Tag: Microsoft

President Obama Pledges $4 Billion Toward Computer Science in Schools

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House isn’t just relying on legislation to make computer science education a priority in the US. President Obama has launched a Computer Science for All initiative that gives states $4 billion in funding to expand computer science in K-12 schools through a mix of better course materials, partnerships and teacher training. The move also sends another $100 million directly to school districts, unlocks $135 million in funding from government organizations and gets further cooperation from both local governments as well as tech leaders.

Some of those leaders include companies that have already promised support for the President’s educational initiatives. Apple, Cartoon Network, Code.org, Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce and Qualcomm are all widening their education efforts, investing in programs or both to help improve computer science in the country.

Throwing cash at a problem won’t make it go away, of course, and there aren’t any guarantees that the money will make a difference. However, the effort at least tackles one of the core issues head-on: getting computer science into schools in the first place. Roughly three quarters of schools go without any CS programs, and 22 states don’t accept these classes as credit toward a high school diploma. If the extra funding works as planned, it’ll get CS courses into more schools and help create a generation of kids that know how to code before they reach college.

article by Jon Fingas via engadget.com

Nas To Fund Tech Scholarships for African-Americans and Latinos at General Assembly in NYC

nas instagram
Nasir Jones aka Nas (photo via allhiphop.com)

Nas is partnering up with General Assembly to sponsor scholarships for African-American and Latino students, according to reports.

General Assembly, a vocational school for engineering and programming in New York City, is opening the “Opportunity Fund” to help bring diversity into technology.  Microsoft, Google and Hirepurpose will also provide monies for the project. Each company will sponsor different populations. While Nas will give scholarships to African-Americans and Latinos, Microsoft and Hirepurpose will provide funding for veterans and Google will give scholarships to women.“This is the start of what hopefully will be a contribution to what will be a more diverse and accessible community worldwide,” General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz told the Observer.

This is not the first time Nas has had his name attached to an educational opportunity – in 2013 Harvard University created the Nasir Jones Fellowship in his honor.  It’s wonderful that he is continuing to foster higher education, this time in his hometown.

original article by Tanay Hudson via allhiphop.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

TV’s White Spaces Connecting Rural Africa

Using a computer by firelightWide open spaces: Projects like the one in Nanyuki could let people in the more remote areas connect to the internet

Beatrice Nderango is the headmistress of Gakawa Secondary School, which lies about 10km from Nanyuki, a market town in Kenya’s rift valley, not far from the Mount Kenya national park.  The school is situated in a village that has no phone line and no electricity. The people that live here are mostly subsistence farmers.

Going online: The schools are being supplied with computers as part of the project

“We don’t really have a cash crop, but the farmers do a bit of farming,” says Mrs Nderango.  “They grow potatoes, a little bit of maize, but we don’t do well in maize because of the wild animals. They invade the farms.” 

Although Kenya has fibre optic broadband thanks to the Seacom cable, most of rural Kenya is not connected and until now getting online would mean traveling to town.

But all of this is changing, thanks to technology that uses the unused parts of the wireless spectrum that is set aside for television broadcasters – the white spaces.

The project is part of the 4Afrika Initiative, an investment program being announced by technology giant Microsoft, that also includes a new Windows Phone 8 smartphone for the region and investment in help for small businesses on the continent, and in education and internships. Continue reading “TV’s White Spaces Connecting Rural Africa”

Microsoft To Open $100 Million Tech Center in Brazil; Create Jobs

(Credit: Jim Kerstetter/CNET)
Microsoft is spreading its reach to South America with plans to invest roughly $100 million in a technology center based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to Agencia Estado.

The center will have support from the Brazilian government, but the lion’s share of funding will come from Microsoft. It’s unclear exactly what the center will do, such as develop products, train Brazilians, act as a research hub, or something else.

According to The Next Web, Microsoft also invested $5 million in its Sao Paulo outpost earlier this year but the Rio de Janeiro center is a far bigger project. The software giant also has tech centers in Germany, Israel, and Egypt.

 Microsoft has been involved with Brazil for years. In 2008, it initiated a project that helped expand Internet cafes across the country giving more people access to the Web.  It also added educational and job-training components to that project.

According to Agencia Estado, several other tech companies also have plans to open centers in Brazil, including a new research hub from Intel.

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