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Techstart Education Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Technology

Mission: TechStart is a 501(c)3nonprofit that promotes wider access to technology education for K-12students in order to strengthen the skills they need to thrive in theglobal economy.

Geographic areas served: Oregon

Programs:

Our flagship program, SuperQuest, is an innovative, affordableprofessional development series for technology teachers and teachersinterested in integrating technology into their curriculum.  We offer adiversity of courses at various skill levels in three broad categories:

  • computer science
  • information technology and
  • pre-engineering
Through this program, we reach thousands of students by educating and inspiring their teachers.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TechStart continues to support technical education in a time when budgets are strained and class sizes growing. This past year, I received a grant for music creation software that helps enhance the programs my students are creating. The grant enabled students who otherwise might not be interested in the coding aspects to engage in class projects by creating sound effects and music to go along with the action or storyline in programs coded by their peers. As a teacher, I continue to receive low cost education in Alice and GameMaker (as well as other available courses) that allows me to enrich my student's knowledge as they explore these programs.

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

TechStart has been a great help in helping me create an engaging curriculum in my Middle School computer application classes. In addition to providing opportunities at low (and sometimes, no) cost to learn about programming and technology, the organization also hosts a GameMaker programming contest in the Spring. My students love the opportunity to show what they have learned to different panels of knowledgeable adults, and they also gain valuable insight into various technology fields when they get the opportunity to meet with professionals in the field - and at least 2 of these opportunities are scheduled into their day when they go to the competition. The classes have allowed me to become a confident enabler of various software programs and it is a joy to watch the students explore the programs we use and explore ways to go beyond the lessons I teach.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned about Techstart from a colleague in Eugene. This organization sponsors outstanding educational events for teachers and support persons working in Northwest schools. In addition, the organization spearheads opportunities for young people working with technology. My daughter participated in Techstart's computer programming competition for high schoolers, held yearly on the campus of Willamette University, and through this participation she gained confidence working on a team of dynamic students, taking on supremely difficult programming tasks. Her experience was very positive. It helped her grow in skills to the extent that she was prepared to take on a summer internship at the University of Oregon's computer science department, something that would have been beyond her without the preparation of working on the programming team. My two experiences attending SuperQuest, the summers of 2009 and 2010, afforded me the opportunity to learn skills essential for the teaching of technology I do. I teach at Kennedy Middle School in Eugene, and while my assignment is teaching mathematics, I have developed two additional elective courses for students, one in Lego robotics, the other a mix of electricity, animation, and music. I gained exposure to the software needed for animation that first summer. Attending that event, held at Western Oregon University, I was astounded at the expertise the Techstart people had assembled for the conference. A broad range of topics were presented in the CS4HS program at that conference, many of particular interest to multi-level instruction, such as "Computer Science Unplugged" and discussions of equity issues. I settled in to a workshop introducing me to GameMaker, taught with skill, precision, and helpful flexibility. Leaving that conference I knew what my next steps would be to get started with setting up experiences for my middle schoolers. The summer of 2010 event held at Oregon State University once again brought many new topics to my attention, including a fascinating talk on cryptology. All speakers at that conference were exceptionally well-prepared. I particularly enjoyed the various experiences we were given to see the work done at that campus "up close" through talks by those teaching computer science and engineering, through tours of the robotics areas, and up-close talks with students at Oregon State working with robotics. The robotics workshop was extraordinary! Our instructors were first-rate, absolutely bursting with information and helpfulness. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to programming in Robot-C, and building the robots, right down to the nitty-gritty of which parts to buy, how to troubleshoot potential difficulties, and insider tips on competition using this technology. Beyond the workshop, I've set dates for further attendance at Techstart events. It is convenient that these are scheduled at times I am able to come, and that various locations in Oregon are utilized. In the busy life of a teacher this scheduling and location choosing is crucial. Finally, those who staff Techstart clearly go out of their way to provide an exceptional experience for conference attendees. We had everything we needed, including great food, fun breaks in the action, and a really personal feeling between participants and staff. I especially liked the banquet opportunities, the chance this gave me to hang out with some people I'd not yet met, including a fabulous robotics team from Philomath, Oregon called the PHRED. Leaving Corvallis this summer I felt like I had been treated to a most wonderful event. Techstart absolutely "has its act together" when it comes to bringing us great experts in a delightful setting at a convenient time. I now know why others speak of attending SuperQuest events many summers in a row. I'll definitely be back next time.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I traveled more than 6000 miles to receive a 30 hours of the best training that I have been in touch in my 30 years of professional career. Not only the administrators of the event but also the trainers and volunteers gave the maximum of their strenghts to help participants. Now, I am more confident about to use technology and teaching Discrete Mathematics. I would like to have the opportunity to participate in a similar event again.

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

TechStart does an amazing job of bringing in the best people who really know their stuff, and who are willing to share and guide other teaching professionals to greater successes in the classroom. I left wanting more and added many tools to my classroom toolkit! I am excited to incorporate the ideas and techniques into my daily lesson plans!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Techstart organizes terrific technology teaching seminars for teachers and technology competitions that ignite a student's passion for engineering and computing. The materials and instructors in the seminars are top-notch, and provide valuable training on both technology and instructional methods. The networking at these events is also very valuable, and exposed me other teachers passionate about technology and to associations such as the CSTA, ACM, ORTOP, and OSU. The materials and competitions they promote in Robotics and Game Design are captivating and introducing a new generation of students to the interesting careers available in technology.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started out with a passion for teaching computer science because of the opportunity to really really get kids to THINK! However I had not much background in this field or how to teach it. There is no other venue that offers such quality teacher training in the technology, and more importantly, the pedagogy and classroom management of teaching technology in K-12. Now that I am retired, I have a great opportunity to continue and expand on TechStart's influence here in Oregon.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

TechStart has helped make connections between those in my field (Software Engineering) and those who teach computer science, so that we can work to help each other. In 2009 I presented my industry experience at the Oregon Games Programming Challenge, showing middle school and high school students what software engineering was all about. In 2010, at the same event I was a judge. As a college computer science instructor, I have attended Superquest 2009 and 2010 in order to learn better ways to do outreach to encourage young people to enter the field of computer science. I have attended games programming coach's training sponsored by Techstart. And, last but certainly not least, I will be a mentor for a high school robotics team 2010-2011 due to connections made through TechStart sponsored Superquest.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Techstart put together a computer programming game competition for middle school through high school students. This was my first year in the competition. Techstart did a fantastic job from inception in February to the final prize awarded in May. My students were thrilled to be amongst hundreds of like-minded students. Their parents and myself were impressed with the scope of preparation and organization of the competition. My teams presented to 2 separate groups of professional programmers and game designers and also presented and listened to peer presentations as well. Techstart brought all of this together for a very reasonable participation fee ($50 per team). My students were inspired and excited to be part of such a great competition. Winning two awards was icing on the cake.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The TechStart Education Foundation programs helped me kick off my tech teacher career and provides me with ongoing education that shows me new and innovative ways to teach my students about a variety of subjects. I have attended courses in robotics, gaming, Alice, JAVA, and Python programming, and web design. These courses have given me the tools to succeed as both a tech teacher and as the Head Coach for our school Technology Team (Robotics, Engineering and Computer Programming). I look forward to maintaining a positive relationship with TechStart throughout my teaching career!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

TechStart is a fantastic non profit organization that helps teachers create engaging, rigorous, and problem based curriculum. The organization helps students bridge the gap between math and science facts and the application of those facts. It encourages teachers to use curriculum that is thought provoking and challenging. I hope to continue attending their trainings for years to come.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The SuperQuest TechStart training was wonderful! I went into the training knowing nothing to very little about FLL, gamemaker, and the Lego robotics. I am an after school educator that needed new ideas and cirriculum. I came out of the training with a new and positive mind-set, as well as the tools to grow and succeed in the after school programs.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TechStart is a nonprofit that promotes wider access to technology education for K-12 students in order to strengthen the skills they need to thrive in the global economy. Their annual game programming contest is a fun, rewarding experience that encourages young people to form self-motivated teams to create educational games. This growing contest simultaneously promotes creativity, technical expertise, teamwork and leadership in a 100% positive environment. The first time I volunteered for this contest, I saw learning-disabled or economically disadvantaged young people working productively side-by-side with gifted or economically advantaged people in a spirit of camaraderie, sharing triumphs and supporting each other through setbacks.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been teaching for 3 years and just when I thought some of my initial interest and experience began to wain I was reinvigorated. Never before had I thought Robotics could serve our students in so many manners. When it comes to workplace skills, subject matter engagement, personal growth and exploration, interaction with difficult science content, and the overall hands-on technology education Techstart is supreme! I have grown as a teacher, as a person and as a learner of science. School has not even began and I have parent volunteers who are calling me! I have a list of 18 students who searched for me during registration because they are so excited about my new curriculum (and we have not even began school)! This was a huge benefit and I will be sure to come to every Techstart Superquest I can from now on! Thank you for the opportunity! --Stacey Johnson Science Teacher at Junction City High School

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We hosted the SuperQuest workshop here at Oregon State University this year. So, I got to work with Natasha MacDonald, Stevie Viaene, Kathy Zettl-Schaffer, and Ron Tenison on the planning. What a great group of people! So dedicated! So passionate about education! It was a real pleasure working with them. Then -- once the workshop actually arrived -- what an experience! Tech Start really does an amazing job of bringing educators together in a tremendous "watering hole" environment, where they all exchange ideas and teach each other new material and best practices. I was very impressed. I can see that tech Start fills a very important gap in our education system. -- Dr. Mike Bailey Computer Science professor Oregon State University

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

The worthiness of the mission of TechStart Education Foundation (TEF) is clear to see. We need to raise the quality of technical education in Oregon and SW Washington to support economic growth and quality of life. Board Members and the many friends of the TEF have incredible passion to fulfill this mission. Their vision for programs and coordination of resources is bounded only by one thing, restriction of funds. Joining the TEF in passion to drive improvements is a collection of technology teachers who deliver training and mentoring to other teachers. This group drives the curriculum of SuperQuest, the teaching training "camp" that teaches robotics, programming and other technology curricula. TEF is the primary funding of this training and mentoring program. Don Domes, at Hillsboro High School, epitomizes the vision and selfless dedication to drive something much bigger than themselves. Several board members and other friends have done an outstanding job of creating vision and specific messaging to promote the story of TEF. Great work has also been done to connect the structure of their most important fundraiser, UncorkED, to their mission.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had a fantastic experience with Techstart. Throughout the day I reviewed game competition entries from middle school teams and was amazed at the standard. I've been working in software for 16 years; the amount of thought, care and attention put towards the games developed by these kids was often on par with professional software development. The competition ran smoothly; the whole process was superbly organized. All the kids, and the volunteers and judges, approached the day with a very positive attitude. Everyone had fun. I would definitely do this again.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TechStart Education Foundation is a wonderful non-profit that helps promote technology education in Oregon K-12 schools through its programs, events, scholarships, grants, and donations. I donated my time to recruit, educate, and coordinate a group of over 40 volunteer judges for the annual Oregon Game Project challenge. The middle school and high school students that participated in this event were able to not only demonstrate their research and talent, but were also able to learn from 3-4 judge panels made up of industry experts who shared their professional experiences with the participating students. I was amazed by both the interest and participation at the middle school level as well as the diversity in terms of the student populations. In an environment where our leading technology educators are being laid off by schools (even winners of our Technology Educator of the Year award and grant winners for funds for their class rooms) these types of programs are critical for keeping our K-12 students interested in high tech pursuits.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

TechStart (formerly the Software Association of Oregon) has to be one of the most effective, efficient non-profits in Oregon, despite its modest size. It focuses on awakening a passion for technology within Oregon students and does so largely through teacher professional development as well as student engagement programs. It fills a key, previously untended niche and leverages its industry affiliation as a supporting entity to the Software Association of Oregon. With a laser-focus on program delivery, heavy involvement of committed volunteers, and a can-do attitude, TechStart makes a substantive difference for Oregon students every day. It also represents a great blend of public and private partners, working together on behalf of Oregon students. It was a pleasure to serve this committed group.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

From all-girl robotics competition teams making global impact to ESL students who accelerate their language skills to young game programmers who found a place to fit in and put their talent on the line, TechStart is sparking the curiosity, creativity and critical thinking in young students that is the key to our future technology innovation. It's evident the minute you talk to any teacher or student involved - and there are so many more demanding it that can be reached.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TECHSMART HELPED ME WITH EDUCATION ON HOW TO BUILD ROBOTS, LEAD A GROUP OF 9 YR OLDS., AND HAVE FUN WHILE WERE ALL LEARNIG.