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Microsoft's Week of Code campaign launches in NZ

24 Mar 15

Microsoft and the High Tech Youth Network’s ‘Week of Code’ campaign has officially kicked off in the Asia-Pacific region, with local events in more than thirteen countries throughout.

The campaign encourages young people across the country to learn basic skills in computer programming and provides student coders at all skill levels with tools, resources and experiences.

The feature event for the Kiwi ‘Week of Code’ will be a hosted #WeSpeakCode gathering across the High Tech Youth Network’s nine studios in New Zealand and Pacific Islands on Friday 27 March.

Led from HTYN’s Studio 274 at 51 Othello Drive, Otara, the event will allow students, parents and teachers to give coding a try.

Mike Usmar, High Tech Youth Network CEO, says it’s vital that Kiwi youth become fluent in the language of digital technology.

“We are living in a digital world where smart devices, apps and cloud services are changing the way we work, live and play; and yet, only a tiny fraction of our primary and high school students learn the basics of how computers work, or how to create software, apps or web sites,” says Usmar.

“We have seen an increasing groundswell of interest from teachers who want to see coding as part of the core school curriculum.

“The Week of Code provides a great opportunity for educators to road test coding lessons, to then encourage their school to incorporate it into general curriculum,” he says.

In New Zealand, the Week of Code campaign forms part of the broader Microsoft Student Accelerator programme, which launched earlier this month with a showcase event in Auckland that also featured the finals event for the local Imagine Cup competition.

“With young people today facing an unprecedented level of technological change in the workplace, supplying them with the right level of digital training can propel them into interesting and exciting careers,” says Evan Blackman, Microsoft New Zealand education sector director.

“Equipping young people with digital skills isn’t only about helping them in the job market, however.

“Coding is just one important part of developing broader digital skills which can help students grow their creativity, flexibility and problem-solving abilities.

“Learning to code can help students understand the increasingly digital world around them. In today’s knowledge-based economy, Computer Science Education should be considered a curriculum cornerstone, as much as reading, writing or mathematics,” says Blackman.

Cesar Cernuda, Microsoft Asia-Pacific president, says, “More than 82 million people of all ages around the world already tried coding last year through the global Hour of Code event in December.

“Through the Microsoft YouthSpark #WeSpeakCode campaign, we’re bringing the movement here to Asia Pacific and empowering youth here to innovate, create, and unlock the best opportunities for their future."

In addition to the resources available on the official #WeSpeakCode website, Microsoft is also inviting all nations in the Asia-Pacific region to participating in the YouthSpark #WeSpeakCode Thunderclap social media event on March 25.

Supporters of the Thunderclap will be able to lend their voice in promoting the case for coding and create a rolling thunder of support focused on the importance of learning to code.

Students, teachers and parents can visit the We Speak Code website in order to find resources and learn more about coding.