Amazon today announced the Canadian launch of Amazon Future Engineer, a comprehensive program designed to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue computer science.
The e-commerce giant will invest $3 million over three years to fund unique computer science learning opportunities for an anticipated 1 million students and teachers across the country.
“At Amazon, we are committed to helping more children and young adults, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities,” said Susan Ibach, Head of Amazon Future Engineer Canada.
“Amazon Future Engineer is dedicated to helping students develop their computer science skills throughout their educational journeys, from kindergarten to high school, while also funding in-demand professional development opportunities for teachers. Virtual learning has underscored the need for more students to have a strong computer science foundation, and we look forward to creating new opportunities to make that a reality.”
To reach students of all ages across Canada, Amazon Future Engineer is partnering with leading Canadian charities dedicated to computer science and STEM education, including Canada Learning Code, Kids Code Jeunesse and TakingITGlobal.
“I’m excited for the official Canadian launch of Amazon Future Engineer and the continued commitment to computer science education in Canada. Amazon has supported Canada Learning Code in many ways over the years, from enabling projects to ensure we’re delivering experiences to those who need them most, to providing hundreds of volunteer hours, to working with us to navigate the shift from in-person learning experiences to virtual due to COVID-19,” said Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO and co-founder of Canada Learning Code.
“We are thrilled to have Amazon Future Engineer’s partnership for our Teachers Learning Code program and with their support, we’ll continue to build out relevant and necessary tools and resources for educators across Canada.”
Amazon will fund their curated lesson plans, tutorials, online resources and workshops designed to inspire students from all backgrounds to pursue computer science.
For elementary school students and teachers, Amazon Future Engineer will fund free, in-class workshops organized by Canada Learning Code. Lesson plans will focus on basic coding skills, including algorithms, sequences and debugging.
Amazon Future Engineer already provides a variety of free, online educational activities open to all elementary school students, including interactive coding tutorials like the Cyber Robotics Challenge and the Hour of Code: Dance Party.
Middle and high school students and teachers will have access to workshops and materials that focus on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and ethics, delivered in partnership with Kids Code Jeunesse. This curriculum will guide students through the application of current AI technology, the framework for ethical AI, and the effect of AI systems on future careers and the work environment. These will encourage young people to think about the intersection between their digital lives and in-person experiences.
In addition, working with TakingITGlobal’s Connected North Program, Amazon will fund computer science workshops for teachers working across the program’s network of 100 schools in remote Indigenous communities, and support the charity’s self-serve platform for teachers to access training and lesson plans.
Amazon will also support TakingITGlobal’s development of an online course and community for Canadian educators using the AP Computer Science principles curriculum. TakingITGlobal will also deliver the Your Voice is Power program in Canada, which features a competition for students to remix Pharrell’s new song “Entrepreneur” using computer code on the learn-to-code-through-music platform, EarSketch.