The Fourth Industrial Revolution’s velocity, scope, and systems-level impact contribute to a shift in business models across all industries. The on-demand economy and changing nature of work, especially amid COVID-19, have led to a significant skills gap[1]. There are 1.7 million unfulfilled tech jobs across industries in the U.S. and Europe[2].

At Microsoft, our goal is to help people throughout the entire education and learning continuum—from education through one’s professional career—to fully participate in the digital economy. Part of this is about preparing the next generation for the jobs of tomorrow. Our unique responsibility and opportunity is to ensure everyone has access to the promise and potential of technology for the digital economy. This contributes to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We believe that those who create with technology are those who write history and shape our future; everyone should have access to learning these skills.

Our ambition is to empower all students to confidently create with technology. Our products like Minecraft: Education Edition, MakeCode, and Visual Studio Code bring this to life by providing a canvas for creating with technology. We offer a range of options for learners of all ages to learn coding.

To prepare the next generation for the jobs of tomorrow while inspiring their creativity, we have partnered with Wonder Woman 1984, Smithsonian Learning Labs, and NASA to create distinct portfolios of project-based lessons that teach programming. We wanted to cultivate learning by connecting content to something interesting, relevant, and most importantly, inspiring for learners of all ages—whether they are 8, 18, or 80.

Included in these collections are:

Five Wonder Woman 1984 and Smithsonian Learning Lab lessons

  • Museum Heist
    Learn to code with Minecraft: Education Edition in this adventure based on the upcoming movie Wonder Woman 1984. Venture through an in-game museum and solve puzzles to find a stolen painting, learning basic coding and game design concepts along the way.
  • Chaos Maze
    Wonder Woman is in the Smithsonian Museum and she needs to collect artifacts before time runs out! In this free virtual experience, learners eight and older use block-based coding to design and code their own arcade game to play online.
  • Legendary gauntlets
    The indestructible gauntlets that Wonder Woman wears to deflect attacks are symbols of empowerment and strength. Make and code your own Wonder Woman gauntlets that light up and have sound—activated with the iconic arm cross. This activity requires the physical purchase of items.
  • Decode a secret message
    There’s a secret message that needs a code-cracker to find the truth. Learn how to crack a code that reveals an Easter-egg location from Wonder Woman 1984. Get a glimpse into the popular Python programming language with this introductory lesson that assumes zero background knowledge! You’ll be led through instructions to write two programs and learn about variables and functions.
  • Super quiz
    Which Wonder Woman 1984 character are you? Use Python to build a quiz yourself and share it with your friends. This lesson will teach you the basics of Boolean commands and conditionals. No prior background in computer science is needed.

Three lessons inspired by NASA 

These new modules and learning paths created by Sarah Guthals are inspired by NASA scientists. They help prepare learners for a career in space exploration.

1 World Economic Forum. March 2019. The digital skills gap is widening fast. Here’s how to bridge it.

2 Wall Street Journal. October 15, 2019. America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough in IT, citing data from CompTIA.