United States to explore how GCP can better serve higher education. We hope to develop projects that address the higher education community’s needs around big data and machine learning technologies that can be met by Google’s cloud tools.

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Powering computer science teaching

In June we announced Google Cloud Platform Education Grants, and I’m pleased to share that hundreds of courses have been awarded free credits for their students. GCP is helping universities level the playing field, providing students with equal access to best-in-class compute resources. For example, at California State University, San Bernadino, Professor Vasilia’s students are learning about networking and cybersecurity by using GCP’s API’s to program database information. Students are learning to display geolocation signal strength heatmap information for internet access points, set up virtual private networks in the cloud, test firewall rules, set up network segments and read machine data between networks using GCP’s virtual network infrastructure. Fall classes are just underway, and we can’t wait to tell you more about what students learn and create with GCP tools. Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields at universities in the US can still apply for grants for classes this year or next year.

Connecting with universities at EDUCAUSE

This week we’ll connect with hundreds of universities at the annual EDUCAUSE conference. If you’ll be at the conference in Anaheim, visit us at booth #1800. There,  you can see demos of GCP, G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), Chromebooks, Chrome digital signage, student and faculty programs and the latest in virtual reality. You can also join us for “Machine Learning 101” Wednesday 2:30-3:20pm PT in Room 210D. Learn more from universities who are benefiting from Google technology by attending our session “The Impact of Collaborative Tools – Lessons from Universities Using G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education)” on Thursday at 1:30-2:20pm PT in Room 210C.

We’re committed to strengthening our partnership with the broader higher education community, and look forward to seeing the results.