As part of its global effort to teach and demystify coding to students, Microsoft Education livestreamed a series on YouTube called Hack the Classroom: STEM Edition, an event designed to give K-12 educators, parents and guardians resources and tutorials that students need to become creative problem solvers.
On day three of the event, a group of industry experts shared how the fields of art, tech, and STEM merge to show how computer science can lead to careers in a variety of fields. One such expert was Joey Jones, Ayzenberg vice president, executive creative director, who leads the agency’s department that directs and produces computer animation, visual effects and motion graphics.
Jones, who recently worked on the graphics package for the Ad Council’s latest Love Has No Labels campaign, shared how he was always making art and building things as a kid. Unsure as to how he could make a living doing what he loved, he applied his math and computer skills to instead earn a degree in architecture.
During that time, he fell in love with building and animating on the computer, ultimately realizing that those skills could be transferred to animation and storytelling around products. So he returned to school to learn the craft of developing stories via the computer, which called for the perfect fusion of art, science, engineering and design, he said.
“My job is taking a product and using technology and code to create compelling and incredibly rich experiences, whether it’s a little movie, augmented reality experience, virtual reality experience or an online website to show [people] how a product is worth investing their time in.” said Jones.
For students looking to follow in Jones’ footsteps, he suggests keeping in mind the impact of mobile.
“The mobile phone has changed the way we interface with the world and will play an even bigger role in our lives in the future. Right now we pull out our phones to take pictures. Most people say the camera will be the next web browser, enabling you to document the world and interact with it. So being proficient in coding that creates these mobile-powered stories will be very powerful and set you apart from the others.”
Jones’ participation in the Hack the Classroom event is an extension of Ayzenberg’s work toward increasing representation in STEM, a field in which women hold less than 30 percent of jobs.
This year, the agency developed a new social approach for Ad Council’s 360-degree public service campaign, She Can STEM, combining profiles of female role models with striking aesthetics and a relevant tone of voice to resonate with girls aged 11-15.
The campaign saw the creation of a Study Tunes playlist on Spotify to help girls get in the back-to-school mindset and a series of hand-illustrated GIPHY stickers, which received over 200 million views.
The campaign, which won a Shorty Award in the field of technology, resulted in a 59 percent increase in followers for She Can STEM among the target demographic as well as an engagement rate that’s double the industry standard.