What do you get when you mix hundreds of kids and parents, access to coding software, Kinect games and prizes? A whole lot of fun discovering the joy of technology at Singapore’s first ever Kids Camp @ Microsoft!
Nearly 500 kids and parents attended the event, getting a hands-on introduction to the latest technology, building their own programs through code.org's Hour of Code challenge, learning about smart photo taking and even making their own games with Microsoft Kodu Game Lab, which lets kids create games on a PC or Xbox via a simple visual programming language.
Ms Clair Deevy, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific, said, “Coding is not something just for older kids or tech geeks. The activities were designed to be fun and to show anyone they can learn to code and write their own basic programs.
“Beyond the fun though we hope to excite more young people, especially young girls, about computer science and programming as those skills can help spring you into many careers, and will become even more in demand in the future.”
The Singapore Committee for UN Women participated in the event by showcasing their new program Women in STEM: Girls Today, Pioneers Tomorrow, which aims to encourage more girls in Singapore to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), through mentoring, events and a series of day camps for girls aged 10-15.
Computational thinking – something you gain when learning basic coding skills – is a critical skill set, and experts suggest that at least two-thirds of future jobs do not exist today and may likely require this ability. Introducing coding to Singaporeans, who in a recent LinkedIn survey ranked technology as one of the top industries they are interested in, helps groom future technology professionals.
Part of Microsoft’s global commitment to empower youth, the YouthSpark Kids Camp @ Microsoft builds on the coding momentum started with the #WeSpeakCode campaign that kicked off earlier this year. #WeSpeakCode seeks to make “Code – the official Second Language of Asia Pacific”. It provides a taste of what coding is, demonstrates how accessible learning to code can be and celebrates both professional and amateur coders across the region.
Follow our conversation on Twitter at #WeSpeakCode and #YouthSpark.
For more information on how you or your school can get involved, please visit www.wespeakcode.net. More information on the Singapore Committee for Women’s STEM program can be found at www.girls2pioneers.org.