Empathy fuels approach to adult literacy

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In the first week of their Garage internship in Vancouver, eight interns were inspired by a Microsoft Education team challenge to build an app that could empower literacy. Today we’re excited to announce the opportunity for literacy NGOs and nonprofits to participate in an experiment that will test their work. Read My World, a Microsoft Garage project, is an app for Android that empowers low literacy and English Language Learning (ELL) adults to improve their English literacy skills by building a stronger vocabulary. If you work at an organization that serves these communities, we welcome you to request an invitation to join the experiment via a short, online questionnaire.

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Tech is flourishing in Vancouver


While Vancouver, British Columbia, is well known as one of Canada’s largest industrial centers, this city is quickly becoming a destination for tech innovators. According to the Vancouver Economic Commission, in 2016 there were 75,000 tech professionals working in the city, and nearly 101,000 working across British Columbia. This number makes up approximately 5% of B.C.’s workforce, more than mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined, including manufacturing activities related to those resources.

As a regional partner to organizations, educational institutions and businesses in Vancouver, Microsoft continues to invest in this region as a world-class digital innovation hub. These breakthrough collaborations are knocking down traditional borders and those involved are pioneering work in many fields, including health care and education, and attracting local and global talent to this vibrant city.

The Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference begins Oct. 9 — here is why Vancouver is poised to become a leader in tech innovation in the years to come: Read the full story here.

Students today, innovators tomorrow…


The BC Tech Summit wrapped up on Wednesday and as I look back at the conversations I had over the three days, I’m inspired by the work being done across the province. We talked about the potential for BC’s Digital Supercluster, the connections happening across the Cascadia Innovation Corridor and innovations in every sector.

For Microsoft here in Vancouver, the Summit was an opportunity to share experiences. Our retail team introduced visitors to creativity, accessibility, languages and alternate realities, helping them explore applications built right here in Vancouver, including Learning Tools and the Mixed Reality Viewer. Our cloud architects talked security and simplicity. And under the cardboard arch, a space to engage with the innovators of tomorrow.

Microsoft is committed to empowering the students of today to create the world of tomorrow. We believe in their potential and we believe that with access to technology, everything is possible.As we prepared for this year’s BC Tech Summit, we thought about what it means to our team to be at the Vancouver Convention Centre, talking about the work they’re doing and meeting new people from across the industry. We also thought about how we could give that same experience to BC students.

Just over a month ago, we connected with four student teams from Simon Fraser University, BCIT and two Coquitlam secondary schools, Riverside and Centennial. Working alongside our Program Manager, Stacey Mulcahy, in The Garage, they had an opportunity to explore, create, and maybe even find their passion. The projects hit a number of emerging threads in tech – AI, mixed reality and wearables – and explored accessibility, entertainment, education and self-care.

Over the two days of the Summit, each of the teams spent a half day in our Marketplace booth. They sat alongside Stacey and talked to visitors about what they’d built. Entrepreneurs, executives, educators, they all came by and these students took engaged them. They showed their work, they asked questions, they talked about what they’d learned. It was awesome to see and I was proud of the platform we were able to provide.

While the Summit itself has ended, the stories will continue. It’s up to all of us to create intersections between industry and students, because while we talk about inspiring them, they do the same for us. They are the future. It was a great Summit, maybe our best. I extend my thanks and congratulations to the BCIC team and everyone who played a part.

Edoardo De Martin
Director, Microsoft Vancouver