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Editor's note: Today’s post comes from our first-ever Google Science Fair Grand Prize winner in 2011, Shree Bose. Back for the annual Science Fair five years later, here she shares her own story as a glimpse of what’s in store for this year’s winners. Thanks to our partners at Lego Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic for another great year of Google Science Fair. In case you missed it, you can still catch the livestream!


Five years ago to the day, I was a finalist in the first-ever Google Science Fair — a program where any student 13-18 is invited to solve the world’s biggest challenges through science and technology. I was fascinated by the peculiar ways cancer cells process energy and wondered if we might be able to target those processes. So, the idea behind my project was to study AMP kinase, an energy protein, to understand its importance in the way ovarian cancer cells develop resistance to drugs. I was 17 when I won the Grand Prize, and my life hasn’t been the same since.



Today 20 of the world’s brightest young scientists have that same chance ahead of them, and I am so excited and grateful to be here with them in Mountain View to re-live that experience.
The 2016 Google Science Fair finalists 

Meeting President Obama(!)
Official White House photo by Pete Souza
For me, the Google Science Fair took my passion for science and gave me a global platform to share it with the world. I went on to do my undergraduate studies at Harvard University, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. My interest in using new metabolic tools to study cancer has led me to Duke University School of Medicine, where I’m currently pursuing an MD/PhD and looking forward to a career that brings together clinical medicine and basic science. But five years ago, it was the Google Science Fair that first provided me with the platform to share my ideas, unlocking doors to some incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities: meeting President Obama, speaking at TEDx events all over the world and being included on Glamour magazine’s list of Top 10 College Women.


Back at Google today, I witnessed more than 500 students from local Bay Area schools — a majority that qualified for Title I funding — as they asked questions, found inspiration, and saw science and engineering in new, unexpected ways. Those students had a chance to talk to the finalists, from 9 countries, who are working on things like better diagnosing cancer, fighting drought with fruit, training robotic hands, developing compostable feminine sanitary products and so much more. (I also have to point out, this is the first year a majority of the finalists are female, which makes me especially proud!)
My sincere congratulations to all of this year’s Google Science Fair finalists and winners. You might “just” be teenagers, but you’re also amazing researchers, entrepreneurs, technologists and explorers who are challenging themselves — and all of the rest of us — to make things better. To quote last year’s Google Science Fair winner (and my friend) Olivia Hallisey who is also back here this week as a judge: “Every one of us, no matter our age or background, can make a difference. But change doesn’t happen overnight, and it often starts with a question. So look at the world around you, and challenge yourself to make something better.

As for me, the Science Fair gave me the confidence to continue asking questions, developing a passion for science and engineering, and even to co-found Piper, a company focused on developing electrical engineering kits for kids to learn the basics of building hardware. I just can’t wait to see where you will be five years from today.

And finally, announcing the 2016 Google Science Fair winners:

The 2016 Google Science Fair winners!

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(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

What would the world look like if only 20 percent of women knew how to write? How many fewer great books would there be? How many important stories would go unreported? How many innovations would we lose? How many brilliant women would be unable to fulfill their potential?

That’s not just a theoretical question. Today, only a small minority of women know how to write code. That limits their ability to participate in a growing part of our global economy. It limits their ability to affect change as entire industries are transformed by technology. And it limits their potential to impact millions of lives through the power of code.

To change this trajectory, we need to do all we can to inspire women and girls that learning to code is critical to creating a brighter future for everyone. That’s why I’m excited to share that, today, Google’s Made with Code, together with YouTube, is teaming up with the Global Citizen Festival and millions of teen girls to ignite a movement for young women to change the world through the power of code.

Over the last five years, millions of Global Citizens have influenced world leaders and decision makers, and contributed to shaping our world for the better. As we’ve seen this movement grow, we’ve learned about some incredible women who saw problems in their communities and realized that the biggest impact they could have was through computer science. They’ve used an interest in computer science and tech to help the homeless, stop sexual assault, and bridge the gender gap in technology - check out their stories here:
These women are doing big things, blazing a path for the next generation of girls, but they can’t do it alone. The vast potential around using code to improve the world cannot be realized if there are only a few voices influencing how it’s shaped. That’s why, today, we’re inviting teen girls everywhere to join the movement. Our new coding project gives young women a chance to make their voice heard by coding a statement about the change they want to see in the world.

This week, hundreds of thousands of girls from around the country have already used code to share their vision for a better, more inclusive, more equitable world:

These coded designs will be displayed onstage at the Global Citizen Festival, as symbols of the many different voices from teen girls, standing up for the change they want to see in the world.
Together with musicians, sisters, YouTube sensations and newly minted coders, Chloe X Halle, teen girls are getting their start in code
Our efforts go well beyond this project. Made with Code is joining forces with Iridescent and UN Women to support the launch of the Technovation Challenge 2017 which gives girls the opportunity to build their own apps that tackle the real-life issues they see around them.

Please tune into the Global Citizen Festival livestream at youtube.com/globalcitizen on September 24 to catch all the action. And, more importantly, join us and encourage the young women in your life to try out coding and contribute their ideas for how to make a better future.

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(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

The world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Last September, we invited people around the world to help us in supporting organizations on the ground — with Google.org matching every dollar. Since that time, Google.org has committed more than $16.5 million to refugee relief efforts, focused on immediate humanitarian assistance, information and connectivity, and education.

Clooney Foundation for Justice Grant
Today, we’re supporting the Clooney Foundation for Justice with a $1 million grant focused on education for refugee children in Lebanon. More than half of global refugees are under the age of eighteen, and in Lebanon, which is hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world, nearly half of those are Syrian refugee children who are currently out of school.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice is teaming up with SABIS, a global education network that has already taught many refugee children in Lebanon. SABIS is taking its accredited teaching methodology and making it accessible to more refugees in Lebanon by setting up semi-permanent schools in areas with a high concentration of refugee children. This grant will support expanding their efforts to develop a new school model, using digital tools, for up to 10,000 out-of-school children in Lebanon. Through our employee volunteering program, we’ll also provide technical expertise to help with everything from connectivity to cloud storage by having Googlers helping both on the ground and remotely.
This grant builds on our work with organizations who also support refugees in Germany, France, Turkey and Greece with access to education and learning opportunities. Collectively, our efforts across humanitarian assistance, connectivity and access to information and education will help more than 1 million refugees.

Information and Connectivity
In October 2015, we granted NetHope $900,000, and our employees from around the world helped set up WiFi hotspots and charging kits at key transit points along the refugee route in Europe. So far, more than 300,000 refugees have been able to access NetHope’s WiFi to access vital information. Googlers also helped build the site RefugeeInfo.eu with the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, and others. The site is now accessible in 18 locations in Greece, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, and is being used more than 1,000 times a day.

We’re also working to help refugees in the United States get mobile connectivity by partnering with the International Rescue Committee to donate 1,000 Nexus devices and Project Fi wireless service to refugees in 24 cities across the country.

Education
In January, together with NetHope, we launched “Project Reconnect” — an effort to to equip German NGOs with 25,000 Chromebooks that help refugees learn more about local languages, resources, and job opportunities. To date, more than half of them have been delivered and used by nonprofits in Germany. Last year, we also gave a grant to Libraries without Borders to send their Ideas Boxes to create safe learning and playing spaces for children in refugee camps. These Ideas Boxes have been visited thousands of times in camps from Lesbos and Athens in Greece to the refugee camp of Grande Synthe in France and in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Discovering the resources of the Ideas Box in the Eleonas refugee camp, in Athens, Greece
A White House call to action
In June, we signed on as a founding partner of the White House’s Private Sector Call to Action for Refugees, an effort by the administration to bring together a cross-section of businesses to help make significant commitments that will have a measurable impact on refugees both in the United States and around the world. We’re participating in the conversation at the White House Summit on Refugees today in New York, and will continue to build on our efforts.

You can learn more about grantees and their work at google.org/refugees, and you can donate directly on our site and via the White House’s AidRefugees.gov.

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From the programmers behind Pokemon Go to the creators of chatbots, the impact of computer science (CS) is ubiquitous in our daily lives. This is because computer science education provides a way of thinking that focuses on problem solving, teamwork and a powerful way to express yourself - important skills for any career. And with a projected 1 million jobs going unfulfilled in computing-related roles by 2020, we need computer scientists from all backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to solve real-world problems.

That’s why today, we’re excited to announce Careers with Code in the US, a free high school “CS + X” career magazine that shows how to combine your passions, your “X”, with computer science. We partnered with STEM specialist publishers Refraction Media to create a CS career magazine that illuminates the range of computer science careers and highlights the impact they have across industries. Readers can get to know people who use CS in their daily work in sometimes unexpected ways, such as Jonathan Graham.
A lifelong music fan, Jonathan learned to code as a way to mix live music on stage. One summer while visiting family in Pennsylvania, he was struck by the number of coal mines closing down in the region. Jonathan decided to put his CS skills to work by providing skill-based learning for laid-off coal miners, helping them explore new technical career opportunities. He is now the co-founder of the nonprofit Mined Minds Foundation, which aims to spur economic development by seeding technology hubs within the coal towns in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In Careers with Code, you can read more about Jonathan’s unexpected career pathway and learn about 40 other unique stories. And if you’re an educator or work with high school students, Careers with Code can be a useful tool for helping your student explore computer science with resources including:


As Jane Margolis, author of Stuck in the Shallow End, puts it: “Computer Science can be about using the power of technology to create meaningful things for your community.” We hope that Careers with Code will inspire students to do just that -- and equip educators, librarians and counselors to celebrate and support them along the way.

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Over the past two years we have seen how Google Expeditions can help teachers bring lessons to life and take students to places they would never otherwise be able to go. With a virtual reality viewer, students can explore everywhere from Mars to the Great Barrier Reef to the inside of Buckingham Palace, without ever leaving the classroom.

Just last week, science teacher Mrs. Scott took her class inside the human circulatory system using the power of virtual reality and Google Cardboard at Twickenham Prep School in South West London. Students explored the human heart, lungs and blood vessels to watch oxygen-rich blood being distributed throughout the body. For Mrs. Scott, the real excitement has been seeing her students embrace science in a way they never had before.
Twickenham Preparatory School, South West London
“It is a fantastic teaching tool that engaged the children from the start, keeping their attention. I was then able to tell them extra information as we explored together.” Mrs. Scott said.

Starting today, we’re opening up our Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme to more schools across the UK. Working with the Google Arts and Culture team, we’ve connected with content partners across the world to create a wide range of new and exciting Expeditions, such as the new Natural History exhibit that brings you face-to-face with dinosaurs. In order for teachers to seamlessly include these Expeditions in their lessons, we’ve partnered up with Twig and TES to tailor this content to the UK curriculum with easy-to-use lesson plans.
An extinct world brought back to life through the "Meet the Dinosaurs" Google Expedition
Over the next school year (2016/17), we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual school trip, including Google’s Cardboard viewers. Once they have the kit, a teacher is able to send synchronised three-dimensional 360° panoramas to each student’s Cardboard viewer directly from their tablet, pointing out areas of interest in real time and taking them on a journey of discovery.

In addition, the Expeditions app is now available on iOS. More teachers, including those who use iPads, will be able to share Expeditions with their students by using full-screen mode on the devices in place of a VR viewer.

If you want the Pioneer Programme to come and visit your school now is the time to sign up, spaces are limited! With over 200 Expeditions available, we’re excited for students in the UK to experience these virtual field trips.

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Last spring, I attended the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Google Technology Conference with two of my colleagues, Steve Ford and Dr. Richie Romero, in Mountain View. One of the many recurring themes we discussed was how to tie technology use to the practice of teaching. As we listened to Angela Larkin from Google talk about the Google Certification Program, we realized the power the program had to change teaching and meet our goals. It was right in front of us.

Every day, teachers should have the opportunity to learn how to engage students and get them excited about coming to class. Yet many districts focus professional development on features and functionality of tools instead of how to integrate tools into the lesson plan. Last year after we had an epiphany, our district introduced the Google Certification Program, which helps teachers learn how to collaborate, teach students teamwork and effectively use new tools in the classroom.

Four years ago, when our district rolled out Google Apps for Education, teachers weren’t trained how to use the tools. We simply expected them to figure it out on their own. Some tech-savvy teachers helped their colleagues, but most didn’t use the educational software and laptops because they didn’t know how to integrate them into their lesson plans. Our district had a technology training program, but it didn’t prepare teachers to use the tools to truly improve the learning experience.

Our goal with rolling out the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Program is to help teachers become more effective in their use of technology and create inspiring curricula and class experiences. This program trains teachers on the tools and pedagogy. In just three months, 100 teachers have completed the training. With the Google Certification Program, we’re challenging teachers to rethink how they can teach students to collaborate and build life skills. Our goal is to have more than 30 percent of our teachers Google Educator Level 1 certified. This would mean all of our students would be in a classroom at least once a day with a Google Certified Teacher.

At the same time that we rolled out the program, our district introduced the SAMR model, — which stands for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition and was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. Most teachers in our district simply viewed technology as a replacement for pen and paper, rather than a tool to encourage students to think creatively. We wanted teachers to understand how to use technology beyond substitution to enhance students’ learning and help them be more engaged in the lesson plan.
My 3 tips to run a successful professional development program

Our district has had several iterations of teacher training programs and in the last year, we’ve seen true change in how teachers are integrating technology and the pedagogy. Here are three reasons I think our program has been a success:

  1. Light lifting for schools: With the Google Certification Program, we didn’t have to develop coursework, and the training was free, aside from the $10 certification exam fee. The program was just what we needed because it focuses on collaboration and the Common Core, a set of standards for math and English literacy.
  2. Teacher incentives: To encourage teachers to complete the training, our district gives them a stipend. We pay teachers their hourly rate to complete the 14-hour training, amounting to about $500 per teacher or administrator. We feel strongly about providing this incentive because all of our teachers and administrators should take this training and this boosts participation. It’s changing the way they teach and learn.
  3. Buy-in with the digital literacy committee: It’s easier to get teacher buy-in when it’s a grassroots effort. To do this we enlisted the help of a digital literacy committee made up of teachers, administrators and site computer techs. That group of evangelists is effective at showing teachers the value of technology training and getting teachers excited about new tools.

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If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it: your favorite art contest is back! The 2016 Doodle 4 Google contest kicked off on Wednesday, where art-loving K-12 students from across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico are invited to bring their imagination to life in a doodle of the Google logo, using any medium they choose. The winning masterpiece will hang on the Google homepage for a day, where millions will enjoy it.
We like to think about what’s next. So we’re asking kids to imagine what awaits them in the years to come and represent that vision of this year’s theme: “What I see for the future…” Yes, that means anything they see — even if it includes flying dogs, living on a shooting star, the trip of their dreams, or for the true Futurists out there — perhaps a distant world filled with dazzling new technology of all shapes and sizes.

This year’s contest is going to be one for the record books; the future and the ways to depict it are limitless. That’s why we’ll have an all-star group of judges including our very own Google Doodlers help select the National Winner. In addition to the homepage showcase, the winner will receive $30,000 towards a college scholarship, and the opportunity to work with the Doodle team at the Googleplex in Mountain View. As an added bonus: Their home school will get to spend $50,000 on technology to help foster the next generation of professionals (and who knows, maybe future Googlers, too!).
Submissions are open until December 2, 2016. So for you teachers and community leaders out there: Encourage your kids and students to apply. We can’t wait to see what wonders await in their dreams for the future.

And now, we bid you farewell as we’re Van Goghing, Goghing, Gone.