Meeting Microsoft

A curious group of 30 Year 7 pupils met three amazing staff from Microsoft on Thursday 24th March. They learned to code with microbit devices; one pupil wrote the code for the smiley face to appear in LED lights.
Pupils were also lucky enough to meet Jacqueline Russell, who is the Program Manager for the system they were using, Microsoft MakeCode. Jacqueline is normally based in America but was in London to attend meetings; our pupils were lucky they were able to take time to spend with them and discuss their career. Akhtar – who pioneered the day, knows his audience! He did a brief intro and then immediately launched into a game called, Teleporting Duck. Teams had to shout out ‘duck’; if one appeared on their device. Unsurprisingly, with such a great start, the students were engaged from that moment onwards and continued to be so throughout the day.
All the learning culminated in a super difficult game where teams had to ‘Capture a Diamond’ (not a real one alas – an LED diamond on a microbit device). They were given limited instructions and had to work out which radio frequency they needed to access before they could message their team name using the coding platform. Once their name was received the bounty was theirs! Team D triumphed in this exercise and used such a clever method to work out the radio frequency that we cannot even understand it enough to explain it here. Microsoft volunteer Iman said she would never have thought of using such an ingenious method herself.
The students also met Iman – an apprentice for Microsoft; hopefully the Year 7s that took part in the day will be inspired to follow in her footsteps!
The feedback from the pupils that took part was very positive and included these comments: “Coding is cool”, “I think it was good to learn about apprenticeships”, “I learned a lot today, thanks Akhtar”, and “I loved this workshop and programming microbit. It was really fun”
Our thanks go to Microsoft for such a wonderful programme.