COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Microsoft on 8 Feruary held its flagship computer science workshop for students and teachers at its corporate office in Colombo. Over 100 participants, representing public, private schools and underserved youth in and around Colombo and Greater Colombo were invited to code through Voyage Aquatic and the BBC Micro:bit.
Microsoft Certified Educators (MCEs) encouraged teachers to facilitate real-world problem solving and student use of ICT tools. Teachers were educated on the technology literacy competencies needed to provide a rich, custom learning experience for students.
Students experimented with a new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial called the Voyage Aquatic. The tutorial introduced students to puzzles that required them to leverage key computer science concepts such as loops and conditionals. The tutorial also included a ‘free play’ level for students to apply what they learn to build imaginative underwater creations.
“We are committed to helping close the STEM gap and expanding opportunities for students in Sri Lanka to learn computer science,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager. “More than 50 percent of the jobs today require technology skills. By 2026, that number will grow to 77 percent of jobs .”
“We believe everyone should have the chance to experience the benefits of technology,” said Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Director for Microsoft Asia. “Workshops like these help students and teachers become ‘Future Ready’ by connecting them with STEM learning experiences and career development opportunities. We hope that mediums like the Micro:bit and Voyage Aquatic empower students and teachers to think creatively.”
Students who gain knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will thrive in a world dominated by the advancement of technology. Microsoft works with non-profits like Sarvodaya Fusion to encourage, empower, and excite participants of all ages and varying backgrounds to learn more about STEM and computer science.
 The Future of Jobs Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum, January 2016.