The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a dramatic shift in the education sector globally, with school closures forcing classes online. A 2021 UNICEF study on Vietnam1 found readiness for distance learning, assessment options, and lack of motivation and interaction to be among an extensive list of barriers to remote learning.

Hacking “The Future of Education” with AWS

Driven by the desire “to make online teaching and learning seamless”, Team Ambition from Danang University of Science and Technology took part in “Build On, Vietnam 2021” (BOVN 2021). Powered by AWS, Team Ambition used advanced cloud technology to conceptualize and deliver their winning idea, called “Fued” (The Future of Education), an innovative learning management system (LMS).

Group photo of members in Team Ambition
Team Ambition – Champion & Best Presentation Award, “Build On, Vietnam 2021” L-R: Nguyen Thai Minh, Team Leader; Hoang Tien Hai Dang, Front-End Developer; Do Tuan Son, Back-End Developer; Pham Xuan Sang, UI/UX Designer; Doan N. Thao Nguyen, Advisor

Using AWS Lambda, a serverless computing service that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources, “Fued” supports remote teaching and learning by providing educators and institutions with content delivery, test creation, performance assessment and analytics.

an architecture flow consisting of different icons
Architecture flow of Team Ambition's application, Fued.

To tackle the issue of inactive student participation, and aid teachers in performance tracking, “Fued” contains features like prompts for student discussions, a calendar and task board to track work progress, and online examination invigilating.

Rising demand regionally for more skilled digital workers to meet business needs

As organizations and nations increasingly undergo digital transformation, investing in digital skills training and developing digital talent has become an imperative to achieve business and economic goals.

According to the “AWS Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce” report, an estimated 86 million more workers in the seven countries surveyed2 across Asia Pacific and Japan need to be trained over the next year to keep pace with technological advancements. By 2025, three of the top five in-demand digital skills will be cloud-related – cloud-based tools, cybersecurity, and cloud migration.

Vietnam also faces a need to step up efforts to grow its local digital workforce. A ManpowerGroup survey3 found that senior and specialized tech talent remain in shortage and expatriate focused, despite demand for technology roles like business transformation and digitization rising significantly in 2021.

Fortunately, the emergence of a young, literate, and tech-savvy population in Vietnam’s fast-growing digital economy presents an opportunity to tap into this talent pool.

A village coming together to nurture Vietnam’s next-generation cloud talents

To help address Vietnam’s skills need, AWS Education Programs spearheaded the launch of BOVN 2021, as part of AWS Training & Certification’s initiatives to prepare the next generation of cloud progressions for early cloud careers, and to build a diverse pipeline of entry-level talent into the cloud workforce.

The event was also supported by Arizona State University, as part of the Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology alliance, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

BOVN 2021 attracted high school and tertiary students, developers, and cloud enthusiasts from around Vietnam. Contestants were presented problem statements from 10 participating AWS customers4 around the themes of EdTech, financial technology, healthcare, and smart cities. Their challenge was to develop prototypes of technological initiatives and solutions to solve real-world issues, and create a positive impact in the business community.

Coached by AWS experts and industry leaders, including a two-day pre-event workshop, contestants acquired valuable mentorship and learnt first-hand the fundamentals of cloud computing, AWS technologies, and applying solutions to practical challenges.

After a stringent competitive process comprising two rounds of proposals and prototype development over two weeks, and five hours of technical presentations based on various AWS platforms during the finale, Team Ambition beat 63 competing teams to emerge overall winners, with a prize of US$1,500 and employment opportunities offered by participating organizations.

Screen shot featuring a collage of participants in a virtual event
A screen shot of the livestream of the BOVN 2021finale, AWS’s first nationwide online hackathon in Vietnam.

Learnings and aspirations: Reflections from the first BOVN champions

“We signed up for BOVN as it was a great way to develop new skills, grow our networks, and create breakthrough solutions”, said Minh Nguyen, Team Ambition leader. “We were impressed by the workshop which introduced the services that AWS provides to the developer community. It helped us gain useful new information about the cloud platform, and the path to becoming a solution architect.”

For the next stage of “Fued”, Team Ambition plans to add more functions including fraud detection, an AI chatbot to help teachers answer frequently asked questions, and a Vietnamese language support feature.

“We signed up for BOVN as it was a great way to develop new skills, grow our networks, and create breakthrough solutions.”
Minh Nguyen
Team Ambition Leader

Expecting demand for LMS to grow well beyond the pandemic, they are working to commercialize “Fued” over seven phases. Currently at the soft launch stage with target customers such as schools looking to improve LMS solutions, the team will collate feedback and refine the product to meet customers’ needs over the next 12 months before officially launching.

The youths also gained valuable experiences and life skills which provide a good springboard for the future, such as working through differences in personalities and styles to achieve mutual understanding as professionals, and learning to share and empathize with one another to ensure harmonious and productive collaboration.

“Taking part in the hackathon taught us how to work as a team, and to be humble about letting go of our ideas once in a while. Whatever we do, I hope that we always keep our minds open and let curiosity lead us to our next adventures”, said Minh.

References:
[2] AWS commissioned AlphaBeta to examine the skills needs of organizations across Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.

[4] CMC Technology, KMS Solutions, mGreen, Mobifone Global, Techcombank, Timo Digital Bank, TrueTech, Viettel, Vijases, and VNPT