Amazon Offering Computer Science Education Externships to Teachers
George Mason University and the Maryland Chamber Foundation are teaming up with Amazon to provide a unique teaching externship to current and potential computer science teachers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The new collaboration will provide selected public middle school and high school teachers with an externship at Amazon during the summer of 2021 to showcase potential careers in computer science for their students. The chosen teachers will also complete an eight-week companion graduate-level, project-based learning course at George Mason University.
Preference will be given to teachers who are interested in teaching computer science classes or becoming licensed to teach computer science or STEM courses, and teachers who are interested in integrating computer science into their instruction. Educators can apply individually or in teams of two from their school. Amazon, George Mason and the Maryland Chamber Foundation are dedicated to teachers and students in our most underserved communities and will prioritize applications from these areas and Title 1 schools. Interested teachers can apply here. The deadline to apply is Monday, Feb. 1.
The externships will allow teachers to witness firsthand the type of work Amazon professionals conduct on a daily basis so teachers will then be able to better prepare their students for work in this industry. Teachers will be able to tie curriculum to real-world applications by designing and implementing classroom activities—project- and work-based learning opportunities that will add relevance and meaning to students’ classroom learning. Teachers will shadow Amazon teams and gain hands-on experience. They will then develop curriculum and classroom materials that integrate the Amazon technologies to expose their students to cutting-edge technologies and relevant careers.
The initiative is part of Amazon Future Engineer—Amazon’s childhood-to-career program that aims to inspire, educate and prepare students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in the tech fields with access to high-quality computer science education.
The Maryland Chamber Foundation program bridges the gap between businesses and educators by pairing high school teachers with top Maryland businesses.
The program also provides all externs with a stipend from the foundation and the ability to earn up to four continuing professional development credits from the Maryland State Department of Education. Externs also gain invaluable experiences and perspectives that they can share with their students—through field trips, enhanced lesson plans and classroom activities.
Dr. Erdogan Kaya, an assistant professor of computer science education at George Mason University and a former K-12 computer science teacher, will teach an eight-week course for selected teachers. The three-credit graduate course, Special Topics: Problem-Based Learning in Computer Science, will deepen teachers’ content knowledge and broaden their application of computer science in the classroom.
Participating teachers will develop a problem-based learning lesson plan that implements design thinking by focusing on emerging computer science concepts such as robotics; artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning algorithms, including voice and video recognition; or cybersecurity.
Participants who complete all parts of the program will receive a $6,500 stipend, three graduate credit hours from George Mason, and a free workshop to prepare for the Praxis Exam to become licensed to teach computer science.