Last week over 80 nonprofit representatives in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand joined Microsoft for "Social Media for Social Good" workshops. World-renowned blogger and best-selling author Heather Mansfield delivered the training, showcasing the best social media strategies to build awareness and increase fundraising for nonprofit causes and activities.
Heather Mansfield, Nonprofit Tech for Good with Belinda Gorman, Microsoft New Zealand
The day included best practices from Twitter, Facebook and demonstrations using Windows 8 photo app Fotor and Windows 8 photo app Phototastic . Attendees enjoyed the events immensely, tweeting throughout and very engaged with questions and comments.
To read more about the event, take a look at the summary at Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship page on Storify by clicking this link here.
We hope you'll join us for future Microsoft's Technology for Good events in your city. To find out more about upcoming events, please subscribe to our Tech4Good e-newsletter here.
Landlocked by two of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India and China, Nepal strikes a sharp contrast to its neighbours as it ranks among the poorest nations in the world. Agriculture remains the country’s predominant economic activity, providing employment to 80 percent of the population, yet it contributes to only a third of Nepal’s gross domestic product.
As part of its initiative to stimulate the local information technology (IT) sector, Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Nepal teamed up with Neoteric, the Nokia distributor in Nepal, and its software partner, IT Nepal, to conduct a Windows Phone 8 application (app) development camp. This event was held from 10 June to 24 July 2013 at MIC Nepal, and comprised multiple five-day workshops for students to learn how to develop apps for Windows Phone 8.
Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, Country Director of MIC Nepal, said, “We want to develop their interest in IT as well as their capabilities—to inspire them to play an active role in Nepal’s IT sector and bring innovation to it.”
Participants spent the first two days mastering the essentials of app development, then worked on their own app ideas and pitched them on the final day of the camp. To further encourage students’ creativity and learning process, the programme offered incentives to those who submitted their apps that week: they will receive 50 percent of their course fees if their app is successfully published in the Windows Phone Store, and the participant whose app has the highest number of downloads would be awarded a Windows Phone 8.
Twenty-seven apps were eventually published in the Windows Phone Store, with a cumulative download of more than 95,000 times; the winning app, KiLL THEM!!! accounted for a whopping 85 percent of total downloads.
KiLL THEM!!! is a simple and fun shooting game created by Arjan Maharjan, a computer engineering student from Kathmandu Engineering College. Arjan could not believe the popularity of his app when he was announced the winner of the new Windows Phone 8, and attributed his success to the knowledge he gained from the five-day workshop.
Screenshot of the winning app KILL THEM!!!
According to Arjan, the Windows Phone 8 app development camp was interesting as well as informative. “I learned a lot of logic related to programming. It has definitely helped me upgrade my programming skills. I would highly recommend the workshop to anyone who takes an interest in app developing and programming,” he added.
Fired up by his app’s success, Arjan is looking to develop more apps in the future and hopes to participate in advanced app development courses to further his skills.
By Shai Coggins, Social Media Manager and Strategist at Vervely.comThis is the first post of a new series offering technology tips and tricks to help you work more efficiently and get the most out of IT.Have you ever wondered how people use Twitter and still stay productive at work and in life? How is that even possible?Believe it or not, all you need to do is use the right tools and develop the right habits.
What are the best tools for using Twitter more productively? There are several tools available to make the time you spend on social media channels like Twitter more efficient and effective. Examples include the native Twitter app for Windows, Tweetdeck and HootSuite. Although it may seem overwhelming to learn yet another tool, don't let that thought stop you from downloading one of these apps for your computer or mobile device. The apps are relatively easy to learn, and, once you get the hang of it, you'll find that it makes your Twitter usage a lot more manageable. Once you've downloaded and installed your Twitter app of choice, follow these three steps:1. Log-in and authenticate your account on your Twitter app. Just follow the prompts and you'll be set-up in no time. 2. Create Twitter Lists. Even if you end up following thousands of people, lists help you keep in touch with and follow your most important contacts and accounts. Public lists can be viewed and subscribed to by anyone, while private lists are only for your personal benefit.You can create lists for all sorts of different reasons. For example, "Close Friends" (personal friends on Twitter), "Great Thought Leaders on…" (experts in a subject you're interested in, like nonprofit leaders) or "Work-related Tweeps" (people and accounts you follow due to your professional role).3. Set-up Twitter Streams. Most of the time, the app will pre-load basic Twitter streams, such as your newsfeed, replies, sent Tweets and direct messages. If you don't have them pre-loaded, or you want to add more streams, just follow the prompts. Get the basics set-up, then add new streams of interest. For example, you can add your lists, hash tags to follow or search terms you wish to monitor. By setting up these streams, it's easier for you to follow specific topics and people of interest. Once you have these three things set-up, your usage of Twitter will already improve a lot. The next thing to do is develop the right habits for productive Tweeting.What are the top 3 habits of productive Twitter users?1. Have at least one goal for your daily Twitter usage. It doesn't matter what that one goal might be: "Find a useful article for work" or "Share at least one useful Tweet a day" or "Connect with one Twitter contact by re-tweeting (RTing), answering one of their questions, commenting on one of their posts or just say “hello". Once you've completed that goal for the day, congratulations! If you want to do more, then those extra tweets are a bonus.2. Spend time developing your Twitter streams. Many new Twitter users are not sure what the purpose of Twitter is and often get overwhelmed with all the random information in their newsfeed. When you set up Twitter streams in areas of interest, you'll immediately see the difference between random Twitter usage and purposeful Twitter usage. Take time to develop your lists and figure out the best hash tags to follow, so you'll be able to use Twitter much more productively. 3. Use 'down time' as Twitter scanning time. Install your Twitter app on your mobile device to easily use some of your 'down time' to catch up on your well-planned Twitter streams. Scan your streams while commuting on the bus or train, in-between meetings or while queuing at the bank or post office. By using some of your down time on Twitter, you’ll be able to succeed in accomplishing your daily Twitter usage goal. Now you are set – Happy Tweeting!If you are already an experienced Twitter user, please share the different tools and habits make your Twitter use more productive. And, for those of you just getting started or re-committing yourself to the Twittersphere, I’d love to hear how these tips help you in the future.
Join us for this FREE webinar on Youth & Tech, Thursday, 12 December 2013, at 12:00 PM (Singapore time).
Young people today live in an uber-connected world. Whether it’s texting on a mobile phone, using a computer at school or gaming with friends, technology is inextricably woven into young people’s lives. For nonprofits to remain relevant in their programming, services or advocacy targeting youth, technology is a crucial component in the mix.
The content of this webinar will provide nonprofit staff with stories and ideas about how technology can be incorporated into programming or services targeting youth, and how technology can further help nonprofits achieve organisational goals.
About the panelists:
Arsenio Alegre is the Chief Executive Officer of WorkVentures in Australia. He has extensive international experience in financial and business management, having worked in several countries throughout Asia and Europe as a Senior Finance Executive for American Express. While in the UK, Arsenio volunteered his time to the Prince’s Trust and came to WorkVenturesthrough a desire to work for an organisation with a similar mission. He is a Certified Practising Accountant and his qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Master of Business Administration and various Executive Development courses. Arsenio is also a board member of Social Ventures Australia.
Gianisse Marie Adamantopoulos, also known as ‘Gigi’, is a student at De La Salle University and combines her passion for music and technology by reaching out to other young, like-minded music enthusiasts in the Philippines. She aspires to introduce young people to the latest software, online materials and social media as an alternate avenue to realise their talents and achieve theirmusical ambitions. An avid musician, Gigi enjoys creating her own music in her free time.
John-Son Oei is founder and CEO of EPIC Collaborative, a nonprofit that enables people to make positive, lasting change in their communities by providing safe and secure homes. The EPIC Homes team developed an online platform to collect, organise and manage information on EPIC's volunteers, donations, indigenous homeowners and other resources. John-Son is a member of Innovate for Good, a Microsoft YouthSpark programme that encourages young people to work collaboratively and use technology to improve their communities.
We look forward to having you join us for this FREE webinar on Thursday, 12 December 2013, at 12:00 PM (Singapore time).
Not everyone in Bangkok gets to fully enjoy its stylish malls, sprawling markets and magnificent temples. The city faces a severe lack of basic facilities to serve persons with disabilities. While Bangkok has yet to catch up with the needs of wheelchair users, some young innovators have decided to do something about this.
A group of graduate students, and a team of student participants receiving advanced IT training from Microsoft, recently launched a smartphone application that provides information about accessibility and wheelchair facilities in Bangkok and surrounding areas, including at government agency offices and attractions. Unlike other navigation apps in the marketplace, it uses augmented reality to integrate a live, physical environment with real-time informational searches and displays.
Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul, who is managing the Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) programme at Microsoft Thailand, said, “By actually labelling the real world through a camera, it makes navigation much easier and more accessible for anyone to understand.” The app, which germinated from a course project that Lipa Jarutian undertook with her fellow students at Thammasat University, allows users to make comments and share information, and even suggest itineraries for short trips.
Having witnessed the difficulties one of her relatives faces as a wheelchair user, Lipa had suggested focusing on tackling that issue for the project. The group found that most wheelchair users lack information about accessible and wheelchair-friendly places. “This forces many wheelchair users to stick to the same places, which effectively makes large parts of the city out of bounds for them,” Lipa explained.
The Wheel-go-round smartphone app uses augmented reality, a technology that integrates a live, real-world environment into the search and display of information useful for wheelchair users, such as ramps, and designated restrooms and parking spaces.
The group then joined Microsoft’s Innovate for Good programme to work with the MSP team to develop Wheel-go-round. Coding was the least of the worries for the MSP participants who have been receiving weekly training in augmented reality, Windows Azure and other advanced programming software, Kriangkrai said. She quipped, “To quote Mozart, all the notes are already there, we just need to place them in the right order.”
Nunthida Chitpukdeerat, one of the app testers and a wheelchair user, said, “The students were very hardworking, and kept coming back to us with new, improved designs for the app’s user interface. The final UI is just splendid. It’s easy to use, and has so much useful information. I’m less scared of venturing out of my home now, and plan to visit Bangkok Art and Culture Centre soon!”
Siriporn Pajharawat, Developer and Platform Strategy Director at Microsoft Thailand, said, “Microsoft is delighted to be able to support the Wheel-go-round team and their very worthwhile initiative which helps improve the lives of wheelchair users. This project shows that Innovate for Good is successfully enabling Thai youth to collaborate, and use technology to improve their communities and society.” Wheel-Go-Round was one of five finalists of the Innovation Challenge, one of the key contests run within the Innovate for Good online community, and received seed funding to support this project.
Manager of Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Dr. Krissada Raungarreerat feels that the app will help to promote inclusivity by “[removing] barriers so that wheelchair users are able to fulfil their potential and be fully participating members of society”.
Wheels-go-round (www.wheelgoround.in.th) will be available for download from the Windows Store in mid-October 2013. There are plans to add a Thai-language function to it, make it available on other smartphone platforms and include other major cities in Thailand.
Siriporn Pajharawat (left), Developer and Platform Strategy Director at Microsoft Thailand, alongside university students from the Microsoft Student Partners programme announcing the launch of the Wheel-go-round initiative
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