|Amazon Donates $15 Million To Code.Org|
|Written by Sue Gee|
|Wednesday, 24 February 2021|
Amazon has announced a $15 million donation to Code.org to support the development and launch of a new equity-minded Advanced Placement Computer Science programming curriculum.
We reported the disparities in participation in the AP Computer Science exams by students from Black, Latino and Native American (BLNA) communities in The State of Computer Science Education 2020 and this imbalance that is the target of this funding. The intention is that by providing a culturally responsive approach to teaching it will be possible to increase equitable access, participation, and achievement in computer science (CS) among high school students of all backgrounds and encourage more BNLA and other minority students students to pursue careers in software engineering.
Amazon is already one of Code.org's major donors and this new funding, spanning a 3-year period comes from Amazon Future Engineer, which was begun in 2018 as a "childhood-to-career" initiative " to support the uptake of computer science by those in "under-served and under-represented communities". This program, which is now available in US, UK, Canada, and France, was allocated a large part of a $50 million investment pledged by Amazon to computer science and STEM over 5-years and included coding camps and online lessons, paying for introductory and Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses, as well as underwriting college scholarships for degrees in computer science.
Now it seems a new priority has been added to the list - that of tailoring the AP Computer Science curriculum to better cater for under-served and under-represented communities and
to take into account the unique cultural perspectives, interests, and experiences of Black, Latino, Native American (BLNA), and other minority students.
The Amazon press release explains that in order to make the AP Computer Science A exams more equitable and accessible to all, Code.org will design the new curriculum to incorporate students’ diverse interests and experiences.
"The goal is to empower students to investigate real-world concerns during class activities. Additionally, open-ended projects will enable students to demonstrate mastery of concepts that make no assumptions about their cultural backgrounds or life experiences. Students will also develop and model valuable, real-world career skills, such as conducting code reviews, tracing code segments, reading documentation, and writing code, with both the user and other developers in mind. Through first-hand experiences, students will ultimately be able to envision themselves as capable software engineers."
Commenting on Amazon's donation, Hadi Partovi, CEO and Founder of Code.org said:
"We are excited to develop a much-needed AP-level programming curriculum to inspire, engage, and prepare a more diverse population of students in high school computer science, With our experience of designing CS curricula that break records in student participation and diversity, we are confident of the curriculum’s potential impact, and we are grateful for Amazon’s generous support to make it possible.”
Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, where state education leaders have pledged to expand AP CSA during the 2021-2022 school year, will pilot the new curriculum. Not only will Code.org will supply the curriculum, it will also provide the professional development workshops needed to introduce the curriculum to participating schools, ensuring all interested students will have a trained teacher to prepare them for the year-end exam administered by the College Board. The new AP CSA curriculum will then be extended across the US for the 2022-2023 school year.
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|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 February 2021 )|