One of the small delights of major, and sometimes lesser-known, holidays is discovering a new doodle around the Google logo. I’ve enjoyed the variations for years, but only recently became aware of the worldwide scope of Google doodles. Doodles began even before Google was incorporated, when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival—an imaginative “I’m out of the office now” message. Since that time the Google doodles have numbered over 1000 and are managed by a team of illustrators and engineers.
The collection of doodles from around the world can be viewed at the Google doodles homepage. The wealth of diversity there reminds us of the global reach of technology, and the breadth of human experience.
There is also a doodling option for young people. The yearly Doodle 4 Google event offers K-12 students the chance to redesign the Google homepage for all the world to see. The event kicks off in January, so mark your calendar and check for updates. But any time of the year, the Google doodles offer opportunities for exploration and imagination. Consider some of these.
- Have students explore the All Doodles site and select a doodle celebrating a person or event unfamiliar to them. Practice research skills (including, but not limited to, Google) to gather key information about why the celebration would be included.
- If you are studying a country, go through the doodles over the last several years and identify any from the country. For example, looking at the page today, I can see that October 1, 2013 was celebrated as China National Day. The handy search function at the top of the page allows me to see all the doodles available in China so far this year, but very few of them actually pertained directly to China. If your students were studying China, what other people or events do they believe would merit a doodle? Creating them (and perhaps even sending them to Google) could be a great project, with opportunities for design, imagination, and persuasion.
- Of course, similar activities could be planned for almost any content area. Imagine Google in history. What might have been doodled during the American Revolutionary War? Would the same doodles have been displayed in England and the colonies?
- What about Google in science? Is there a science concept that should be immortalized? How? On what day?
- And perhaps most important, who says only Google can have doodles? Think about a business or product in your area. How might you doodle its logo or name for special events? Consider sending some of your efforts to businesses or those who feature local products. Why not doodles on the produce signs at the farmer’s markt or othe events? Local small businesses might even feature a doodle or two on their Facebook pages or other social media–creative fun for everyone.
Like the doodles themselves, the Google doodles site is a small hidden treasure that can bring delight and spark the imagination. See what you can find there—and I’d love to hear what you do with it.