I recently finished Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent work, “Outliers: The Story of Success“ It’s a great read and I recommend you consider it for your personal library. One of the highlights in the book was this notion that it requires 10,000 hours of practice (at anything) to be ready to do something amazing. Gladwell notes Bill Gates, The Beatles, Steve Jobs, and others that had an opportunity to get their 10,000 hours of practice in before the world knew their names. Now Microsoft is providing an opportunity for the next generation of innovators to get their 10,000 hours of practice with DreamSpark for High Schools.
If you read my original post on DreamSpark, you will recall that it was originally created for college-level students. That was a great opportunity to expose a large group of students to professional programming tools to build applications for anything. While the original DreamSpark is a good start, the limited audience reduced the opportunity for the next generation innovators to get their 10,000 hours of practice in. So now, high school/secondary school students have an opportunity to really get moving on solving meaningful problems for society through technology.
This is really a huge announcement. It’s not about free Microsoft software at all. It’s about our firm understanding that it takes 18+ years to develop an engineer. Engineers are the architects and builders of society. They provide the innovations that disrupt the status quo and make our lives better. So it’s really inspiring to see our company taking this long-term view of people and innovation. This investment with DreamSpark is a tangible infusion of real tools to foster more economic opportunity for people of various backgrounds.
If you have seen the recent, “I’m PC,” Laptop Hunters ads focus on the economy and value of the Windows PC platform, it highlights how more people can have access to Windows and the broad Windows ecosystem with a modest investment. Imagine, a $600 laptop and no-cost professional developer tools providing access to a brighter economic future. Just a few short months ago, people were paying $600 for video game consoles. Now, $600 becomes the seedling for creating the next-generation video game console or curing diseases like Cancer and AIDS.
This is an inflection point or in Gladwell vernacular a “Tipping Point.” Colleges, universities, and now high schools must expand their capacity to incubate these young software innovators. Solving the challenge of creating an immersive learning experience will be the order of the day. The question becomes will your learning organization be a great place for the next 10,000 students to get their 10,000 hours of practice.
Let me know in your comments below:
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