Google – The Disney for Geeks

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I had high expectations for Google.  You hear all these rumours about this magical place, almost like a Disney World for geeks like me.  A place where dreams come true and your imagination runs wild.  I can tell you this, I was NOT disappointed.  My experience here exceeded my expectations.  As the cool kids would say…I can’t even…

Our wonderful guide, Amanda, immediately engages us with the ideas students have come up with through their ‘Doodle for Google’ programme.  You know those different Google designs that pop up everyday? you guessed it, all designed by school aged students.  Ideas such as: The Cloud Plough, The Imagination Transporter and Optimistic Binoculars were presented to us.  Each and every one of those ideas, brilliant.  Giving us a glimpse into what could very much be a possibility in the future.

She got us all thinking by asking us a fairly simple but perplexing question:

What is the important event that is going to be happening in the year 2030?

Incase you didn’t know, it is the year that 2016’s kindergarten kids will graduate.  Why is this important? Because by the time 2030 comes around, it is estimated that 60% of jobs that these students will be working in, do not currently exist.  But it is our job to prepare them for it.  How do I prepare someone to be a Cloud Plough operator?

How do we do it?

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This is a question that will burden educators world wide, today, and for years to come.  But where we can start is by teaching skills rather than knowledge.  Rather than delivering the ‘what’ of education, we need to focus on the ‘how’ and the ‘why’.

In matter of fact Google, one of the most desirable places on Earth to work, uses four indicators to help decide which applicants to hire (people applying for jobs at Google average between 2 and 3 million per year).  These four indicators are:

  • Role Related Knowledge
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Flexibility
  • ‘Google-iness’

As you can see, content knowledge only accounts for one of those indicators.   The fact that ‘Google-iness’ (how well you can fit into the company and its beliefs and culture) is just as important and should be an eye opener for many educators.  If we are only teaching them content, we are not developing the student as a whole.  We are not giving them the chance to develop their ‘Google-iness’…which I have a lot of…just incase the magical Google hiring fairy is reading this…

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Amanda points out to us that a student’s Grade Point Average (G.P.A) is NOT an indicator of how well a student will succeed two years after graduation.  Rather it is their General Cognitive Ability (G.C.A) that is the greatest indicator…essentially their ability to collaborate and solve problems.

Her notion of being able to fail well is good thing.  This is something that we need to teach.  To fail well, and do it quickly.  Because if we fail, and if we fail fast, it just means that we can find solutions quicker.  Isn’t that just a brilliant notion? Fail, and fail well!!

But perhaps what inspired me the most was Google’s view on education.  The fact that it is not technology that is the engager and the drive behind a students learning.  But, rather the teacher as a source of inspiration.  Technology should not take the place of good practice.  This is best summed up by Ben Grey, Assistant Superintendent for Innovative Learning and Communication for Community Consolidated School District 59:

Technology amplifies human potential through empowerment, connectivity, innovation, digital resources and access.

Who knows what Google has cooking in their Googleplex, the geek’s version of Cinderella’s Castle.  Maybe they are working on that Cloud Plough, or that Imagination Transporter…but mostly, I hope they are working on those Optimistic Binoculars…because ‘everybody needs a bit of optimism in their lives’

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A photobombing Android

 

 

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