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Top Google Education Pros and Cons

Thanks to ONEXTRAPIXEL for today’s post…!

Google has made a name for itself as an innovative organization. It’s more than just the simple search engine we knew and adored all those years ago. It’s investing in the youth of tomorrow with a selection of education programsin local communities around the world. Just last year, it appeared on the Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.

Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of each major Google Education offering.

Top 10 Google Education Advantages and Disadvantages

1. COMPUTING AND PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE

The Computing and Programming Experience (CAPE) program consists of middle and high school students from around America descending on New York and Santa Monica to learn about how computers work in the real world. The advantages are the top students will be surrounded by peers of their level. It gives them real experience for the world of work.

Computing and Programming Experience

The only snags are it involves a great deal of travel and it’s only open to the top students in each school.

2. LEAD FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE

The LEAD institute offers programs in computer science. They take place during the summer and at some of the leading universities in America, including Dartford and Stanford. There are programs for both graduates and school students.

It’s open to students from all over the world, including countries like Canada and South Africa. It’s also planning on expanding its computer science programs to other nations.

LEAD for Computer Science

It offers a scholarship program, but these are notoriously difficult to receive. Without a scholarship the program costs thousands of dollars.

3. APP INVENTOR

The App Inventor was launched by Google but is actually maintained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anyone with a basic knowledge of software development can create their own apps for mobile devices.

It’s a low-cost option for learning about the art of development, and you can study when and where you like. It’s disadvantageous to people who don’t yet know about software development, though.

App Inventor

It’s an open source project, so expect regular updates from the community and MIT.

4. YOUTUBE SPACE LAB

YouTube Space Lab allows students to take themselves into other galaxies and learn about the universal phenomenon occurring right now. As well as YouTube videos offering tutorials and guidance, they hold regular special events. In the past, they’ve had live streams from the International Space Station.

It lets you learn when and where you like, as it’s accessible from mobile devices. Giveaways include Zero-G flights and the chance to send an experiment into space.

YouTube Space Lab

They’re also working on a pilot scheme to bring a YouTube Space Lab into classrooms throughout the world.

5. COMPUTER SCIENCE SUMMER INSTITUTE

CSSI is about growing the next generation of computer scientists. The program takes high school students entering college to Google institutes where they learn about how computer science applies in the real world. Students get all expenses paid anywhere within the US and Canada.

Computer Science Summer Institute

The biggest disadvantage is its lack of places for people outside of this age group, so other students can lose out because of this arbitrary rule.

6. SCHOLARSHIPS, INTERNSHIPS AND AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

Google offers a selection of scholarships and internships as part of its ambassador program. Get in touch with Google and organize events at your college or university. It involves traveling to Google and learning about next generation technology. It’s open to a variety of students and presents the opportunity to work with one of the biggest corporations in the world.

Scholarships, Internships and Ambassador Program

Students may find it difficult to qualify for these programs as the competition is fierce. And the ambassador program is available through nomination only.

7. ONLINE MARKETING CHALLENGE

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is open to college students registering under a participating professor. Google provides a budget of $250 and students compete to market themselves through Google AdWords and Google+. It’s easy to get into and doesn’t take up a great deal of time.

Online Marketing Challenge

Prizes include a trip to Google headquarters and laptops. Be aware, you will need to find a team of at least three people and a willing professor.

8. GOOGLE TEACHER ACADEMY

The Google Teacher Academy is an academy open to primary and high school teachers wanting to learn more about technology and the ways Google can help in the classroom. 50 participants worldwide are selected based on merit. It costs nothing and Google covers every expense during the course.

Google Teacher Academy

Remember to make your application as strong as possible. With only 50 places and thousands of candidates, you really need to stand out. They also pay attention to best essays.

9. GOOGLE FACULTY INSTITUTE

The Google Faculty Institute takes place at the close of the academic year and involves 39 teachers, selected on merit, attending a conference in California. Participants learn about implementing technology and the role of computing in the modern classroom. Attendees must go through a rigorous application process and be nominated by someone else to qualify for this prestigious three-day event.

Google Faculty Institute

10. ONLINE RESOURCES

YouTube’s education portal is the home of Google’s online video resources. It contains videos from the Khan Academy and MIT, as well as others. Watch as they guide you through detailed tutorials. You can do it whenever you like and at your own pace. Sadly, there’s no way to ask questions or to review what you’ve just learned.

Online Resources

Conclusion

Overall, the Google corporation has made a firm commitment to education and helping teachers and instructors from all over the world improve. The programs have their disadvantages, but the advantages and the ways they’re consistently enhancing learning makes them a must-have for any talented young person.

IE10 Doubling Up

News from Webmonkey.com – IE10 has doubled its desktop market share. Well, at least it’s better at following W3C standards than older versions!

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 saw a meteoric rise in market share last month, jumping from 2.93 percent in March to 6.22 percent in April, according to NetMarketShare.

Some of IE 10′s growth might be attributable to more Windows 8 machines coming online, but it also comes close on the heels of the release of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7.

As we noted in our review, IE 10 is a huge step forward for Microsoft’s oft-maligned browser, bringing much better web standards support and considerable speed improvements over IE 9. And there’s plenty to like even on Windows 7 where Microsoft claims users should see a 20 percent increase in performance over IE 9, as well as better battery life on Windows 7 laptops.

While web developers should be happy to see IE 10 gaining some ground given its vastly superior web standards support and speed compared to previous releases, looking at the bigger browser share picture is still disheartening. While IE 10 use may have doubled last month, it still trails IE 6 use worldwide.

The most widely used version of IE on the web remains IE 8, which, while much better than IE 6, still has next to no support for modern web development tools like HTML5 and CSS 3.

As always, progressive enhancement and feature-detection tools like Modernizr are your friends when it comes to older versions of IE.

Responsive or Adaptive

Thanks to webmonkey.com for today’s article!

You’ve probably heard people say we’re living in a “post-PC world.” What does that mean for web developers? It means that 30% to 50% of your website’s traffic now comes from mobile devices. It means that soon, desktop and laptop users will be in a minority on the web.

How do we deal with this tectonic shift in user behavior? We’ve moved beyond the era of m-dot or t-dot hacks, into one where responsive and adaptive design techniques rule the day — what the W3C calls a One Web approach. The key part of the W3C’s recommendation is that “One Web means making, as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using.”

For developers that means that taking a One Web approach ensures that not only does your site work on the smartphones and tablets of today, but it can be future-proofed for the unimagined screens of tomorrow.

There are currently three popular approaches to developing a One Web site: using a responsive design; client-side adaptive designs; and server-side adaptive designs.

One is not better or worse than the other; each has its own strengths and weaknesses and the wise web developer will consider the benefits and drawbacks of each before picking the one that works for their next project.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is the most common One Web approach. The approach uses CSS media queriesto modify the presentation of a website based on the size of the device display. The number of responsive sites is rapidly increasing, from the Boston Globe to Disney to Indochino.

A key advantage of this approach is that designers can use a single template for all devices, and just use CSS to determine how content is rendered on different screen sizes. Plus, those designers can still work in HTML and CSS, technologies they’re already familiar with. Additionally, there’s a growing number of responsive-friendly, open-source toolkits like Bootstrap or Foundation which help simplify the process of building responsive sites.

On the other hand, there are few shortcuts to a sound responsive design. To go responsive, organizations often have to undertake a complete site rebuild.

The design and testing phase can be quite fussy, as it can be difficult to customize the user experience for every possible device or context. We’ve all seen responsive site layouts that look like a bunch of puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit together. Responsive web design works best in combination with a mobile-first approach, where the mobile use case is prioritized during development. Progressive enhancement is then used to address tablet and desktop use cases.

Performance can also be a bugbear for responsive sites. At Mobify, we recently completed an analysis of 15 popular responsive e-commerce sites. Among these sites, the home pages loaded an average of 87 resources and 1.9 MB of data. Some responsive pages were as big as 15MB.

The numbers are that high because a responsive approach covers all devices. Your user is only using one device, but they have to wait for all of the page elements and resources to load before they can use it. Put simply, performance affects your bottom line. On smartphones, the conversion rate drops by an extra 3.5 percent when users have to wait just one second. By the three second mark, 57 percent of users will have left your site completely.

While responsive design is fast becoming the de facto standard, it also creates new challenges for online businesses, including how to handle images, how to optimize mobile performance and often means sites need to be rebuilt from the ground up with a mobile first approach.

Client-Side Adaptive

Adaptive design builds on the principles of responsive design to deliver user experiences that are targeted at specific devices and contexts. It uses JavaScript to enrich websites with advanced functionality and customization. For example, adaptive websites deliver Retina-quality images only to Retina displays (such as the new iPad) while standard-definition displays receive lower-quality images.

There are two approaches to adaptive design — one where the adaptations occur on the client side, in the user’s browser, and another where the web server does the heavy lifting of detecting various devices and loading the correct template. Examples of client-side adaptive sites include Threadless and ideeli. One of the strengths of the adaptive templating approach is the ability to reuse one set of HTML and JavaScript across devices, simplifying change management and testing.

A client-side adaptive approach means you don’t have to rebuild your site from the ground up. Instead you can build on existing content while still delivering a mobile-responsive layout. For expert developers, this approach also enables you to specifically target particular devices or screen resolutions. For example, for many of Mobify’s online fashion retail clients, 95% of their mobile traffic comes from iPhones. Client-side adaptive means they can optimize specifically for Apple smartphones.

Unlike responsive design, adaptive templates ensure that only the required resources are loaded by the client’s device. Because device and feature detection is shifted to the mobile device itself, CDN networks like Akamai and Edgecast can use most of their caching functionality without disrupting the user experience.

The client-side adaptive approach has a higher barrier to entry than responsive design. Developers need to have a solid grasp of JavaScript to use this technique. It also depends on a site’s existing templates as the foundation. Finally, because the client-side adaptations are a kind of layer on top of your existing code base, you need to maintain them as your site as a whole evolves.

Server-Side Adaptive

We can achieve the server-side adaptive approach in a variety of ways, through server-side plugins and custom user agent detection. Sites that use server-side adaptive include Etsy, One Kings Lane and OnlineShoes.com.

Why choose server-side adaptive? It typically offers distinct templates for each devices, enabling more customization, and it keeps device-detection logic on the server, enabling smaller mobile pages that load faster. Additionally, there are numerous server-side plugins available for common CMSs and eCommerce systems such as Magneto.

This approach isn’t for the faint of heart–it typically requires significant changes to your back-end systems, which can result in a lengthy (and costly) implementation. The requirement to manage multiple templates raises ongoing maintenance costs. Finally, this approach can encounter performance issues when servers are under heavy load. When mobile user agent detection is performed on the server, a lot of common caching mechanisms deployed by CDNs like Akamai need to be turned off. This can result in a slower user experience for mobile and desktop visitors.

Of course, many companies are still wrestling with the basics of responsive, and they’re not ready to confront the more sophisticated flavors of adaptive. Increasingly competition and mobile traffic, however, will drive more and more organizations to kick the tires on all three approaches, and pick the one that works best for their users.