Wearing official Google visitor badges and equipped with Google Chromebooks, Shore's fifth graders became full-fledged Googlers for the day on a visit to the company's Cambridge office complex on the campus of MIT.
The behind-the-scenes experience was arranged by fifth grade parent Sonia Chung, Head of Insights, Sponsorships and Media Packages with Google's YouTube
service, which is based in the company's Kendall Square location. Students explored YouTube engineering and broadcast areas, and toured numerous other Google divisions with a significant presence here, including Search
, Google Play
, Image Search
, and Flight Search.
The massive Cambridge campus, which spans 12 floors in three interconnected buildings, is a home away from home for thousands of employees, many of whom come from top computer science and other programs at nearby MIT and Harvard University. A full menu of cafes and cafeterias, sleeping pods, interactive common areas, arcade areas, a library, and Boston-themed architectural elements give Google's Kendall Square offices the feel of a small village, and made it the perfect environment for Shore's curious fifth graders to explore. Highlights included the working Fire Pole, which allows employees to quickly slide between floors; the realistic first class airline cabin in the Flight Search office; the company makerspace, which features a laser cutter and aluminum mill in addition to 3D printers; and the many wall-size whiteboards scattered around the offices in common areas, which are designed to look like everything from a beach shack to an amusement park.
According to Sonia Chung, "I really wanted the students to see how creative thinking, collaboration, and genuine fun are such a big part of the Google world. We're a lot like Shore in that way."
Students also enjoyed an afternoon workshop session in one of the company's state-of-the-art digital classrooms, where they learned all about Google's business model and practiced using advanced online tools such as Google Trends and Google Correlate.
Said chaperone Jill Atkinson, Shore's Technology Integration Specialist, "I was chatting with one of the Google people about the fifth graders. He thought it was so cool that we were visiting and called our students 'the future of Google!'"
Head of Lower School Sara Knox agreed, adding, "We were blown away by the incredibly in-depth experience our students had. It was a fabulous inside look at what it's like to live and breathe technology with a global company like Google, and I know there were quite a few fifth graders wondering how soon they could apply for a job. Of course, we were also so impressed with the amazing hospitality of Google staff and our wonderful host, Mrs. Chung. We really felt like the red carpet was out for us."
The Google visit kicked off a computer-focused week for all grades at Shore. Students of every age were preparing to join in the global Hour of Code
, a worldwide movement to introduce young learners to computer science. The event takes place every year during Computer Science Education Week, and has reached more than 300 million students so far.