Cloud Computing

Amazon Launches Free AWS Service for Educators and Students

Amazon Web Services today debuted AWS Educate, a free service for educators and students that aims to prepare IT pros and developers for the cloud workforce.

With cloud computing changing the way businesses work and driving innovation in organizations of all kinds, AWS said there is a need for more workers conversant in cloud technologies.

"AWS Educate empowers educators with training, tools, and technologies to help students develop the skills to design, deploy and operate applications on the AWS Cloud," the company said in a statement today.

AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr explained in a blog post  that this primarily will be enabled by four resources: grants of AWS credits for use in courses and projects; free content to embed in courses or to use as-is; access to free and discounted AWS Training resources; and online and in-person collaboration and networking opportunities.

Anyone in any country can apply to participate, and institutions that officially join the program — and their students — are eligible for additional discounts and benefits.

Benefits to educators include free access to a collaboration portal, AWS Essentials eLearning and Online Labs, along with 50 percent discounts for purchasing instructor-led training and AWS certification.

Students also have access to Online Labs and a student portal, and those belonging to AWS Educate organizations can apply for $100 in credits.

AWS will also visit some organizations who join the AWS Educate program to provide training, hackathons and other events.

"We want to do our part to help educational institutions all over the world train and graduate students who are ready, willing, and able to power the cloud-powered world of tomorrow!" Barr said.

Helping to achieve this goal will be Web-based training and self-paced labs where students can get hands-on experience with AWS technologies and course resources that can be uploaded by educators. The program has apparently been in trial and the company said AWS Educate already has more than 100 resource materials uploaded from universities such as Harvard University, Stanford University and Cornell Tech.

For examples, Professor Zack Ives has provided lectures, videos and assignments from his Scalable and Cloud Computing class at the University of Pennsylvania, while the University of Toronto is participating with an Introduction to Cloud Computing class from Eyal de Lara and the University of Washington is providing materials from Magdalena Balazinska's Introduction to Data Management class.

"I am a big believer in course projects that fully exercise what the students are learning in the class, and simultaneously demystify the popular services they use every day," Ives said in a statement. "We give them realistic projects, such as a full-fledged social network with friend recommendation, or building a Web crawler and search engine. AWS Educate completely changes the scope of the resources we can make available for the project — even in a large class, they see what it takes to truly harness Hadoop, cloud key-value stores, and clusters of virtual machines.

"This experience is imperative to giving them the ability and confidence to succeed in their future careers," he continued. "I'm happy to share my coursework with the AWS Educate educator community, and look forward to learning from fellow computer science professors."

Participation is conditional upon AWS approval.

AWS is accepting applications for the program now.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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