Austin (KXAN) - Things are moving a bit faster these days in Ms. Adam's 3rd grade class at University of Texas Elementary School in east Austin. They are in a STEAM class -- short for science, technology, engineering, arts and math education. Students have new Google Chromebooks that give them quick access to a wealth of information from around the world in mere seconds. Their assignment is to research and write about their hero who has failed and still succeeded.
Third grader Ty-L Goff is searching through photos of Oprah Winfrey and reading about the celebrity's failed attempts at a television career early on.
"Oprah just stood up for herself and said I'm just going to keep on," said UT Elementary 3rd grader Ty-L Goff.
Sitting on floor mats with Chromebooks in hand, the young researchers navigate through many steps in the lesson. Other heroes on their screens include basketball player Michael Jordan, author J. K. Rowling and Apple Founder Steve Jobs.
"He was actually fired by other people in his business even though he was the boss," said UT Elementary 3rd grader Chase McDuffie. "That inspired me to do him."
Google gave UT Elementary School $15,000 that allowed teachers to purchase the Chromebooks, iPads and other devices. A Google spokesman says the company wants to invest in the young people who will hopefully fill technology jobs in the future. The Austin Technology Council predicts at least nine thousand tech jobs will be created in Austin by the year 2017.
"The lessons that are being taught in technology in the classrooms are truly the foundation of making these students the next scientists of our world," said Google Spokesman Gerardo Interiano.
Children as young as those in Pre-K are using the devices connecting this young generation like never before.
"Growing up as children, access to information was came home in magazines, books, or encyclopedias," said UT Elementary Principal Kelly Mullin. "Now our students can go online and learn information about something in seconds."
This fast technology can also reach students who might fall through the cracks otherwise.
"You think he's so outgoing and will be able to really take charge of that," said STEAM Teacher Felicia Adams. "You never know. It's the quiet one who ends up saying -- Look at this. Look at what I made, and it's this masterpiece!"
Other Google grants in 2013
US Green Business Council: $15,000
Purpose: U.S. Green Building Council’s Central Texas – Balcones Chapter has used the grant for two projects: o To launch a business-to-business directory designed specifically to help green building projects be built more quickly, easily and affordably. The Regional Green Building Resources Directory is the first comprehensive and credible place for general contractors, facility managers, design professionals and others to find commercial green building expertise. Support from Google helped in the purchase of software, marketing materials, and the customization of software for the business-to-business directory tool.
They are also working with the National Wildlife Federation to implement a green schools STEM education program in the AISD district. Students will be able to choose a topic of interest to them (i.e. saving energy, reducing waste, healthy schools) and measure and collect data for their projects, ultimately culminating in a presentation to help give the school district green ideas and solutions, while educating students on the importance of being green along the way.
Ann Richards School: $10,000
Purpose: The grant will be used to support a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, an all-girls public school with more than 700 6 th- 12-grade students in Austin, Texas. The program will allow students of the Ann Richards School to receive side-by-side mentorship from researchers as they study several issues surrounding efficient energy use, including how electric vehicles are affecting the power grid and the development of a mobile phone application that aids electric vehicle charging.
Students will also survey Pecan Street’s research participants to help determine what features owners of electric vehicles would most like to see in the mobile app. In December of 2011, Google.org granted $100,000 to Austin-based Girlstart. The nonprofit is centered on providing science, technology, engineering and math education for girls. The grant was used to support the expansion of the Girlstart After School and Camps to Go programs to additional Central Texas schools. The nonprofit said it will use the grant to serve an additional 500 girls and expand scholarships for its Girlstart Girl Camp.
Cyberways and Waterways: $6,500
Purpose: This Grant will go towards providing GRS and Healthivores to registered schools in Austin (including training, service and license fees). This grant will allow the organization to continue by funding ongoing activity as well as help increase registration numbers (schools, teachers, students) and participation from Austin schools/users (increased published content, increased community discussion through commenting and “Like” features).
AISD: $4,000 and 100 tablets
Purpose: The tablets are made possible through the Teaching with Google Nexus Project, which is sponsored and managed by AISD’s Office of Innovation and Development and made possible by Google’s contribution of 100 tablets. The Austin Independent School District is teaming with Google to provide teachers or nonprofit providers who work with AISD students with up to 100 Nexus tablets. The analysis of the results of the projects will give the district insight into the potential impact of the tablets in the daily instruction environment of AISD and how the tablets can be best leveraged to expedite the district’s evolution to a 21st Century Learning institution. The goal of the project is to support creative and innovative ideas using technology to improve educational outcomes of students. The competition will encourage those who work closely with students to share their most innovative and meaningful strategies for integrating technology into their practice.
Purpose: Girlstart will use this grant to scale up its Girlstart After School and Girlstart Summer Camp programs to reach dramatically more girls. In the fall of 2009, Girlstart conducted 4 after school programs in 1 district and are now doing 39 programs in 12 districts between the DFW area and McAllen, reaching 875+ girls each week. The Google RISE award will allow Girlstart to focus on building their capacity to continue delivering Girlstart After School and Girlstart Summer Camp 'to Go' (which is what we call it when we deliver programs outside of Central Texas). The award will partially support a new staff member to focus on building and sustaining these 'to Go' relationships, will directly make possible contract staff to deliver After School and Summer Camp 'to Go', as well as provide for STEM supplies and materials in order to conduct these programs.
Purpose: DTEACh outreach and curricula empowers teachers and students from underrepresented groups, including minorities, females, and students with a low-income background, to take steps to affect change in an effort to systematically advance the field of STEM education. This award is funding UT's new National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges Scholars K12 Partners Program - which is connected with DTEACh. With this Google award, DTEACh will engage middle school students, teachers, and families in doing engineering, design, entrepreneurship, and service-learning about these Grand Challenges.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.