“Coding is perhaps one of these most liberating of exercises. It needs to become such a core skill irrespective of whether you are in computer science or you’re in medicine or even history,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during the company’s Young Innovators Summit in Delhi. Nadella was interacting with over 250 students from Delhi-NCR as part of Microsoft India’s Young Innovators Summit. The Microsoft CEO is on a three-day visit to India and previously met with top CEOs in Mumbai and developers in Bengaluru.
“I always think of coding in literature, I think of coding like poetry, it is just a compact expression. Coding can inspire you, in both liberal arts as well as in sciences to really make a difference,” Nadella told the students.
At the summit, Microsoft also highlighted examples of technology-based innovations from the student community in India. Satya Nadella praised the student innovators in India saying they have shown “deep passion, deep empathy, and are then able to turn this into action.” He added: “That’s what innovation is all about. That’s how societies and economies move forward.”
Nadella mentioned the project by Namya Joshi, a seventh-grade student at Sat Paul Mittal School in Ludhiana, Punjab who is using Minecraft to transform learning with Minecraft by helping teachers create interactive classes.
The Microsoft CEO hailed how Namiya was first able to enjoy Minecraft and then effectively learn programming. “That’s one of the things we are very excited about. Minecraft happens to have the ability to attract young middle school girls into STEM education and computer science as a pedagogical tool and that’s exciting to see,” he said.
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“But then she turned it around, and said okay what if I now can create lessons, what if I can in fact teach the teachers, teach other students. That is the balance between consumption and creation that I think is going to be a real currency,” he added.
Nadella also hailed students working on projects that could help others, including the community around them. “There’s a student group working on air pollution detection. They were educating me on how by using the sensors built with this database, the population is empowered to have data inform them and is then able to take action as both individuals and community. The quality of ideas, the ambition, the scope, but more importantly that the empathy for people around them is great to see,” he said.
The air pollution project is part from Delhi consisting of a team of five students: Ishlok Vashistha, Aakash Bhadana, Vasu Kaushik, Dipesh Narwat, and Bharat Sundal who are students at Manav Rachna Institute of Research & Studies in Faridabad. The team won the runners-up position at the Microsoft 2019 Imagine Cup World Championship.
The students designed Caeli, a smart anti-pollution face mask and portable nebuliser. Both can connect to a smartphone application via Bluetooth. The mask features an air filtration system and an Air Quality Index (AQI) sensor that constantly monitors the quality of air. The Caeli app can control the drug dispensed from the nebuliser based on prescription and pollution levels in the city.
Nadella was also quizzed about his favourite subject at school, and he replied ‘History’, to the audience’s surprise.
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