Microsoft, Acer all set to inspire students


vijayonlinecrop

KUALA LUMPUR: Software giant Microsoft Malaysia has teamed up with PC maker Acer Malaysia to kickstart the “I’m Inspired” campaign.

The campaign is aimed at promoting technology education among secondary school students and getting them involved in corporate social responsibility programmes.

According to Microsoft Malaysia chief financial officer Vijay Bala, the three-month campaign is supported by the Ministry of Education.

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Klang Utama in Klang, Selangor, has been selected to take part in this inaugural campaign, which will end on June 7.

The school was recommended by the ministry based of several factors. Among them are its ICT (information and comunications technology) infrastructure, as well as the potential and commitment of its students and teachers to make the campaign a success, Vijay said.

The “I’m Inspired” campaign is divided into three phases, namely the Microsoft Charity Day, Microsoft Technology Workshop and Microsoft Extreme Challenge.

The first phase will see Acer donating refurbished computers from its trade-in programme to three charitable institutions —the St Nicholas’ Home in Penang, Grace Community Home in Klang and Fugee School in Gombak.

Microsoft will donate operating systems as well as productivity software — with a combined worth of up to US$190,000 (RM589,000) to the same instiutions.

“We want to bring the benefits of ICT to underserved communities (such as these charities),” Vijay said.

The second phase is when the campaign really kicks off. At this point, Microsoft will visit SMK Taman Klang Utama to showcase its latest technologies, as well as engage the students through interactive workshops and competitions.

Also, a number of students from the school will be provided training to enable them help set up computer labs at the three charitable institutions, said Vijay.

Also, Acer is sponsoring 20 new netbooks to the school.

Inspiring others

The Microsoft Technology Workshop will also serve as a platform for the planned Nationwide Essay Competition, which is open to all Malaysians aged 13 to 18.

Participants will be required to write an essay on the topic “I’m Inspired.” 18 winners will walk away with a brand new Acer Aspire One 255E netbook each. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/office2010malaysia.

Acer Malaysia general manager Ricky Tan said that by participating in such campaigns, the company hopes to translate its spirit of innovation and care into action for the students and underpriviledged.

He said such campaigns also help bridge the gap between people and technology.

In the final phase of the campaign in June, a team of 20 — made up of Microsoft and Acer employees, as well as SMK Taman Klang Utama students — will trek to the top of Mount Kinabalu.

The team will use Windows Movie Maker, Windows Phone and Windows Live along the journey for reporting, blogging and sharing its achievements via the Web, Vijay said.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. Microsoft will continue to explore new ways to expand the “I’m Inspired” campaign. This will include getting more partners and schools onboard, as well as reaching out to primary school students.

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