Technology

Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-inCalling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in

GoogleBlog - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 20:00

Yesterday marked the start of the 7th year of Google Code-in (GCI), our pre-university contest introducing students to open source development. GCI takes place entirely online and is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 around the globe.

Open source software makes up the backbone of the internet, from servers and routers to the phone in your pocket, but it’s a community-driven effort. Google Code-in serves a dual purpose of encouraging young developers and ensuring that open source communities continue to grow.

The concept is simple: students complete bite-sized tasks created by 17 participating open source organizations on topic areas of their choice, including:

  • Coding

  • Documentation/Training

  • Outreach/Research

  • Quality Assurance

  • User Interface

Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete and include the guidance of a mentor to help along the way. Complete one task? Get a digital certificate. Three tasks? Get a Google t-shirt. Mentor organizations pick finalists and grand prize winners from among the 10 students who contributed most to that organization. Finalists get a hoodie and Grand Prize winners get a trip to Google headquarters in California where they meet Googlers, mentors and fellow winners.  

Google Code-in began with 361 students from 45 countries and has grown to include, in 2015, 980 students from 65 countries. You can read about the experiences of past participants on the Google Open Source blog. Over the last 6 years, more than 3,000 students from 99 countries have successfully completed tasks in GCI.

Student Ahmed Sabie had this to say, “Overall, Google Code-in was the experience of a lifetime. It set me up for the future by teaching me relevant and critical skills necessary in software development.”

Know of a student who might be interested? Learn more about GCI by checking out our rules and FAQs. And please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide. Teachers, you can find additional resources here to help get your students started.

The Google Code-in contest is now open! Students ages 13 to 17 gain real-world software development experience by building open source software with the support of mentors.
Categories: Technology

Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-inCalling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in

GoogleBlog - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 20:00

Yesterday marked the start of the 7th year of Google Code-in (GCI), our pre-university contest introducing students to open source development. GCI takes place entirely online and is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 around the globe.

Open source software makes up the backbone of the internet, from servers and routers to the phone in your pocket, but it’s a community-driven effort. Google Code-in serves a dual purpose of encouraging young developers and ensuring that open source communities continue to grow.

The concept is simple: students complete bite-sized tasks created by 17 participating open source organizations on topic areas of their choice, including:

  • Coding

  • Documentation/Training

  • Outreach/Research

  • Quality Assurance

  • User Interface

Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete and include the guidance of a mentor to help along the way. Complete one task? Get a digital certificate. Three tasks? Get a Google t-shirt. Mentor organizations pick finalists and grand prize winners from among the 10 students who contributed most to that organization. Finalists get a hoodie and Grand Prize winners get a trip to Google headquarters in California where they meet Googlers, mentors and fellow winners.  

Google Code-in began with 361 students from 45 countries and has grown to include, in 2015, 980 students from 65 countries. You can read about the experiences of past participants on the Google Open Source blog. Over the last 6 years, more than 3,000 students from 99 countries have successfully completed tasks in GCI.

Student Ahmed Sabie had this to say, “Overall, Google Code-in was the experience of a lifetime. It set me up for the future by teaching me relevant and critical skills necessary in software development.”

Know of a student who might be interested? Learn more about GCI by checking out our rules and FAQs. And please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide. Teachers, you can find additional resources here to help get your students started.

The Google Code-in contest is now open! Students ages 13 to 17 gain real-world software development experience by building open source software with the support of mentors.
Categories: Technology

How to improve YouTube video resolution?

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 12:13

Like a lot of sophisticated Web-based services, Google’s YouTube service (you did know that Google owned YouTube, right?) tries to minimize the stalls and buffering delays of a streaming video that you’re watching. The primary tactic it uses is to essentially test your connection and choose a resolution of the video that’s a match for how fast you’re wired up. So if you’re on a super fast connection then you should always see 1080p HD videos (with one huge caveat), while a crummy, weak mobile based connection might drop down to 240 or even lower res.

The caveat to all of this is that the video producer has made the video content available on YouTube in the different resolutions. As a videographer myself, I can tell you that YouTube downsamples the video content to offer lower resolution versions, but has no way to improve or increase the resolution of a low or medium res video segment. If the producer uploads it in 360 resolution, that’s as good as it’ll get regardless of how you’re viewing it. My solution is to always upload 1080p versions of my videos and let YouTube resample and produce all the other versions for people with less bandwidth.

YouTube automatically choosing a resolution for you based on its test of your connectivity doesn’t mean you’re trapped with that choice, however. Networks vary in speed, so it’s quite possible that its probe could suggest a bad connection when in fact you’ve got a good one, for example, So let’s go through the steps of forcing a higher def version of a video you’re watching.

Here’s an example: A video I just posted on my YouTube channel – and I invite you to subscribe: AskDaveTaylor on YouTube – that’s being shown in horrible resolution. Look closely at the text to see what I mean:

Move the cursor anywhere over the video itself and a bunch of buttons pop up:

You probably are familiar with the left side controls, pause, play/stop, volume and an elapsed time display, but the right side is far more interesting. From left to right they’re closed captioning, settings for this video’s playback, “theater” (larger) mode and full screen mode.

It’s the settings icon, the little gear, that you want to utilize to up the resolution! Click on it and a list of different playback settings and preferences appears:

Notice you can speed up or slow down videos, something I bet you didn’t know! More importantly, you can choose the quality level you’d like for this YouTube playback. Choose “Quality“…

In this particular video, I uploaded the 1080p version (full HD) and YouTube automatically stepped it down to offer 720p, 480p, 360p, 240p and the truly painful 144p resolution. Pick an HD one, perhaps 720p, and after a second or two the video will look substantially better. Oh,. and the gear icon gains a tiny red “HD” sticker:

And that’s how you pick and choose to get the resolution you want on a YouTube video! Now, if you’d like to watch the video I’ve used for this demo, here it is. Just remember to try changing resolution to see what happens!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iANiClO8CI

See how that all works? I thought you might!

The post How to improve YouTube video resolution? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Google Cloud at HIMSS: engaging with the healthcare and health IT communityGoogle Cloud at HIMSS: engaging with the healthcare and health IT community

GoogleBlog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:00

At Google Cloud, we’re working closely with the healthcare industry to provide the technology and tools that help create better patient experiences, empower care teams to work together and accelerate research. We're focused on supporting the digital transformation of our healthcare customers through data management at scale and advancements in machine learning for timely and actionable insights.

Next week at the HIMSS Health IT Conference, we're demonstrating the latest innovations in smart data, digital health, APIs, machine learning and real-time communications from Google Cloud, Research, Search, DeepMind and Verily. Together, we offer solutions that help enable hospital and health IT customers to tackle the rapidly evolving and long standing challenges facing the healthcare industry. Here’s a preview of the Google Cloud customers and partners who are joining us at HIMSS.

For customers like the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) at the University of Colorado Denver, trust and security are paramount. CCPM has worked closely with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) team to securely manage and analyze a complicated data set to identify  genetic patterns across a wide range of diseases and reveal new treatment options based on a patient’s unique DNA.

And the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has used Google Genomics for years to combine the power, security features and scale of GCP with the Broad Institute’s expertise in scientific analysis.

“At the Broad Institute we are committed to driving the pace of innovation through sharing and collaboration. Google Cloud Platform has profoundly transformed the way we build teams and conduct science and has accelerated our research,"  William Mayo, Chief Information Officer at Broad Institute told us.

To continue to offer these and other healthcare customers the tools they need, today we’re announcing support for the HL7 FHIR Foundation to help the developer community advance data interoperability efforts. The FHIR open standard defines a modern, web API-based approach to communicating healthcare data, making it easier to securely communicate across the healthcare ecosystem including hospitals, labs, applications and research studies.

"Google Cloud Platform’s commitment to support the ongoing activities of the FHIR community will help advance our goal of global health data interoperability. The future of health computing is clearly in the cloud, and our joint effort will serve to accelerate this transition," said Grahame Grieve, Principal at Health Intersections, FHIR Product Lead

Beyond open source, we're committed to supporting a thriving ecosystem of partners whose solutions enable customers to improve patient care across the industry.

We’ve seen great success for our customers in collaboration with Kinvey, which launched its HIPAA-compliant digital health platform on GCP to leverage our cloud infrastructure and integrate its capabilities with our machine learning and analytics services.  

“In the past year, we’ve seen numerous organizations in healthcare, from institutions like Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health that are building apps to transform care, education and research, and startups like iTether and TempTraq that are driving innovative new solutions, turn to GCP to accelerate their journey to a new patient-centric world,” said Sravish Sridhar, CEO of Kinvey.

We’ve also published a new guide for HIPAA compliance on GCP, which describes our approach to data security on GCP and provides best-practice guidance on how to securely bring healthcare workloads to the cloud.

Stop by our booth at HIMSS to hear more about how we’re working with the healthcare industry across Google. We would love to learn how we can engage with you on your next big idea to positively transform healthcare.Next week at the HIMSS Health IT Conference, we're demonstrating the latest innovations in smart data, digital health, APIs, machine learning and real-time communications from Google Cloud, Research, Search, DeepMind and Verily.
Categories: Technology

Google Cloud at HIMSS: engaging with the healthcare and health IT communityGoogle Cloud at HIMSS: engaging with the healthcare and health IT community

GoogleBlog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:00

At Google Cloud, we’re working closely with the healthcare industry to provide the technology and tools that help create better patient experiences, empower care teams to work together and accelerate research. We're focused on supporting the digital transformation of our healthcare customers through data management at scale and advancements in machine learning for timely and actionable insights.

Next week at the HIMSS Health IT Conference, we're demonstrating the latest innovations in smart data, digital health, APIs, machine learning and real-time communications from Google Cloud, Research, Search, DeepMind and Verily. Together, we offer solutions that help enable hospital and health IT customers to tackle the rapidly evolving and long standing challenges facing the healthcare industry. Here’s a preview of the Google Cloud customers and partners who are joining us at HIMSS.

For customers like the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) at the University of Colorado Denver, trust and security are paramount. CCPM has worked closely with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) team to securely manage and analyze a complicated data set to identify  genetic patterns across a wide range of diseases and reveal new treatment options based on a patient’s unique DNA.

And the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has used Google Genomics for years to combine the power, security features and scale of GCP with the Broad Institute’s expertise in scientific analysis.

“At the Broad Institute we are committed to driving the pace of innovation through sharing and collaboration. Google Cloud Platform has profoundly transformed the way we build teams and conduct science and has accelerated our research,"  William Mayo, Chief Information Officer at Broad Institute told us.

To continue to offer these and other healthcare customers the tools they need, today we’re announcing support for the HL7 FHIR Foundation to help the developer community advance data interoperability efforts. The FHIR open standard defines a modern, web API-based approach to communicating healthcare data, making it easier to securely communicate across the healthcare ecosystem including hospitals, labs, applications and research studies.

"Google Cloud Platform’s commitment to support the ongoing activities of the FHIR community will help advance our goal of global health data interoperability. The future of health computing is clearly in the cloud, and our joint effort will serve to accelerate this transition," said Grahame Grieve, Principal at Health Intersections, FHIR Product Lead

Beyond open source, we're committed to supporting a thriving ecosystem of partners whose solutions enable customers to improve patient care across the industry.

We’ve seen great success for our customers in collaboration with Kinvey, which launched its HIPAA-compliant digital health platform on GCP to leverage our cloud infrastructure and integrate its capabilities with our machine learning and analytics services.  

“In the past year, we’ve seen numerous organizations in healthcare, from institutions like Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health that are building apps to transform care, education and research, and startups like iTether and TempTraq that are driving innovative new solutions, turn to GCP to accelerate their journey to a new patient-centric world,” said Sravish Sridhar, CEO of Kinvey.

We’ve also published a new guide for HIPAA compliance on GCP, which describes our approach to data security on GCP and provides best-practice guidance on how to securely bring healthcare workloads to the cloud.

Stop by our booth at HIMSS to hear more about how we’re working with the healthcare industry across Google. We would love to learn how we can engage with you on your next big idea to positively transform healthcare.Next week at the HIMSS Health IT Conference, we're demonstrating the latest innovations in smart data, digital health, APIs, machine learning and real-time communications from Google Cloud, Research, Search, DeepMind and Verily.
Categories: Technology

Get in the game with NBA VR on DaydreamGet in the game with NBA VR on Daydream

GoogleBlog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:00

Can't get enough dunks, three pointers, and last-second jumpers? Experience the NBA in a whole new way with the new NBA VR app, available on Daydream.

Catch up with highlights in your own virtual sports lounge or watch the NBA’s first original VR series, “House of Legends,” where NBA legends discuss everything from pop culture to the greatest moments of their career. The series tips off today with seven-time NBA Champion Robert Horry. New episodes featuring stars like Chauncey Billups and Baron Davis will debut regularly.

Daydream gives sports fans a new way to connect to the leagues, teams and players they care about most. The NBA VR app joins a lineup that already includes:

  • NFL VR: Get access to the NFL Immersed series featuring 360° behind-the-scenes looks into the lives of players, coaches, cheerleaders, and even fans themselves as they prepare for game day.
  • MLB.com Home Run Derby VR: Hit monster home runs with the Daydream controller in eight iconic MLB ballparks and bring home the ultimate Derby crown.
  • NextVR: From NBA games and the Kentucky Derby, to the NFL and the US Open, experience your favorite sporting events live or revisit them through highlights.

You're just a download away from being closer than ever to the sporting events and athletes you love!

Experience the NBA in a whole new way with the new NBA VR app, available on Daydream.
Categories: Technology

Get in the game with NBA VR on DaydreamGet in the game with NBA VR on Daydream

GoogleBlog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:00

Can't get enough dunks, three pointers, and last-second jumpers? Experience the NBA in a whole new way with the new NBA VR app, available on Daydream.

Catch up with highlights in your own virtual sports lounge or watch the NBA’s first original VR series, “House of Legends,” where NBA legends discuss everything from pop culture to the greatest moments of their career. The series tips off today with seven-time NBA Champion Robert Horry. New episodes featuring stars like Chauncey Billups and Baron Davis will debut regularly.

Daydream gives sports fans a new way to connect to the leagues, teams and players they care about most. The NBA VR app joins a lineup that already includes:

  • NFL VR: Get access to the NFL Immersed series featuring 360° behind-the-scenes looks into the lives of players, coaches, cheerleaders, and even fans themselves as they prepare for game day.
  • MLB.com Home Run Derby VR: Hit monster home runs with the Daydream controller in eight iconic MLB ballparks and bring home the ultimate Derby crown.
  • NextVR: From NBA games and the Kentucky Derby, to the NFL and the US Open, experience your favorite sporting events live or revisit them through highlights.

You're just a download away from being closer than ever to the sporting events and athletes you love!

Experience the NBA in a whole new way with the new NBA VR app, available on Daydream.
Categories: Technology

Enable Hands Free Mode on Amazon Echo Tap?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:50

We’re huge fans of the Amazon Echo line, with an Echo, a Tap and two Dots in the house. The Tap is a winner with its portability and rechargeable battery, but you’re right, having to push the button every time you want to use it makes it way less interesting and fun than the other devices that are always listening. Apparently we’re not alone in that assessment, because as of early 2017, Amazon released an update to the Echo firmware that allows you to turn off push-to-talk mode and enable hands-free mode on the Amazon Echo Tap. Cool!

It’s easy to turn on this feature too, but you have to remember that all configuration and settings for any of your Alexa units is done through the Alexa app (either the iOS version or the Android version). And that’s where we’ll have to make the changes to upgrade the Tap too, so let’s go through the steps!

To start, launch Alexa on your smartphone. I have an iPhone, so that’s the version I’ll show here. And you can see what kind of music I listen to when I’m working too.

Categories: Technology

Bringing digital skills training to more classrooms in KoreaBringing digital skills training to more classrooms in Korea

GoogleBlog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 05:30

Recently a group of Googlers visited Ogeum Middle School in Seoul, where they joined a junior high school class that had some fun trying out machine learning based experiments. The students got to see neural nets in action, with experiments that have trained computers to guess what someone’s drawing, or that turn a picture taken with a smartphone into a song.

Students at Ogeum Middle School trying out Giorgio Cam, an experiment built with machine learning that lets you make music with the computer just by taking a picture. It uses image recognition to label what it sees, then it turns those labels into lyrics of a song.

We’re always excited to see kids develop a passion for technology, because it seeds an interest in using technology to solve challenges later in life.

The students at Ogeum Middle School are among the first of over 3,000 kids across Korea we hope to reach through “Digital Media Campus” (or 디지털 미디어 캠퍼스 in Korean), a new digital literacy education program. Through a Google.org grant to the Korea Federation of Science Culture and Education Studies (KOSCE), we plan to reach junior high school students in 120 schools across the country this year. Students in their ‘free semester’—a time when middle schoolers can take up electives to explore future career paths—will be able to enroll in this 32-hour course spanning 16 weeks beginning next month.

KOSCE-trained tutors will show kids how to better evaluate information online and assess the validity of online sources, teach them to use a range of digital tools so they can do things like edit videos and create infographics, and help them experience exciting technologies like AR and VR. By giving them a glimpse of how these technologies work, we hope to excite them about the endless possibilities offered by technology. Perhaps this will even encourage them to consider the world of careers that technology opens up to them.  

Helping kids to recognize these opportunities often starts with dismantling false perceptions at home. This is why we’re also offering a two-hour training session to 2,000 parents, who’ll pick up tips to help their kids use digital media.

We ran a pilot of the program last year, and have been heartened by the positive feedback we’ve received so far. Teachers and parents have told us that they appreciate the skills it teaches kids to be competitive in a digital age. And the students are excited to discover new digital tools and resources that are useful to them in their students.

While we might not be able to reach every high school student with this program, we hope to play a small role in helping to inspire Korea’s next generation of tech innovators. Google.org helping to bring “Digital Media Campus” to kids and parents across the country
Categories: Technology

Bringing digital skills training to more classrooms in KoreaBringing digital skills training to more classrooms in Korea

GoogleBlog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 05:30

Recently a group of Googlers visited Ogeum Middle School in Seoul, where they joined a junior high school class that had some fun trying out machine learning based experiments. The students got to see neural nets in action, with experiments that have trained computers to guess what someone’s drawing, or that turn a picture taken with a smartphone into a song.

Students at Ogeum Middle School trying out Giorgio Cam, an experiment built with machine learning that lets you make music with the computer just by taking a picture. It uses image recognition to label what it sees, then it turns those labels into lyrics of a song.

We’re always excited to see kids develop a passion for technology, because it seeds an interest in using technology to solve challenges later in life.

The students at Ogeum Middle School are among the first of over 3,000 kids across Korea we hope to reach through “Digital Media Campus” (or 디지털 미디어 캠퍼스 in Korean), a new digital literacy education program. Through a Google.org grant to the Korea Federation of Science Culture and Education Studies (KOSCE), we plan to reach junior high school students in 120 schools across the country this year. Students in their ‘free semester’—a time when middle schoolers can take up electives to explore future career paths—will be able to enroll in this 32-hour course spanning 16 weeks beginning next month.

KOSCE-trained tutors will show kids how to better evaluate information online and assess the validity of online sources, teach them to use a range of digital tools so they can do things like edit videos and create infographics, and help them experience exciting technologies like AR and VR. By giving them a glimpse of how these technologies work, we hope to excite them about the endless possibilities offered by technology. Perhaps this will even encourage them to consider the world of careers that technology opens up to them.  

Helping kids to recognize these opportunities often starts with dismantling false perceptions at home. This is why we’re also offering a two-hour training session to 2,000 parents, who’ll pick up tips to help their kids use digital media.

We ran a pilot of the program last year, and have been heartened by the positive feedback we’ve received so far. Teachers and parents have told us that they appreciate the skills it teaches kids to be competitive in a digital age. And the students are excited to discover new digital tools and resources that are useful to them in their students.

While we might not be able to reach every high school student with this program, we hope to play a small role in helping to inspire Korea’s next generation of tech innovators. Google.org helping to bring “Digital Media Campus” to kids and parents across the country
Categories: Technology

Three ways to get started with computer science and computational thinkingThree ways to get started with computer science and computational thinking

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 18:00

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting education leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Tim Bell, a professor in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury and creator of CS Unplugged. Tim is a recipient of CS4HS awards and has partnered with Google in Australia to develop free resources to support teachers around the world to successfully implement computational thinking and computer science into classrooms.

My home of New Zealand, like many countries around the world, is fully integrating computer science (CS) into the national curriculum. This change affects all teachers, because the goal of standardizing CS education curriculum is bigger than CS itself. It’s not just about grooming the next generation of computer scientists—it’s about equipping every student an approach to solving problems through computational thinking (CT). This way of thinking can and must be applied to other subjects. Math, science, and even English and history teachers will need to teach CT, and many feel uncertain about the road ahead.

Progressing CS + CT education at the national level will only be successful if all teachers feel confident in their ability to get started. This first step can be the most daunting, so I want to share a few simple ways any teacher can bring CS and CT into the classroom.

1. Engage students as builders and teachersCT is about building new ways to solve problems. These problem-solving methods can be implemented with a computer, but the tool is much less important than the thinking behind it. Offline activities create opportunities for students to explain their thinking, work with others to solve open-ended problems, and learn by teaching their peers.

My session during Education on Air showed some of these offline activities in practice. For example, playing with a set of binary cards, pictured below, can teach students how to explain binary representation.

Year 5 and 6 students learn about binary representation through a CS Unplugged activity 2. Build lessons around real-world examplesCS is practical—algorithms speed up processes so people don’t have to wait, device interfaces need to be designed so they don't frustrate users, programs need to be written so they don't waste resources like battery power on a mobile phone. Examples like these can help students understand how CS and CT impact the world around them. Consider discussing human interface design as it applies to popular mobile apps as well as real-world systems, like factories and libraries.

As Maggie Johnson, Google’s director of education and university relations, wrote last year: “If we can make these explicit connections for students, they will see how the devices and apps that they use everyday are powered by algorithms and programs. They will learn the importance of data in making decisions. They will learn skills that will prepare them for a workforce that will be doing vastly different tasks than the workforce of today.”

3. Connect new ideas and familiar subjectsSome of the most successful CS and CT lessons reference other subjects. For example, biology students can reconstruct an evolutionary tree using a string matching algorithm. Students might also apply geometry skills to Scratch programming by using their knowledge of angles to represent polygons with blocks of code. CS can also be combined with non-academic subjects, like physical education.

Google’s engineering director in Australia, Alan Noble, explained this interdisciplinary approach well: “CS combined with another discipline, brings with it new insights and new ways of approaching things. We call this ‘CS + X,’ where ‘X’ can be virtually anything. Universities around the world are starting to recognize this by introducing CS + X programs, where X can be any subject area, not just a science.The opportunities are endless. Students will be a whole lot more excited about studying Computer Science if they can combine it with their passion, their ‘X’.”

I’ve seen everyone from first-timers to PhDs use simple techniques to make CS and CT approachable—and fun too! A few simple exercises can spark students’ curiosity and support a bigger change.

Schools around the world are adapting their curriculum to focus on digital technology and computer science. Tim Bell, founder of CS Unplugged, shares ideas for any educator looking to get started with computer science education.
Categories: Technology

Three ways to get started with computer science and computational thinkingThree ways to get started with computer science and computational thinking

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 18:00

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting education leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Tim Bell, a professor in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury and creator of CS Unplugged. Tim is a recipient of CS4HS awards and has partnered with Google in Australia to develop free resources to support teachers around the world to successfully implement computational thinking and computer science into classrooms.

My home of New Zealand, like many countries around the world, is fully integrating computer science (CS) into the national curriculum. This change affects all teachers, because the goal of standardizing CS education curriculum is bigger than CS itself. It’s not just about grooming the next generation of computer scientists—it’s about equipping every student an approach to solving problems through computational thinking (CT). This way of thinking can and must be applied to other subjects. Math, science, and even English and history teachers will need to teach CT, and many feel uncertain about the road ahead.

Progressing CS + CT education at the national level will only be successful if all teachers feel confident in their ability to get started. This first step can be the most daunting, so I want to share a few simple ways any teacher can bring CS and CT into the classroom.

1. Engage students as builders and teachersCT is about building new ways to solve problems. These problem-solving methods can be implemented with a computer, but the tool is much less important than the thinking behind it. Offline activities create opportunities for students to explain their thinking, work with others to solve open-ended problems, and learn by teaching their peers.

My session during Education on Air showed some of these offline activities in practice. For example, playing with a set of binary cards, pictured below, can teach students how to explain binary representation.

Year 5 and 6 students learn about binary representation through a CS Unplugged activity 2. Build lessons around real-world examplesCS is practical—algorithms speed up processes so people don’t have to wait, device interfaces need to be designed so they don't frustrate users, programs need to be written so they don't waste resources like battery power on a mobile phone. Examples like these can help students understand how CS and CT impact the world around them. Consider discussing human interface design as it applies to popular mobile apps as well as real-world systems, like factories and libraries.

As Maggie Johnson, Google’s director of education and university relations, wrote last year: “If we can make these explicit connections for students, they will see how the devices and apps that they use everyday are powered by algorithms and programs. They will learn the importance of data in making decisions. They will learn skills that will prepare them for a workforce that will be doing vastly different tasks than the workforce of today.”

3. Connect new ideas and familiar subjectsSome of the most successful CS and CT lessons reference other subjects. For example, biology students can reconstruct an evolutionary tree using a string matching algorithm. Students might also apply geometry skills to Scratch programming by using their knowledge of angles to represent polygons with blocks of code. CS can also be combined with non-academic subjects, like physical education.

Google’s engineering director in Australia, Alan Noble, explained this interdisciplinary approach well: “CS combined with another discipline, brings with it new insights and new ways of approaching things. We call this ‘CS + X,’ where ‘X’ can be virtually anything. Universities around the world are starting to recognize this by introducing CS + X programs, where X can be any subject area, not just a science.The opportunities are endless. Students will be a whole lot more excited about studying Computer Science if they can combine it with their passion, their ‘X’.”

I’ve seen everyone from first-timers to PhDs use simple techniques to make CS and CT approachable—and fun too! A few simple exercises can spark students’ curiosity and support a bigger change.

Schools around the world are adapting their curriculum to focus on digital technology and computer science. Tim Bell, founder of CS Unplugged, shares ideas for any educator looking to get started with computer science education.
Categories: Technology

Shielding you from Potentially Harmful ApplicationsShielding you from Potentially Harmful Applications

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 17:00

Earlier this month, we shared an overview of the ways we keep you safe, on Google and on the web, more broadly. Today, we wanted to specifically focus on one element of Android security—Potentially Harmful Applications—highlighting fraudsters’ common tactics, and how we shield you from these threats.

Potentially Harmful Applications,” or PHAs, are Android applications that could harm you or your device, or do something unintended with the data on your device. Some examples of PHA badness include:

  • Backdoors: Apps that let hackers control your device, giving them unauthorized access to your data.
  • Billing fraud: Apps that charge you in an intentionally misleading way, like premium SMS scams or call scams.
  • Spyware: Apps that collect personal information from your device without consent
  • Hostile Downloads: Apps that download harmful programs, often through bundling with another program
  • Trojan Apps: Apps that appear benign (e.g., a game that claims only to be a game) but actually perform undesirable actions.

As we described in the Safer Internet post, we have a variety of automated systems that help keep you safe on Android, starting with Verify Apps—one of our key defenses against PHAs.

Verify Apps is a cloud-based service that proactively checks every application prior to install to determine if the application is potentially harmful, and subsequently rechecks devices regularly to help ensure they’re safe. Verify Apps checks more than 6 billion installed applications and scans around 400 million devices per day. If Verify Apps detects a PHA before you install it or on your device if, it will prompt you to remove the app immediately.

Sometimes, Verify Apps will remove an application without requiring you to confirm the removal. This is an action we’ll take very rarely, but if a PHA is purely harmful, has no possible benefit to users, or is  impossible for you to remove on your own, we’ll zap it automatically. Ongoing protection from Verify Apps has ensured that in 2015, over 99 percent of all Android devices were free of known PHAs.

Verify Apps is just one of many protections we’ve instituted on Android to keep billions of people and devices safe. Just as PHAs are constantly evolving their tactics, we’re constantly improving our protections. We’ll continue to take action when we have the slightest suspicion that something might not be right. And we’re committed to educating and protecting people from current and future security threats—on mobile and online in general.

Be sure to check if Verify Apps is enabled on your Android device, and stay clear from harmful apps by only installing from a trusted source.

How we protect you, your Android device and your data from potentially harmful applications.
Categories: Technology

Shielding you from Potentially Harmful ApplicationsShielding you from Potentially Harmful Applications

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 17:00

Earlier this month, we shared an overview of the ways we keep you safe, on Google and on the web, more broadly. Today, we wanted to specifically focus on one element of Android security—Potentially Harmful Applications—highlighting fraudsters’ common tactics, and how we shield you from these threats.

Potentially Harmful Applications,” or PHAs, are Android applications that could harm you or your device, or do something unintended with the data on your device. Some examples of PHA badness include:

  • Backdoors: Apps that let hackers control your device, giving them unauthorized access to your data.
  • Billing fraud: Apps that charge you in an intentionally misleading way, like premium SMS scams or call scams.
  • Spyware: Apps that collect personal information from your device without consent
  • Hostile Downloads: Apps that download harmful programs, often through bundling with another program
  • Trojan Apps: Apps that appear benign (e.g., a game that claims only to be a game) but actually perform undesirable actions.

As we described in the Safer Internet post, we have a variety of automated systems that help keep you safe on Android, starting with Verify Apps—one of our key defenses against PHAs.

Verify Apps is a cloud-based service that proactively checks every application prior to install to determine if the application is potentially harmful, and subsequently rechecks devices regularly to help ensure they’re safe. Verify Apps checks more than 6 billion installed applications and scans around 400 million devices per day. If Verify Apps detects a PHA before you install it or on your device if, it will prompt you to remove the app immediately.

Sometimes, Verify Apps will remove an application without requiring you to confirm the removal. This is an action we’ll take very rarely, but if a PHA is purely harmful, has no possible benefit to users, or is  impossible for you to remove on your own, we’ll zap it automatically. Ongoing protection from Verify Apps has ensured that in 2015, over 99 percent of all Android devices were free of known PHAs.

Verify Apps is just one of many protections we’ve instituted on Android to keep billions of people and devices safe. Just as PHAs are constantly evolving their tactics, we’re constantly improving our protections. We’ll continue to take action when we have the slightest suspicion that something might not be right. And we’re committed to educating and protecting people from current and future security threats—on mobile and online in general.

Be sure to check if Verify Apps is enabled on your Android device, and stay clear from harmful apps by only installing from a trusted source.

How we protect you, your Android device and your data from potentially harmful applications.
Categories: Technology

Play a duet with a computer, through machine learningPlay a duet with a computer, through machine learning

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 12:00

Technology can inspire people to be creative in new ways. Magenta, an open-source project we launched last year, aims to do that by giving developers tools to explore music using neural networks.

To help show what’s possible with Magenta, we’ve created an interactive experiment called A.I. Duet, which lets you play a duet with the computer. Just play some notes, and the computer will respond to your melody. You don’t even have to know how to play piano—it’s fun to just press some keys and listen to what comes back. We hope it inspires you—whether you’re a developer or musician, or just curious—to imagine how technology can help creative ideas come to life. Watch our video above to learn more, or just start playing with it.Just play some notes, and the computer will respond to your melody.
Categories: Technology

Play a duet with a computer, through machine learningPlay a duet with a computer, through machine learning

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 12:00

Technology can inspire people to be creative in new ways. Magenta, an open-source project we launched last year, aims to do that by giving developers tools to explore music using neural networks.

To help show what’s possible with Magenta, we’ve created an interactive experiment called A.I. Duet, which lets you play a duet with the computer. Just play some notes, and the computer will respond to your melody. You don’t even have to know how to play piano—it’s fun to just press some keys and listen to what comes back. We hope it inspires you—whether you’re a developer or musician, or just curious—to imagine how technology can help creative ideas come to life. Watch our video above to learn more, or just start playing with it.Just play some notes, and the computer will respond to your melody.
Categories: Technology

How do I change my Twitter Profile Photo?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:23

It’s a sign of the times that you are asking about whether the desktop / web interface to Twitter duplicates the functionality of the mobile app, rather than vice-versa. Used to be that it was your big computer that gave you access to the complete functionality of a site like Twitter, but now it’s flipped around. A sign of the rise of mobile, for sure. Then again, Twitter evolved from SMS text messaging, so perhaps its mobile interface should always be the most powerful?

You can definitely update your Twitter profile picture from either mobile, tablet or desktop, and I’m not sure that any one of them is easier than the other. Well, maybe a device where you have lots of great photos of yourself is the best!

Let’s go through the process of updating your photo on Twitter from within a Web browser…

To start, click on your face on the top right of the Twitter Web interface and choose “View profile“:

The top of the following page will show all your stats, and have a very important button on the right side: “edit profile“.

Like this:

While we’re talking, please follow me on Twitter — @DaveTaylor — so you can keep up on all our postings and adventures!

Once you click on edit profile, you’ll see your own profile. All good, move the cursor over your profile photo and it’ll change:

Now click on the camera icon and a little menu pops up with a few choices and options for what to do next:

If you guessed you should click on “Upload photo” you’re correct! Booyah! Click on that. Now you’ll need to find and choose the photo you’d like to use. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly cropped, we can fix that in a second:

I’ll choose KiaDad20…oto71.jpg and after a moment Twitter shows me the photo with its default cropping:

At this point you can drag the dot along the bottom to zoom in and out, and click and drag to move the selection box to make the crop perfect. Try a pretty tight crop, by the way, as Twitter shows your pic pretty small. Head and shoulders is my recommendation.

Here’s how I cropped my own photo:

If you look closely between the two photos, you’ll see I’ve tightened the crop just a bit and moved the top up a smidge to get a bit more background so I don’t feel so “cramped” in the frame. I’m done, so a click on “Apply” and it’s my new Twitter profile photo!

Looks good. A final click on “Save” and it’s done.

Want to see the pic in action? Click on over to my Twitter page and check it out. Oh, and follow me too, please!

The post How do I change my Twitter Profile Photo? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Start shopping with the Google Assistant on Google HomeStart shopping with the Google Assistant on Google Home

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:00

What do you need to get done today? If picking up paper towels or stocking up on coffee is on your list, consider it done. To help you keep up with your busy schedule and shop for the things you need, we’re introducing shopping with your Google Assistant on Google Home.

Starting today, you can shop for your everyday essentials—from paper towels to vitamins. You'll be able to order from participating Google Express retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens, PetSmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and more than 50 other national and locally available retailers.

To get started, just say “Ok Google, how do I shop?” or “Ok Google, order paper towels”.

Through April 30, 2017, when you shop via Google Home, you don't have to worry about additional service or membership fees. And set-up is easy! To get started, go to the Google Home app, navigate to “More settings” and then scroll down to “Payments.” From there, set your default credit card and delivery address, and you’re ready to shop.

Today is just the beginning of what's possible for shopping with the Google Assistant. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to add new features and enable purchases for other apps and services.

Starting today you can shop for all the essentials—from paper towels to coffee—with your Google Assistant on Google Home.
Categories: Technology

Start shopping with the Google Assistant on Google HomeStart shopping with the Google Assistant on Google Home

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:00

What do you need to get done today? If picking up paper towels or stocking up on coffee is on your list, consider it done. To help you keep up with your busy schedule and shop for the things you need, we’re introducing shopping with your Google Assistant on Google Home.

Starting today, you can shop for your everyday essentials—from paper towels to vitamins. You'll be able to order from participating Google Express retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens, PetSmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and more than 50 other national and locally available retailers.

To get started, just say “Ok Google, how do I shop?” or “Ok Google, order paper towels”.

Through April 30, 2017, when you shop via Google Home, you don't have to worry about additional service or membership fees. And set-up is easy! To get started, go to the Google Home app, navigate to “More settings” and then scroll down to “Payments.” From there, set your default credit card and delivery address, and you’re ready to shop.

Today is just the beginning of what's possible for shopping with the Google Assistant. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to add new features and enable purchases for other apps and services.

Starting today you can shop for all the essentials—from paper towels to coffee—with your Google Assistant on Google Home.
Categories: Technology

Bringing the We Love You Project to Google Arts & CultureBringing the We Love You Project to Google Arts & Culture

GoogleBlog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:00

Editor’s Note: Today we're launching a new exhibit in Google Arts & Culture featuring the work of photographer Bryon Summers. We've invited Summers to share more about the We Love You Project in this post.

In 2016 I set out to create 1,000+ portraits of Black men of all ages.

From the moment we’re born, Black boys are bombarded with images that strip us of our humanity. We see Black bodies cast as criminals and predators, implicitly urging viewers of all stripes to believe these characterizations as unwavering truths of Black male identity. What we don’t see are the smiling, reassuring, loving faces of our sons, brothers, cousins, husbands and fathers. With the We Love You Project, I wanted to show that even though we may feel as if our bodies are under attack, we’re still part of a larger community that loves and supports us.

Bryon takes a photo of Evan Ward at Google's Mountain View campus

The We Love You Project has now surpassed 500 participants, and the groundswell of support and joyful participation from Black men across the country has been one of the most powerful experiences of my artistic career. As we continue to photograph Black men and boys, we want to ensure that our work continues to be seen and drives meaningful conversations about many Black men’s experiences in America. This is why we’ve partnered with Google Arts & Culture to create a digital gallery of more than 500 portraits from the series.

Google also invited us to photograph Black Googlers at its Mountain View headquarters—another huge turning point for the project. Not only is Google helping us reach our goal of 1,000 portraits, the company's participation reflects its commitment to diversity and to being an ally of the Black community.

Evan Ward, Software Engineer Mike Costa, Senior Counsel Andy Hinton, VP, Global Ethics & Compliance Gerald Jean-Baptiste, Staffing Channels Specialist Emmanuel Matthews, Innovative Experience Generalist Ian Wilkinson, Software Engineer

We Love You lets viewers connect with Black men candidly and up close—in moments of vulnerability as well as levity. The photos reveal not just who we are now, but who we’ve been in the past and who we aspire to be tomorrow. Above all, the project convinces me of the great possibilities ahead, not just for Black men, but for all people. A thousand is only the beginning.

Today we're launching a new exhibit in Google Arts & Culture featuring the work of photographer Bryon Summers. In this post, Summers shares more about his work.
Categories: Technology

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