Microsoft brings Minecraft to Hour of Code to heighten Thai youths’ interest in computer science education

 |   Cheryl Yab

Through Hour of Code, Microsoft introduces basic coding skills to local youth


Bangkok, 19 December 2015 – Microsoft Corp., Mojang AB, and recently unveiled a “Minecraft” coding tutorial for students and educators, created especially for the third-annual Hour of Code, a campaign to broaden global participation in computer science. The Hour of Code is a global initiative that aims heighten today’s youths’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Microsoft also led thousands of Hour of Code events in more than 50 countries around the world, including Thailand. In fact, more than 7,000 teachers across 40 countries around the world are already using Minecraft in the classroom.

Held on 19 December at Microsoft Thailand’s office, Hour of Code – Thailand attracted more than 300 Thai youths aged 6 years and above. The event was presided by Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). This year’s Hour of Code – Thailand was also joined by Uncle Pee – Pakawat Leupatanasuk and P’Tack – Apidech Tearpaiboon, Thailand’s most popular Minecraft game casters, where they demonstrated a live cast of Minecraft to the audience.  Hour of Code has also been expanded to reach Thai youths in remote areas since November. The events we joined by 30,000 Thai youths across 100 schools nationwide.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has reported the progression of Thailand among Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The prevailing situation indicates big room to improve in both skills, such as mathematics, science and English, and creative and critical thinking, which are the basis for meaningful learning for people for all ages.[1] Although Thailand has one of the lowest youth employment rates in this region, the opening up of ASEAN means that our youth today have to play on a reginal-level technology field. Despite these alarming unemployment statistics among young job seekers, employers worldwide say they often cannot find the right skills needed to meet their business objectives, especially when they are recruiting for technology-related jobs. Regarding the competitiveness of the country, Thailand ranked 31 of 144 economies in the world Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2014-2015. It was ranked tenth in Asia and inferior to Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, South Kores and China.[2]

“The core objective of today’s event is to heighten today’s youths’ interest in computer science education. Computer science is a part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM education, which equips students with skills critical for every career, and even more so relevant as the integration of the ASEAN Economic Community approaches closer,” said Orapong Thien-Ngern, General Manager, Microsoft Thailand. “We are delighted to see an increasing number of children and parents showing interest in coding. The initiative to bring Minecraft to Hour of Code is a first, and with its community of 100 million players around the world, Minecraft represents creativity, strategy, collaboration and survival. Through this initiative, we aim to spark creativity in the next generation of innovators in a way that is natural, collaborative and fun.”

Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), said “NSTDA sees the importance in establishing a closer collaboration between the private and government sectors as well as the education institutions to accelerate the development of innovation and technology in the country, to meet Thailand’s needs in today’s business and industries, eventually to increase the country’s competitiveness. We are pleased to see initiatives such as Hour of Code – Thailand, organized by Microsoft, that will encourage Thai youth to learn coding in a fun and familiar environment, and simultaneously develop passion in computer science which is a foundation to build innovation for Thailand.”

Designed for ages 6 and up, the “Minecraft” tutorial introduces players to basic coding skills, encouraging them to navigate, mine, craft and explore in a 2-D “Minecraft” world by plugging together blocks to complete all actions and generate computer code. Players are offered a set of 14 challenges, including free play time, to explore coding concepts they’ve learned through the tutorial.

In efforts to bring Hour of Code to more areas in Thailand, Microsoft Thailand will partner the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Change Fusion, a non-profit organization, and Good Factory, a social enterprise that encourages social innovation, to conduct coding workshops in Chiangmai and Mae Hong Son provinces. The project includes Train the Trainers activity for youth leaders of local computer clubs, teachers, as well as non-governmental organizations to understand the logic of computer and coding through Minecraft Tutorials. The trainers will then coach youths aged 14-18 to code and extend their knowledge and skills to their own schools and communities.

“Change Fusion’s goal is to support social entrepreneurs and initiatives that will bring innovative and sustainable change to today’s challenges. Today, we are pleased to partner with Microsoft and Good Factory to teach youths in the northern parts of Thailand to learn how to code, and spark interest in learning. Initiatives such as Hour of Code will lead to progress and development in Thailand’s IT human capital in the long run,” said Klaikong Vaidhyakarn, Deputy Director of Change Fusion Institute.

Hour of Code is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark program, a global, company-wide initiative to empower young people to do more and achieve more in their lives – by providing access to technology skills and a better education, inspiring youth to imagine and realize a better future, and helping them find jobs or even start their own businesses.

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About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Established in 1993, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited aims to Make 70 Million Lives Better by enabling Thai people and businesses to realize their full potential through technology that transforms the way people work, play, and communicate. We offer software, services, and devices that deliver new opportunities, greater convenience, and enhanced value to people’s lives. Working with communities and the Thai government, Microsoft and its partners are committed to working closely with organizations and people across Thailand to fully harness the power of technology and innovation.

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For further information, (press) please contact:

Pornravee Suramool or Nilawan Meedech

Hill+Knowlton Strategies Thailand

Tel: 0-2627-3501 ext. 110, 127 or 081-735-9213, 08-6980-6551

E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]