Google RISE Summit 2014

Google RISE Awards are supporting organizations around the world working hard to promote CS (Computer Science) to young students - especially girls, underrepresented minorities, and students who face socio-economic barriers.

42 organizations from 19 countries were invited to the RISE Summit on April 14-16 in Mountain View. The mantra: Connect. Share. Grow.

Keynote by Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President PO of Google

Laszlo Bock opened the event mentioning the “Me! Me! Me!” behavior of boys in class. Here is a similar quote from the study Just Like A Woman - How Gender Science Is Redefining What Makes Us Female (1999) by Dianne Hales:

In elementary grades, boys are more active and assertive. They shout out an answer – any answer – before the teacher has finished a question; girls wait until they’re sure they know the right response. And even teachers with gender-equity training report that they still devote more attention to the high-spirited hi-jinks of boys than to the quieter academic difficulties of girls.

The study follows:

Small classes and caring teachers may make a bigger difference, but it is also true that at least some girls speak up more and perform better without the distractions and disruptions boys can bring, especially in challenging subjects like math.

He also pointed out an article from Claire Cain Miller in the New York Times about sexism in technology: Technology’s Man Problem.

We were all wondering what Google wanted to achieve with the RISE program, he insisted on the fact that it was not only for recruiting. They want to expose more people to their way of thinking, to share their structured analytic way to solve problems.

Keynote by Hadi Partovi, founder of is a non-profit organization providing tutorials (translated into 36 languages!) for an Hour of Code™. Their successful campaign during the CS education week (December 9-13) reached 15 million users from 170 countries (33 million as of April 22, 2014). More stats here. EVEN MOAR STARS HEAR.

One lesson he gave us: “Don’t show actual code because it’s scary.”

A straightforward example of the need of teaching CS: “Nowadays, when people get a virus, they get scared, do not know what to do. While if it’s a biological virus, they know how to protect themselves.”

They said to me: “You have Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg in your video, take the shortest URL that you can find.”

They want to increase the number of schools that teach CS. But I was told later there is currently no way to get this number.

We haven’t succeeded in convincing a single politician to give any money [for promoting CS in schools].

I believe it’s a good thing to read as well what’s detractors say. I think passionate people are not their target. We must focus on providing everyone with a basic education in CS.

App Inventor 2 by Shaileen Pokress

We got a nice presentation of AI2 Companion. In a few minutes we could build our own app:

This process basically starts at 1:14:

We believe that teachers and learners should be creators rather than just consumers of new mobile technologies.

Curiously, that’s pretty exactly what Hayao Miyazaki said. But not exactly what he meant.

App Inventor was built upon constructionism (“constructing helps building mental constructions”), different from constructivism (“knowledge is constructed by the learner”).

Indiegogo by Breanna DiGiammarino

She presented us with valuable information about crowdfunding and showed us a funny example of successful campaign:

The Psychology of Learning by Roxana Marachi, Associate Professor of Education at San José State University

Roxana praised the immediate feedback of’s tutorials in learning CS, defined a few words (flow: mental state during which one does not a task in order to rewarded but just because she loves it) and suggested an algorithm for learning, M.O.V.E.R.:

She mentioned a video: We Feel, Therefore We Learn.

YouTube by Taylor Marcus

Helpouts by Matt Severson

Starting on November 5, 2013, Helpouts is a real-time help service using Google Hangouts: people can provide lessons online, for free or at a custom price.

Are the videos recorded?
Only for quality assurance purposes, in response to abuse reporting or if customer and provider agree.

What if the expert is not liable? What about lawsuits?
Google disclaims all liability for the actions, errors or omissions of third-party providers.

Many smart questions were raised during the session. The question about the protection of the helper (in case of misinterpretation of her advice by the customer) was only partly assessed.

Measuring to grow by Laura Burkhauser, Leadership Development at the Bridgespan Group

We had to check our current performance (Weak, Average, Strong) according to the following grid. We all did pretty bad.

(Thanks to David Lambert for his help.)