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Archive for Monday, September 12, 2011

Google executive Brian McClendon surprises KU engineering students with tablet computers

Watch as Google vice president of engineering Brian McClendon surprises a classroom of Kansas University first-year electrical engineering and computer science students with a gift of their own: Motorola Android tablets.

September 12, 2011, 11:42 a.m. Updated September 12, 2011, 3:59 p.m.

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Google vice president of engineering, Brian McClendon, right, a Kansas University graduate who co-founded Google Earth, pulls a Motorola Xoom tablet from a cart as he hands it out as gifts to a class of engineering students. He's pictured with Gary Minden, KU professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Google vice president of engineering, Brian McClendon, right, a Kansas University graduate who co-founded Google Earth, pulls a Motorola Xoom tablet from a cart as he hands it out as gifts to a class of engineering students. He's pictured with Gary Minden, KU professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

On the street

What is the last gift someone surprised you with?

Wine from my mom three weeks ago.

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A Google vice president surprised Kansas University engineering students enrolled in an introductory programming course by handing out a new Android-based tablet computer to each of them on Monday morning.

Brian McClendon, a 1986 electrical engineering graduate from KU, and his wife, Beth Ellyn, donated $50,000 to KU to provide the Motorola Xoom tablets for the 89 students enrolled in the required Programming I class on Monday.

He told the students that the future of the industry lay with mobile applications.

“The client that everybody uses is on the phone,” he said, and Google and other companies are increasingly looking to see what kinds of mobile applications potential employees have developed.

The devices have applications in all kinds of industries, too, he said, even outside of the electrical engineering and programming world.

“I think you can be a part of that now,” McClendon told the students.

The tablets will be incorporated into the curriculum, but the students will be encouraged to use them for their enjoyment as well.

“I have until 2 to play with it,” said Amanda Parks, a freshman from Kansas City, Kan., who said her next class didn’t start until then. “I’m going to head to lunch and then just go to town and see what’s on here.”

The students will be allowed to keep the tablets provided they receive at least a C in the introductory programming course, complete both Programming I and Programming II, and remain in the electrical engineering and computer science major.

Students enrolling in the spring course will receive the tablet as well.

Brian Potetz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, teaches one of the Programming I sections this year.

He told students that mobile computing had revolutionized the way people interact with computers and how they interact with one another.

“It was just a short time ago that these sorts of innovations were the work of science fiction,” Potetz said.

The class will begin programming using the tablets right away, he said.

McClendon, who serves as a member of the engineering school’s advisory board, proposed the idea in April, and faculty members have been working to move the course content in a new direction while the plan was kept secret from students so they could be surprised on Monday.

Mason Aye, a freshman from Tonganoxie, said he had an interest in programming small games and applications for his career, so the news came as a welcome surprise to him.

“I didn’t come to class expecting to get a free computer,” he said.

Comments

Sigmund 2 years, 7 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (anonymous) says… "And the community theatre cannot find a donor?"

Don't worry every taxpayer in Lawrence and Douglas County is being forced to donate. I don't know how I will manage to avoid seeing Lawrence Amateur Actors adaptation of "Hello Dolly!" but somehow I will manage.

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 7 months ago

Please take a look at my comment under the video. Thanks.

By the way, the Journal-World should cross reference the videos to the stories they are about. Otherwise a comment can get lost, if a person puts it under the video before the article gets put on the internet.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 7 months ago

And the community theatre cannot find a donor?

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Curtis Lange 2 years, 7 months ago

Bet they see a few added students signed up for the Spring class now, lol.

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Pywacket 2 years, 7 months ago

Wonderful and generous! Just wish my engineering-major kid could have lucked into this his first year.

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edmclinn 2 years, 7 months ago

Down with the iPad, Android is the way of the future.

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bangaranggerg 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm not even in the class and even I'M inspired to program for android now.

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Alfred_W 2 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence High School, class of 1982 also. Thanks, Brian!

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Armored_One 2 years, 7 months ago

Okay, I have to admit that is damned cool of the Google dude to do.

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