Brussels Airport,
17
December
2018
|
14:10
Europe/Brussels

Microsoft will help ten thousand children in Belgium discover programming and artificial intelligence, with Brussels Airport and the SNCB.

Microsoft Belgium is launching DigiKids, an initiative whose goal is to teach useful digital skills to children and to inspire them, at a key age for learning, to pursue a path in science that will provide them with essential aptitudes for their professional future.

  • In collaboration with its network of partners, Microsoft intends to initiate 10,000 students per year into the world of coding and artificial intelligence.

  • Digikids will start off at Microsoft's space at the airport. Brussels Airport will thus become a nexus point for “digital skills”.

  • The SNCB and Brussels Airport will provide transport from schools and a guided behind-the-scenes tour of the airport.

     

Zaventem, December 14, 2018 

Today, thirty children from the community primary school Omnimundo of Anvers will visit Microsoft for the first DigiKids session. This initiative aims to teach the basic principles of artificial intelligence and programming to 10,000 students in Belgian schools.

“Creativity, collaboration, and coding are three essential skills to be developed in children to better prepare them for the future. “That’s why DigiKids was created: to change perceptions, inspire enthusiasm, and encourage young people to take up a scientific path,” explains Didier Ongena, General Manager of Microsoft Belgium and Luxembourg.

National impact through the principle of “teach the teachers”.

Microsoft BeLux will offer a DigiKids course every Friday of the school year at its new Microsoft Home location, on the airport property in Zaventem. Microsoft hopes to welcome ten thousand students per year to a classroom specially designed for the program. Teachers will be invited to participate actively in the sessions with their students so that they will be able to offer DigiKids in their schools as well.

Additionally, Microsoft will train the members of its network in Belgium to offer the course to an additional 8,000 students per year.

The airport at Zaventem will thus become a veritable nexus of digital skills and a source of inspiration for younger generations and for the teaching profession.

Travel by train to join DigiKids

The DigiKids sessions will be easily accessible by train. Brussels Airport Zaventem station, located near the airport’s arrivals and departures hall, may be reached directly, or with only one change of trains, from many other stations.

Train travel to join the DigiKids courses will be provided for participants from schools through a collaboration with SNCB. Participants will also benefit from group reservations, which helps with organization on board the train. “Thanks to its excellent location and the availability of transportation that we are offering, the train will be the ideal mode of transport to get to Brussels Airport. By offering schools and their students the option to take the train to attend these DigiKids sessions, we will be not only contributing to this educational project, but also giving children a chance to get to know the train as a rapid, comfortable, and sustainable means of transportation,” notes Sophie Dutordoir, the CEO of SNCB.

Brussels Airport is happy to contribute to the DigiKids project,” explains Arnaud Feist, the CEO of the Brussels Airport Company. “We know how important it is to discover and learn about the digital world from a young age. This is especially true for us because of the importance of digital technology at Brussels Airport. We constantly work on developing new technological and digital tools to respond to the needs of our clients and of our collaborators. By offering a guided tour of the airport, we hope to bring students into the heart of the most exclusive parts of our work, and of our technology, and to help them discover the often misunderstood behind-the-scenes parts of what we do.” ”

Introduction to coding, artificial intelligence, and safe use of the internet.

The DigiKids course is intended for children seven to twelve years of age. In this age range, children are interested in technology and science, but according to a study made by Microsoft, they (especially girls) are often turned away by a lack of practical experience and inspiration, and by social pressure.

Students need no specific experience with programming to take the DigiKids course. In its classes, Microsoft uses a tutorial based on the game Minecraft, well known among kids, in which they construct their own world. In addition to coding and artificial intelligence, Microsoft will also draw the children’s attention to a safe way to use the internet.

For more information on DigiKids, schools may visit its website.

Photo: Arnaud Feist (CEO, Brussels Airport Company), Sabine Jonckheere (Manager Commercial Operations, SNCB) and Didier Ongena (General Manager, Microsoft Belux)

Press contact

Thomas Kersten

v-thkers@microsoft.com 

Quadrant Communications

Rafaël Tirmarche +32 476 689 492

rafael@quadrantcommunications.be 

Elisa Roux (SNCB)

Elisa.roux@sncb.be

0490/49 24 04

Brussels Airport Company

Corporate Communication

media@brusselsairport.be

+32 2 753 53 53