Amazon Web Services (AWS) GetIT provides a unique opportunity for young people 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. The programme, currently available in 13 countries, helps schools and educators encourage their students to think about their future careers; learn new skills through cloud-centric science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities; and gain exposure to technology professionals. Throughout the school year, educators guide students through an international curriculum on design thinking and cloud computing. AWS employees serve as ambassadors for the program and, together with educators, offer bootcamps and help students develop their app ideas by sharing their technology expertise.
Ukraine: Enable students to develop app ideas relevant to their communities
This year, the AWS GetIT program was piloted in Ukraine at the Optima distance learning school. With over 125,000 online students, Optima is Ukraine’s first and largest private distance learning school. After Russia invaded Ukraine, AWS actively supportedContinuity of Ukraine’s education through Optima, providing AWS cloud computing credits and technical support.
The AWS GetIT program has given students the opportunity to develop their design thinking, brainstorm new ideas, collaborate in teams, and learn from technology professionals, said Olha Bilodid, director of the Optima school.
Of the 23 Optima teams that submitted their AWS GetIT app ideas for evaluation, three teams earned spots to present their app ideas to a Ciklum, N-iX, and AWS judging panel at the Ukraine Finals on 23rd May.
Here’s what the judges had to say about the student work:
We were impressed with the depth of analysis, understanding of social issues, and proposed functionality, said Nataliya Khorkava, head of alliances and partnerships at N-iX, who served as a judge at the AWS GetIT Ukraine Finals. Many of these app ideas covered serious topics related to war student suggested services related to security, refugee support, and mental health.
It was an inspiring experience to witness the enthusiasm and passion radiate from the students as they presented their game-changing ideas for apps with their genuine interest and love for technology, said Kateryna Yashchenko, learning and development specialist at Ciklum and judge at the AWS GetIT Finals in Ukraine. Their ideas went beyond mere convenience or entertainment; they aimed to have a tangible impact on society. The passion of the students reminded us that the future is in the hands of these brilliant young minds and that with their dedication and innovation, the relentless pursuit of knowledge and the audacity to dream, anything is possible.
The winning idea of the app was focused on supporting the mental health of people affected by war and included features for communicating with mental health professionals, chat and an interactive bot, mood diary and suggestions for movies, books and music. The other two projects aimed to solve other important problems in the community: one app project was about building safe public transit routes in cities and directing the user to the nearest bomb shelter in case of bomb alarms, and the other it involved special digital glasses for visually impaired people that would help the user find their way around the city and inform them of their surroundings via audio notifications.
Poland: empowering future builders
This year, the AWS GetIT program in Poland was piloted at XV High School in Wroclaw, which provides education to approximately 400 Ukrainian refugee children, along with 700 Polish and other children from Poland.
Our partnership with XV High School in Wroclaw began with the donation of Amazon Kindle devices to facilitate the onboarding of new Ukrainian students, said Cecile Bonnet, head of young student programs at AWS. We experimented with the AWS GetIT program with high school and were impressed by the pace of innovation and the forward thinking of the students.
Ten teams from Wroclaw High School submitted their app projects for the competition and three project teams were selected for the final, which took place on 26th May at Amazon fulfillment center in Wroclaw. Each finalist team presented their app design to an audience of educators, program advocates, and AWS GetIT judges. All three finalist teams have inspired audiences with their creativity and passion, with their ideas tackling different challenges, including food waste, intercultural integration and job hunting. The winner was the team that developed an idea for an innovative app for interactive and relational language learning. After the finals, all students and educators were invited to take a behind-the-scenes trip at Amazon’s fulfillment center, learning how products make their way from Amazon’s website to a customer’s doorstep. Visitors were particularly intrigued by the printing houses, 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 just took part in the AWS GetIT Poland competition as a judge and got inspired by students’ app ideas that focus on solving problems in their communities locals”.
Students and educators also shared their feedback on the program:
I liked this program because there were modules with 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 am now thinking about future work in this area.
We were inspired by AWS GetIT and its ambassadors who empowered our students to think creatively and move from ideas to completed projects, said Bogumila Mandat, director of XV High School in Wroclaw. We appreciated that the program encourages students to work together and innovate.
Collaborating organizations providing the AWS GetIT program in Poland and Ukraine are accepting indications of interest from schools in the program September 2023-May 2024.
If your school is interested in participating in the programme, we encourage the school management to contact the following:
For more information on the program, please visit AWS GetIT place.
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