Home Coding/Computer Science Unveiling Amazon’s Educational Treasures

Unveiling Amazon’s Educational Treasures

by Peggy Reimers
Amazon Future Engineer

When I think of Amazon, what comes to mind is shopping, checking out reviews, and searching for free shipping options. But after the TCEA Librarian Conference this past June, my educator’s resource-antenna discovered something else: a treasure trove of free educational resources from Amazon’s Future Engineer program. Let’s explore four of them.

1. Amazon Career Tours

Screenshot by author

Looking for engaging ways to ignite your students’ interest in the future of work, explore potential careers, or promote computer science fields? Check out Amazon Career Tours. These gamified tours are currently offered through a Kahoot! which take students inside Amazon using videos followed by quizzes and polls.

The tours cover various topics like:

  • Amazon Music: Careers Behind the Beats
  • Data Center Tour 1: Uncovering Cloud Computing
  • Data Center Tour 2: Keeping Data Safe and Sustainable
  • Robotics FC Tours
  • Alexa in Space Tour

Each tour comes with a Teacher Toolkit containing a facilitator guide, key student learnings, student worksheets and certificates, and alignment with CSTA and NGSS standards. Geared for grades four and above, lessons range from 30 to 45 minutes. You can access the tours for free using a teacher account on Kahoot! or the solo play links on their website. More topics are in the works.

2. Computer Science Courses

Amazon offers free computer science courses through their Amazon Future Engineer program. The AFE program provides standards-aligned, culturally responsive curriculum and teacher training, all requiring no prior coding experience. They say “Anyone can teach these courses!” The CS courses are broken down by grade level and offered by two national providers:

  • Elementary School:
    • Code.org: Computer Science Fundamentals and Computer Science Connections
    • BootUp Professional Development: Scratch Jr. and Scratch Curriculum (District-Wide Sponsorship available)
  • Middle School:
    • Code.org: Computer Science Discoveries (CSD) and Computer Science Fundamentals – Express (CSF)
    • ProjectSTEM: CS Explorations 1: CS Fundamentals in Scratch, CS Explorations 2: AI in our World, CS Explorations 3: Creative CS
  • High School:
    • Code.org: CS Discoveries, CS Principles (Intro and AP), AP CSA
    • ProjectSTEM: CS Python Fundamentals, AP CSP, AP CSA

3. Scholarships and Internships

In 2024, Amazon Future Engineer Scholarships were awarded to over 500 high school seniors. Each student received up to $40,000 in paid tuition and a paid internship at Amazon. Applications for students interested in pursuing an engineering or computer science degree will reopen this fall for the 2025 cohort. Eligibility requirements and FAQs can be found here.

4. Alexas Skills Inventor

Teachers, spark your students’ interest in the future of technology with Alexa Skills Inventor! Built on MIT App Inventor, this program empowers students aged 14+ to code their own Alexa Skills without needing an actual Amazon device. Using a block code language, students can grasp the fundamentals of voice AI (Artificial Intelligence) and bring their creative voice assistant ideas to life. Educators can sign up for the Alexa Skills Inventor program to access pre-made lesson plans, slide decks, worksheets, and instructional videos.

I hope you forgot shipping calculations for a moment and explored the four resources highlighted in this blog. I could certainly see these being a catalyst to transform your classroom into a launchpad for future tech wizards, innovative thinkers, and curious learners. With just a little exploration, you might discover that Amazon can be a valuable teaching source.

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