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In a time of trouble, Amazon moves to support STEM education

Amazon is committing resources to ensure more students and teachers get access to a computer science education through the “Amazon Future Engineer” program. Photo provided.
The Future is Now: America’s newest educational challenge is to provide quality learning tools for a diverse and challenge nation. Photo Provided by Amazon.


Staff Report


Amazon leadership announced over recent weeks that they are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and working to support local communities, customers and employees during a  difficult time.

Schools in Oklahoma are experiencing disruption during the health pandemic and Amazon leaders say they want to help. Evidence supports the assertion: Year round, Amazon is committing resources to ensure more students and teachers get access to a computer science education through the “Amazon Future Engineer” program.

Amazon Future Engineer is providing free access to sponsored computer science courses in the U.S., which is for independent learners grades 6-12, and teachers who are remotely teaching this age group. (Parents can also access this curriculum.)

Amazon Future Engineer is offering a virtual robotics program through partners CoderZ. The fully sequenced course accommodates age levels from second grade with block-based coding to high school with text-based coding.

Amazon Future Engineer also is providing access to EarSketch, a free program that helps students learn to code through music. Grammy-award winning artists Ciara and Common have both provided studio-quality music STEMs that students can remix from home using code.

State private schools and several public charter schools have pioneered online learning approaches for several years. With the late March embrace of “distance learning” by the Oklahoma Board of Education, interest in offerings from Amazon and range of technology companies soared –- including coverage in The Oklahoman and at least one local television news program.

Oklahomans are checking into the offerings Amazon has made at this link

The effort is broad-based and many are signing up for these programs, and checking out more free computer science programming being added by the Amazon Future Engineer team.

Visit here for a blog post about the Amazon-specific new offerings, characterized by the company as intended to support community members, employees and customers affected by COVID-19.

Amazon is committed to bringing more resources to children and young adults to help them build their best future. Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country. Amazon’s primary computer science access program, Amazon Future Engineer, is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science.

Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of young people to explore computer science; awards dozens of schools Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grants, provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience, and forms unique partnerships with trusted institutions to bring new coding experiences to students – for example, in 2019, Amazon Future Engineer sponsored a music-based coding remix competition with Georgia Tech on their EarSketch platform.

Note: Publisher Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report. He is state-certified teacher in 10 subject areas.


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