July 17, 2015

Google Ensures the Kids are Alright With 3 New Tech Initiatives

By Megan G.

Happy Friday, Tekkies! :D 

Let’s end this week on a high note by covering some of the cool initiatives Google has been working on for kids!  

Amidst the Android voicemail update, Eddystone beacon project, and surprising GOOG stock market surges, Google has also created an online summer camp, joined forces with the White House to provide free broadband, and offered a coding summer school for youngsters!

Tek Shouts! has touched on Google’s passion for education before in a past Quote of the Month featuring the words of Eric Schmidt, but we haven’t really talked about their initiatives in detail.  What could your kids be doing to expand their minds and digital opportunities? 

Read on, my friends!

Informative Adventures at Camp Google

This Monday, July 13th, marked the first day of Camp Google, an online “summer camp” with live, educational adventures  that highlight facts about the ocean, outer space, nature, and music.  Kids of the ages 7-10 (or any age, really) can jump into Livestream adventures and engage in fun science projects from the comfort of their home.  Did I mention this interactive quest for knowledge is all free?

What?  Did you say FREE?! 

YES, I DID SAY FREE!  Well… sort of.  

If your tiny humans want to participate in the Camp Google experiments, you need to consider what you will need for the camp.  Check out their online shopping list and pick up the supplies beforehand.

Or just skip the experiments, sit back, and enjoy Camp Google’s online videos instead.

This past week at Camp Google has been Ocean Week!

The first Ocean Week activity at Camp Google.  Image from Camp Google.

Kids tuned in to learn why things float, how dolphins see underwater, and what unique anomalies stay hidden under the waves.  Much of the adventure was made possible by National Geographic.
Sound like fun?  Here’s the upcoming schedule for the next few weeks, so make sure to mark your calendar!

·        July 20thSpace Week showcases how humans can live in space, how they defy gravity, and the magic of constellations. 

·        July 27thNature Week is all about what we can find in the wild.  Adventures include learning where crystals come from and what creatures are living in your backyard! 

·        August 3rdMusic Week may perhaps be the most interesting and unique adventure.  The music sessions explore why music makes us move, what makes sounds louder, and what sound actually looks like. 

What does your voice look like when you sing?  Image from Camp Google’s Activity page.

According to the What’s Camp Google? page, the activities are powered by the forces of Google engineers, Khan Academy, National Geographic, NASA, and the National Park Service.

Partnering with Obama in ConnectHome

To join an exciting online summer camp, your family will need a means to get online.  Many families still lack the opportunity to own and access information from a computer and this has been an important concern of the White House during Barack Obama’s presidency.

On July 15th, the President announced the ConnectHome initiative from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The mission of the project is to “accelerate broadband adoption by children and families living in HUD-assisted housing” in the United States.

ConnectHome logo.  Image from ConnectHome.

According to a Fact Sheet from The White House, here are the benefits of this digital movement:
  • Free or discounted broadband access for HUD-assisted housing residents.
  • Technical training and digital literacy programs that make broadband more understandable and relevant to urban families.
  • Devices and technical support to keep ConnectHome sustainable.

This initiative has been made possible by Internet Service Providers, non-profit organizations, and the private sector—including our favorite internet company, Google. 

Google Fiber will offer $0 monthly home Internet service to low-income, public housing residents in select areas.   Fiber currently runs in Provo, Kansas City, and Austin, but the company is ready to expand to 27 cities, according to a report from Tech Times

ConnectHome is part of a larger push to provide high speed broadband to all Americans.  The project also builds on the President’s ConnectED initiative to connect 99% of K-12 students to high-speed internet in their classrooms and libraries. 

Image from ConnectHome’s About the Pilot page.

Speaking of schools, let’s move on to the next Google project I’ve been hearing about this summer:  coding classes for kids ages 5-12.  Wow.  I’m pretty sure that I was still eating crayons in the younger half of that age spectrum. 

I’m kidding, Mom.  Don’t freak out.  (Shoves chewed Crayola box out of sight.)  

Computer Science 101 for London Kids

“Coding languages?  Elementary, my dear Watson.” 
Image from Sherlock Holmes Museum Library.

Elementary school that is. 

These classes are hosted by Google project that takes you “In Store with Google,” at various Currys PC World locations in London.  They are part of Google’s Summer of Science program for children ages 5-12 that introduces essential computer science skills. 

Here’s a sampling of the courses UK kids can take:
  • Playing with Code, where kids learn to change the design of the letters in their name using the Google Made with Code program.
  • Go Wild Expedition allows kids to build their own Google Cardboard virtual reality headset!  They then use their self-made tech to take a digital trip across the globe.   
  • Brick Building Challenge sounds like one of the toughest projects.  Kids are put into teams, and then given a certain amount of Legos, the Google Search App, and a time limit (yikes!) to build the tallest tower in class.  The builders use the app to find the most effective engineering structures in the world as a model for their own creations.

If you live in or around London, let the Tek Team know if your kids have participated in any of these classes!  We hope you enjoyed this foray into youngster-focused Google initiatives.  The internet company seems to have a dedicated and necessary focus on helping future generations flourish with technology. 

Have you been involved in any of these initiatives?  Do your kids love science, coding, and learning?  Let the Tek Team know in the comment section! 

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