AWS GetIT students drawing on a giant blackboard which is filled with messages and doodles.

GetIT students review the world’s biggest cloud education show

More than 65,000 people attended AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las Vegas this year – making it the biggest cloud computing conference in the world. We invited five students from our AWS GetIT programme to the event, and asked them to report back.
on 20 December 2019
AWS re:Invent is a learning and development conference hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the global cloud computing community. Featuring keynote speakers, more than 2,800 technical sessions, workshops, and ‘chalk talks’, plus more than 1,000 other demos, start-up talks, and networking sessions, it offers a total of more than 4,000 educational presentations – making it a key date in the calendar for anybody interested in cloud computing.

Among the attendees this year were Ibby, Millie, Amy, Charlie, and Zak, from Bishop’s Stortford College in Hertfordshire. Aged between 13 and 14, they won the trip after taking part in our AWS GetIT competition, which challenges year 8 pupils to create an app-based solution to a specific problem for their community or school.

GetIT students playing air hockey at re:Invent event in Las Vegas

Their winning idea is an app called ConnectHearo, which transcribes teachers’ lessons into accessible notes for students with hearing impairments. ConnectHearo is inspired by Ibby, who has personal experience of hearing impairment. We were blown away by their innovative thinking and the meaningful impact the app can have on people’s lives.

The students spent an inspiring few days at re:Invent, where they learned how to build a chat bot with Amazon Lex, met one of the world’s leading Formula One technical consultants and spent time speaking to people from NASA.

They also got the chance to be roving reporters, writing a blog for Computer Weekly on their experiences. You can read some of their highlights below. Their full report is available to read on Computer Weekly here.
  1. Ibby (13)

    “My highlight of AWS re:Invent was The Jam Lounge, a section of the main expo hall which had all the latest technology – including a virtual reality (VR) stand. We were taught how VR companies are incorporating learning opportunities into their interactive games. The idea is that VR games can teach us new skills or refine existing skills.”
  2. Millie (14)

    “The highlight for me was the augmented reality (AR) demonstration in the Developers Lounge. The demonstration showed us how AR can be used to help quickly educate people about certain topics. It was so interesting because you can see how education might change in the future.”
  3. Amy (13)

    “My favourite part was when we got involved with AWS Educate, which aims to get children learning about technology. We met students from a nearby high school in Las Vegas and learned how to build a Chatbot using Amazon Lex software.”
  4. Charlie (13)

    “I really enjoyed the talk from Teresa Carlson, who is the head of public sector for AWS. She introduced the CTO of the Jet Propulsion Lab for NASA, Tom Soderstron. NASA works with AWS and uses their services. We looked at space rovers and how they can be incorporated into new fields of work outside of space exploration.”
  5. Zak (13)

    “We met Rob Smedley, an amazing Formula One engineer who has worked for teams such as McLaren and Ferrari. His job is to make F1 cars complete a lap around the track as fast as possible. We actually interviewed Rob and talked about many topics to do with engineering, like how tech is incorporated into racing and why they want to encourage more women into engineering. It was brilliant to meet Rob and see how we have the same interests – technology and fast cars!”
The aim of AWS GetIT is to inspire young people to consider careers in technology, providing them opportunities to learn about the diverse range of roles that exist in the industry.

Find out how your school or organisation can get involved.

If you are looking to find out more about working with AWS - take a look at our careers at AWS
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