Coding is for everyone, and anyone—regardless of gender, age, nationality or occupation. Embodying this very spirit for herself was Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who wrote her first lines of code at the Taiwan Hour of Code kick-off on November 30.
The event marked a great start to the 2016 Hour of Code campaign in Asia, with more than 190,000 youth from 15 different countries participating in various coding activities.
2016 was Microsoft’s fourth year driving the Hour of Code campaign together with Code.org. Spanning 15 countries across the region, this year’s events aimed at inspiring youth to code, making computer science education accessible to more, and creating a more inclusive future with technology.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what took place at 2016 #HourofCode in Asia:
Making computer science education accessible to more
Besides designing her very first computer game at the event, President Tsai also pledged more resources toward computer science education for youth, and the creation of greater opportunities for women in the technology sector in the country. Almost 16,000 students took part in the activities held across Taiwan.
To support the Japanese government’s move toward making programming a compulsory subject for all students by 2020, Microsoft collaborated with teachers and government officials this Hour of Code to promote computer science education across 18 different cities in the country.
100 schools and universities in South Korea held a series of events that inspired over 3,500 students to kick-start their computer science education through the latest Minecraft tutorial.
As part of their commitment to improving computer science education accessibility, Busan city signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a computer science education platform based on Microsoft technology and tools for K12 students in Busan.
Creating a more inclusive world with technology
Nonprofit Fighting Chance held an Hour of Code session for nine students with Asperger’s syndrome or autism. The students not only got to try their hands at coding, but also explored career opportunities at a panel discussion and immersed themselves in fun at an Xbox session.
85 students with developmental disabilities and autism got their first taste of coding with the new Minecraft tutorial at an Hour of Code event. At the event, nonprofit Tamana also launched HOPE, a Kinect-based application designed to enhance cognition and motor skills in children with special needs.
Microsoft teamed up with the US Embassy, Special Olympics for Indonesia and Clevio Coder Camp to help 20 children with Down Syndrome and special needs complete the Minecraft tutorial. While it was challenging at times, the children never once gave up.
60 young female Indonesian students and mothers also participated in a Skype-a-Thon, learning for themselves that the doors to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are open for women too.
Over 450 participants got a glimpse of how coding innovations and assistive technologies can empower people with disabilities at the We Tech Care event, which was held in conjunction with Hour of Code. Microsoft Singapore also helped raise more than S$158,000 to support SPD, one of many beneficiaries of the President’s Challenge campaign.
To hone their problem-solving, critical-thinking and coding skills, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and nonprofits conducted numerous IT workshops, including Hour of Code tutorials for youth with disabilities.
Inspiring youth to code their future
Over 3,000 computer science-related events were held in China during the Hour of Code week, and more than 91,000 students got to experience coding. This includes many children living in rural areas, who were guided by Microsoft employees via Skype lessons.
Minecraft took center stage at the Learning and Teaching Expo 2016, with different schools competing for coding supremacy at the Minecraft Arena. A myriad of other activities were also held during the Hour of Code week, including the Microsoft-Empowered Interactive Studio and Skype in the Classroom sessions. Over 7,600 youth were trained this year.
To show that coding is possible for anyone and everyone, an array of computer science-related activities and events was organized for 300 youth from diverse backgrounds, including students with special needs, youth seeking asylum, children in hospitals and young people in marginalized communities.
With less than 1% of Māori people in tertiary education studying for a computer science-related qualification, and only 2.5% of working Māoris employed in the ICT sector, one of Microsoft New Zealand’s focus was to promote coding within the community. Using tutorials that were specially translated into Te Reo Maori, Minecraft Hour of Code sessions were conducted for some 220 children.
More than 8,000 youth got the opportunity to pick up coding and basic computational skills through a series of events held across 15 provinces. 250 teachers were also trained in a session aimed at equipping trainers with skills needed to help students in their computer education.
Around 250 participants gathered for a YouthSpark Live event held in Colombo, hosted by Microsoft and Sarvodaya Fusion. The highlight of the event was a team-based coding marathon based on popular themes such as Minecraft, Frozen and Star Wars, which got the participants abuzz with excitement.
More than 50,000 students from 1,100 schools took part in the Hour of Code sessions, workshops and other coding activities. A “Moments in Hour of Code” competition was also held for students and teachers to submit memorable pictures and stories they have about the 2016 Hour of Code.