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Microsoft helps Kiwi students learn to code in te reo Māori

Microsoft helps Kiwi students learn to code in te reo Māori

Global coding initiative features a new Minecraft tutorial in Māori to boost children’s engagement with IT

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 5 December 2018 – A brand-new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial is being introduced to young programmers worldwide this week, with a special te reo Māori translation for Kiwi kids. Voyage Aquatic is being released for the 2018 Hour of Code, held 3-9 December, to coincide with Computer Science Education Week. Hour of Code is a global campaign led by Code.org aimed at inspiring children to learn basic coding skills in an hour, and the Minecraft tutorial is expected to be a favourite.

More than 1000 students aged 5-14 from around Aotearoa have already signed up for an hour of coding tutorials with tech experts from a range of organisations. Tech companies are sponsoring the series of free events in schools in partnership with Code.org, including a Minecraft tutorial in either English or te reoMāori. It’s the fourth year Microsoft has supported the event with special Minecraft tutorials, and the second tutorial on the world-building phenomenon to be translated into te reo. Last year’s tutorial, Hero’s Journey, will also be translated for the 2018 Hour of Code, bringing the total to three.

“It’s increasingly important to create meaningful resources within the context that our tamariki live in,” says Zoe Timbrell, co-founder and kaiwhakahaere of technology education charity OMGTech!, which is leading the delivery of the Hour of Code workshops.

“The translation of such a world-class resource as Hour of Code’s Minecraft tutorial into te reo Māori helps close the digital divide. We want to make sure our tamariki are creators of technology, not just consumers.”

The translation for this year’s new Minecraft activities was completed by Michael Dargaville, a specialist youth worker from Waikato. The campaign brings together both his love of te reo Māori, which is his first language, and his passion for technology. Dargaville says he has seen first-hand how having access to new resources and programmes in their own language lets students put themselves in the context of the game in a way that nothing else does.

Michael Brick, Corporate Affairs Director at Microsoft New Zealand, says ensuring the Hour of Code tutorials were available in Māori was hugely important to his team, as it helps to reach more students and inspire them to learn the digital skills that will be vital for tomorrow’s workplaces and society.

“If we want to ensure all New Zealanders have access to the tools they need to thrive as citizens in a digital world, we need to start early. Even something as simple as a game like Minecraft teaches students computational thinking, problem-solving and creative skills that will help them in the future,” he says.

“We want to make sure all children have equal access to a quality future-ready education to help accelerate digital transformation in our classrooms. That’s why Minecraft: Education Edition is free to all New Zealand schools. When everyone has the chance to reach their full potential, we will all benefit.”

Workshop facilitators will also talk about career opportunities in IT, hoping to encourage a new generation of programmers, developers, designers, educators and problem-solvers into an industry they might not have thought of.

Meanwhile, older students who wish to go beyond an hour of code can opt to participate in Asia Pacific’s Next Top Coder, a free online competition led by Empire Code in partnership with Microsoft and Lenovo. Until 7 December 2018, students aged 13-19 will be creating Minecraft worlds enhanced with code that reflects a period of time in history, using Minecraft: Education Edition and Microsoft MakeCode for Minecraft.

For the top three winners, Microsoft is offering a career coaching programme, Lenovo Star Wars™: Jedi Challenges box set and Empire Code micro:bit device.

To enter, students should visit https://www.empirecode.co/topcoder.

Teachers wanting more information on Hour of Code and how to use the new Minecraft Voyage Aquatic tutorial in the classroom can find information at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/educators/stem

Ends.


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