Post by Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education
There are few things that inspire me more than witnessing energetic, innovative, enthusiastic students in action, which is why I look forward to this week every year: the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
In its 12th year, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world's premier student technology competition. Since its beginning, more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the Imagine Cup. It is a phenomenal community, where whip-smart students 16 years and older — from all over the world — share ideas, have fun, and get to be a part of "the next big thing." At Microsoft, we believe technology can play a profound role in teaching and learning, creating a direct and life-long impact on student outcomes. The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the embodiment of this belief.
This week, the Imagine Cup World Finals are taking place in Seattle, and I will be there, along with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who will be on-hand to judge the best student projects. You can witness the showdown live on Friday August 1st at 8:30am Pacific Time, by tuning in to the live stream of the Imagine Cup World Championship awards ceremony. There are some pretty incredible prizes to be won…including a private meeting with Bill Gates. Along with Satya, two other VIP judges will be on hand: Hadi Partovi, the founder of non-profit Code.org, and Erik Martin, the general manager of Reddit.com, amongst many other high-profile judges.
Each year, students create projects for the Imagine Cup based on three categories: Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. I will be meeting and talking with all of the 2014 finalists, and sharing those conversations on my Daily Edventures blog. In the meantime, here's a quick glimpse at just a couple of the teams and their education-focused projects:
Team "Brainy studio" from Russia. Their project, "Turn On," is a platform adventure game that tells story of an electrical spark, which is trying to restore electricity in the city. Some of the cool features include synchronization of gameplay process between different devices using Windows Azure.
Team "Flipped.uy" from Uruguay. Flipped is a cloud-powered platform to create, host and distribute online courses. It is meant to enhance the classroom experience by giving support to interactive learning techniques (such as flipped classroom and team-based learning).
Team "I copy you" from Qatar. Their project is aimed at helping autistic students enhance their learning abilities and communication skills by introducing a friendly robotic learning tool.
Also this year, Seattle's Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and Microsoft will host Imagine Cup Day on August 2nd. On this special day, the museum will open its doors for free to the public and the Imagine Cup world finalists will showcase their projects as part of a special one-day only event. Please join us at MOHAI and bring the family. There will be lots of kid friendly activities. Additionally, we are thrilled to partner with the University of Washington, which will house the student finalists in the university's latest high-tech living spaces.
I hope you join me in offering congratulations to all the teams who competed in our National and Online Finals, to the 170+ teams who made it to the World Semifinals, and now to the 35 teams who have made it all the way to Seattle. And be sure to tune in to the live stream of the Imagine Cup World Championships, where Satya Nadella will crown the victors live on August 1. Giving students the right tools to become innovators and leaders is at the core of Microsoft's mission, so it is a pleasure to see so many brilliant students come so far in developing their very own projects – projects that may one day change the world.