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Italian students ready for the Microsoft journey

Italian students ready for the Microsoft journey

“Imagine a world where technology allows us to offer better education for all”, this is the theme of the fifth edition of Imagine Cup, a world competition sponsored by Microsoft and aimed at young students who aspire to challenge each other by means of strings of code . The one hundred thousand participants in the 2007 edition invested passion and skills acquired in projects aimed at improving the lives of those who have difficulty in accessing the structures and working methods of ordinary educational agencies.

Microsoft’s competition last year proved to be a success for the Italy , first classified for the “software design” category. The 25 thousand dollars of the prize had been assigned to the Even.ctor team of Turin, for the Hello World project, a system capable of supporting the diagnosis and monitoring the health conditions of patients suffering from psychiatric disorders, allowing them to improve their life quality.

In recent days the Italian selections for the 2007 edition, in which the team that will participate in the final in Seoul, scheduled for August, was formed. The developers of ” Yourself “: A high school student from Pinerolo, Melissa Veglio, and Carlo Alberto Boano, Alessandro Cartura and Davide Benato, from the Polytechnic of Turin. The Yourself platform has the purpose of interpreting the handwriting of elementary, middle and high school students to identify any difficulties that may affect the learning ability, or to bring out creative or communicative qualities that can guide students in the choice of their school path .

In recent days, Bill Gates also hosted ten of the one hundred finalist teams at the Redmond headquarters that, waiting for the Seoul event, will exhibit their projects on Second Life. Each of the selected teams, with their sensitivity to issues that pose a challenge to the educational institutions of the environment they come from, presented their project in front of Gates and Craig Mundie, who presides over Microsoft’s research and strategy. There are three categories: “IT solutions”, in which participants can choose to develop software solutions starting from Microsoft tools .NET Framework and Visual Studio, or compete in the field of embedded applications and web applications operating in the field of education; “Skill challenges”, which confront competitors with practical and theoretical tests; “Digital art”, which requires participants to express their creativity in digital photography projects, short films, and original and usable user interfaces.

Gates was able to touch many things: from the Egyptian EduCare project, which is proposed as a platform to allow families, specialists and teachers to participate and assist in the progress of disabled children, to the Chinese Openlearning, which allows you to create a network between students and teachers scattered in the rural areas of the country; from Brazilian and Korean braille translators, to the joystick of the French re-Educate team, aimed at overcoming physical disabilities, all projects have been the subject of attention and interest, reports AFP. There are even those who are ready to swear that Gates was back for a moment as a kid, curious to fiddle with applications, intertwining bursting questions. And if, among the students, many declared themselves tense and excited in the presence of a sacred IT monster, someone else, a fearless Korean girl who ran into a compatibility problem with the presentation demo, did not hesitate to play down: “There must be a problem with Windows Vista.”

“If you win, we all win”: the spirit of non-zero-sum games pervades this competition between ideas and young people from all over the world. An encouragement to invest in ideas and projects that can concretely improve the lives of many. A game in which Microsoft itself wins, raking in the ideas and names of promising young people with both hands.

Gaia Bottà