What is Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior?

More and more educators across the globe are embracing newer technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Azure cloud, and machine learning in the classroom. Through Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior (ICJ) participation, students learn about these technologies and apply their newfound knowledge using Microsoft’s AI for Good initiative. Students competing in ICJ also develop and practice modern and in-demand workplace skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Educators using Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior lessons and resources can provide these valuable learning experiences for their students of all skill levels.

What is Imagine Cup Junior?

Currently in its fourth year, the Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior (ICJ) is a global student competition for students ages 13-18. Through ICJ, educators utilize lessons to teach their students about AI technologies, students form teams, and apply these lessons to dream up a concept or idea to make a difference in their local community or world around them.

Students explain their concept in a PowerPoint template and record a video to illustrate their concept. No coding is required, and the competition is open to any student who is interested in learning more about AI. If students are interested, they can build a prototype for their concept. Microsoft has provided information to access Azure for Students where Team Leaders (an educator, parent, or guardian over 18) can add students to collaborate and create a prototype of their concept.

Who can participate?

Imagine Cup Junior is available for students ages 13-18, with a Team Leader over 18 years of age. Other than that, the field is wide open! Students don’t need to be AI or technology experts to get involved. Microsoft has made every aspect of Imagine Cup Junior accessible to beginner levels in bite-sized modules by technology area.

How can I prepare my students for Imagine Cup Junior?

Microsoft has built the Imagine Cup Junior Resource Pack to help educate and prepare your students for the Imagine Cup Junior challenge. The Resource Pack includes:

  • Beginners Kit. Here you’ll find six 45-minute lessons, student guides, a submission template, judging criteria, and rubric. Everything you need to lay the foundation before students dive into their ideas.
  • Deep Learning Modules: This is your best option for students who want to learn more. These modules provide an in-depth overview of the six technology modules that supplement the Beginners Kit. The modules include Intro to AI, Machine Learning, AI Applications in Real Life, Deep Learning and Neural Networks, AI for Good, and Cybersecurity.
  • Team Leader Toolkit: Get students excited to participate. The toolkit includes student certificates, social templates, posters, and more to leverage throughout the challenge.
  • Judging Criteria and Rubric: There’s nothing worse than a project with unclear expectations. Review the judging criteria and rubric to how the judges will determine the winners.

Microsoft has also created some on-demand AI webinars for educators to further understand best practices for running an Imagine Cup Junior project and facilitating additional learning.

All these resources are accessible to Team Leaders (you, the educator) after registering.

How can my students participate?

Ready to dive in? Here are the steps to participating with your students in this year’s Imagine Cup Junior event.

  1. Register at www.imaginecup.com/junior.
  2. Download the Imagine Cup Junior Resource Pack.
  3. Incorporate the resources into class curriculum and lesson plans.
  4. Form student teams (anywhere from one to six students) and collaborate with them to develop their idea and build their concept in the PowerPoint submission template. Have student teams create a video illustrating their idea. Encourage student teams to apply the lessons from the Resource Pack, and brainstorm concepts to help make a positive difference to the world. Concepts should be aligned to the Microsoft AI for Good Initiatives focused on Health, Cultural Heritage, Earth, Accessibility, and Humanitarian Action.
  5. Submit projects by May 10, 2023 via www.imaginecup.com/junior.
  6. Celebrate teams who are crowned global challenge winners, to be announced June 7, 2023 on the Microsoft Education Blog.

Looking for more information? Get all the details (plus the Resource Pack modules) here.

What’s Next?

Imagine Cup Junior is just the beginning! Help your students learn more about AI with the Exam AI-900: Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals certification. Students can take the exam through Certiport testing platform. Students can also prepare for careers in big data, cloud computing, and security by earning a Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certification. For more information, contact a Certiport representative here