Microsoft embraces Hour of Code across Europe

Hour of Code is a global movement with the aim of encouraging as many children as possible to embrace the world of coding, and the incredible opportunities that it can open up for them. 

With the European Commission predicting that 90 percent of jobs in Europe will require digital skills, encouraging the younger generations to adopt an interest in technology is more vital than ever. 

Microsoft’s mission to enable every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more aligns perfectly with Hour of Code’s mission. During Hour of Code week (4-10 December), Microsoft is running Hour of Code activities across all of Europe, to help ensure that as many children as possible are taking their first steps towards a future of possibility. 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the activities that have already taken place, with plenty more on the way: 

France
Microsoft and its partners Simplon.co and ZUPdeCO are fully embracing Hour of Code in France. From 4 to 10 December, in collaboration with the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, this year’s goal is to educate 14,000 children throughout France, with 130 Microsoft employees taking part.

“In my view, it is important to introduce children to the code at a young age, so that they realise that technology is a tool they can take to create and develop. The Hour of Code initiative is a good example of what should be digital: participatory, playful and inclusive! I am delighted that many schools, associations, third-places or media centers are involved and have many children and teenagers the opportunity to learn the basics of computer programming, ” states Mounir Mahjoub, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs. 

Germany
Microsoft Germany is hosting numerous Hour of Code sessions for various groups including families, school classes, pupils, teachers and even employees over the course of the week, across Germany. Cities hosting these coding sessions include Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Colone, Hamburg and Walldorf.  

In addition, Microsoft’s Berlin headquarters is hosting Code Affair – Germany’s first coding conference – in collaboration with Microsoft’s Code Your Life YouthSpark initiative. 

Hungary
Microsoft Hungary has extended the Hour of Code campaign to those who have limited opportunities in life due to their disabilities. The main event of the week was an all-day training session for 170 disabled children, with 15 volunteers from Microsoft Hungary, together with teachers of Logiscool (a fun-based, non-profit coding school.)

Participants had the chance to learn why coding is so important, while learning the basics of coding win KODU and Minecraft.

András Tóth, CMO Lead at Microsoft Hungary states that “Coding is about creativity and all children who play are creative. We are positive that coding and informatics gives a perspective to children with disabilities in life. They can use this knowledge when applying for job and will have a much better chance to be an active member of their communities.”

Italy
Microsoft Italy has been working with Fondazione Rava – a non-profit foundation which helps children in need across the world through sponsorships, fundraising, volunteers and education programs. 

The company provides digital training and software to the foundation’s trainers, who then go on to pass on their knowledge to children in Haiti and Italy. 

Microsoft’s headquarters in Milan is currently decorated with giant photos of children from the Fondazione Rava house in Haiti, in addition to hosting a photo exhibition showcasing photos of children from Haiti, shot by Stefano Guindani. 

Portugal
Earlier this week, Microsoft Portugal combined Hour of Code with the Microsoft Imagine Academy Program in an event called the Imagine IT Challenge.  

Celebrating the official signing of a partnership between Microsoft and CCISP (the Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council), this partnership will create a network of Microsoft Academies within the Polytechnics in Portugal, with the aim of increasing the digital skills and qualifications of students leaving these institutions to promote employment.  

In honor of Hour of Code week, the Imagine IT Challenge was an immersive competitive team experience focused on solving a real-world problem through technology. In this case, the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the potential it has in our everyday life.  

On 6 December, Microsoft Portugal is also hosting a Minecraft: Education Edition themed modern classroom in the exhibition section of INCoDe.2030 – the first Conference for Digital Skills in Coimbra. 

Spain
In Spain, Microsoft and RS Fundazioa (the Foundation of the Royal Society), organised workshops in different schools in the Basque Country, with the aim of encouraging 300 students from the 6th grade to learn how to code.

The day had a spectacular start with the presence of several soccer players from Real Sociedad. The players welcomed the children in different schools through Skype, and the boys were able to speak with their idols and share their creations with players

The selected schools were the NJP Ikastetxea , Amarra Berri and Lizeo Santo Tomas de Donostia-San Sebastián. In addition other schools were also connected by Skype – namely, Endarra Ikastola in Anglet in France and the CEP El Carmelo Lima, Peru. The workshops were taught in Basque, Castilian, French, English to ensure that all students could benefit.

Sweden
Sweden has over 300 Hour of Code events recorded on Code.org, and to increase interest in programming for children and young people further, Microsoft and the NGO Kodcentrum held an event in Akalla at the beginning of the week with 47 students from grades 4 and 5 in a Slättegård-based school to learn more about programming in the common Hour of Code event. 

“Hour of Code is something we really look forward to every year Kodcentrum. We think it is a very good example of how to get started with programming and digital content creation in school. It will be incredibly exciting to visit the Microsoft along with students from Slättegård school, ” said Ronnie Schmidt, Secretary General of Kodcentrum.