Microsoft announces Space Jam-themed coding and gaming STEAM project for students

Using coding and data science, the workshops and learning paths teach students how to create Space Jam-themed video games, web apps, and machine learning models.

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Image: Microsoft

Space Jam: A New Legacy—the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster Space Jam—is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2021. Cinematics aside, the new film starring NBA basketball player LeBron James and cartoon legend Bugs Bunny could also help inspire the next generation of STEAM students. On Monday, Microsoft and Warner Bros announced a series of online workshops and learning paths designed around the principles of coding and data science enabling students to create Space Jam-themed video games, web apps, and machine learning models.

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Through Dec. 30, Microsoft is offering multiple daily coding workshops as well as coding workshops scheduled for Jan. 5 and Jan. 8. With options available in English and Spanish, the workshops are designed to help attendees learn how to design a Space Jam-inspired video game as well as code their video game using MakeCode Arcade.

These workshops will teach students how to create a video game using block-based coding methods, and inform attendees about the various "professional skills and STEAM careers that are involved in game design," according to Microsoft. The 90-minute workshops are conducted via Microsoft Teams and are appropriate for children 8 and over.

spacejam.jpg

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft also announced a video game contest, allowing contestants 14 and older to submit "arcade-style video game" ideas for consideration. The contest is open through Dec. 30 and the two winners will receive various memorabilia autographed by LeBron James, a "personalized" Xbox Series S, as well as a Space Jam: A New Legacy private screening. The winners will also receive a "virtual Microsoft coding workshop for their local community" and have their names listed in the game's credits.

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As part of the announcement, Microsoft also announced two STEAM-focused learning paths. One learning path teaches students and basketball fans various ways coding and data science "can support their passions, create opportunities, and even open doors to possible careers." The path will also teach participants how to use Pandas, Visual Studio Code, and Python to understand sport statistics, correct datasets with machine learning, and more.

In the second learning path, participants learn how to use Azure, GitHub, Visual Code Studio, and JavaScript to create apps based on the upcoming film. This Space Jam-themed app will be used to help the coach of the Tune Squad basketball team use data to make gameplay strategy decisions.

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