Amazon’s New Goal is to Teach code

Amazon recently announced that it wants more children thinking about becoming computer engineers. The company launched a new program called Amazon Future Engineer with the aim of teaching more than 10 million students a year how to code. It will pay for summer camps, teacher training, and other initiatives. The goal is to encourage more girls, as well as black and Hispanic students to explore computer science.

Amazon didn’t exactly say how much the program will cost them. However, they had allocated $50 million to computer science education last year, and this program is set to take up a large portion of that money.

Other giant companies like Facebook and Microsoft are also making efforts to bring coding to schools. In a way, these companies are ensuring that they have employees in the future, as there is a shortage of computer engineers.

Amazon executives say they hope that some of the children that undergo this training program will one day work for them. They predict that in the near future, coding will be as important as reading, because companies are increasingly relying on technology.

Among the things that the Amazon Future Engineer program will offer are the following:

  • Free summer camps and after-school programs for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. These will take place in Amazon offices around the country.
  • Volunteer work by Amazon employees.
  • Online classes, lessons, and games provided by Amazon partners like Code.org and Coding with Kids.
  • Internships and scholarships to college students
  • The company will also pay for online training for teachers at 2,000 low-income high schools to give them the needed skills to teach computer science classes.

In fact, some schools have started testing the program. New York science teacher Jennifer Tulipano says her Monsignor Scanlan High School applied for the program, because many students were asking for computer science classes. After completing her training, Tulipano started teaching two computer science classes in which students learned how to create games and make animated characters dance. “It’s a skill set they need moving forward if they want to go into these fields,” she says.

Vocabulary

  1. Launch – set in motion; start; begin; initaite
  2. Initiative – plan; strategy; scheme
  3. Allocate – distribute resources for a particular purpose; assign; allot
  4. Undergo – experience or be subjected to something; go through
  5. Volunteer – freely offer to do something; work for an organization without being paid
  6. Internship – the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification
  7. Scholarship – a grant or payment made to support a student’s education

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are your thoughts on the Amazon Future Engineer program?
  2. Do you think young children should be exposed to coding? Why or why not?
  3. Would you like to take part in the Amazon Future Engineer program? Explain your answer.

 

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