Jordan Lloyd Bookey leads the K-12 Education Outreach team at Google. In this role, she partners with external organizations and internal education‐related teams to further Google’s mission to increase access to useful, high quality education technology, community, and content, and to support innovation in learning. Jordan’s team focuses on finding and elevating outstanding teachers and to inspiring the next generation of computer scientists. Prior to this role, Jordan led the Diversity & Talent Inclusion team for Google’s Midwest and East Coast offices.
How did you come to Google?
Before graduate school, I taught middle school Social Studies and Language Arts at the Seed School of Washington, DC. I then worked at HeadsUP!, also located in DC, as a Program Director. Eventually, I went on to receive my MBA from The Wharton School of Business, where I focused on Entrepreneurship and led the school’s Net Impact chapter. After graduating, I went to work in People Operations at Google and soon thereafter shifted to lead the K-12 Education Outreach team, following my personal and professional passion.
Where do you find yourself within the company?
Education at Google is spread throughout the organization, including the people operations, engineering and marketing departments. I now lead the K-12 Education Outreach team at Google, which includes connecting with external organizations and internal education-related teams at Google. My team focuses on finding and elevating outstanding teachers, especially STEM teachers, and inspiring the next generation of computer scientists. Prior to this role, I led the Diversity and Talent Inclusion team for Google’s Midwest and East Coast offices.
What does Google aspire to do in education reform?
Google’s overarching mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful. We see this aligning with the education sector, where we hope to open up access to high quality technology. Historically, we have had four main areas of emphasis:
1. Increase access and quality to computer science (CS) curriculum.
2. Implement new education technologies that scale. An example is App Inventor.
4. Outreach and advocacy. Examples include programs that allow kids to experience CS first hand and scholarships for historically underrepresented students in the field to pursue degrees in this area.
What is on the horizon for your team and Google?
So much is happening in Education at Google. In a company that values innovation so deeply, we will continue to see new ideas and projects in the space; just look at the Chrome netbooks that we recently deployed in hundreds of classrooms. That said, there is an increasing emphasis across the company to tailor our efforts to target teachers and those who support them. For example, we are looking to help give teachers the tools and training they need to effectively use technology in their classrooms. That is a major project, and while not my team specifically, it will be an important effort for the company. My team is focusing on three core areas to help make a deeper impact nationally and globally in education:
1. Inspiring the next generation of computer scientists;
2. Sharing leading HR practices with the education sector; and
3. Elevating and celebrating outstanding teachers, especially STEM teachers.
As a recognized leader in HR, we often share our experiences and practices with corporate leaders and others outside our industry; by sharing our work with education leaders in the field, we hope to scale and increase the impact of our efforts. I remember what it was to be in the classroom all day, working all night, and feeling like I was on an island. That is why I am particularly passionate about these core area and excited about our efforts to lead to national recognition and increased retention for our best STEM teachers.
Sounds like a Japanese model of elevating the teacher?
Yes, we absolutely draw inspiration from other nations. In Korea, for example, President Obama often mentions that teachers are revered as nation builders. And in Japan and Finland, amongst others, teaching is highly professionalized and respected. We see challenges throughout the teacher and leader pipeline — from recruitment to talent management to overall respect for the teaching profession. It is critical that we find a way to celebrate and keep top teachers in high needs schools, especially past the 3-5 year mark.
Do you see a digital learning role with STEM teachers?
It is hard to find a student today that isn’t a great consumer of technology, which is why we care a lot about digital learning. Innovation is paramount at Google, and we want to encourage children to innovate and be the creators of content and technology. Therefore, it is imperative that all teachers — especially those going into high needs schools where the stakes are even higher — receive adequate tools to integrate digital education seamlessly into their classroom. Our own Jamie Casap, who evangelizes the Apps for Education suite, is on the Digital Learning Council and participating to help ensure that we play an important role in the digital learning movement.
What programs does Google have to support your efforts in Computer Science?
We continue to see a dwindling number of students studying computer science (CS), although an increasing number of jobs and careers require this background. When we surveyed Googlers internally, we found that almost all (98%) of our engineers had some level of exposure to CS before getting to college. A much smaller (less than 50%) percentage of non-engineers also had exposure to it. To that end, we aim to increase exposure and excitement as much as possible! So while beginning our partnerships in the education sector, we saw an opportunity to promote programs that are intensive, interactive and extremely engaging for students. Examples of Google’s programs include:
● Google’s Computing and Programming Experience (CAPE): This four-week experience is for 8th graders to gain exposure to CS. This summer we will have around 130 students, and we hope to further expand this content to organizations and schools around the country. We are looking to test this new model with MS2 in Washington, DC this summer.
● LEAD Program for Computer Science: This is a rigorous and exciting summer residential program for underrepresented minority students in grades 9-11, held at four universities in its upcoming inaugural year..
● Trailblazer Award: This is an award (in Europe) that is given internationally for participation in national science fairs. Winners are all treated to a 2-day Trailblazer retreat with fellow winners to learn more about the possibilities of a career in CS.
● Counselors for Computing: This program trains counselors to teach their fellow guidance counselors the benefits of CS degrees. Through our partner members at NCWIT, we are hoping to scale impact through these critical influencers.
● CS4HS is an initiative sponsored by Google to promote CS and Computational Thinking in high school and middle school curriculum by hosting CS teachers at campuses worldwide to learn about leading edge practice in the field.