HTML. The Cloud. Platforms.
These are not exactly the words you’d expect to hear upon entering a 4th grade classroom. But guest speakers John Shewchuk and his 17 year-old daughter, Annaka, don’t seem the least bit surprised. It’s like they are used to speaking in code. This dynamic duo has volunteered their time to facilitate the Hour of Code.
The students in Mr. Tanimoto’s 4th period Computer Science class may not know it yet, but it’s not your average Monday. Seattle’s Ingraham High School is one of many schools participating in Computer Science Education Week, and to kick off the first day, they have invited James Whittaker to speak.
Microsoft and other tech engineers are a familiar sight at Ingraham. For three years, the school has partnered with Microsoft TEALS, which sends volunteer software engineers to schools to team-teach computer science alongside classroom teachers.
Whittaker is a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, as well as an author and a former professor. With charisma, a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt and more pop-culture references than a late-night comedy sketch, he grabs the attention of these students right away, almost despite themselves. Even the hyper-focused kid who started working at his computer before class can’t help but look up and listen.
Love to code? So do we! But we also know that learning to code can be a real challenge for students of any age. And while Microsoft has some great programs like Imagine Cup and DreamSpark to connect university student developers with contests, free tools and great opportunities to learn and grow, we also want to welcome younger students just taking their first steps into this amazing world.
That’s why we’ve created Microsoft Imagine, a new cornerstone of the YouthSpark initiative, and launched it today to celebrate Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code. At our new website, http://imagine.microsoft.com, students of all ages and skill levels will find everything they need to create apps and games. Whether you’re a 10-year-old student who wants to make your first game or a 25-year-old university student with a project to develop and sell in app stores, Microsoft Imagine is where you get started.
Microsoft and the nonprofit STEM Labs teamed up to give students a chance to sharpen their coding skills by designing responsive and sophisticated cloud-based apps. Organizers and development managers were wowed by the results, saying the apps were as good as those created by professional developers!
Get ready! It’s time for the Microsoft Visual Studio Connect(); event on Nov. 12 and 13! For two days, industry leaders and experts will be sharing their insight into software engineering, Visual Studio, Azure, and .NET development. You'll get a sneak preview of the next version of Visual Studio, code named 'VS14', and useful real-world advice for developing in the mobile-first, cloud-first era.
So who can attend? Everyone! The whole event will be broadcast live on Microsoft's Channel 9. You can hear what leaders like Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, have to say about the future of software development on Visual Studio. You can listen in on live Q&A sessions with Scott Hanselman, the Principal Program Manager for Microsoft Azure. You can check out the technical details in over 40 on-demand technical sessions.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently announced that the company will take a lead role in bringing the Hour of Code to millions of youth around the globe during Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 8 - 14. What a perfect opportunity for our Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) to showcase their expertise!
MSPs from campuses across the globe will be volunteering to teach students in middle schools, high schools and learning centers to help bring the Hour of Code to 100 million youth during this historic event. Our MSPs have firsthand knowledge of how computer science skills can provide vast opportunities and are excited to help expose the next generation of developers to the art of computer science.
Many of our 7,000 MSPs will teach an Hour of Code using tutorials created by the Microsoft Learning Experience Academic Product team. One of those tutorials is an activity that uses the TouchDevelop coding tool, an easy-to-use visual game that teaches basic coding logic and gives students hands-on practice building and fixing games. During this Hour of Code activity, students will be asked to help fix a fun and simple game called “Jetpack Jumper,” that challenges players to guide a robot through a maze of wacky obstacles.
A former Imagine Cup team has built an international business based on a Kinect-powered game it developed to help students sharpen their math skills.
Now known as Jumpido, the Bulgarian-based team credits the Imagine Cup for helping it develop into a business, and says the company’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the mentoring, connections and support provided by Microsoft.
“The thing that we really appreciate was the faith that Microsoft put in us when we hadn’t even started,” said Kiril Rusev, a team member who now serves as CEO of the company. “They told us our product was great and we should make it available in schools, and this pushed us in the direction of starting our own company. Having someone with so much experience, coming from one of the most significant technology companies in the world, to trust in you is incredibly motivating and gives you the feeling that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”
The 2014 Imagine Cup World champions recently traveled back to Seattle from Australia to claim part of their grand prize, an incredible boot camp that included a one-on-one mentoring session with Bill Gates. Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah, who make up Team Eyenaemia, won the competition with their groundbreaking app that uses a selfie to diagnose anaemia, one of the world’s most common blood disorders. In addition to $50,000 to further develop their product, they won this valuable week of meetings with innovative and influential people who offered advice and guidance for the next steps on their product.
Throughout the year, we hear about exciting solutions designed by teams around the world during Imagine Cup. After the fanfare settles, we like to catch up with some of our alumni teams, check in, and find out how their projects are progressing.
We talked to Team Simplex, a group of students from Romania that created a solution to help patients in physical therapy. Since competing in the 2011 Imagine Cup, the team has launched a startup featuring their product and has exciting plans to expand.
Physical therapy can be a long, difficult and repetitive process and the team wanted to find a way to motivate people to do their exercises. Dubbed MIRA, (Medical Interactive Recovery Assistant), the solution uses Microsoft Kinect sensors that enable patients to play video games that incorporate rehabilitative exercises.
Attention student technologists! The Imagine Cup 2015 season is officially underway, meaning it’s time to start thinking about how to turn your amazing app idea into a solution. We invite you to join us throughout the year for games, competitions, and training that will help make your vision a reality.
The Imagine Cup is not just the big technology competition you’ve been reading about over the past few months, it’s an opportunity to form your idea into a solid proposal, learn how to pitch it, and develop a business plan. You can do all this without the stress of worrying about investors or searching for professional experts to help you. We want you to spend that time on your project.
You’ll build the skills you need to launch a business and learn important life lessons that will help you throughout school and your career. Past participants have told us how much their public speaking, team building, and interview techniques improved after they became involved. It’s a pretty awesome thing to be able to put on your resume and a great way to launch into a career in technology.
“Everyone says you need to have experience, well Imagine Cup gives you the experience you need.”
Those are the words of Francesca Guerrera of Reverse, a team of students from Italy who competed in the Imagine Cup World Finals last month. The quote sums up what we heard from participants throughout the competition. It’s not just the final competition they will remember, but the year of learning that will last a lifetime.
Talking to teams who made it to Seattle gave us a renewed perspective on what exactly student developers take home from Imagine Cup. The teams’ ideas and experiences vary, but most agree the competition and year leading up to it taught them not just to develop innovative products and solutions, but important life skills. They learned team work, how to create business models, and public-speaking skills. They got access to mentors and industry professionals, and learned of other programs that could help push their projects along.
Now that this year’s Imagine Cup World Finals is over, we’ve had a chance to reflect on all of the amazing young people we met during the exciting week in Seattle. Though all of the teams were impressive, we feel compelled to acknowledge some of the female student developers who are helping change the face of the competition.
Not only did we have three all-girl teams this year, but 18 of the 34 teams that competed included young women. This may not seem like an especially large number, but computer science is a field that has long been dominated by males. We hope the increase we’ve seen in young women participating in the Imagine Cup is a sign of what’s to come.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 17.6 of computer science bachelor’s degrees were given to women in 2011. Many girls don’t think of computer science as a viable career option, even though it is one of the fastest growing fields in the world. To see increases in the numbers of female developers at Imagine Cup is exciting.
Microsoft came back home to Seattle to host this year’s Imagine Cup World Finals July 29 – August 2 and Avanade was there! The week started with 35 teams arriving on the University of Washington campus from all over the world. Passports were displayed with room assignments being made and then the real fun began – the competition briefings and then the welcome reception in UW’s Red Square. Lots of food and music filled the air, with Mt. Rainier as the backdrop while participants geared up for an opportunity of a lifetime – the Imagine Cup World Finals competitions. The winning team receiving $50,000 plus a private session with Bill Gates.
Days one and two were filled with presentations to the Imagine Cup judges where nerves appeared to be maintained. The panel of judges asked some great questions following the presentation and feedback was provided. Avanade sponsored a self-serve coffee cart in the student lounge – the main hang out at the competition. Students created coffee concoctions of all types to calm nerves, stay awake and sharpen their barista skills. Julie Madayag, Colleen Burke, Lisa Field, Rosanna Aho and I – all members of the NA Recruiting team – were present to talk to the participants and watch them prep for their presentations. We had the opportunity attend a few of these presentations and WOW – talk about top talent – these projects were impressive!!!!
This is a particularly exciting month of July. The World Cup dominated attention spans around the planet. Now, the Imagine Cup community is ready to descend upon Redmond.
Roberto Sonnino has a unique perspective on both Cups. Originally from Brazil, Roberto works as a software development engineer for PerceptivePixel. For years, Roberto was a passionate and persistent participant in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup: Starting in 2005, when he was still in high school, he competed seven times with his brother. They won six first-place awards across various categories.
“There are many similarities between the Imagine Cup and the World Cup,” Roberto says. “People from all over the world come together in one place. We’re competitors but friends. All eyes are on you, as you are on the world stage.”
The Imagine CupWorld Finals kick off this week and we couldn’t be more excited to meet the teams of talented student developers from around the world who are coming to Seattle to compete in the world’s premier global student technology competition. We’re bringing students from 35 countries to Microsoft’s hometown for the World Finals so they can show off their innovative projects during a week of competitions and activities starting tomorrow.
This year's Imagine Cup finalists will get unprecedented opportunities and experiences throughout the competition. They'll visit Microsoft headquarters in Redmond and experience some of the things that make Seattle, the Emerald City, so great. A variety of fun-filled events have been planned to celebrate our student finalists and their months of hard work, dedication and innovation.
Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) is a program for university students worldwide who are passionate about technology and want to share that excitement on campus. MSPs are trained in the latest Microsoft technologies and use their expertise to build skills, ignite their careers, and inspire and mentor the next generation. The program gives students in more than 100 countries the opportunity to represent both their region and local campus as a Microsoft technology expert.
We connected with four Microsoft Student Partners from around the world to learn more about their experiences in the program and how Microsoft technologies have helped them develop skills and lay a foundation for future success.
With the 2014 Imagine Cup World Finals right around the corner, the top 35 World Finalist teams from around the globe are eagerly preparing their projects and getting them ready for our judges in the final round of the competition this July. Looking ahead, students may be asking themselves, what comes after Imagine Cup? Although the answer to this question may vary from team to team, one thing is for certain -- the possibilities are endless!
For Team Zeppelin Studio, the winners of last year’s Games Competition, life after Imagine Cup has indeed been full of endless opportunities as they continue to pursue their dreams. The team took home first place with their project Schein, a challenging puzzle platformer, and have since evolved the game from an academic project to a newly founded company with a fresh vision of the future. We had the opportunity to reconnect with them to check in on what their life after Imagine Cup looks like, how the competition helped them get where they are today, and if they could share a piece of advice for this year’s participants. Read on for the full story.