AWS and Washington State launch cloud training, but educators have big

Amazon Web Services and Washington state officials announced a new partnership this week to provide cloud computing education to high school students. Leading public cloud provider AWS aims to train and certify 2,500 Washington students over the next three years.

The ambitious initiative expects teachers to start teaching by next fall, and the state would like to see the AWS curriculum taught in every high school and skill center.

The AWS program is designed for high school students and seniors who have already completed some basic computer science classes. The tech company has developed a two-semester Foundational Cloud course for high school students who can take more advanced courses for AWS certification.

Teachers in the Seattle area are excited to teach advanced technology to their students, but say there are bigger questions and challenges to be addressed.

For Juan Lozano, deputy director/director of the Puget Sound Skills Center, the key issues are: How do we prepare staff and keep students prepared and interested?

“Those are two big challenges. But the opportunities are great,” Lozano said. Their center is focused on specialized career and technical training and serves high school and senior students at Highline Public Schools south of Seattle. Lozano attended the event on Monday and announced the partnership.

There is a clear and growing demand for skilled workers in cloud computing. According to Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), there were 165,486 cloud vacancies in Washington last year, of which about half remained unfilled.

However, students still cannot register. Many may lack the necessary basic computer background. College-going students may view a difficult engineering course as a threat to their GPA. The idea that you can get an education in high school that directly leads to a good job can make it hard for students to turn their heads after hearing the mantra that higher education is essential for years.

On the instructional side, AWS offers free professional development and training for teachers, although teachers are awaiting important details about what this will look like. The company says it will also offer a limited number of AWS certification exams for teachers. Those who plan to teach more advanced courses must also complete an assessment to verify their proficiency.

Once students and faculty are on board, courses must have already busy schedules and limited time available for electives.

Marilyn Hanselman, District Director of the Career and Technical Education Program, said teachers in the Bellevue School District are excited by the initiative. One instructor has already worked with the course and has a huge fan following.

Bellevue is one of the best positioned districts in the state to work with this type of opportunity. Many computer science teachers have worked at Microsoft, which is based in the neighboring city of Redmond.

“We happen to be in a really great field,” Hanselmann said.

It is less clear how this initiative will affect rural areas with fewer resources and teachers with professional technical backgrounds.

“It always worries me,” Hanselmann said. To solve this problem, she envisions a program where teachers with deep technical expertise teach lessons as a team with individual teachers who have little experience but who gradually increase their understanding. can.

Cloud education efforts are supported by the Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Washington Training and Education Coordinating Board, a government agency that oversees staff training efforts.

“Our economy and the needs of workers and employers are evolving, and the K-12 system must evolve with it. I am grateful for this partnership with AWS that will make a difference to many of our students,” said Public Instruction in Washington U.S. state superintendent Chris Reckdall said in a statement.

Students taking more intensive courses can earn AWS certifications such as AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, and AWS Certified Developer – Associate.

The announcement was made at the newly opened Amazon Web Services Skills Center in Downtown Seattle. The center focuses on providing cloud computing training for adult workers and exposing people to potential cloud career paths.

“It’s a step in the right direction and it will be great in the end,” Lozano said. “But how soon can we mobilize?”

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