AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Dream Big for Your Students: Apply to the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge

New to the City on the Cloud Innovation Challenge this year, we are opening the competition to school districts who are using the cloud to enrich learning, help teachers reach more students, and improve school or district operations.

Districts and schools can now submit applications for a chance to receive AWS promotional credits to start or continue their projects under the three challenge categories: Best Practices, Partners in Innovation, and Dream Big. The deadline to submit is May 12. Need ideas?

Through our work with over 7,000 education institutions globally, we have seen schools provide the best learning experience possible for their students. From bring-your-own-device and virtual desktops to learning management platforms and student data analytics, AWS offers tools to ensure that every student gets the attention they need to thrive in the classroom.

For example, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) uses Amazon WorkSpaces in a virtual environment. Amazon WorkSpaces is a cloud-based, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that helps higher education institutions and K12 school districts give students and instructors consistent access to teaching and learning software on their own devices. Students can learn anywhere, on the device of their choice, with the software tools required to complete assignments.

In addition to virtualized learning, the cloud also brings schools noticeable cost savings. Gibraltar Area Schools, a rural school district serving 600 K-12 children located on the district campus in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, have spent less than half of what they would on physical services over the past five years with AWS. The district has saved time, money, and resources by turning to the cloud.

Another area where educational institutions think and dream big is with data analytics.

Educational institutions have a tremendous amount of data that they collect on a daily basis, but often districts don’t have the capacity (time or resources) to do anything with it.

Ivy Tech Community College (ITCC) leverages Amazon Redshift to analyze student data proactively and help students who are at risk of dropping out. “We have an analysis kit we run every day, looking at data, comparing patterns over previous years’ information, and in a matter of seconds, we can tell if a student is likely to succeed or fail. The results have been phenomenal,” said Lige Hensley, CTO, ITCC. ITCC can now predict with over 80% accuracy which students are likely to fail a course within the first two weeks of class.

AWS has tools that can help districts get data from different sources into one place, so that they, like ITCC, can use data in the service of learning to help guide decisions about instruction, school administration, and operations. AWS also has services that make it simple and cost-effective to analyze all your data using your existing business intelligence tools.

With the AWS Cloud, schools, districts, and companies providing educational applications can access industry-shaping technology at an affordable cost, no matter what the scale. Apply for our City on the Cloud Innovation Challenge and let us know your big ideas around data and how AWS can help you get there!