This year the AWS GetIT program was piloted in Athens, Greece and it also saw AWS GetIT Greek students win the EMEA-wide AWS GetIT app-design competition, which took place during the EMEA AWS Online Summit.

The AWS-funded program is a cloud-focused education program and an app-design competition for students, especially girls aged 12-14. The program supports building more inclusive and diverse talent for the tech industry by inspiring and motivating students to consider a future career in tech.

Inspiring students with technology

AWS GetIT students learn how to use tech to solve real-world problems in the cloud, and they explore a variety of tech careers. They also learn about the elements of design thinking, proofs of concept, storyboarding, and research methods for idea viability while receiving guidance from diverse ambassadors who are technology professionals. Ultimately, students use their new knowledge to practice designing an app. Throughout the process, they build confidence as they grow their soft skills through collaborating in teams, brainstorming new ideas, and presenting to groups. The program started in the UK in 2018 and since then has expanded to Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Israel and Greece.

AWS GetIT Greece event and balloons with flowers on table

This year, the AWS team introduced AWS GetIT to a mix of public and private Greek schools, and immersed students and their teachers into the world of tech and cloud computing. The program was run as a pilot, to identify the needs of the Greek school community and adjust to language requirements and distance delivery mechanisms for remote schools, such as those in the Greek islands. Students throughout Athens participated as well as the AWS Athens Team, the U.S. Embassy of Greece, the Eugenides Foundation, and the Muse Lab collaborating organization. In total, 23 teams participated in the Greek program.

Solving real-life challenges

Four of the 23 Greek teams made it to the AWS GetIT School Competition Finals with their app designs. Each finalist team presented their app design to an audience of teachers, parents, program supporters, and AWS GetIT judges. The students inspired the audience with their creativity and passion. Their ideas tackled several challenges, including management of school absentees, absence of free time via smarter studying practices, the growing food waste from households, and the struggle of finding and securing parking for people with disabilities.

In the end, the judges crowned the Smart School app designed by students from the Model High School Evangelical School of Smyrna as the winner. Smart School aims to help parents, teachers, and students manage school entry/exit, class attendance, health documents, and student security in a faster, automated, and more secure way. The AWS GetIT Greek finalists were also voted first in the EMEA-wide AWS GetIT Competition, which took place during the EMEA AWS Online Summit. The winners earned the opportunity to visit the AWS Athens office and meet Greece’s Minister of Digital Governance Kiriakos Pierrakakis.

Close up image of AWS GetIT Greece award winner holding winning trophy

Empowering future builders

AWS GetIT values the teachers who facilitate the program and help their students prepare for the competition finals. Panteleimon Chionidis, teacher for one of the Greek teams, said, “What seemed truly amazing was that at no time during the program were students told that they were thinking or saying something ‘wrong.’ We were inspired by the program and its ambassadors who empowered our students to think creatively, moving away from the concept of ‘right or wrong.’ Students were motivated to think critically on how to better achieve their goals. What we loved about the program is that it celebrates winning and shining through teamwork, rather than individual work.”

For more information about the program and app competition, visit the AWS GetIT site.