Monday, January 24, 2022

Microsoft Game of Learners Hackathon to Promote Innovation in Kenyan Universities

Microsoft has announced a new program targetting University Students across Kenya. The new program, called Game of Learners, will run in the form of a hackathon and is tailor-made, Microsoft says, to spur innovation among university students across Kenya. The program’s main objective is to establish a fun experiential learning competition for undergraduate students.

The initiative which is developed by Microsoft’s Africa Development Centre (ADC), is completely student-driven and hands-on with the overall objective being to empower the students to develop impactful solutions that can help address some of Africa’s and the world challenges. Microsoft’s Student Partners will steer the program in the respective universities.

The Game Of Learners (GOL) program is structured as a 5-week virtual hackathon:

  • There are weekly sprints where, at the end of the 5th week, all participating teams will submit their final projects for judging.
  • There will be 13 volunteers from Microsoft to mentor the students throughout the 5-week engagement and judge each team’s final project submission.

“The original plan for Game Of Learners was [that it] be conducted on campus at one of our partner universities. However, due to the pandemic, we pivoted to a completely virtual experience which removed geographic limitations and has actually provided us with an opportunity to reach more students across the region,” said Jack Ngare, the ADC Managing Director. “The program’s objective is to empower Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) to develop leadership skills by teaching learners (student participants) technical skills in a fun competition while building awareness to all undergrad students.”

The role of Microsoft Student Partners will be to define the challenge. Each team lead will then dictate to their members the rhythm of the weekly sprints. All participants will have access to development resources provided by Microsoft throughout the competition. Winner evaluation and selection will be based on the following:

  • Weekly sprint submission (25%)
  • Judging of final submission (50%)
  • Twitter voting of final submission (25%)

Final project submission will be comprised of a 3-minutes pitch video, code repo and a shippable product for every participating team.

Upon completion, each standing member of the winning team will be rewarded with:

  • 1-year Azure credits
  • 1-year LinkedIn Learning vouchers
  • Digital certificate and digital badge for winning
  • Direct mentorship from preferred professionals

Microsoft says empowering more and more people with the right skills remains one of their top priorities. This is rooted in the heart of their mission to empower everyone to achieve more. Student Partners will have an opportunity to hone their leadership skills as Team Leads while teaching and building impactful solutions with the Learners.

“The Game Of Learners program presents an opportunity for students to interact and engage with one another. But most importantly, it presents a platform for them to create solutions for the African continent that are globally scalable,” added Ngare.

Microsoft has operated on the continent for more than 28 years, building partnerships to bridge the gaps in infrastructure, connectivity, and capability to accelerate innovation. Through the ADC, Microsoft is enabling digital transformation, bridging gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability while creating a sustained societal impact on the African continent. The centre is recruiting world-class African engineering talent to develop innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge and the hackathon complements ongoing efforts to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa.

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