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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Tech-Start fills a role for teachers and students during these uncertain economic times as a beacon of what can be! The Tech-Start Team has been very supportive providing students in Oregon the opportunity to apply for scholarship to Post Secondary education. This motivates student to excell and realize a career in the field of choice that has a technology base. I encourage every High School and School District in Oregon to participate in this robust opportunity for high school age students.