Here at Microsoft Education, we’re passionate about empowering every student, educator and institution on the planet to achieve more. We’re achieving this by encouragining our employees to go into the local community and asking them to go to their local schools, colleges, libraries and universities to volunteer and support to grow educational opportunities for young people. Microsoft UK’s digital skills programme is a programme that aims to allow everybody in the country to take one step up in terms of their digital know-how, whether you’re a seven year old or a 97 year old. We have three key focuses. Discover looks to encourage young people to explore coding in real life scenarios with our ‘Maker Champion’ projects. Apply looks at how we can support people looking to get into tech careers and Improve focuses on how we can support the the workforce at whatever stage they are, whether that’s learning to turn on a computer all the way to understanding A.I. and cloud infrastructure. I think one of the ways to integrate STEAM into the curriculum, for schools is to relate it to the the real world. The pupils have more of a passion if they can see things. Aspects of STEAM that spark creativity are the introduction of digital inking on classroom PCs and two in one technology. This allows for greater accessibility, inclusion and exploration of learning tools such as Paint 3D, Stream, dictation on Powerpoint and most importantly Immersive Reader, which allows for a more inclusive classroom for everyone. We programmed our micro-bits to have a picture of a smiley face. At the end of the session I just asked for some feedback and the girls actually did say that they’d perhaps consider going into that sort of thing as a career which is exactly what we want them to be thinking and doing. It’s hard to think of anything more important, at the moment than the whole world of STEM and STEAM. What’s exciting is when Tech and Science and logical thinking come together with real imagination and creativity and the Arts and breaking down the barriers between conventional subjects and instead getting kids to think totally differently. That is when magic happens. Educators can communicate with each other on the Microsoft Educator Community. This gives them access to the greatest tools, information, trends and curriculum resources so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day and that they’re constantly looking for new ways to innovate and create together. Even though not every child who leaves our school will go onto a STEM or STEAM career, it is all around us in our society and we need to have a really thorough understanding; the kind of understanding that comes from properly engaging with it as a learner, not just experiencing it as a consumer. It made me really excited and happy that I’d achieved something like that and I was quite proud. It got me really inspired and I think I’ll probably want to take up something, like in engineering. If you’re a teacher or a lecturer or an institution that’s interested in finding out how you can get involved in some of these activities, please get in touch with us on social media or reach out to us our Microsoft Education website. We’d love to hear from you.