Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Guest post by: Joanna Hafenmayer, Citizenship Lead Switzerland
February 16th was a crazy day in the life of the 4th graders of the primary school Näglimoos in Kloten, right outside of Zurich, Switzerland – and so it was for me.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was visiting the school and there was a media conference going on with plenty of reporters, photographers and cameras. Preparations started early in the morning.
Picture: 8am, Steve signing a diploma for each of the students stating that they have been trained within the security4kids initiative
Steve came to honor the 20,000th pupil that has been trained with the Swiss online safety curriculum with certificates and a huge chocolate lock. In the following press conference and celebration, Microsoft was able to look back onto five years of successful engagement and thought leadership in Switzerland with security4kids. Many of the initiative’s partners – NGOs, public agencies, criminal protection organizations and others - were present to underline the success and relevance of our online safety engagement in Switzerland and also to highlight the challenges that kids, parents and teachers face when trying to stay safe online and understanding what to do and what not to do.
Based on the experience of previous years, Microsoft announced the BuddyGuard, a free chat counseling service for children that can be accessed directly from within Windows Live Messenger – rights where the kids spend a lot of their time.
The most important things to observe when chatting:
1. Protect yourself and your data: no photos, webcam or phone numbers exchanged with people you do not know personally
2. Private things private: don’t share too much information with strangers
3. Be careful who you chat with: photos in chat profiles are not necessarily real and someone saying they are a kid can be a grown up.
4. Don’t agree to meet strangers: if you met someone in chat that you would like to meet in person – talk to your parents first
5. Don’t let anyone pressure you: stop the chat or talk to your parents if some says odd or unpleasant things
6. Be fair: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself
The kids weren’t just interested in the online safety training that day, they were curious to see if the CEO of a major global company - Steve Ballmer - would actually agree to wear the funny black security agent hat that we prepared for him.
He did! And after calling out every single kid’s name and leaving the school for the next meeting, he left me and the whole team responsible for the project and preparation a little bit relieved that everything went well but more importantly a little bit proud and a little bit touched.
Steve handing out a security training diploma to one of the students.
Steve celebrating the 20’000th student trained in security behavior with a Swiss chocolate security lock.
More photos can be found here.
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Microsoft Community Affairs and TechSoup recently hosted a webinar focused on how moving to the cloud can benefit nonprofits. If you’ve been paying attention to the latest tech trends - or even if you haven’t - then you have probably heard the term “cloud” thrown around a lot. At a basic level, “The Cloud” describes an approach to computing that’s about taking advantage of Internet scale and connecting to (and from) a variety of devices. It could involve moving IT services such as email, collaboration tools, or constituent management software to the Internet so that those tools do not have to be hosted locally. The cloud delivers IT as a service, freeing you up to focus on your mission.
Technology is changing and the cloud is opening new opportunities for nonprofits to not only save money on administration costs but deliver new services.
This was the subject of the recent webinar presented by Anna Jaeger of TechSoup Global and Microsoft Community Affairs. We showed how the cloud can help nonprofits turn their attention and valuable resources from mundane time intensive tasks such as tech maintenance to more inspiring parts of their work that have a real impact in their community.
If you are feeling slightly apprehensive about your cloud-ward mobility then this webinar is for you. It is a great 101 course aimed at clearing up some of the murky confusion regarding: data security, measurable costs (learn how one org saved $20,000!), reliability and its benefits.
Ready to learn more? Visit http://bit.ly/ngowebinar to download the recording, view the presentation slides and find links to great articles to help you navigate your cloud journey.
Fear not and embrace it! Cloud computing (like Rock n' Roll) is here to stay.
Please join us for our next nonprofit webinar Connect, Collaborate & Engage: The potential of SharePoint for nonprofits & public libraries on March 9th at 11:00am PST.
Microsoft's Community Technology Skills Program began in 2003. Since then, 170 million individuals have been touched by the program around the world - individuals who used the Community Technology Centers to brush up on their skills; others who took a more intensive training course and ultimately received their Digital Literacy certificate; those who learned at their own pace at home; and yet others whose more unique needs were met through a combination of assistive technology and skilled trainers. There are truly 170 million stories out there, and I'd like to note just four that were recently highlighted in this article in the The Star, an English language newspaper in Malaysia.
Lim Jin Sheng was injured in a car accident in 2006, impacting his vision, speech and other motor skills. In the course of his rehabilitation he came across IT skills training through the Society for the Physically Disabled in Singapore (SPD). Despite initial concerns about his ability to learn these new skills, he successfully completed the courses and is now employed as an administrative assistant - building his independence and confidence.
Gerald Bartholomew, on the other hand, was born with severely impaired vision. As part of his job search process he was able to take advantage of assistive technology (devices and applications to ease access and use of computers and technology for persons with disabilities) available at SPD and complete office productivity applications training (email, spreadsheets, word processing and presentations). He then worked as a research assistant at SPD and ultimately moved on to another job as an administrator for a company in Singapore. Learn more about Microsoft and SPD here.
Lilibeth Masamloc nearly became a victim of sex trafficking in the Philippines. After enduring years of abuse as an underpaid overworked domestic servant, at the age of 13 Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF) stepped in when the threat of being trafficked became very real. Under a VFF program she was brought to a safe shelter and given the support needed to recover from her experience, which included IT skills training. Afraid at first to even touch a computer, Lilibeth grew in confidence through her training and eventually completed a degree in social work. She now speaks at international events on the topic of protecting domestic workers. Discover more on Step UP and VFF here.
A degenerative eye disease did not keep Kenny Johar from pursuing a career in Computer Science. As the manager for architecture, innovation and accessible solutions at Vision Australia he not only benefits from assistive technology himself but has witnessed the broader value of technology to meet the needs of underserved populations. He also has provides feedback on emerging technologies such as touch screens, which pose a particular challenge for the visually impaired, helping to improve subsequent versions of technology.
A critical sub-point here is the importance of partnerships in successfully helping bring technology access and skills to local communities. Without the local knowledge and dedication of organizations like SPD, VFF and Vision Australia, the Microsoft contribution to these efforts would be largely meaningless. In the context of partnership however, our resources of curriculum, software and cash can help extend and deepen programs that make an absolute difference in people's lives. In the end it is all about the role of technology in empowering people to learn, create, communicate and do things that are relevant and meaningful to them.
This week the Microsoft Campus in Redmond will be visited by a group of extraordinary givers, doers, and all around community leaders. The Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are an exceptional group of professionals who come from a wide range of backgrounds and actively share their high-quality, real-world technical expertise with communities around the world.
The MVPs have come to Redmond for the 2011 MVP Global Summit which kicked off yesterday, however some of the attendees showed up early to help the greater Seattle community in an event known as “Geek Give.”
It all started bright and early Saturday morning when more than 60 MVPs and Microsoft employees—as well as some of their families—filled two large buses and headed to Northwest Harvest to help pack food and fight hunger in Washington State.
This was the second time they have come together for a GeekGive project. Organized by MVP Steve Andrews, last year GeekGive helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity at Tech-Ed in New Orleans. This year, they packed 10,000 lbs. of green beans, 4,896 lbs. of dry pasta, and 1,125 lbs. of grapefruit for more than 15,000 meals.
For more on the MVP Summit watch out for posts on the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Blog.
Find out more about this year’s Geek Give activities by reading Lonnie Webb ‘s post: Two Days of Giving and Deep Discussion-Before MVP Global Summit Even Starts!
Picture: MVPs work to package food at Northwest Harvest
Students using Windows MultiPoint Server at the Kisapuk Community Center in southern Kenya
A few weeks ago, our colleagues on Microsoft's Environmental Sustainability Team shared a blog post on how Windows MultiPoint Server was enabling increased access to computer education and training, while using solar power in low-cost computing environments. The project was created with our partner NetHope.
Last Spring, I had the opportunity to visit Kenya as part of the NetHope member summit held in Nairobi. In preparation for the visit, Microsoft Community Affairs and the Windows MultiPoint Server team, in conjunction with NetHope and WorldVision Kenya deployed a Windows MultiPoint Server at the Kisapuk Community Center in the Kijodo district of southern Kenya. The center is remarkable: it is a simple, three-roomed building used by the local community as a community center, gathering place, classroom, library, and computer center. Its electricity - invaluable also in charging local residents' mobile phones - is provided entirely by solar power, again thanks to the work of NetHope and World Vision Kenya.
In addition to powering computers, solar power provides charging services for residents' mobile phones
The Windows MultiPoint Server team was very interested in learning how MultiPoint Server could benefit and be used in very remote computing environments with very non-traditional power supplies. I am pleased to report that the project, from its implementation last year to the present day, continues to be a great success. The deployment effectively doubled the number of computer workstations available to residents through the community center, but without doubling power consumption or electricity needs. It has proven to be a valuable, easy-to-administer tool that provides local residents with important connections to information, training, and knowledge online.
Internet access is available via satellite to the community center
I sometimes have mixed feelings when I see very modern technologies being adopted within communities whose traditions and ways of life are sometimes centuries-old. It was important, and interesting for me to hear some of the community elders speak of how important it was that their young people gain new skills and abilities so that their culture can remain vibrant and alive within an ever-changing world. A parent's desire for the education of herchildren is absolutely universal. "When I was young I needed to learn to kill a lion," one of the elders shared with us, "but today, our children need to understand computers and the Internet so that they can survive."
I hope to have the opportunity to visit again someday and see how technology is helping parents to educate and prepare their children for the world in which they are growing up. Through the wonders of modern-day technology, it has been remarkable to keep up with some of the individuals I met at the center through online social networks.
The full post from the Environmental Sustainability team is available here.
A brief video I put together summarizing the project is available here.
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