The She Word: Jen Holland and her career expedition

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

Today we’re talking to Jen Holland, a program manager on our education team who once played a humming game on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” with Ellen and Vince Vaughn. (Before you ask, no—there’s no video.)

jen

You’re at a dinner party and someone asks what you do. How do you explain your job to them?

My team works on education products like Google Classroom and Expeditions (a virtual field trip app for schools) that aim to transform how teaching and learning happen in the classroom. As a program manager, I’m responsible for our product pilots in schools—where we work directly alongside teachers and students to develop our products based on what schools actually need.

I lead our efforts to bring Expeditions to schools all over the globe through the Pioneer Program, which has taken more than  2 million students in 11 countries on an Expedition. Finally, I’m responsible for all Expeditions content creation, which now spans more than 500 high-quality VR tours and 200+ teacher lesson plans. This week we added 40 more Expeditions which are all focused on women’s careers, and introduce students to what it’s like to work as an astronaut, engineer, or firefighter.

You’ve been on the Expeditions team from the beginning. What have you found most inspiring or surprising about the program?

The biggest joy I get is going into a class and seeing the magic of Expeditions take over. The students are totally engaged without even realizing it and ask incredible and inquisitive questions. The teachers can hardly believe what they are seeing and the smiles on their faces are just priceless. That’s what learning should look like every day.

The coolest part of Expeditions for me is that I had no background in VR or creating compelling VR content—let alone any experience running a global program. I spent tons of time watching YouTube videos, reading articles, going to conferences, and listening to podcasts to learn more about VR. It took a lot of trial and error, but as my dad always said to me, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to work in “business.” My dad was a business professor and my first “investor” when I was a kid (think lemonade stands and sewing ribbon belts!). As I grew older and spent more time with my dad’s friends—like Bill Campbell, who was the chairman of Intuit and a beloved advisor to Silicon Valley companies—I became fascinated by entrepreneurship and product development.

I’m also passionate about helping college students get the skills they need to be competitive from day one. I learned so much of my important “soft skills” on the job—I wish I’d had more coaching and opportunities to learn about things like project management, budgeting, business modeling, giving and receiving peer feedback, upward communication, etc. in classes. That’s one of the reasons I love working on Expeditions—which can help students explore college campuses and learn more about other careers—and why I volunteer with students on entrepreneurship programs.

Tell us about one of your mentors who helped you get to where you are today.

My college accounting professor, Dawn Massey, was not only a fantastic teacher, but also encouraged me to pursue my crazy ideas. When I took my first accounting class in college, I was miserable. I hated accounting. But by spending so much time with her, I got better. I ended up switching my focus and moved into finance—something I’d never considered because I thought I was bad at math. Fast forward, I ended up with an MBA in Finance and accepted a role on Google’s finance team, which eventually led to my dream job—the one I have now.

My second mentor was someone I mentioned already—Bill Campbell. He was a dear friend of my dad’s, and always made time for me. I learned from him that it’s always important to make time for individuals who willing to put in the effort and succeed, whether that be through informal coffee chats, mentorships, reviewing resumes, doing mock interviews, etc. You can always make time to help someone out.

How do you spend most of your time outside of work?

My husband and I love to host and have friends over for dinner parties—or really any kind of parties. I LOVE craft projects, floral arrangements, and baking and cooking. I enjoy traveling—my favorite place to visit is Maine, where my family spends every Fourth of July. And I especially love the time I spend volunteering and engaging with students. I started a program that teaches college students professional development skills to help them close the digital divide in their school’s communities, and also hit the ground running in a job or internship.

Helping libraries get youth excited about computer science

I grew up in a library. Well, sort of. My family arrived in the United States as refugees when I was a toddler and, living in a community without many resources or youth programs, my parents were unsure of what to do with me outside of school. This was especially true in the summers, so they would take me to our local library several times a week — it was free and air-conditioned. I was a regular at every literacy program and summer reading competition, and it was through these programs that I honed my reading skills and developed a love of learning that have guided me ever since.

Now, decades after those visits to our local branch, I’m excited to share that Google is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) on Libraries Ready to Code, a new project to help librarians across the U.S. inspire youth to explore computer science (CS). This work builds on previous Google support for library programs, including Wi-Fi hotspot lending.

Libraries are, and have always been, at the heart of communities throughout the country. They play a unique role in education, inspiring youth (and adults!) to be lifelong learners. More than just a place to borrow books, libraries provide access to critical knowledge, workforce skills, and opportunities to become civically engaged. As the world changes, libraries have adapted with new services, media and tools. They promote digital inclusion—providing free access to digital content, hardware, software, and high-speed Internet.

And, increasingly, libraries are recognizing the importance of exposing youth to CS and computational thinking (CT) skills—arguably, the “new literacy” of the 21st century. “Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future,” says Crystle Martin, Secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding.

Crystle Martin

Secretary of YALSA

While 40 percent of U.S. schools offer CS courses that include programming, access is not universal and demographic disparities exist. Libraries can help broaden that access: with more than 100,000 public and school libraries in the U.S., including in rural and lower-income areas, more than 306 million Americans live within a service area. But to expand access to CS, we need to provide librarians with the resources and understanding to curate and implement programs that suit their communities’ needs.

Through Libraries Ready to Code, Google and ALA will help equip librarians with skills to provide CS learning opportunities like Google’s CS First program, which New York Public Libraries are already using for NY coding clubs. The project will support university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in redesigning their tech and media courses. They’ll integrate content on facilitating CS activities and teaching CT, and after the courses are evaluated, we’ll share these model courses with LIS schools nationally.

Ready to Code isn’t intended to transform librarians into expert programmers or computer scientists. Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course.

The next time you’re at your local library, find out if they are Ready to Code. If not, they can visit the Ready to Code website to learn about resources to get started and request more information. Meanwhile, I’ll be at my local branch with my five-year old — checking out books and learning to code together.

EDU_ReadyToCode_HaiHong_Son.JPG

Helping libraries get youth excited about computer science

I grew up in a library. Well, sort of. My family arrived in the United States as refugees when I was a toddler and, living in a community without many resources or youth programs, my parents were unsure of what to do with me outside of school. This was especially true in the summers, so they would take me to our local library several times a week — it was free and air-conditioned. I was a regular at every literacy program and summer reading competition, and it was through these programs that I honed my reading skills and developed a love of learning that has guided me ever since.

Now, decades after those visits to our local branch, I’m excited to share that Google is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) on Libraries Ready to Code, a new project to help librarians across the U.S. inspire youth to explore computer science (CS). This work builds on previous Google support for library programs, including Wi-Fi hotspot lending.

Libraries are, and have always been, at the heart of communities throughout the country. They play a unique role in education, inspiring youth (and adults!) to be lifelong learners. More than just a place to borrow books, libraries provide access to critical knowledge, workforce skills, and opportunities to become civically engaged. As the world changes, libraries have adapted with new services, media and tools. They promote digital inclusion—providing free access to digital content, hardware, software, and high-speed Internet.

And, increasingly, libraries are recognizing the importance of exposing youth to CS and computational thinking (CT) skills—arguably, the “new literacy” of the 21st century. “Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future,” says Crystle Martin, Secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding.

Crystle Martin

Secretary of YALSA

While 40 percent of U.S. schools offer CS courses that include programming, access is not universal and demographic disparities exist. Libraries can help broaden that access: with more than 100,000 public and school libraries in the U.S., including in rural and lower-income areas, more than 306 million Americans live within a service area. But to expand access to CS, we need to provide librarians with the resources and understanding to curate and implement programs that suit their communities’ needs.

Through Libraries Ready to Code, Google and ALA will help equip librarians with skills to provide CS learning opportunities like Google’s CS First program, which New York Public Libraries are already using for NY coding clubs. The project will support university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in redesigning their tech and media courses. They’ll integrate content on facilitating CS activities and teaching CT, and after the courses are evaluated, we’ll share these model courses with LIS schools nationally.

Ready to Code isn’t intended to transform librarians into expert programmers or computer scientists. Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course.

The next time you’re at your local library, find out if they are Ready to Code. If not, they can visit the Ready to Code website to learn about resources to get started and request more information. Meanwhile, I’ll be at my local branch with my five-year old — checking out books and learning to code together.

EDU_ReadyToCode_HaiHong_Son.JPG

Hai Hong and his son programming in Scratch at their local library

Helping libraries get youth excited about computer science

I grew up in a library. Well, sort of. My family arrived in the United States as refugees when I was a toddler and, living in a community without many resources or youth programs, my parents were unsure of what to do with me outside of school. This was especially true in the summers, so they would take me to our local library several times a week — it was free and air-conditioned. I was a regular at every literacy program and summer reading competition, and it was through these programs that I honed my reading skills and developed a love of learning that has guided me ever since.

Now, decades after those visits to our local branch, I’m excited to share that Google is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) on Libraries Ready to Code, a new project to help librarians across the U.S. inspire youth to explore computer science (CS). This work builds on previous Google support for library programs, including Wi-Fi hotspot lending.

Libraries are, and have always been, at the heart of communities throughout the country. They play a unique role in education, inspiring youth (and adults!) to be lifelong learners. More than just a place to borrow books, libraries provide access to critical knowledge, workforce skills, and opportunities to become civically engaged. As the world changes, libraries have adapted with new services, media and tools. They promote digital inclusion—providing free access to digital content, hardware, software, and high-speed Internet.

And, increasingly, libraries are recognizing the importance of exposing youth to CS and computational thinking (CT) skills—arguably, the “new literacy” of the 21st century. “Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future,” says Crystle Martin, Secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding.

Crystle Martin

Secretary of YALSA

While 40 percent of U.S. schools offer CS courses that include programming, access is not universal and demographic disparities exist. Libraries can help broaden that access: with more than 100,000 public and school libraries in the U.S., including in rural and lower-income areas, more than 306 million Americans live within a service area. But to expand access to CS, we need to provide librarians with the resources and understanding to curate and implement programs that suit their communities’ needs.

Through Libraries Ready to Code, Google and ALA will help equip librarians with skills to provide CS learning opportunities like Google’s CS First program, which New York Public Libraries are already using for NY coding clubs. The project will support university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in redesigning their tech and media courses. They’ll integrate content on facilitating CS activities and teaching CT, and after the courses are evaluated, we’ll share these model courses with LIS schools nationally.

Ready to Code isn’t intended to transform librarians into expert programmers or computer scientists. Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course.

The next time you’re at your local library, find out if they are Ready to Code. If not, they can visit the Ready to Code website to learn about resources to get started and request more information. Meanwhile, I’ll be at my local branch with my five-year old — checking out books and learning to code together.

EDU_ReadyToCode_HaiHong_Son.JPG

Hai Hong and his son programming in Scratch at their local library

Helping libraries get youth excited about computer science

I grew up in a library. Well, sort of. My family arrived in the United States as refugees when I was a toddler and, living in a community without many resources or youth programs, my parents were unsure of what to do with me outside of school. This was especially true in the summers, so they would take me to our local library several times a week — it was free and air-conditioned. I was a regular at every literacy program and summer reading competition, and it was through these programs that I honed my reading skills and developed a love of learning that has guided me ever since.

Now, decades after those visits to our local branch, I’m excited to share that Google is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) on Libraries Ready to Code, a new project to help librarians across the U.S. inspire youth to explore computer science (CS). This work builds on previous Google support for library programs, including Wi-Fi hotspot lending.

Libraries are, and have always been, at the heart of communities throughout the country. They play a unique role in education, inspiring youth (and adults!) to be lifelong learners. More than just a place to borrow books, libraries provide access to critical knowledge, workforce skills, and opportunities to become civically engaged. As the world changes, libraries have adapted with new services, media and tools. They promote digital inclusion—providing free access to digital content, hardware, software, and high-speed Internet.

And, increasingly, libraries are recognizing the importance of exposing youth to CS and computational thinking (CT) skills—arguably, the “new literacy” of the 21st century. “Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding. From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future,” says Crystle Martin, Secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding.

Crystle Martin

Secretary of YALSA

While 40 percent of U.S. schools offer CS courses that include programming, access is not universal and demographic disparities exist. Libraries can help broaden that access: with more than 100,000 public and school libraries in the U.S., including in rural and lower-income areas, more than 306 million Americans live within a service area. But to expand access to CS, we need to provide librarians with the resources and understanding to curate and implement programs that suit their communities’ needs.

Through Libraries Ready to Code, Google and ALA will help equip librarians with skills to provide CS learning opportunities like Google’s CS First program, which New York Public Libraries are already using for NY coding clubs. The project will support university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in redesigning their tech and media courses. They’ll integrate content on facilitating CS activities and teaching CT, and after the courses are evaluated, we’ll share these model courses with LIS schools nationally.

Ready to Code isn’t intended to transform librarians into expert programmers or computer scientists. Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course.

The next time you’re at your local library, find out if they are Ready to Code. If not, they can visit the Ready to Code website to learn about resources to get started and request more information. Meanwhile, I’ll be at my local branch with my five-year old — checking out books and learning to code together.

EDU_ReadyToCode_HaiHong_Son.JPG

Hai Hong and his son programming in Scratch at their local library

Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

FluencyTutor.png

Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable.

Mandy Marlowe

6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider.

Lisa Goldman

7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

FluencyTutor.png

Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable.

Mandy Marlowe

6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider.

Lisa Goldman

7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

FluencyTutor.png

Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable.

Mandy Marlowe

6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider.

Lisa Goldman

7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

FluencyTutor.png

Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable.

Mandy Marlowe

6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider.

Lisa Goldman

7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

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Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable.

Mandy Marlowe

6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

listenwise.png

Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

“Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider.

Lisa Goldman

7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.