Amazon Canada launches new program to teach coding through the music of Indigenous artists
Amazon Canada partners with youth empowerment charity TakingITGlobal for new program that builds tech skills while promoting social justice
Students will remix music by Indigenous artists and enter for a chance to win $5,000 scholarships funded by Amazon Music
Your Voice is Power aims to create opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students: only 1.39% of tech workers in Canada identify as First Nation, Inuit or Mwas, according to a Ryerson University Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship Report
TORONTO, February 23, 2022 /CNW/ – Amazon Canada and TakingITGlobal Launch Your voice is power, a new school curriculum and music remix contest that teaches coding skills using music from Indigenous artists. Your Voice is Power uses music and technology as vehicles to promote social justice while encouraging middle school and high school students from diverse backgrounds to explore computing, one of the from Canada the fastest growing academic and professional fields.
Your Voice is Power is the latest initiative from Amazon Future Engineer Canada, a comprehensive program designed to inspire, educate and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue computer science. The initiative aims to reach more than 1,000 students and the program is open to schools in all provinces and territories.
“At Amazon, we are committed to empowering children and young adults to learn new skills that will give them more opportunities,” said Susan Ibach, head of Amazon Future Engineer Canada. “Your Voice is Power gives students and teachers an introduction to coding while demonstrating how music and computing can be tools to advance social justice. Our goal is to help more young people – especially those from from underrepresented backgrounds – to develop a passion that can lead to exciting long-term academic and professional opportunities.”
The Your Voice is Power program is available for free to teachers and students in grades 7-12. The program was developed by TakingITGlobal with extensive year-long collaborations that involved hundreds of hours of consultation and review. The Cloud Innovation Center of University of British Columbia (UBC), which is a private/public collaboration between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and UBC, facilitated connections with Indigenous experts, students and alumni, as well as UBC faculty.
The Your Voice is Power lesson plan includes eight modules that teach the basics of coding while engaging students in discussions about the First Nations, Inuit and Métis experience in Canada, including topics like residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Students will remix music by Indigenous artists Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, and Samian using EarSketch, a free online code editor that will be available in English, French, Ojibwe, and Inuktitut. All entrants will be encouraged to submit their remixes to a contest in which two winners – one native, one identifying as an ally – will receive $5,000 (CAD) scholarships, offered by Amazon Music.
“The Your Voice is Power program development team was thrilled to collaborate on a learning experience that will engage students in thinking about and responding to Indigenous and Canadian stories,” said Anishinaabe educator Christine M’lot, who led the development of the program on behalf of TakeITGlobal. “We’ve brought together the powerful music of First Nations artists while providing the opportunity for thousands of students to develop their coding skills by challenging themselves to submit their own original beats. We can’t wait to hear this they create!”
Amazon Music launches new ‘Your Voice is Power’ playlist
Departure February 22Amazon Music Subscribers Canada will be able to stream an exclusive new Your Voice is Power playlist featuring songs from artists such as Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, Samian and many more on the program. This playlist features music celebrating the themes of perseverance and determination, featuring seminal moments spanning over 30 years of music making.
The report shows that only 1.39% of Canada’s tech workforce is Indigenous
A report from from Ryerson University Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, only 1.39% of from Canada the tech workforce identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis. Programs like Your Voice is Power can help bridge this gap by engaging Indigenous students in the early stages of their education. Studies have shown that inspiring young children in STEM and computer science motivates them to stay interested for the long term – throughout high school, post-secondary education and beyond.
The deadline for this year’s first Your Voice is Power contest is May 31, 2022. Teachers interested in participating can visit www.YourVoiceisPower.ca.
“Your Voice is Power is a unique program that aims to fill the gaps in the digital economy for Indigenous peoples. Introducing young people to coding through music makes learning fun and accessible. It is also essential that conversations about the true history of Indigenous peoples in Canada be discussed in classrooms through this program.” – Jayli Wolf
“As a youth activist, entrepreneur, musician and mentor, I am thrilled to share my story and words with young people through the Your Voice is Power program. I have had many opportunities to share my journey with Indigenous students in remote communities through TakingITGlobal’s Connected North program, and a program like this is so timely in ensuring that voices and perspectives like mine are heard and considered by even more people. students through Canada. I can’t wait to hear what the students will create as they mix their own music and express themselves!” – Dakota Bear
“If our voices are powerful, education is even more powerful.” -Samian
“The goal of the UBC Community Health and Wellbeing CIC, powered by AWS, is to work on projects that provide material benefit to society. Increasing the representation of Indigenous students in coding professions is one such benefit, and we look forward to its realization. We have already received requests for best practices on how to adapt the program to other Indigenous groups in other geographies.” – Marianne SchröderDirector, Cloud Innovation Center The University of British Columbia
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SOURCE Amazon Canada
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