Game Jam for Kids

September 14, 2013

Two outstanding Microsoft evangelists Daniel Egan and Bret Stateham.
Sponsorship from Microsoft.
45 middle school children, 10 volunteers and 2 teachers.
Teaching kids how to create art in InkSpace, how to create their own sounds in Audacity and putting it all together into a mobile game in GameMaker.

I’m proud to say I’m the organizer and it was a very successful event.

Game Jam for Kids
Daniel Egan helping participants get ready with the initial installation of the software.
Game Jam for Kids
Ina Samir made an inspirational speech about programming and what’s to love about it.
Game Jam for Kids
Bret Stateham is opening the event and inspiring every child in the room.
Game Jam for Kids
One of the parent volunteers Udayan Sharma and his daugher Mahika.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Jason and Daniel Egan helping the participants.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
JB is part of the Universal Music Group development team that volunteered at the event.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Young Elizabeth helped welcome the participants with goody bags.
Yesenia made a big part of this event possible. Thank you!
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
The youngest participant at the event impressed us with his focus and determination.
Game Jam for Kids
Pizza break.
Game Jam for Kids
Playing with the Xbox Kinect in the break.
Game Jam for Kids
Jason volunteered his time at the event.
Game Jam for Kids
Playing with the I-racer controlling the car with the Windows Phone.
Game Jam for Kids
I should’ve made a better photo of Laszlo, one of the wonderful volunteers from Universal Music Group who helped dozens of munchkins keep up with their development projects.
Game Jam for Kids
Carol did an amazing job of organizing the Technology Academy from Walter Reed to come to the event.
Game Jam for Kids
One of the best photobombs ever. I was posing and looking beautiful…
Game Jam for Kids
Bret Stateham is helping some the participants.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
The raffle drawing.
Game Jam for Kids
Giving the certificates to every child participant.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
A sweet gesture for all the volunteers at the event.
Game Jam for Kids
Having fun is so important!
Game Jam for Kids
Bret Stateham set up a whole room for sound creation and editing.
Game Jam for Kids
One happy child that day walked away with an Xbox.
Game Jam for Kids
After a great event it’s time to celebrate!
Game Jam for Kids

Check out the Walter Reed Technology Academy website and thank you message.

Thank you, Microsoft, Daniel Egan, Bret Stateham and all the wonderful volunteers that made this event possible! And yes, more to come.

The Microsoft Store Field Trip – a Dream Come True

In June I wrote an article called I have a dream… I want a Microsoft Store Field Trip.
My daughter is in 5th grade and I have been on a field trip to the Apple store. I dreamed of a field trip to the Microsoft Store. My dream became a reality.
Let me tell you the most important part about the Microsoft field trip. It’s free, it’s educational and it’s cool! It’s beneficial too… the Microsoft Store actually gives back a total of $1,200 in free software.

9AM in the morning. 40 children and 3 adults. Excited and ready for our first Microsoft Store field trip. We went to Century City Mall (Los Angeles, CA). My daughter and I were the only ones on the field trip that have seen Windows 8 previously. We were the only ones that own / have seen and touched the Surface tablet. It was a whole group of eager minds ready to see what Microsoft has to offer. Your first experience with Windows 8 takes your breath away. It’s fast and fluid. It’s responsive and interactive. It’s beautiful operation system and it's cool. It's Windows reimagined.

Some kids asked me why they have games in the store. That simple question led to a great discovery. Almost everybody has heard or may be even owns an Xbox but almost nobody knew it’s a Microsoft product.

Just as the Xbox and the children, educators and professionals don’t know how much Microsoft has to offer. I don't blame them. When I looked online, I couldn’t find information about the field trips offered by the store. The Microsoft Store offers free field trips and workshops. We even received sponsorship for transportation to the store!

There are dozens 2-hour-minicamp workshops that the Microsoft Store offers (for free!). In addition, the Microsoft staff will work with you to customize the content to your needs. Our workshop was an overview of Windows 8, working with Office 2013 and exploring the Market Place (app store) on the Surface tablet. It was extremely beneficial for the kids to learn how to edit photos and make cool presentations.

This field trip to the Microsoft Store is something that every school or non-profit organization should know about. Microsoft offers not only free workshops but free space for events. This for up to 50 people. And listen to the best part- if you organize 10 events in one year, you will win $1,200 in software for your organization. I’m not kidding you. So what are you waiting for?

The staff in the store are friendly, professional and ready to help. They engaged the children with ease.
Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, the Surface and the Microsoft Store… This is news. Microsoft did amazing work. It's pure art but the art needs to be discovered by the community and the generation that will carry us to the future.

Apps like Bing Travel make it exciting and joyful to experience the World. It gives you 360 degree views of tourist attractions around the World. The kids turned and moved with the Surface tablets in their hands to explore Barcelona, Rome, Prague, Athens… I was surprised to find out even cities and sights in Bulgaria are in the Bing Travel app to be explored in 360 degree view.

We learned how easy is to create a high quality movie using Windows phone 8.

Our workshop lasted two hours. I wish we had more time to get to play some Kinect games on the big screen.

It's a super cool store.

The kids learned, they enjoyed, they got inspired. They are the future. It's a great formula- Microsoft educates them now and they bring future to Microsoft.

If you are interested in organizing a workshop or a field trip go to the Microsoft Store locator and find the contact information for your local store.
Are you a parent of school age children? You can help your child's classroom organize a field trip to the Microsoft store (just as I did).

Are you a teacher? Give your students the gift of knowledge and organize the field trip. Help your school get $1,200 in software.
Are you professional? Organize a workshop for you and the people you work with.
I'll tell you one interesting fact you didn't know before. The Microsoft store offers a free game camp for toddlers and you can bring the cupcakes and make it a birthday. You need to invite 10 toddlers and you have the coolest birthday party.

Every attendee received a Microsoft gift bag. There was a cup with the Microsoft logo in each bag and additional goodies. The bag itself is cool. What I love is that the cups are Made in US. What the kids love is that the cups are cool and useful. When we came back to the classroom all the kids were filling their cups with water and taking this with an additional sip of Microsoft koolaid.

I know how you feel. You are in disbelieve that so much can be offered for free. Let me tell you- I was there, I experienced and I still cannot believe it. It's that cool. The kids… they are different. They just accept it and enjoy it. Give them this gift- a field trip to remember and to learn from.
On one last note. The students had to turn in book reports a week later. Several of them used the Office skills they learned on the field trip at home on their own PCs to make their book reports shine.

P.S. Thank you for all the Microsoft people that made this possible and the elementary school teacher that helped putting it together.