Students Explore Tech at Google I/O Youth

By Michael Rosa

Chances are you’ve heard of Google I/O, the annual software developer conference that showcases the newest tech from Google each year. But what about Google I/O Youth?

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Students posted comments on how they would use technology to create the future.

Now in its second year, Google I/O Youth hosts an open and diverse learning experience, blending science and creativity to empower young people so they can share their unique and innovative perspectives and create a better future for our rapidly-evolving world.

Google I/O Youth provides interactive learning experiences for young participants (ages 9-14) and encourages them to create art and test out ideas on their own computer programs.

Cool Events from I/O Youth
On the second day of the Google I/O 2015 developer conference, more than 200 students participated in the exclusive, invite-only youth event. Digital Media Academy was on the list of lucky guests.

This half-day tech wonderland experience encouraged students to explore and challenge themselves by breaking components down and building them up again, better than before.

Keynote speaker Astro Teller, head of Google’s research lab Google X, shared with students some of the newest “science fiction” solutions that Google will be coming out with. He also encouraged students (who are living in a critical time for self-discovery and self-esteem) not to see their own mistakes as flaws, but instead to shift their viewpoint and see those mistakes as opportunities for improvement.

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Astro Teller, head of Google X research lab, tells students about the “science fiction” solutions Google is creating for the future.

The event was MC’d by Ryan Germick, head Google Doodler, who got the students up on their feet and stretching in unison, thanks to a Google Doodle celebrating Japanese calisthenics.

Students were able to participate in three prepared activities. First, they did some hands-on programming, using LEGO Mindstorms EV-3 robotics kits to create robotic rovers that traversed a specially designed model of a lunar landscape.

With tools provided by Google’s initiative Made with Code, students also had a chance to design and program a dancing Yeti, which was a huge hit.

Later, during a special screening with a mentor from Pixar, students got a chance to learn some basics of going on adventures in animation through storytelling. They then created stories, recorded voiceovers and presented spooky Scooby Doo mystery cartoons utilizing Google’s new animation app Toontastic. After the screenings, participants were treated to an award ceremony, where DMA students won for “Best Voiceover” and “Scariest Short”!

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Student-built LEGO rovers trek across a mock lunar landscape at Google I/O Youth.

DMA at Google I/O Youth

DMA brought 16 students to Google I/O Youth, and all of them had a blast at this rare opportunity to further their education and experience with technology.

Isabel Eidel is enrolled in DMA UCLA’s Academy for 3D Modelling and Visual Effects, and her interests lie in filmmaking as well as working with computers. She took a flight with her dad all the way from Phoenix, Arizona, in order to attend the Google I/O youth conference!

Likewise, Henry Gray, a DMA Stanford Minecraft modding student, is similarly inspired and has Google at the top of his list for dream jobs. He was even able to talk to Teller about his ideas for the Google self-driving car.

For those who missed it, there’s still a chance to get incredible hands-on learning in technology at Digital Media Academy. With courses starting this month, register soon before you miss the window for an amazing tech-filled summer!