In conjunction with its first anniversary of Minecraft Education Edition, Microsoft today announced that a new Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorial, Hero’s Journey, which has been released as part of its ongoing support for Hour of Code. This is the third consecutive year that Microsoft is supporting this global movement, held between 4 to 10 December, to help students learn the basics of coding.
New Minecraft Education Edition Tutorial
Working with Minecraft game designers, computer science educators, and Code.org’s learning designers, the new Minecraft tutorial introduces coding concepts using the popular video game that millions of players around the world are already exploring, teaching, and learning with every day. To date, nearly 70 million people around the world are using Minecraft tutorials to learn about the basics of coding.
New Minecraft Education Edition Character
A new character, Minecraft Agent will be introduced in the tutorial, along over 10 new challenges that teach core coding concepts like loops, debugging, and functions. 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. The tutorial will be available for free and is playable across iOS, Android and Windows platform.
More Than 2 Million Users!
Microsoft also announced that the Minecraft Education Edition has crossed over 2 million licensed users in 115 countries within a year of its launch, and more than 250 educator-created lesson plans have been developed in the community.
The First Malaysian School To Adopt Minecraft Education Edition
Locally, the Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephen – Mara Junior Science College, Sandakan is the first school in Malaysia to adopt the Minecraft Education Edition. The Microsoft showcase school which has close to 1000 students and more than 60 students is using this platform to make learning more enjoyable and as a teaching aid for its educators.
Aliff Othman, Educator, Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephen – Mara Junior Science College, Sandakan said “Our students are engaged and excited to learn in the fun familiar Minecraft environment, and they have learnt a number of skills in the process – things like computational thinking, digital citizenship and of course, creativity. We saw the potential to take this work to a new scale we as educators can use Minecraft in our classrooms.”
Coding Is Essential In 4th Industrial Revolution
The World Economic Forum has highlighted the importance of complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity as skills required for individuals to thrive in the 4th industrial revolution. As such, developing computation thinking is a key priority for education institutions today. One way to develop students’ computational thinking capabilities is through the introduction of computer sciences education, including coding classes.
DAVOS-KLOSTERS, Switzerland — Jan. 19, 2016— Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella announced a new three-part initiative to ensure that Microsoft’s cloud computing resources serve the public good. As part of this initiative the recently formed Microsoft Philanthropies will donate $1 billion of Microsoft Cloud Services, measured at fair market value, to serve nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years.
Microsoft Philanthropies Donates US$1 Billion In Resources
Microsoft’s three-part commitment focuses on ensuring the cloud can serve the public good in the broadest sense by providing additional cloud resources to nonprofits, increasing access for university researchers and helping solve last-mile Internet access challenges.
“Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services — the most transformative technologies of our generation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who on Wednesday will speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Now more than 70,000 organizations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.”
Cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for unlocking the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs not just for science and technology, but for the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services. It can also improve communications and problem-solving and help organizations work in a more productive and more efficient manner.
In September 2015, 193 heads of state and other world leaders unanimously adopted 17 sustainable development goals to achieve by 2030. This ambitious agenda — which includes ending poverty, ending hunger, and ensuring affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all — will only be achievable with the benefit of significant inventions and technology innovations. The scale and computational power enabled by cloud computing will be essential to unlocking solutions to this list of some of the world’s seemingly unsolvable problems.
“We’re committed to helping nonprofit groups and universities use cloud computing to address fundamental human challenges,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “One of our ambitions for Microsoft Philanthropies is to partner with these groups and ensure that cloud computing reaches more people and serves the broadest array of societal needs.”
Specific elements of the new initiative include these:
Serving the broad needs of the nonprofit community. A new global donation program will make Microsoft Cloud Services, including Microsoft Azure, Power BI, CRM Online and the Enterprise Mobility Suite, more available to nonprofit organizations through Microsoft Philanthropies. The program builds upon an already successful program that provides similar access to Office 365 for nonprofits. The nonprofit program for Microsoft Cloud Services will begin rolling out this spring, and Microsoft Philanthropies aims to serve 70,000 nonprofits in the next three years with these Microsoft Cloud Services.
Expanding access to cloud resources for faculty research in universities. Microsoft Research and Microsoft Philanthropies will expand by 50 percent the Microsoft Azure for Research program that grants free Azure storage and computing resources to help faculty accelerate their research on cutting-edge challenges. Today this program provides free cloud computing resources for over 600 research projects on six continents.
Reaching new communities with last-mile connectivity and cloud services. Microsoft Philanthropies and Microsoft Business Development will combine donated access to Microsoft Cloud services with investments in new, low-cost last-mile Internet access technologies and community training. By combining cloud services with connectivity and training, and focusing on new public-private partnerships, Microsoft Philanthropies intends to support 20 of these projects in at least 15 countries around the world by the middle of 2017.
Providing nonprofits with better access to Microsoft Cloud Services, including the powerful Microsoft Azure platform, builds upon Microsoft’s longtime commitment to making cutting-edge technology available at no or low cost to organizations working on solving some of society’s toughest problems.
In recent years, as organizations have increased their reliance on cloud computing, Microsoft has worked in partnership with a broad range of organizations focused on big challenges. The initiatives show the potential impact that increased access to the transformational power of cloud computing can have:
Microsoft Research is working with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) Biodiversity Research Program through the use of 700 wireless sensors, cloud technology and automated data-stream processing to understand how cloud forests work and study the impact of climate changes on the communities supported by those forests.
[adrotate group=”2″]Through a partnership with the University of Texas at Austin called Project Catapult, Microsoft makes advanced cloud computing technology available to researchers that have demonstrated the ability to deliver lower power and cost, higher-quality results, or a combination of both.
In Botswana, Microsoft is partnering with the Botswana Innovation Hub, Vista Life Sciences, the United States Agency for International Development and Global Broadband Solutions to assist Botswana, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ministry of Health in leveraging cloud-based health records management and Internet access enabled by use of TV white spaces to remotely deliver specialized medicine, including cervical cancer screenings to women at rural healthcare clinics.
“Access to technology is critical to the operations and services of NetHope and its 44 humanitarian nonprofit member organizations,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “The power of cloud computing will create exponential value for all we do to serve the millions of people in our communities around the world.”