Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ready, Set, Doodle for Google!

Google announced today an exciting competition for U.S students in grades K-12. Kids from across the country have the opportunity to use their noodles by pondering a significant question, "What if...?, and turning their bright ideas into a graphic, commonly known to Google aficionados as a Google Doodle. These doodles are part of a whimsical company tradition of commemorating significant dates and holidays, and are created by Google employee Dennis Hwang. Google Doodles appear on Google's home page every now and then; when you click on an active Google Doodle, you are sent to a search page containing related information. Sometimes Google Doodles appear over several days, telling a serial story, as in this Holiday 2007 example.

Google is all about innovation and creative thinking. They are inviting kids to dream big by using the question, "What if....? " as the basis for their designs. Students are strongly encouraged to interpret this question as widely as possible in order to produce clever and creative doodles. For inspiration, teachers can find templates and examine sample lesson plans aligned to national standards here, and are urged to adapt this guiding question to suit their curricular needs. Guidance for this project can also be found within the Google for Educators discussion group .

The general public will vote on the final set of Google doodles. The winning design will appear on Google's home page on May 22, 2008, for the entire day. Trips to the Googleplex, laptops, and t-shirts are among the prizes to be offered to the cleveriest of the clever, with a $10,000 college scholarship to the national winner and a $25,000 tech grant going to the national winner's school.

Take a look at these videos for further inspiration and join the fun. The deadline for submissions is April 12, 2008, so there's not a moment to lose!