While Indonesia’s economy is fast rising to be the largest in Southeast Asia, its education sector is still struggling hard to catch up with its economic improvements. The lack of funding and infrastructure continues to challenge the educational progress of many Indonesian children who make up nearly 30 percent of the archipelago nation.
Despite these difficulties, Nura Uma Annisa, teacher and information and communications technology (ICT) manager at pre-school KB-TK Islam Al-Azhar 22 Semarang in Java, persevered so that her school and its 200 students, aged between five and seven years old, would enjoy early years education on par with better-equipped pre-schools.
As an advocator of technology in education, Nura is no stranger to Microsoft. In 2011, she won the Most Edutaining award in the Microsoft National Innovative Teachers Competition, and attended the 2012 Partners in Learning (PiL) Global Forum in Prague. Driven by her passion for better educational outcomes, Nura led her school to participate in the Microsoft IT Makeover Contest Asia Pacific, which saw entries from sectors as disparate as agricultural equipment manufacturing and handicraft-making, and successfully pulled ahead of the other eight finalists to emerge champion.
“Our school’s IT facilities were very outdated. We were using old computers and doing administrative work manually. What we could do was limited, as some computers were running on older Office versions like Microsoft Office 2003,” explained Nura. “That’s why I jumped at this opportunity, for if we were to win, we could transform the way our school operates and advance our teaching methods.”
As the winner, KB-TK Islam Al-Azhar 22 Semarang received US$15,000 worth of Windows 8 Pro devices, Office 365 Small Business Premium seats and Microsoft Support Services. School operations have become more systematic, collaborative and cost-effective; paper usage has been reduced; and staff have increased their teaching productivity.
“Now, the headmaster and teaching staff are able to easily share study plans using OneDrive and Office 365, and are collaborating with the Al-Azhar Pre-School headquarters in Jakarta on the curriculum and study materials. Most importantly, our children are enjoying Windows 8 immensely, as they get to learn and play at the same time!” enthused Nura.
Started in May 2013, Get2Modern SME IT Makeover Contest is aimed at encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which include educational institutions, in Asia Pacific to enhance their management and simplify increasingly complex business operations with the use of technology.
According to Lucky Gani, Business Group Head, Windows Division, Microsoft Indonesia, “Through this competition, we want participants to look at technology as an essential means of boosting operational productivity, not just an added, optional feature. It is all about modernising their operations and focusing on what matters most for their organisations.”Nura using Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 to teach her early years class
On 12 December 2013, Vietnam’s 3rd NGO Connection Day was held in Ho Chi Minh City, with directors and staff of more than 120 organisations present.
Besides providing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with deeper insights into emerging IT trends, the event also witnessed a reinforcement of Microsoft’s pledge to help non-profits with the announcement of the Microsoft Office 365 Donation Programme. Attendees for the event underwent a half-day workshop on Office 365 applications as well, and learnt professional tips that facilitated their work.
Staff from local NGOs and Microsoft swapping ideas
It is crucial that NGOs, especially community-based ones which face greater difficulties in accessing funds, adopt an information technology and communications (ICT) infrastructure that will remain relevant and effective in the future. The Office 365 donation programme was rolled out as several features of the productivity suite, such as the constant updates of Office cloud service, will result in tangible gains in cost-savings, data security and IT administration for the local NGOs.
Vietnet Information Technology and Communication (Vietnet)—an NGO that aims to narrow the digital divide by giving underprivileged Vietnamese information access—is among the first few local organisations to have qualified for the programme. Armed with a cost-effective and updated information management system, Vietnet ICT will be able to carry out its programmes more efficiently, and adapt faster to face challenges in the future.
“The Office 365 Donation Programme is a crucial component in our plan to support NGOs in delivering key services to various communities, and Microsoft Vietnam is excited to help local NGOs contribute to the development of Vietnam. After the event, more than 80 NGOs registered for software donation, we’re thrilled by the overwhelming response and we look forward to continue helping these organizations realise their potential for Vietnam.” said Jeremy Showalter, Marketing and Operations Director, Microsoft Vietnam.
Clair Deevy, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific, with attendees
Phototastic is a free Window 8 photo editing app that allows nonprofits to easily create collages of their best images from events and for special campaigns. Nonprofits that prioritize telling their stories through images are well-positioned for mobile and social media success in 2014. Visually compelling collages can be created in less than a minute using Phototastic. For example, below is the process we used to create an image collage of the 2013 Imagine Cup.
Step 1: Install Phototastic from the Windows StoreStep 2: Select “Create your first collage”3. Select image collage template4. Add photos5. Select photo shape and background6. Save and upload image collage to social media
Creating photo collages couldn’t be easier. Download the Phototastic app today and tell your organisation’s story through images.Thanks to Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech 2.0 (Bio) (LinkedIn), and author of Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits for providing these tips on the Phototastic app.
This story was originally published 11 February 2014 by Kari Sherrodd, Senior Manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs, on the Microsoft Citizenship Blog.
Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change is back for a second year! Are you up for the challenge?
When it comes to social change, launching entrepreneurial ventures and coming up with the next generation of big ideas, we know that nothing matches the creativity and passion of youth. Through March 5, you can enter Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change which is part of Microsoft YouthSpark, our company-wide commitment to create education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for 300 million young people by 2015. Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change asks young people aged 18-25 to submit an idea for a social good project designed to spark change in their communities or around the world for the chance to win amazing prizes*, including a travel experience to the Amazon and the latest Microsoft products. Entering the contest is easy. Simply answer a few questions about your social good project and how Windows and Office could help you make it a reality.
Everyone who enters will receive a $10 donation gift card for Microsoft YouthSpark on Global Giving to help you fund and follow social good projects for young people around the world.
Twenty Finalists will receive a Surface 2 (or equivalent device) with Office 365 University.
Five Grand Prize Winners will receive:
A travel experience to the Amazon to learn about creating change
$2,500 cash to help kick-start their ideas
A Microsoft technology bundle including a Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One*
The opportunity to serve as a Microsoft YouthSpark ambassador and take advantage of Microsoft YouthSpark training and resources
Once the contest entries have been received, our judges will narrow the entries to 20 finalists, who will be revealed on 15 April. Then we’ll open voting to the public – everyone can vote for their favorite project once a day until 22 April. We’ll announce our five grand prize winners on 1 May, which will mark the end of the contest, but the beginning of another journey for the winners as they get ready to explore Ecuador and learn about leadership, conservation, biodiversity and rural development issues in the Amazon rainforest.
We welcome entries from anyone who is thinking of (or already) creating positive change in small or big ways. Your idea may be new and untested, or something you’ve been doing for years. Whatever the idea, we want to hear it! If you’re looking for inspiration, check out last year’s winners and watch the video to see what they’re up to now.
*No purchase necessary to enter or win. Open to individuals 18 - 25 years of age at time of entry. Contest is void in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and where prohibited. Entry period ends at 11:59:59 a.m. ET (16:59:59 GMT) on 5 March 2014. See full Official Rules for details.
In just six years India will become the youngest country in the world. While the youth bulge emerging in 2020 will set its economy apart from other aging economies, it may be a harbinger for greater socioeconomic inequalities to come. It is against this backdrop that Microsoft embarked on a partnership with local organisation the Quality Education and Skills Training (QUEST) Alliance, a multi-stakeholder initiative which shares YouthSpark’s mission to provide youth with access to education, employment and entrepreneurship.From 11 to 12 December, Microsoft India hosted the second YouthSpark Live (formerly known as Innovate for Good) event, attended by 18 youth, in Bangalore. The event kicked off with a spirited exchange of ideas by the young social entrepreneurs who were chosen on the merit of their social venture ideas. Richly diverse and creative, the ideas covered the promotion and protection of the welfare and rights of rural communities, women and other groups, and included:
Gaurav Mittal, one of the members from Eye-D, was overwhelmed by the depth and intensity of the discussions. He observed, “My experience at YouthSpark Live has been great. I never expected that there will be so much energy and discussions and that I will get so much feedback on my idea. I am eager to begin work on the feedback I have received. The event went far beyond my expectations.”
Young social entrepreneurs at Microsoft YouthSpark Live, Bangalore, India
Aside from the exchange of ideas, Microsoft and QUEST Alliance experts took them through workshops on goal-setting and proposal presentation to donors as well. Thereafter, the participants fine-tuned their business plans before presenting them to a three-member jury at the end of the event.The top three ideas will be developed into full-fledged proposals, with expert help for improvements on the business development plans. Microsoft will connect the idea owners with investors and social entrepreneurs who could provide seed funding to materialise the ideas.Sandeep Alur, Technology Evangelism Manager at Microsoft India, said, “On the second day, I gave a little presentation on the future of technology devices, and highlighted the relevance of these devices to various industries and sectors. All the participants were very quick in making the link with their social ventures, and had a number of difficult questions for me! Before that, I was already blown away by all their ideas. To think about all the missed opportunities when a person is deprived of the right kind of access can be disappointing, and I am glad that we are helping, one batch at a time.”
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