Amazon Web Services (AWS) GetIT gives young people a unique chance to learn about technology and design app ideas to solve problems in their communities. AWS GetIT is a fully funded, cloud-focused educational program and app design competition for school students. Currently available in 13 countries, the program helps schools and educators encourage their students to think about their future careers; learn new skills through cloud-focused science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities; and gain exposure to tech professionals. During the school year, teachers guide students through an international curriculum on design thinking and cloud computing. AWS employees serve as program ambassadors and, along with educators, deliver bootcamps and help students develop their app ideas by sharing their technical experiences.
Ukraine: Allows students to develop app ideas relevant to their communities
This year, the AWS GetIT program was tested in Ukraine at the distance learning school Optima. With more than 125,000 students online, Optima is Ukraine’s first and largest private distance learning school. After Russia invaded Ukraine, AWS has been active is supportedUkraine’s continuity of education through Optima, by providing AWS cloud computing credits and technical support.
“The AWS GetIT program gave students the opportunity to develop their design thinking, brainstorm new ideas, collaborate in teams and learn from technical professionals,” said Olha Bilodid, Optima School Director.
Out of 23 teams from Optima that submitted their AWS GetIT app ideas for judging, three teams got places to present their app ideas to a panel of judges from Ciklum, N-iX and AWS at the Ukraine Finals on 23rd Able to.
Here’s what the judges had to say about the students’ work:
“We were impressed by the depth of analysis, understanding of social issues and proposed functionality,” said Nataliya Khorkava, alliance and partnership manager at N-iX, who was a judge at Ukraine’s AWS GetIT finals. “Many of these app ideas covered serious topics related to the war – students suggested services related to security, refugee support and mental health.”
“It was an exciting experience to see the enthusiasm and passion that radiated from the students as they presented their cutting-edge app ideas with their genuine interest and love for technology,” said Kateryna Yashchenko, Learning and Development Specialist at Ciklum and judge at Ukraine’s AWS GetIT Finals. “Their ideas went beyond mere convenience or entertainment; they aimed to make a tangible impact on society. The students’ passion was a reminder that the future lies in the hands of these bright young minds, and that with their dedication and innovation, the relentless pursuit of knowledge and the audacity to dream, anything is possible.”
The winning app idea focused on mental health support for people affected by the war and included functionality to communicate with GPs, chats and an interactive bot, mood diary and movie, book and music suggestions. The other two projects aimed to solve other important problems in society – one app project was about building safe public transport routes in cities and directing the user to the nearest bomb shelter in case of air raid alerts, and the other was about special digital glasses for visually impaired that would help the user navigate the city and inform them of their surroundings via audio messages.
Poland: Empowering future builders
This year, the AWS GetIT program in Poland was piloted in the XV High School in Wroclaw, which provides education to around 400 Ukrainian refugee children, along with 700 Polish children and other nationalities.
“Our partnership with XV High School in Wroclaw started from the donation of Amazon Kindle devices to facilitate the integration of new students from Ukraine,” said Cecile Bonnet, head of Young Learner Programs at AWS. “We piloted the AWS GetIT program with the high school, and we were impressed by the pace of innovation and vision of the students.”
Ten teams from Wroclaw High School submitted their app projects to the competition, and three project teams were selected for the final, which took place on 26th May at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Wroclaw. Each finalist team presented their app design to an audience of teachers, program supporters, and AWS GetIT judges. All three finalist teams inspired the audience with their creativity and passion, with their ideas tackling numerous challenges including food waste, intercultural integration and job hunting. The winner was the team that developed an idea for an innovative app to learn languages in an interactive and relationship-building way. After the finale, all students and faculty were invited to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Amazon fulfillment center, where they learned how products get from Amazon’s website to a customer’s doorstep. The visitors were particularly fascinated by the printing facilities, where they discovered the possibility of creating and publishing their own books on Amazon.
Robert Pisarczyk, Ph.D. and CEO of cybersecurity startup Oblivious, said: “I’ve just joined the AWS GetIT Poland competition as a judge, and I’ve been inspired by the students’ app ideas that focus on solving problems in their communities.”
Students and teachers also shared their feedback about the program:
“I liked this program because there were modules of information and training that helped us design our app idea,” said Anna, an AWS GetIT student. “Everything was clear and very interesting. I received a lot of new information and I am now thinking about the future work in this area.”
“We were inspired by AWS GetIT and its ambassadors, who gave our students the opportunity to think creatively and go all the way from ideas to comprehensive projects,” said Bogumila Mandat, director of XV High School in Wroclaw. “We loved that the program encourages students to work together and to innovate.”
Partner organizations delivering the AWS GetIT program in Poland and Ukraine are accepting expressions of interest from schools for the September 2023-May 2024 program.
If your school is interested in participating in the program, we encourage the school management to contact the following:
For more information about the program, visit AWS GetIT website.
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