#TogetherAsOne Spotlight: How EPAM is Partnering to Help Educate Kids During COVID-19
At EPAM, we have long been committed to helping provide holistic learning opportunities to all. As the world grapples with the affects of COVID-19 on various industries, education is perhaps one of the areas hardest hit, with many young people facing the prospect of not returning to their physical schools until the next academic year – or longer. Many educators in our network have harnessed their flexibility and creativity to bring teaching to children wherever they may be located.
That’s why EPAM is proud to support several initiatives in partnership with several of our education partners. These initiatives exemplify excellence in flexibility and creativity—with a dash of fun tossed in—to help make education accessible to all children, no matter what context.
Read on to learn more about what we and our partners are doing and how you can get involved!
- Scratch Foundation
Scratch Foundation—an initiative of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab that helps young people learn how to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively—are the minds behind the visual programming language that’s available to 8 to 16-year-olds interested in coding on laptops, Android tablets, iPads and most mobile devices. The foundation supports educators teaching Scratch remotely, including trainers for EPAM’s own education program eKids – which supports more than 4,500 young children ages 8 to 12 in exploring and developing software engineering skills and proficiencies to pursue lifelong learning. In May, children, educators and parents from around the world participated in Scratch Month, a global initiative with a number of events held to inspire children to imagine, create and share their ideas. The event—which was originally a one-day, in-person event—was virtual, which allowed the group to reach a much larger community and be more interactive than in years past. EPAM was proud to encourage our eKids and our employees children to submit games or animations to a contest in three age categories—Beginner (ages 9 and under), Youth (ages 9-12) or Experienced (ages 13-16)—that were then judged by a panel of eKids trainers. All Scratch creators participated through a virtual studio, where they could test out each other’s projects – see their entries here!
- Entry Level Programming Scratch Course
In an effort to reach even more children than the 4,500 who are already enrolled in the eKids program, EPAM’s trainers created a free 12-week beginner tutorial course to share with parents and educators. The course, which is meant to help introductory instructors teach Scratch, was designed by our own experienced volunteers who wanted to share more about the features of Scratch, how the course can be adapted for a particular group of children and essential teamwork skills for making the program a success. Learn more about it here.
One activity that students of any age can do is EPAM’s Paws to Wash, a fun, DIY handwashing project that emphasizes proper handwashing techniques, gives kids a fun project to do and teaches electronics and prototyping skills. We shared the project with the team at Instructables, a website that allows students to explore, document and share their creations. View the complete guide to making Paws to Wash on Instructables.
- Apps for Good
EPAMers have also donated their time to serve as mentors with Apps for Good, an education technology charity with a mission to unlock the confidence and talent of young people to help them thrive in a tech-driven future. As a part of their Mentor Program, our team members have been able to help young children across the United Kingdom discover and nurture their interest in STEM.
- Raspberry Pi
Though Raspberry Pi—a UK-based charity that engages millions of young people in learning computing and digital making skills—was poised to host in-person events this summer in Manchester and Dublin for its Coolest Projects initiative, the organization transitioned this event to an online format. Now until June 28, 2020, anyone under the age of 18 can submit their creations here before judges—which may include some of our EPAM leadership team—choose their favorites in July.
- Science Buddies
For students interested in learning more about the science behind handwashing and how it helps to prevent COVID-19, we worked with Science Buddies—an organization that inspires and educates students of all ages with hands-on STEM explorations that reflect their unique interests—to create a project that shows just how vital this simple practice is. In addition to washing your hands, Science Buddies also created a series of resources for children who want to learn more about the virus.
Interested in learning more? Be sure to visit our partners’ websites and check back on epam.com as we continue to share more about the initiatives we support.