March, 2014

  • Unforgettable Moments at We Day Seattle & We Day California!

    By Karen Bergin, director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    Over the last week, Microsoft participated in two days of inspiring events in two cities – We Day Seattle and We Day California. Through their community service, more than 30,000 talented youth earned their way to We Day Seattle on March 21, and We Day California on March 26.

    We created a slideshow of all the moments we don’t want to forget. To learn why we support We Day, you can read the Official Microsoft Blog post from Microsoft’s We Day Seattle speaker, Lisa Brummel, executive vice president, Human Resources.

    From left to right: Judson Althoff, president, Microsoft North America, speaks about how technology can empower young people to change the world to more than 16,000 youth on March 26 at We Day California at Oracle Arena. Judson is joined on stage by YouthSpark Reporter Jaagriti Sharma, and Josh Okello and Aaron Tushabe who were among the winners of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Grants 2012 competition, a Microsoft YouthSpark program in which they created a portable handheld device that can scan a pregnant woman’s womb as a replacement for ultrasounds for women living in rural areas. Microsoft helped bring We Day to California for the first time this year as part of its YouthSpark initiative.

  • Microsoft Announces New “YouthSpark Hub” on We Day Seattle!

    By Karen Bergin, director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    As Human Resources Executive Vice President Lisa Brummel writes on the Official Microsoft Blog this morning: “There is nothing quite like seeing the brilliant spark of an idea in the eyes of young person – apart, perhaps, from seeing it in the eyes of 15,000 young people! I will have that privilege today at KeyArena at the second annual Seattle We Day event as part of Microsoft’s three-year commitment to sponsor Free The Children’s signature event and the We Act in-school program in Washington and California.”

    As part of our YouthSpark initiative, on We Day Seattle we’re relaunching the YouthSpark Hub, a place where young people can go to get free resources and programs to help them imagine and create a better future.

    Follow #youthspark and @MSFTCitizenship for live tweets and behind-the-scenes content from our YouthSpark Reporters who will be capturing the unforgettable moments and positive energy of We Day. You can also follow them through this Twitter list. To experience We Day Seattle, you can watch the livestream starting at 9:15 a.m. PDT.

    Coming up next: please join us for We Day California on March 26!

  • Microsoft Supports “School in the Cloud”

    By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    At the TED Vancouver conference this week, a remarkable education innovator, Sugata Mitra who I have known since early 2000, announced the opening of five School in the Cloud labs in India and the United Kingdom. He’s also launching the accompanying digital platform, built by Microsoft, which enables anyone anywhere to host cloud-based learning.

    The journey began 15 years ago when Sugata, now a professor of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, placed a computer into a hole in a wall in a Kalkaji, Delhi slum. Something extraordinary happened. Without any outside instruction, the students learned how to use the computer, and its connection to the Internet, to teach themselves about the world around them. And they taught each other.

    As long as I have known Sugata, he has been challenging convention and questioning why we continue doing what we do -- especially when it comes to how we teach and educate our kids. The School in the Cloud and SOLE (self-organized learning environments) is just another way of challenging convention and developing a new approach to teach using technology.

    Microsoft’s support of School in the Cloud is a unique effort, not only because of its ground-breaking philosophy, but also because it reaches into nearly every corner of the company. From Skype, to Office and Azure, Bing and Xbox, the effort has been an unprecedented cross-collaboration. Microsoft’s investment comes from our YouthSpark initiative, our company-wide global mission to connect 300 million youth to opportunities for education, entrepreneurship and employment.

    Sugata’s vision represents a phenomenal revolution in learning – and I can only imagine how School in the Cloud will unleash the creativity of young people in years to come.

    From my perspective the opportunity extends beyond using technology to reach kids where traditional schools and teachers will never be able to reach but also to organize a new way of teaching and of how kids learn. SOLE allows a much wider population to get engaged and bring knowledge in new and creative ways to students. Sugata’s aim is to fundamentally increase the quality of education and develop new content through School in the Classroom and SOLE.

    To read more about Sugata Mitra’s amazing School in the Cloud and the Microsoft technology powering it to scale, view today’s story on Microsoft News Center.

  • Microsoft on World’s Most Ethical Companies List Four Years in a Row

    By Karen Bergin, director, Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs

    We are proud to be included in the 2014 list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute released today. Dan Bross, senior director, Corporate Citizenship shares his thoughts on this honor and Microsoft’s commitment to ongoing improvement of our responsible business practices on the Microsoft on the Issues blog.

  • Microsoft Research Provides New Cloud Computing Access to Support Climate Studies

    By Steve Lippman, director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    Big Data is becoming an increasingly important tool for helping scientists predict the long-term impacts of climate change, such as the likelihood of extreme rainfall events. In recognition of this and in response to President Barack Obama’s Climate Data Initiative announced last summer, Microsoft Research is launching a special Climate Data award program to offer a set of scientists and decision-makers free access to Windows Azure cloud-computing resources. For more information, this Microsoft Research blog post offers details on the program and other steps we’re taking to support the Climate Data Initiative.

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