I challenge you!
I'm going to kick-start this blog with a little interactive exercise. If you’re teaching a class of budding Computer Scientists this afternoon, I challenge you to ask your class (out of context) to shout out what they think Mark Zuckerberg, Will.i.Am, Victoria Beckham and Oprah Winfrey all have in common (I promise there is a useful educational learning check-point to this celebrity name-dropping).
I'm going to guess that the most common replies will be that "they're successful" and "they're rich", unless one of your students has heard of a secret skincare regime that they all follow, which I don't know about.
No, if you scratch beneath the surface, you will find one other fundamental link to their expensively coiffed, blinged out, and generally successful persons: this is none other than technology, specifically coding, which can be brought down about 20 pegs from their level of success to the current educational level of your students, with Xbox for Education! Each and every one of these celebrities has utilised the internet's omnipresence and coding in one way or another. So this is the key bit - they all directly or indirectly use coding for very different purposes to achieve their various aims and goals. Zuckerberg directly created his ubiquitous social media platform, Facebook (need I hyperlink?), by personally piecing together algorithms and lines of code. On the opposite end of the star-studded spectrum, Victoria Beckham's entourage have used code to position her fashion label online so that shoppers world-wide can buy her clothes. So my message here is that careers involving Computer Science don't have to be purely aligned to scientific and technological industries, but can be applied to every industry and business out there, from the most clerical to the most entrepreneurial creative start-ups.
The Education department at Microsoft are passionate about breaking down the stereotyped barriers that many students still have of computer science careers as being 'geeky'. There are a whole host of solutions and products we provide to help teachers deliver the Computer Science curriculum and one of our latest initiatives, which will certainly be appealing to students, is the new Xbox for Education programme.
What is Xbox for Education?
Xbox for Education is a programme whereby your university can purchase one of two offerings (see slide below for details) of an Xbox 360 console + a 3 Year standard DreamSpark subscription. What better way to get students excited about Computer Science than by providing them with a familiar games console as a platform for learning coding and development?
If you're not familiar with DreamSpark, it provides the tools to help students design and create applications and games for Microsoft Xbox as well as Windows Phone and Windows 8. DreamSpark equips students with professional developer software and resources to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills – at home as well as at university. It also equips and supports lecturers and tutors through the provision of software and lesson plans. It’s the perfect resource for them to implement into their lessons to give students the latest and most engaging tools to learn to code with!
We believe that by making the learning environment more fun and accessible at your univeristy, more students will become interested in doing a degree in Computer Science and learn highly valued skills to pursue exciting careers in the future. With more and more opportunities in Computer Science blossoming around the globe, it's a great avenue for students to pursue to develop rewarding and dynamic careers.
Cost-effective too :)
To add a sprinkling of sugar to your strawberries, you'll be delighted to hear that the two Xbox packages offer at least £135 saving regarding purchasing which makes the Xbox a very cost-effective means of delivering your practical Computer Science modules to your students.
Are your students curious about careers in coding?
Finally, if your students are considering a career in coding, I urge you to share this article which provides 10 very different indications that coding could be a career for them, from possessing problem solving skills to being a people person. For more information on Xbox for Education, click on the link below.