AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Las Vegas Area Students Build with IoT at re:Invent

Fifty-one Las Vegas area students attended re:Invent to learn about cloud computing and how they can get involved with technology beginning with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational path – and ultimately leading to a cloud computing career.

The sixth grade class from Johnson Junior High School took a field trip to re:Invent to participate in an Internet of Things (IoT) hands-on activity, hear from Teresa Carlson, Vice President of AWS Worldwide Public Sector, and Tom Soderstrom, CTO of NASA JPL, and tour the IoT Builders Fair Expo floor to see innovative new technologies on display.

Before they explored the Expo Hall and joined the other builders at re:Invent, they started to build using the Blue Kit from Blue Spurs, a 2017 AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Winner. The Blue Kit is a creative, low-code IoT educational starter kit that allows middle and high school students to understand the fundamentals of IoT. Using technology that IoT systems are built on today, including Arduino boards, sensors, AWS IoT, and Noodl, students are able to build IoT projects to learn the fundamentals in an interactive environment.

Led by Mike LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Blue Spurs, the students walked through four exercises that introduced them to the fundamentals of IoT and AWS:

  1. The first activity was an orientation exercise allowing the students to play with individual hardware devices, such as sensors, speakers, lights, and displays.
  2. The students then participated in an Amazon Lex exercise, learning how their voice can control an LED light.
  3. The third activity taught the students some basics of using Noodl to control IoT devices through the AWS Cloud.
  4. The final activity introduced Amazon Rekognition to the students and let them control a “mood ring” light through their facial expressions.

After the IoT activities, the students met Teresa Carlson, who engaged the students in a conversation about the cloud and continuing to learn about technology. Teresa was followed by Tom Soderstrom who shared advances in robotics at NASA and the importance of learning through trial and error.

At the end of the day, each of the students received their own Blue Kit and an Amazon Echo Dot to continue their exploration of IoT.

Cloud expertise starts with hands-on learning. Turn your classroom into a dynamic learning lab with AWS Educate, now available to students ages 14 and up.