Microsoft celebrates Hour of Code in Asia
By Digital News Asia December 5, 2017
- A new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial, Hero’s Journey, was launched in November
- Programmes designed for students with special needs, in Korea, Malaysia, Singapore
AS PART of its ongoing support for Code.org's Hour of Code, Microsoft will be directly conducting over 30 Hour of Code events in Asia to encourage youth to try and pursue computer science and get future ready.
This is the third consecutive year that Microsoft is part of this global call to action for students to spend an hour learning the basics of coding, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec 4 to 10).
Hour of Code is an opportunity for educators and institutions to let students experience the basics of coding through free tutorials conducted by partners. The movement started as a one-hour introductory activity to computer science and is designed to demystify “code”.
This is an important milestone in Microsoft’s push to help the next generation be future ready. Students today face a future workforce unlike that of any previous generation due to the advancement of technology.
Students who gain knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will have tremendous advantage as they embark in the increasingly digital world.
A new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial, Hero’s Journey, was launched in November to support this year’s Hour of Code activities, where educators, parents and students can spend an hour to learn about core coding concepts like loops, debugging, and functions, using a visual block-based editor.
Getting the next generation future ready
Technology is transforming our society and economy at an unprecedented rate, putting new demands on our current workforce as well as on youth who will soon join that workforce. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, 65% of children who enter primary school today will work in completely new jobs that do not currently exist.
With the rising digital economy and the nonstop pace of technological evolution, Microsoft, together with our partners, have an imperative to prepare young people to pursue careers that are in demand.
Beyond computing jobs, computer science education also provides critical skills that are now required in any field – from music and fashion, to manufacturing, health care and transportation.
“Computer science is about much more than learning to code. It teaches creativity, computational thinking, analytical reasoning and complex problem solving – skills that are essential for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Dr Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia.
“From basic computer literacy to computer science education, digital skills can open the door to greater economic opportunities.”
In Asia, Microsoft is marking the Hour of Code with over 30 activities in collaboration with local non-profits and academic partners for all students, in particular those from underserved communities to make sure no one is left behind.
Those events include:
- Hour of Code programmes meant to spark girls’ interests in STEM, as in the Philippines where Minecraft tutorial sessions were recently conducted by Microsoft during ‘It’s A Girl Thing’ festival in Manila, and in Taiwan that organises Coding Angels, an Azure Machine Learning bootcamp where female varsity students can learn about developing on our cloud platform.
- Hour of Code programmes designed specifically for students with special needs, in Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
- A relay of Hour of Code events hosted by non-profit partners and Microsoft Student Partners in rural areas, in China, India and Vietnam.
- Train the trainer sessions for educators followed by Hour of Code events in partnership with schools and government, in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
Making computer science education fun and creative with Minecraft
Microsoft is launching its new Minecraft tutorial, Hero’s Journey. Working with Minecraft game designers, computer science educators, and Code.org's learning designers, this program uses game elements loved by so many young people to present computer science concepts in a fun and creative way.
In this edition a new character, Minecraft Agent, is introduced, along over 10 new challenges that teach core coding concepts like loops, debugging, and functions. Minecraft’s open sandbox environment – where there are minimal character limitations placed on the players so that the character can roam the virtual world at will – enables students to shape their own virtual world with only their own creativity as the limitations.
This game not only enables coding to become one of the most creative activities a student can do, it also ignites students’ innate ingenuity and makes learning fun and collaborative.
To date, nearly 70 million people around the world have been using Minecraft tutorials to learn the basics of coding.
For educators interested in running Hour of Code sessions in schools, resources are available here, including facilitation guides, quick tip sheet and PowerPoint slides.