Student science fair goes virtual with Amazon Chime
The Synopsys Championship event was held on March 12th using Amazon Chime. 1,048 students presented their projects to 525 judges in 1,924 video conferencing sessions with a total of 69,889 meeting minutes. At the peak of the six-hour science-fair over 800 meetings were held concurrently.
The Synopsys Championship is coordinated and run by the Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Association (SCVSEFA) to showcase middle & high school student projects in the Santa Clara County of California. If you have never had the pleasure of participating or attending a science fair, this is how they work: Students, in teams of one to three members, choose a topic, determine a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and present their results. They spend anywhere from seven to twelve months preparing presentations and artifacts including written reports, demonstrations, and display boards which are setup and displayed in an event hall or conference center. Science fair judges meet with each project team to interview the students and award prizes which, based on the results, can advance them to state-wide, country, and international fairs.
In light of COVID-19, the SCVSEFA was faced with the difficult decision of cancelling or postponing this year’s event to prevent the spread of the virus. A parent of a middle school student, an AWS employee, suggested that video conferencing might be used and connected the event planners with the Amazon Chime team. Within a week, the SCVSEFA and the Amazon Chime teams worked together to hold the science fair virtually. Students, parents, and teachers worked together to digitize and upload their project artifacts while the SCVSEFA team allocated meeting IDs and created a video conference judging schedule for each of the 790 project teams. The day before the event, hardware and software setup sessions were held so students and judges could familiarize themselves with the Amazon Chime video conferencing features.
“I’ve received many positive comments from judges who used Amazon Chime about how pleased they were that virtual judging was a success. If we could not have used Amazon Chime, the fair for more than 1,000 students from Santa Clara County would have been canceled,” said June Andersen, PhD, Co-Chair Category Judging, SCVSEFA
“It went awesomely well. We would not have had a fair without Chime and it worked exactly as we needed it to,” said Larke Reeber, Board Member, SCVSEFA
I have fond memories of science fairs growing up, and they can be a great way to get kids excited about STEM. So, the opportunity to work with the SCVSEFA and the Santa Clara Office of Education to build and host a virtual science fair was personally quite special. I am excited to have played a part in continuing SCVSEFA’s mission to encourage our future scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians.
To learn more about how Amazon Chime can enable students and employees to interact remotely, visit https://aws.amazon.com/chime.
AWS is also offering free use of all Amazon Chime Pro features for online meetings and video conferencing from March 4, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for all customers that start using Amazon Chime for the first time during this period from their AWS account. This does not include PSTN services or charges related to PSTN services, such as Amazon Chime Voice Connector, call-me or meeting dial-in. Customers who are already using Amazon Chime can also contact their AWS account managers to see if they are eligible for credits for Amazon Chime usage during this period. Visit Amazon Chime pricing page for more details.