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Microsoft takes a noble cause for students with special abilities

As part of this year’s Hour of Code initiatives, Microsoft and Tamana jointly hosted students with developmental disabilities and autism, educators and experts to introduce coding and computational thinking to promote inclusive IT-based opportunities.

Advancing its commitment to increase access to computer science education to all youth, Microsoft and Code.org are co-organizing Hour of Code, an annual global campaign in 15 states across the country during the Computer Science Education Week from December 5 to 11. Tamana also launched the HOPE Application – a Kinect based therapeutic-educational application to enhance cognition, fine motor & joint attention in children with autism and special needs. This has been developed to create an ecosystem of sensor-based applications which can assist parents and professionals working with children with special needs.

This session will be followed by the development and launch of a substantive program by Microsoft to promote coding and computational thinking for young children with development disabilities, autism and special needs.

The day-long workshop at Tamana promoted opportunities in IT-based employability for youth with special abilities and endeavored to drive awareness around building inclusive ecosystems for communities with special needs. The workshop focused on demystifying computer coding by introducing basic computer coding concepts through Minecraft Hour of Code Designer, a coding tutorial for students and educators specially created for Hour of Code. The new web-based tutorial enables and empower anyone to begin learning the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required in today’s tech-fueled world.  Students used Minecraft tools to build coding programs and experience computing as well as improve their understanding fundamentals of computer science.

Dr Shayama Chona, Padma Bhushan & Padmashree awardee, Founder & President, Tamana, said, “Microsoft has been a critical partner for Tamana in improving education, therapeutic interventions and opportunities in IT for individuals with autism & special needs. In a developing nation like India, it is crucial to work on the existing technologies to find innovative solutions for the underdeveloped sectors which makes Microsoft and its wide range of products, a natural partner for Tamana.”

Speaking about this initiative, Manju Dhasmana, Lead – Philanthropies and CSR, Microsoft India, said, “At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. We are committed to helping the young generation to realize their full potential, by equipping them with future-ready skills. In today’s technology-driven world, coding along with computer science education at an early stage is crucial to develop computational, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, among today’s youth. These are essential for the future workforce, and today’s event offers a unique opportunity to learn these in an easy and interactive way, opening new stream of opportunities.”

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