Arlington, VA

Starting next year, Arlington Public Schools will incorporate cloud-based learning curriculum from Amazon Web Services into the classroom.

AWS Educate is the e-commerce giant’s K-12 initiative, designed to get students comfortable with the basics of cloud computing and artificial intelligence tools.

The service is available online at a fee for all educators and interested students 14 years or older. However, in late September, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) announced a partnership with AWS Educate across select Virginia universities, community colleges, and four K-12 school districts in the state, including APS.

For the participating Virginia K-12 schools, including in Arlington, AWS Educate is expected to be incorporated as either a dual enrollment system with a participating community college or university, or as a resource utilized in exiting STEM classes.

Earlier this month APS staff met with officials from Amazon and Northern Virginia Community College to discuss the best way to introduce the curriculum into the 2020-21 school year.

“At this time, we do not have a finalized course list,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. “Courses may or may not be dual enrolled. We need to see from the community college what their requirements are for the teacher before we can give dual enrollment or college credit.”

Northern Virginia Community College was the first area organization to partner with AWS Educate, rolling out a cloud-based degree program in 2018.

On the recent Virginia partnership, Ken Eisner, head of AWS Educate, said “in this way, students can learn about the tech concepts behind things like online gaming and expand their knowledge with more in-depth challenges on concepts like variables and big data. We’re excited to work with school divisions across northern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth to meet students and educators where they are and open up big opportunities in the cloud.”

Additional area school districts and universities partnering with AWS Educate include:

  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Arlington County Public Schools
  • Alexandria City Public Schools
  • Loudoun County Public Schools
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • George Mason University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
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