After more than a year of ongoing disruption and uncertainty due to COVID-19, some universities and colleges around the world are navigating a return to pre-pandemic routines, while also realizing that life on campus will never be the same.
As digital transformation accelerates due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure that students across the globe get access to engaging, relevant, and high-quality computer science learning experiences at school.
In September we launched Imagine Cup Junior 2021, a great opportunity for students aged 13-18 to learn about artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can be used for good. It has been fantastic to see educators from all over the world registering and getting their students involved in this global AI for Good challenge.
Passports were filled with virtual stamps on November 10-11, 2020, as thousands of students and educators participated in the Microsoft Global Learning Connection. Students from more than 80 countries traveled millions of virtual miles during the 48-hour event, celebrating the opportunity that remote learning presents to truly break down the walls of classrooms and homes and enable limitless learning.
2020 has been a year of blended learning, elevating the importance of creating connections for students and inspiring them to learn from home, from class, and everywhere in between. Educators worldwide have taken on the challenge of providing new immersive and interactive experiences and Microsoft continues to partner and support them every step of the way.
As the world and our education systems continue to evolve, the role of technology to enable learning, whether in classrooms or at home, continues to be of great importance for educators, leaders, parents, and students alike. Every day we experience, see, and hear triumphant stories of the human character and celebrate the heroes in education who courageously push beyond boundaries to create new opportunities for students to learn and grow. And like never before, investment of resources and time into peer support, coaching, professional development, and training is critical for education leaders, educators, faculty, and staff.
Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of the inspiring leaders of 325 education institutions from 58 countries around the world, whose vision and perseverance are empowering their students to achieve more. These schools represent the returning cohort of Microsoft Showcase Schools and we are thrilled to welcome their continued participation in the program.
At Microsoft, we are inspired every day by the impact that dedicated educators and thoughtful leaders are making on innovative teaching, ultimately improving student outcomes. The recent months have only increased our appreciation of the critical work educators and school leaders do to help every student achieve more.
Today I have the pleasure of announcing the winners of the Imagine Cup Junior 2020 AI for Good Challenge.
COVID-19 has impacted millions of people globally, especially with regard to their employment. Many jobs have been lost, others have been transformed, and as we look ahead, many more will be created for the first time. The unprecedented events that have been unfolding before us have accelerated the role of technology and elevated the need for employees to have digital skills to thrive in this new hybrid world. In response, yesterday, Microsoft announced a commitment to help 25 million people worldwide acquire digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy.