DECEMBER 22, 2017 – A lack of access to computer science education threatens to widen the income gap between those who have the skills to succeed in the 21st century and those who do not, impeding students’ ability to eventually thrive in their future careers.
It is on this premise that Microsoft, and its partners like Accenture, and some Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) teamed up to train over 16,000 youth in various schools and communities in one hour of code between December 4th to 14th 2017, across Nigeria.
The trainings were facilitated by volunteers which comprised Microsoft employees, employees from other organisations, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, NGO owners and supporters, and private individuals. Volunteers were taken through a Train the Trainers tutorial on Minecraft – a game that teaches anyone from age 6 up, basic coding skills, freely available globally on Code.org/Minecraft.
“Learning to code is the single most important step students can take to prepare themselves to fully participate in, and benefit from, our digital economy;” Says Microsoft’s Philanthropy Lead, Olusola Amusan. “and Microsoft is working across the world to help young people and adults become creators of technology, advance their careers, and grow their local economies by making computer science education and digital skills training available to everyone.” Mr. Sola siad.
Hour of code is a global call to action to spend an hour learning the basics of coding and takes place each year during the global Computer Science Education Week.
The 2017 Computer Science Education Week held from December 4-10, but one can host an Hour of Code all year round.
Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).
Akin Banuso, Microsoft’s General Manager has called on more NGOs and other organisations, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility/Initiatives, to join Microsoft in building a global appreciation for Computer Science by visiting Code.org to check out The Hero’s Journey, participate in a free Computer Science for Everyone workshop, and plan their very own Hour of Code.
Mr Akin went on to say that “When students use technology to create something of their own design by coding, it builds both technical skill and confidence – both of which are critical for success in the future. Microsoft is advocating for the teaching of these skills and more computer science in Nigerian schools.”
“It is an economic and moral imperative to ensure our students are equipped with computer science skills, which includes coding, computational thinking, and logic,” he adds.
Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.
Microsoft is a leading supporter of Computer Science Education Week, and on November 14, for the third year in a row, released a new Minecraft tutorial called Hero’s Journey.
Minecraft is a fun and familiar game used in classrooms around the world and gives teachers a unique opportunity to learn the basics of coding. Available at Code.org/Minecraft, Hero’s Journey introduces a fun character called the Agent and 12 new challenges that teach core coding concepts like loops, debugging, and functions. It’s free and playable across iOS, Android and Windows platforms. Upon completing the tutorial, students can import their code into Minecraft: Education Edition for the first time ever, bringing their work to life in the game, or share their work via email, text message or social media.